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?”
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The nightmare before, during and after Christmas

Drunk Father

Another happy family at Christmas

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE BOLTON NEWS, FRIDAY 23 DECEMBER 2011
HAVE we all got some kind of collective amnesia? Here we are, just a couple of days from Christmas, parading around like it’s the happiest time of the year.
Surely we can’t all have forgotten the nightmare that was last Christmas, or the one before that, or the one before that?
So far this year, the only high point has been getting blind drunk on the night of the works’ Christmas do. But even that left me with a hangover so nasty it could have played the part of Frank Booth in the movie Blue Velvet.
The thing about Christmas is that you think it’s the nice guy and look forward to its arrival. But then it ends up running off with your wife, driving your car and living in your house, while you carry on paying the bills.
Advent calendars sum up the whole festive period quite nicely. Each new door has a lovely chocolate behind it and promises so much… except the chocolate isn’t real chocolate, it’s that cheap tasting “chocolate-flavoured candy”. Yuk.
As December 25 draws ever nearer, you get ever skinter, desperately trying to keep up with the demands Christmas places on you.
Even the lovely Christmas carols are there just to set up us to knock us down. The words to Silent Night may as well be “you can’t sing me, you tone deaf chump, so don’t bother trying to join in“. Can anybody who’s not Whitney Houston actually hit those high notes?
As for the scourge of the Christmas card
Now me, I‘m not a Christmas card sender as a rule.
It’s mainly because I hate the awkward lie you have to make up. You know the one I mean don’t you? The one where you’ve already handed out your cards to EVERYONE, then the quiet bloke in the corner at work hands you a card. So you lie: “Did I not give you yours? I must have left it in the car or something. I‘ll bring it in tomorrow.” You both know it’s a lie, you liar.
But all this pales into insignificance compared to Christmas Day itself.
Oh joy of joys – being woken at the ten past four in the morning by kids who are already bouncing off the walls because they’ve sneakily cracked open a selection box; having them crash down from the sugar high at 9am, and spend the next two hours whining about what they didn‘t get, and why they hate going to church; driving miles to see the family, feeling a bit ill from eating too much, and not being able to drink a drop because you’re driving back; having your tipsy family natter all the way through the Dr Who you’ve been looking forward to but forgot to Sky plus. Wonderful.
Me, I would much rather stay at home counting my money, like Scrooge. Except I haven’t got two pennies to rub together… because it’s bloody Christmas!
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All I want for Christmas is everything, Daddy

English: TOYS “Я” US (Toys R Us), Oxford...

I want everything in it and I want it NOW, Daddy

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE BOLTON NEWS, FRIDAY 28 OCTOBER 2011
THE clocks haven’t gone back yet – I think that means it’s technically still summer.
We’ve not even had Halloween and Bonfire Night is more than a week away.
Yet on Wednesday, the same day the Toy Retailers’ Association released its guide to this year’s 12 must have toys for Christmas, I was presented with my son’s own festive wish list.
There are more than 700 things on it and it comes to roughly £35,000 worth of toys. He is four and I am not Donald Trump, so he is likely to be disappointed on December 25.
He only started school in September so his hand writing is not the best. It looks like he got a dog to do it for him, for a biscuit.
Which means his list was not written, but comprised of things he had cut out of a catalogue from The Entertainer toy store and stuck to several sheets of card.
For all the things he wants, he may as well have just handed me the catalogue and said: “I want all of it, Daddy.”
I have no idea how he managed to get hold of the catalogue, by the way. It’s fair to say he never goes out of the house alone and struggles to wipe his own bum properly.
Actually, I’m surprised he managed to cobble a list together so quickly. It was only Monday when he snorted with derision at his Mum’s suggestion that he put together a list of the things he wanted. And that was only to stop him pointing at the telly and saying: “I want that one,” like a little version of the Little Britain character, every single time an advert for a toy came on.
“A list??!!” he said.
“Can you not just send Father Christmas a message on your phone instead?”
He is full of questions, that boy. Other recent gems include: “Do footballers like waterfalls?” the classic: “Can horses bend over?” and of course: “Whose side were the dinosaurs on in the war?”
He’s actually been compiling his Christmas list, mentally, for months now. It includes, among other things, lots of Ben 10 toys, a Transformers voice-changing helmet, Star Wars lightsaber (that makes slightly different noises to the ones he already has), Power Rangers action figures, Toy Story writing bureau, a drumming Elmo, Disney Cars walkie talkies and Winnie the Pooh pregnancy testing kit.
I think the amount of branded goods he’s asked for shows just how suggestible he is when it comes to the TV adverts.
Luckily, me and Mrs Short believe we can turn that to our advantage. Our plan is to only watch the cookery channels on Sky when the boy’s around. Our thinking is that the ads might exert their influence on his young mind and make him rethink his list. It would be really handy if he decided he wanted a nice set of non stick pans instead of all those toys. Or a blender. I’ll let you know how we get on.
*Friday night film: Twilight: Eclipse. Grrr.
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