Thursday 3 May 2007

Boiling Over

Our hot water isn’t hot any more. It happened a couple of days ago but until the tank ran out we didn’t realise what was going on. Time then to reach for the well-thumbed directory of exorbitant London tradesmen. How much will it cost us this time? Somewhere between £200 and £300 if past experience is anything to go by. Just what type of person are these charges pitched at? The sort who don’t blink at spending half a million on a place to rest their heads between trips to the office I suppose. So I went to the gym to have a shower. While I was there I had a sauna too. So much more relaxing without the workout that should go before it. Gym membership is another ridiculous cost. Several hundred pounds a year to take my daughter swimming and have a shower when the boiler breaks. Mind you, compared to the cost of mending the boiler that’s quite good value.

Perhaps I should go on a DIY course. I should definitely be better at DIY with our cashflow situation as it is. I do what I can. I really do. But it's not just the DIY. There are other aspects of being a parent I just don’t seem to be able to get to grips with, no matter how much I might want to. Among these are:


It’s not so much that I forget to take my daughter's bag with us on trips and playdates, but that I don’t think of packing it in the first place.


I was recently at a friend’s house admiring the intricate tiaras made of silver foil and little stick people she had fashioned from sparkly pipecleaners with her daughter. It’s just not me.


I cook. But I don’t bake. Cupcakes are a mystery to me.


Spending half an hour choosing a fairy toothrush with my daughter like my wife does is beyond me. I just don’t have the patience. “How about this one? It’s pink.” is about my limit.

Mutual hairbrushing.

It seems to come so easily to mums. If my daughter wields the hairbrush in my direction I begin to feel a bit funny. “Great. Thanks. That’s enough!


I kiss it better, of course. But extended sympathy for minor ailments doesn’t come easily. If she’s really sick I do leap into action though.

Imaginary play.

A bit of it is good. “Look, this is a pretend ice cream. Yes. Strawberry, Mmm.” That’s fine for a while, but eventually I just have to go on to something more…real. Like a newspaper.


I’m a shampoo man. Conditioner I don’t understand. Also, I never seem to dry my daughter’s hair enough for my wife’s tastes.


I’m forever forgetting to buy milk when only a thin meniscus remains in the two pint bottle. (And quite often I find I haven’t bought any food either. Luckily I’m quite good at creating dishes from the contents of the food cupboard.)


I tend to leave my daughter’s discarded clothes (bath, bedtime etc) where they are taken off, meaning to pick them up later. Strangely, whenever I return someone else has already removed them…

Saying “I love you”.

Isn’t it about showing not telling? No? Well, I’m working on it.


Anonymous said...

The point at which I realised I had truly grown middle-aged was when I invested in boiler¢ral heating insurance and thought it was A GOOD THING.

Which it is of course. I commend it to you. The bonus is that they will come out, fix the problem, make sure that your system is okay, and then insure you.

You will pay a lot of money but at least they will come out when they say they will should it ever happen again.

By the way, I am a hard working mother of two and NOT on commission for British Gas.

The Good Woman said...

What a terrific blog - it's great to hear a Dad's thoughts - not all that different from a Mom's. Parenting, it would appear, is parenting, no matter who you are.

But I was wondering. I'm forever carrying an empty pink Dora bag and therefore not producing wipes, juice, spare underwear etc at the appropriate moments. Do the other mums roll their eyes at you too? Or does a Y chromosome exempt you from such judgements?

On a more sober note, please work HARD on saying 'I love you'. I really believe that we all hold the voices of those we love in our minds so that we can hear their advice when we're apart - some call this a consciense, some call it plain nuts. But when your voice speaks to your daughter wouldn't you like her to hear 'I love you'?

Stay at home dad said...

anonymous, I know what you mean! I will look into that, thanks.

Thank you good woman and thanks for dropping by. I am pretty much exempt, I think. Or maybe just so reviled that they don't bother. Re. ILY. I just don't like that thing where people say "I love you" rather than "goodbye"!

Anonymous said...

Mike finds the same with ILY - it gets stuck just behind his tongue and won't move any further.
The last time he said it to me was when Lincoln City went up a division in the league. If you know your crap football team history you'll know that was some few years ago.
He was phoning from a pub in Lincoln, with his brother, pissed out of his tiny mind.
He, like you, reckons it's what he does that counts, and not what he says. And I agree.

Mutterings and Meanderings said...

SAHD, you are such a bloke ...

Drunk Mummy said...

Dear SAHD - I know what you mean about the "I Love You" thing - its been hi-jacked by Disney, so that it always seems that it should be preceded by "Gee" and followed by "Mommy" or "Daddy". I tend to grab mine and yell "God, you're gorgeous!" instead.

Pig in the Kitchen said...

If my husband says ILY too often I begin to think he's having an affair.

Never mind ILY, you should work on using conditioner. Such a pain when my husband forgets it on all FOUR children. So many tangles, so much screaming, so want to punch him when he does that.

Stay at home dad said...

BM - As we were leaving home this morning my daughter said ILY to me. I was about to reply when a bloke walked past grinning and it got stuck.

Said when drunk - does that count?

M&M - Thanks - I had begun to wonder!

DM - Like it, like it. And do they appreciate that?

Pig - Or there's big match coming up. Is that what it does then?

Anonymous said...

You know, it's wonderful to read your blog. I've had an awful day (again!?) and you put a smile on my face.
Just one question... meniscus?

I think I read your blog after everyone's in bed in UK. I get to read your post, read the comments, and read your responses - all in one session! Great service!

Stay at home dad said...

Thanks Lilly. Here at Stay at home dad we aim to provide a high level of service!

Meniscus - it's all about capillary action, apparently. The curved surface of a liquid, which is all there is left by the time I notice the milk needs replacing.

Andres, JCT said...

i have a son- one a half and another on the way- july 16th. i am the stay at home dad. i can't seem to get the one a half year old to stop banging the window.

Stay at home dad said...

Hi again. Now that is going to be tough! But do that and you can do anything.


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