moreshortstuff

Life, kids etc.

Pina coladas and walks in the rain. Without pina coladas.

A pair of Wellington boots

If you don't have a pair of these, get some. They will come in handy.

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE BOLTON NEWS, FRIDAY 6 JANUARY 2012
I’VE had this week off to look after the nipper before he goes back to school.
I seriously can’t wait to get back to work.
Normally, Mrs Short is on hand to keep a lid on things and make sure the day to day running of the family is all clockwork and tickety boo.
But this week, with her at work, it has just been me and the boy. And to tell you the truth, I’ve found it a bit of a struggle.
At work you can always snatch a five minute chat with someone, grab a coffee from the machine or even just nip to the loo.
I’ve not been able to do any of that stuff – he is relentless. He won’t let me out of his sight.
It feels like one of those East European stag dos where the stag gets handcuffed to a midget.
If I try to leave the front room for a minute he demands to come as well, or just shouts after me at the top of his voice until I come back.
Always asking questions, questions, questions, or just jumping on me. He loves jumping on me, especially when I least expect it. How can someone so small make me feel so much physical pain? Although when I said exactly those words to Mrs Short on her return from work, she shot me a look of pure evil and started banging on about childbirth or something. Whatever.
Anyhow, the fact the rain’s been a bit biblical this week has meant we have been largely stuck indoors too.
By Monday, I had run out of creative things to keep him occupied. There are only so many cookies you can bake or pictures you can draw. And for a kid who got 1,001 toys and games for Christmas, I‘m amazed that he hasn’t wanted to play with any of them this week.
By Tuesday we took down the tree and decorations a bit earlier than planned, just to give him something to do. Then we chopped it up for the recycling bin – he was surprisingly adept with an axe and saw for a four-year-old. Still, he was finished in 40 minutes and back shouting and jumping relentlessly.
By Wednesday I was going stir crazy so we chucked on our waterproofs and wellies for a ‘nature walk‘ in the woods near our house. We might as well have just got in a cold, muddy bath and started hitting each other with thorny brambles. It was awful. There was so much aimless trudging and so much water, it felt like I was in the Poseidon Adventure. If Gene Hackman’s part had gone to a chattering child in Ben 10 wellies, that is. We managed to get lost in a wood not much bigger than a football pitch, saw one nervous, wet squirrel, a crow (in the distance) and a bird’s nest with some beer cans in it.
When we got back we were wet, cold, muddy and covered in scratches.
But you know something? It was almost all worthwhile. For as we sat in front of the fire with our hot chocolate, he turned to me, smiled, and said: “I’ve had a brilliant week with you, Daddy.”
It melted my heart. These few days, I thought, encapsulated everything that fatherhood is about. Then he quickly followed it up with: “So now can I have a biscuit?”
Advertisements
Leave a comment »

The magic of Christmas. Really.

christmas tree

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE BOLTON NEWS, FRIDAY 9 DECEMBER 2011

IT’S Christmas tree day tomorrow, when the Short family traditionally makes the annual trip to a car park to take our pick of hundreds of identical firs.
We will spend roughly an hour umming and ahhing over the right tree for us while the kids run around and occasionally come looking for us with tears in their eyes because they have fallen over, or been told off by a man.
We will select the tree, then find out it won’t fit in our car. Mrs Short will kick off when I suggest she stays with the kids for half an hour while I take the tree home – but will refuse to leave me with the children because she cannot manage to get the tree from the car to the house on her own.
We will then pay a man £10 extra to deliver the tree, then be out when it turns up late and make arrangements for it to come the following day instead.
When it finally arrives and we take the net off, the damn thing will take up half of the living room.
“It looks a lot bigger than the one we bought,” one of us will say.
Then it’s decoration time. The dust-covered baubles are removed from the loft, most of them broken because they were packed away in carrier bags and the heavy suitcases were then accidentally put on top of them at some point.
We manage to salvage enough of them to make the tree look presentable, hiding the rubbish ones the older child has made at school round the back of the tree, next to the wall where no one can see them.
Oh, the magic of Christmas!
I’m a bit of a humbug merchant if truth be told. I think we do Christmas too early and I think its place as a religious festival has all but disappeared.
I struggle to explain to my four-year-old boy what part Santa plays in Baby Jesus’ birthday celebrations.
In truth though, his understanding of the Christmas story is already pretty warped – he recently told us Mary and Joseph went to Bethlehem “to kill the baddie king, Herod”.
The thing is, he’s appeared in a few nativity plays so should really have started to grasp the true meaning of Christmas by now. Although, now that I think of it, he was the only shepherd wearing a Ben 10 Omnitrix last year, which can’t have helped.
A few years ago, one of my young nieces became obsessed by the Christmas story and got very religious for a six-year-old. She walked around with her hands joined together, in prayer, for weeks, and would not do anything that could “make Baby Jesus cross“. It eventually wore off but when Easter arrived a few months later, she asked her grandad what it was all about. When he told her, it blew her tiny mind. “Baby Jesus is DEAD!!???“ she asked in stunned disbelief.
Leave a comment »