Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Happy 5th Charlotte Day

5 years ago my little angel was born.


After 5 days of labour I was shattered. Jean was probably tired too. But we had both never been happier.

5 years on, not much has changed. I'm still shattered, Jean more so, and we've still never been happier.

Charlotte is amazing.

I asked her yesterday what she liked most about being 4. She thought for a while then eventually said "I liked that it was the Year of the Chicken."

I asked her if she was excited about being 5, she didn't hesitate: "Of cause!! How can I not be excited!! Everything in front of me is so beautiful!!!"

Happy birthday my wonderful little girl. Enjoy being 5 and stay beautiful.

Smile, be happy.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Mrs and Mr Treble

Liam McNeilis. The one that got away.

I had been working on my "treat 'em mean, keep 'em keen" master plan for well over a decade - getting married, having kids, moving 200 miles away. Another 20 or so years and I would have been ready to make my move.

But after 5 minutes of seeing him with Jenny I knew my dream was over.

They were made for each other.

And, on April 28th, they had a wedding that was perfectly made for them.

The location was beautiful. A magical land hidden away in the heart of Southport.

The service was a lovely love story.

The food was delicious and plentiful.

Mmmm....

The speeches were fantastic. Especially Beth, who at such a young age just stood up and absolutely nailed it. She really lived up to her title of "Best Person".

The Flower Girls, I believe I can say without any parental bias whatsoever, were the best Flower Girls ever.

The music is still stuck in my head.

But all of that is just very tasty icing on the cake. By far the most important aspect of this, and any, wedding is that the Bride and Groom clearly love each other more than words can say.

Thank you for making Charlotte a part of such a special day, and thank you even more for allowing her to bring the rest of us as her guests.

Congratulations to the newlyweds, Mrs and Mr Treble.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Mothers Day 2017

Silence.


A lazy Sunday morning just relaxing in bed. But with two young kids it doesn't last long.


Sure enough, in bursts our little Charlotte.


"Happy Mothers Day" she exclaims excitedly as she hands Jean a cute Pug faced mug followed by a round of hugs and kisses.


She then turns to me and, in a volume of voice far closer to shouting than whispering, says, "Daddy, you need to keep Mummy in bed for a bit. I'm going to go make her card and I don't want her to know."


She returns a little later asking me to come help her with her words. Mummy, who obviously has no idea what we are up to, still has to wait in bed.


"Ok, what do you want to say"


"Hello Mummy. I love you." I dutifully write it down on some scrap paper for her to copy onto her card. Once she's finished I suggest we go give Mummy her "surprise".


"Wait! I also want to say: I also love Daddy, but I love you best."


Really?!? Hmm.


We had a great day and I hope all the Mummies out there had a great day too. You all do amazing work.


We love you best.


Happy Mothers Day!!


Smile, be Happy.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Parental Sexism

For the past five years, I've repeatedly been given countless reasons to ponder one question: "Why is sexist parenting so socially acceptable?"

It starts from the moment you tell people you're having a baby: "Do you want a boy or a girl?"

It never seems to end.

Bafflingly, it often comes from the strangest places. Adults, male and female, who treat each other with respect and equality - as soon as they become parents they seem to feel the need to "teach" their little ones that blue is for a boy and pink is for a girl.

For little children, the entire world is split into "boys" things and "girls" things. Flowers, football, dolls, cars - the list goes on and on.   Even if someone "allows" their child to break the mold, they feel obliged to make statements such as: "she's not really a girly girl, she's more of a tomboy."

Why? At an age when girls and boys have most in common, why does society do everything they can to split them up?

Maybe you think I'm being silly, they're small, it's cute, what does it matter? I can't help thinking all the battles for gender equality stem from this one area we seem to have all agreed to ignore.

We split boys and girls up, we make their interests not overlap, they grow apart or face social ridicule. They only start noticing each other again over a decade later when their minds turn to sex - at this point they turn each other into objects and, hey presto, we have all the grown up, less cute, sexist issues.

Maybe you think I'm wrong. Boys and girls just are different. Maybe. But why do we need to amplify those differences? Why do I see so many parents pushing their little boys away from the pink aisle in the toy shops? "Those are girls toys."

Why can't a little boy be interested in pretending to be a daddy? I was. I still have my doll, gave it to my kids. I also loved Transformers, watched Carebears, like Thundercats, was (am) bored silly by football.

I don't think I'm alone in having a mixture of "male" and "female" interests - I think the people who don't have any mixture are far more unusual.

So why do we falsely "teach" our children that their are "boy" things and "girl" things?

Why is sexist parenting so socially acceptable?

Monday, January 30, 2017

Year of the Cock.

I'm not normally a believer of horoscopes, but you have to admit the Chinese have nailed it: 2017 is definitely turning into the Year of the Cock.

I'm very tempted to go into a rant about what a hideous excuse for a human being Trump is, but I doubt I would be telling you anything you don't already know.

Instead, let me skip straight to the conclusion I've come to:

"What the world needs now, is love, sweet love."

Trump has made the world a darker place. We need to brighten it up again.

So, this year, whatever situation you find yourself in, think "What would Trump do?"

Then do the opposite.

