Sunday morning, 7AM…
Emma and I have been awake for about 15 minutes having our usual morning giggle as I try to convince her that morning dragon breath and puffy eyes are still sexy to me and that Father’s day pre-breakfast nookie is on the cards.
Griffin stumbles in, bleary eyed and headed straight for our bed for his customary morning snuggle and wake up routine.
Emma says “Griffin, why don’t you get the… uhm… the thing… uhm….” With lots of knowing winks and head motions exaggerating that he needs to go the other way to fetch something.
Being an active dad, I know my son extremely well and I know what his facial expressions and body language mean. I absolutely LOVE how children get excited on your behalf.
After Emma’s frantic gestures and less than subtle innuendo’s, Griffin looked straight at me, his whole body stopped the shambling rolling motion he was in as he headed to our bed and his eyes opened wide. That was the “penny drop” moment.
He immediately turned around to “get you something about poo that you want!” and his little legs carried him out of the room.
I love Father’s Day, but I love my son and I love the pure and simple joy he gets when presents are involved. I mean let’ face it, this is a Father’s Day present he has rushed off to get but his face has lit up like the Aurora Borealis and has brought that same unabashed joy to both Emma and I as we snuggle in bed and contemplate the day.
Moments later the object d’moment arrives in excited little hands.
“I drew all the hugs and kisses for you Dad” – the card is adorned with hundreds of x’s and hearts.
I open the card and can do nothing but laugh as I am confronted with a ridiculous picture of myself on the card…
At this point I had tears welling in my eyes as Griff and Emma looked on. Emma was simply smiling beatifically while Griffin pushed the wrapped bundle into my face. “Open this open this open it!”.
I complied…. Obviously…
The first present I pulled out was a bright yellow pair of Spongebob Squarepants pyjama pants. I mean BRIGHT yellow.
Griffin loves Spongebob, he adores him. He has a Spongebob poster in his room, his duvet is bright yellow Spongebob covered yellowness of happiness and his pillow cases are adorned with Spongebob all over them. That’s not to mention the Spongebob dressing gown he wears all over the house… Ok, so this is a gift that matches his bedding so perfectly and my son craves co-sleeping so I decided at 7AM that come hell or high water, I would close the day off by treating Griffin (who is usually only allowed to co-sleep on weekend’s and when I am in London) to an unheard of Sunday night co-sleep IN HIS SPONGEBOB BED! Needless to say, he immediately agreed that that was the best way to use my new pyjamas…
The second gift was a lovely T-shirt that says “I am the DADDY” on it on the chest and Griffin had put his handprints and written his name in fabric paints on the back as a signature. *melt* I wore it all day with pride and will do so again for sure.
The last little gift was the latest from Terry Pratchett – The World of Poo…
Griffin can’t wait for me to start reading this because he simply can’t imagine why his dad would be reading a book that not only SAYS poo on the cover, but has a boy poking a stick into what is clearly a pile of POO!
So with many giggles and a huge amount of love and cuddles, my father’s day began…
Now anyone who knows me knows that I am all about the “sloth Sunday”. If I can kick my feet up all day and read a book or let my brain simmer gently while being baked by the denizens of television land, I will gladly let it be so.
That was the plan for today, considering that the day had been forecasted to consist of mainly torrential downpours.
After breakfast we went into the lounge and Griffin selected what we had to watch on the idiot box and I settled onto the settee, kicked my lazy boy into action and continued reading my current book (David Eddings –Elenium). Half an hour later Griffin was bored, realizing he was actually playing and watching TV on his own and he started playing with me.
I put the book down and the two of us jumped all over the lounge while Emma slept, playing tickling games and mock fighting, the things that dads are supposed to do J
Anyway, we had always planned to have a “carpet picnic” in light of the rain and the fact that that would soak up a few hours of time while not requiring us to do much else but when we saw that the weather was panning into something a little different we decided to change that to homemade pizza and a walk on the marsh.
Homemade pizza was a massive success, Griffin helped kneed and roll the dough, he helped chop the vegetables and slice the meat to put on the pizza and was generally extremely helpful in the kitchen.
He also decided that the marsh wouldn’t be as much fin as going to the Welsh National Pool in Swansea, so after a delicious lunch made of lots of oddly shaped micro pizzas, we headed into Swansea.
Now we have often gone into Swansea to swim on Sunday’s. In fact that is kinda Griffin and my “thang”. In recent weeks we have stopped going to the Leisure Centre where it is typically crowded and very little actual swimming goes on as everyone is really just splashing around, and started going to the Welsh National Pool.
At the Welsh National Pool they have two pools, one massive 10 lane 50 meter long pool and one 6 lane 25 meter long pool.
On Sunday’s they have a family fun splash session and so we swim in the 25 meter pool with Griffin (he is not allowed in the 50 meter one). Emma and Maggie came with and Maggie and I went to swim lengths in the big pool while Emma and Griff played in the little one.
After only 6 lengths I needed a break and went back to the smaller pool and sent Emma off to do her lengths while Griffin and I played.
Griffin has come so far in his ability to swim, I love watching him splash about and race along. He has developed a very powerful kick action and can actually swim pretty damned fast when he is trying to. Swimming at the WNP allows him to not only play with me and chase me around the pool, but also to show me how well he can swim and what kid doesn’t like to show his dad just how awesome he is?
After a few more lengths and some more play, we eventually headed home to enjoy the rest of Sunday.
All in all this sounds like an idyllic Father’s Day. Well it was, except for my own ability to get in the way of my own personal joy. Griffin is growing up to be just like me. He emulates me, he tries to be me, and he follows me around and acts just like me. He has even managed to oust Emma from her desk in my office so that he also has “an office” and a place to “do work” just like me.
Unfortunately this means that he also behaves just like me when confronted with situations and is more than happy to challenge things, to the point of being a little cocky, like me.
This meant on Sunday that there were a couple of occasions that he tested the boundaries of acceptable behaviour and left me feeling that pre-angry dark cloud build up that typically leaves me a little sullen. The difference between Griffin and I? I ruminate, I dwell, I turn things over in my head again and again. Griffin moves on and has forgotten the altercation within moments.
The net result, I got a clear picture in my head this weekend that I am doing a great job as a parent but I really need to let the little things slide a lot more so that I can spend more time enjoying how wonderful it is to be close to a child and stop letting me sabotage my own fun and happiness with petty sulking sessions.
Remember, being a father is not simply a one way relationship. I learn new things about myself, the world and my family every single day when I am forced to look at the world through the eyes of my miniature counterpart and I love it.
Kudos for all the dads out there, it is not an easy job being a role model, ask any parent J