There are ultimately two kinds of parent: those who openly admit they have been fundamentally changed by having children, and liars.
For me, one of my resounding areas of development has been my tolerance of grossness. I have been weed on, pood on, had puke in my face, caught vomit with my hands, sucked snot out of a bunged up baby nose, checked bums for worms and scrubbed poo out of carpet, all with the minimum of fuss or drama. Tell me that eight years ago and I wouldn’t believe you.
However, rather than be repulsed by the generally gross stuff, I have found that now that I am a dad, there are some surprising things that freak me out instead. To most people, they may seem completely irrational, or even trivia, but here they are.
1. Missing Bin Day
Once upon a time, there was one huge black bin and it was collected every Friday. Now we have four bins of various sizes and colours. They can only be fed certain materials and are all on their own individual routine (not a Friday either). With the arrival of kids come the increase it wrapping, paper rubbish, nappies and wine/beer bottles. Now don’t get me wrong, I love a bit of recycling, but if I inexplicably forget, put out the wrong bin, or we heaven forbid happen to be on holiday, then we will be living in a field of junk until the next collection day comes along again.
Christmas is when this anxiety is at its most acute. Imagine the scene: it is approximately 9.05am, you are scooping up the 12 tonnes of discarded wrapping paper from the living room floor, dragging it to the respective recycling bin (not all wrapping paper can be recycled remember) and when you flip open the lid IT IS ALREADY FULL! Where is it going to go? In the black non-recycling bin? What are you, some kind of animal? No, you carefully bag it up and run it down to the tip at your earliest convenience rather than leave it in the house/garden/shed where it is free to mock your bin day planning inadequacy.
I have to admit I’m not a fan of crafting. Seeing the kids with a wet paint brush fills me with dread. It is nearly as bad as watching different coloured plasticine get mushed into a turgid brown/grey. What surpasses both of these however is glitter. It is a hideous creation and if I had a time machine I would go back and prevent its invention. It has no place in my household and seeing it haphazardly being poured over a pool of pva glue mades me feel faint. Without fail it ends up all over my face, even if I don’t touch it.
3. Falling behind with clothes washing
When it comes to clothes, there are three unanswered questions that spring to mind:
- how have the kids ended up with so many clothes when two of them are in school uniform for the majority of the week?
- how do they get mud/food/snot over every square inch within a matter of hours?
- how do two matching socks go in and two unmatching socks come out?
Every week we are faced with a tsunami of dirty clothes and it is a military operation to keep it at bay. If we are away for a weekend, or have visitors over, or end up doing something that disrupts the cycle of wash/dry/put away then we have no choice but to work double shifts to catch up. There is nothing worse than waking up on a Monday morning to the tune of ‘Daaaaaad I can’t find any clean pants!’, discovering their school jumpers are still wet and realising you’ve failed as a parent.
4. LEGO Minifigures dressed wrong
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not some sort of dictator that insists that LEGO minifigures have to be dressed in a certain way. Seriously, the standard non-branded figures are up for grabs – the kids can go wild with those ones.
It is the special ones that come out of the movie tie-in sets that I have to insist follow the rules. You know the ones – Star Wars, Ninjago, Batman etc. I’m not asking for much am I? I’ve lost count of how many Ninjago figures are mashed up with Imperial Storm Troopers. Princess Leia’s head is slumming it with some bland LEGO City simpleton and I haven’t seen Luke Skywalker’s X-wing pilot helmet for about two years. X-wing pilot Luke Skywalker without his helmet just looks like any… other… minifigure. It is not right. In fact it is an abomination.
I’m now feeling a bit like Lord Business from the LEGO Movie so I’m going to move on to…
5. Batteries: will they/won’t they?
‘I know a really fun game – let’s play the leave random batteries in a drawer and try and guess which ones actually work game,’ said no one, ever.
What gives me some solace is that other people must surely be inflicted with this cruel scenario as well. Surely. Everything seems to need batteries – the wireless controls on the xbox, the baby monitor, TV remotes, remote control cars, fairy lights for Roo’s bedroom (she can’t sleep without them being on), the annoying singing thing that JJ loves, the clock on the kitchen wall that my morning rush for work is timed by.
If one of these stops working then it is time to fish out some new ones, but for some unknown reason there are a load just aimlessly rolling about in the ‘random shit’ drawer. How did they get there? If they are new why are they not in any packaging? If they are flat who put them back in there? You tell yourself that no, they must work if they are in the random shit drawer. So you try them and discover that YES THEY ARE EFFING FLAT just as your kids start to scream because their game of Minecraft can’t go on. I’ve now invested in rechargeable batteries and can’t believe it has taken so long to do so.
So, these are the 5 things that have surprisingly begun to freak me out since I became a dad. Is it just me? Do you have anything to add to this list?