Happy Chinese New Year everyone!!!

Smile, Be Happy.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Miss Me?

The first day of 2017 started much like every other day: the sound of my alarm clock replaced by the sound of my screaming baby. And, as a good husband and a loving father, I immediately did what I always do: check Facebook to see how many likes my last pointless post got. Seven? Almost a new personal best.

The rest of the day continued to be a great start to a new year, spent surrounded by family, friends, good food and chocolate. There was even a new episode of Sherlock. What more could any sane person ask for?

2017 is looking pretty good. Happy New Year everyone!!

Now, as with all New Years, it's time for the annual review: to reflect on the past, plan for the future. Make ridiculous resolutions and see how many weeks/days/hours we can last until we break them.

What's mine you ask? You're reading it.

In the past five years, I've posted only two blogs - the ending to my story about becoming an Actuary and a farewell to my father. Well the drought ends now - Dave is back.

Miss me?

To clarify: between 2006 to 2009 I averaged 39 posts a year. That ain't happening. I was jobless and childless back then, I'm old now. Old Dave just can't compete with my younger self. I don't have the stamina. But monthly? 12 a year? That I could do.

So, five years, what have I been up to?

Well, as my only two posts suggest, I qualified as an Actuary and I lost my father to cancer. I miss him every day.

Happy Names day Dad.

I've spent approximately 13,500 hours, 31% of my time, either in work or commuting to and from it. This highlights that I'm still a geek who likes throwing random numbers into his blogs, but otherwise I have no intention of boring anyone with this 31% of my life. If you came to a blog called "Life" expecting to learn about how best to use ResQ for reserving in the London Market, well there's probably something a little wrong with you.

A further 29% of my time I also plan to skip over - my treasured time spent sleeping.

The other 40%?

I've had two children. Charlotte, aged four and Matthew, who has four teeth. Based on some basic assumptions and national averages, this means I've also had:
14,000 dirty nappies,
2,000 sets of dirty clothes from when the nappies leaked,
1,500 nights of interrupted sleeps,
sex twice.

Given I've been married over ten years, that last statistic is probably better than the national average.

It also means, of course, that I've been blessed with massive amounts of joy. The real beauty of having children is they help remind you about how to see the world as a place of wonder and excitement, something most of us oldies have forgotten. It's a gift worth all the dirty nappies in the world.

I've bought a new house, twice. I now live next to a great school, in a lovely neighbourhood surrounded by some great friends.

I bought a car and pretty much learnt how to drive. True, technically I passed my test back in 2008, but I hadn't driven since.

I've caught 130 different types of Pokémon and reached level 30.

You know, 2012 to 2016 are looking pretty good too.

Sure, there's been some bad times (Batman vs Superman), there'll probably be more coming (Justice League). But life's too short.

Smile, Be Happy.

See you soon. Xxx.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

My Dad

When a person dies of cancer it is often referred to as 'losing the battle'. I doubt my father would appreciate the term. He never lost a battle in his life and he wouldn't want to start now.

When he was diagnosed in 2007, his chances of surviving 5 years were not good. He survived 8.

When he was told he had only days to live, he lived weeks.

And now, while the cancer fades into a forgotten nothingness, my father joins eternity.

My father never lost.

But for all the loved ones he left behind, it still feels like he left us too soon.

He was a husband, a father, a grandfather and a friend. And more.

He was my teacher.

He taught me to honour and respect. Respect my parents, respect my family and respect myself. He gave me the respect I needed to be my own man, follow my own path. He taught me to be strong. To stand up and protect the people I love. To catch them when they fall.

I once watched as my sister climbed onto our kitchen roof. I watched her walking around up there without a care in the world. I watched her make the silly assumption that the plastic roofing above our yard could also take her weight. I watched as she fell.

And just like that, she was gone. 

I ran into the yard as fast as my little legs could take me. And there he was. My Dad. With my sister in his arms, having caught her in mid air. It didn't matter that he didn't know she was up there, that he had no reason to be in the yard or that it wasn't humanly possible to have got there in time to catch her. All that mattered was that she needed him, so he was there.

He was always there.

He taught me to appreciate the small things. The things best said without words. He showed me that something as simple, and beautiful, as a hug or a smile can create a memory to be treasured forever and I can’t thank him enough for each one that he gave us.

A while ago I got a phone call from my Dad. He said, "Hiya Dibs, yeah I just found a carrot and I was thinking of you."

"... a carrot?...”

"Yeah, I was walking past the place in Sefton park where you made the dent and I saw a carrot and I thought about how you used to play there when you were little..."

I’ll never know what a carrot has to do with anything at all. But I’ll always know I was forever in his heart and in his thoughts and he will forever be in mine.

He taught me to love a good book. He showed me worlds where anything was possible. A Magic Kingdom For Sale – Sold. He taught me to relax and enjoy life. To grab some Jaffa cakes, marshmallows, a good DVD and a bottle of coke and just have a good time. He taught me life's too short not to.

Life's too short.

But, in the words of his good friend Gandalf, “the journey doesn't end here. Death is just another path, one that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass, and then you see it. White shores, and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise.”

Until our paths cross again, goodbye Dad.

I miss you.

S’agapo.