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Saturday 23rd May 2020

6389/19309

Oh shit, I’ve finished Death in Paradise. What do I do now?
The family had an ultra relaxed mainly watching TV day today, but there was little option as everyone over the age of 6 was exhausted. Whether this is an actual bug or just a cumulation of stress and lack of sleep, it seems to have hit us both. I was a bit better, but  was flagging by 4.
The boy spent the whole day naked, which I respect. I was a rudey-nudey as a kid myself  and for much too long. I think I’d stopped streaking round the house by the time puberty kicked in but it must have been close. Ernie is still rebelling against potty training, so this was a risk, but actually we caught every single wee in the potty today and often he was the one who chose to go to the potty. He is 28 years old. So our soft furnishings and carpets remained urine free and it felt like one of the greatest triumphs of humanity.
It will be an amazing moment when we can finally leave nappies behind. They’re been part of my daily life for over 5 years (there might have been a brief respite before Ernie turned up). I would have thought we are still months away, but it will be a huge moment when the last nappy hits the nappy bin. I guess you only realise retrospectively though. 
I have not been doing my 50% over the last week or so as I tried to work and then tried to recover from working. I made up for it a bit today, maybe managing 60%. I have still had a parenting triumph this week though, where I have come up with some feeding games that have been fun enough for both kids to finish off meals that they seemed to have lost interest in. 
Phoebe is a bit old for this kind of thing, but she sometimes enjoys playing at being a baby, but also has a sharp enough sense of humour to enjoy subversion. So I had idly attempted the old aeroplane trick to interest my son in the dregs of his food, but then wondered if I could do anything more interesting. So the fork full of food became a lift that threatened to deliver to a different floor and be eaten by another person round the table. Then I did a football match where my son’s mouth was the goal. And a private ship where his mouth was a cave that turned out to be the mouth of a monster who ate the ship and killed everyone aboard (and they screamed and shouted “Why God? Why have you done this to me?” as they perished). Phoebe wanted to be a part of this too and then for some reason (maybe because there was a bit of ketchup on the pasta she was eating) I decided that she was a ketchup testing machine and that it was her job to taste the blend to ensure it was ketchup. Even though what she was eating was mainly not ketchup. She loved this though and we got her plate clean as she confirmed that every concoction was ketchup.
My daughter is always cautious about admitting that I am funny (she’s my ultimate troll - none of the ones on the internet are committed enough to come and live with me to undermine me 24/7) so it’s always good when I find something that undeniable makes her laugh.
It was a fun improvisational exercise for me, organic and unplanned and terrifyingly successful for both kids. And I looked like a fucking genius superdad. I’ve managed to carry this on for a few days and I know the interest will pall. But when you bother to put in the effort (which I really didn’t for the rest of the days and let the Teen Titans and Andy’s Dinosaur Adventures and some overexcited people playing Minecraft take the strain) you can create some beautiful magic.
You are welcome to use my ideas for free, but the execution is very important. You really have to commit and rise above the tiredness and drudgery to turn something irritating and boring into a fun memory for your future.
What I am saying is if you ignore me taking a back seat to work and watch Death in Paradise and all the times I sit like a zombie playing online whilst the kids watch TV, then I am a brilliant parent.


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