Karma; my son is turning into me.

IMG_6127From the minute Jack was born, it was pretty obvious that he was mine. The poor kid. He looks exactly like me. We came out of the womb looking exactly the same, and from here on out he’s getting more and more like me.

The problem? He also has my personality. Which makes him stubborn. And always right. At the moment he’s approaching 4, so we’re needing to discipline him from time to time. 99% of the time he is a great child. 99% of the time he is a polite and loving child, and he and his sister have a beautiful relationship going on. We understand how lucky we are.

It’s the 1% of time when he decides he’s the boss that we seriously clash. Inevitably, I get to the end of an argument with him and realise that I can’t be mad at him, because he’s doing exactly the same thing I would have done. Deep down I’m trying not to laugh as the reality sets in. A good 20 more years of this. 20 more years of facing off against a nemesis from my own DNA. Like Darth Vader staring down Luke, waiting to see who blinks.

17264717_10155034869710275_912693182271065072_nAngie of course, beautifully natured and rarely mad (only at me), can’t handle any conflict, so Jack is immediately forgiven for all wrong doing. ‘He’s just too damn cute’ she says, giving up on her anger and smothering him with cuddles. Side note – Angie maintains that Jack has her toes – she’s really clutching at straws here. I maintain they all have her bum chin (see right), but I digress.

Discipline is a touchy subject. It’s something that can cause arguments between parents, between couples. I was smacked as a child and I’m sure I deserved it. I still turned out fine. Angie (the yin to my yang) was of course an Angel in her youth and never in trouble. Despite the differences, we both agree and are against smacking our children. We never have. I’m thinking some big kid will put him in his place in the school yard at some point and he’ll learn to bite his tongue.

So as he grows up, I’m sure I’ll need to continually learn. He’ll continue to want his independence, he’ll continue to want to grow into his own mould. Realistically I need to learn to argue with myself. Because that’s who I’m fighting against. I can feel my parents laughing somewhere off in the distance whilst Jack and I disagree on whether he should apologise to his sister or not.

Andrew

Travelling with kids; learning to adjust budgets.

We’ve just landed in London. A few hours later than expected – because we missed our flight this morning. No harm done, we were shifted to the next flight and we still arrived with plenty of time to spare. However with 4 flights in the past 7 days, I’ve learned that travel budgets have to change drastically when kids come along.

The obvious financial budget – compared to my backpacking days, I’m now paying 4 times the price for plane flights. When you’re travelling solo, you don’t mind the red eye flights, the ugly connections if it saves you $200. Times that by 4 with the family, and an $800 saving is very enticing. But a red eye flight with 2 kids is suddenly 4 times more painful. I took that option recently, finding an amazingly cheap flight. But doing a red eye with the kids – way too painful. Never again.

*NB Side note – the transfer from Sydney to Brisbane was so bad, we ended up just stumping up for a much earlier flight to make it home before midnight, so the cheap flight was null and void anyway.

FullSizeRenderThe budget I have really learned this week – is the time to get to the airport, through check in and to the gates budget. Single traveller, business trip, minimal luggage = online check in, carry on, through security, to the gate in 5 minutes. Time to either stay longer at home, or time to enjoy a meal and a beer before getting on the plane.

Travelling with kids, every section of the journey seems to take 400 times longer. First of all, we have to all get up, out of bed and downstairs. And I’ve discovered that can take at least half an hour. Of course, Jack always decides he’s hungry just as we’re about to leave. And he’s only hungry for something that takes time to make. Not a banana or an apple as we’re running out the door, but suddenly he wants an egg on toast.

Arriving at the airport and somehow everyone needs to use the bathroom, but never simultaneously. There can be a toilet stop before check in, another before security, another halfway to the gate, another in the line to board the plane. My male logical brain can’t comprehend it. How can you suddenly, desperately, urgently need to go to the toilet 5 minutes after your sister just suddenly, desperately, urgently ran to the toilet, which was 5 minutes after your mum suddenly, desperately, urgently ran to the toilet as soon as we got out of the Uber?

Security is a whole new fun ball game now too. There’s always something, somewhere that sets off an alarm. On Tuesday we flew home from Paris after visiting DisneyLand. Of course what did Jack want from DisneyLand? A light sabre. And it couldn’t possibly go in the suitcase. So we get to be the parents that walk through security with our son shooting people with his light sabre. (Of course I know you can’t shoot people with a light sabre, but HE doesn’t realise that).

Earlier in the year we were coming through Singapore and Jack had a toy gun which he’d bought from the markets in Thailand. So again, we get to be the parents that are walking through security while their son is screaming full pitch ‘I WANT MY GUN BACK’ after it had to be scanned. Thankfully, the Singaporean people are nice and relaxed and it was pretty funny in the end. In Paris, with the armed guards carrying M16s as big as small child – not quite as funny.

So as always, I’ve had to learn that patience is a true virtue. Being a parent requires almost super human patience in most areas of life. Patiently waiting for your son to decide exactly which flavour juice he wants from the shop despite the airline gate warning you that you’re about to miss your flight…. Patiently waiting for your wife to test every perfume in the duty free – even though she has no intention of buying them and she knows that our gate is closing…… Patiently waiting, patiently waiting.

From now on, I think I’ll have to only purchase afternoon flights, and tell everyone we have a morning flight. Maybe then, just maybe, we’ll make it from the bedroom, to the Uber, to the check in, to the gate on time. We can get to the airport, all our luggage makes it with us, and we enjoy a stress free trip. Cause isn’t travel meant to be a stress release?

Andrew

Rainy Scottish weather = childhood reminiscing.

After only just recovering from a 40hour transit with 2 young kids, I’ll be very open with my love of the iPad. I don’t think we could have survived the trip without them. iPads, battery power pods and USB chargers on flights. Honestly, how did we survive all those years ago? My first long haul flight I remember having to talk to the person next to me. Like a weirdo.

FullSizeRender-2But after a few weeks of false advertising and some actual warm weather, sure enough, the Scottish weather we all knew was coming is here. And it’s settled in for the Summer by the looks. Days and days of wind, rain and cold. Miserable weather that can only be solved by slippers and a fireplace.

But thanks to a ye olde time toy shoppe down the road, we’ve been able to solve the rainy weather blues with the kids, as well as re-living our childhood. The toy store has a stack of travel sized old school board games; Guess Who, Monopoly, Cluedo. Man if they had Battleships I’d never leave the house again.

The greatest thing, is that the iPads have gone away. The kids are loving getting around a mini board game again. ‘Colonel Mustard with the Rope in the Study’, accusations going everywhere, ‘Do you have Glasses?’, ‘No’, ‘Are you Eric?’ deductions. Outside of the inevitable argument over who gets to be the Dog on Monopoly, everyone is happy again.

We even ventured out the other day during a small break in the weather to a Ten Pin Bowling place of all places. I didn’t even know they still existed – and one’s just down the road from us. Granted, this place probably hasn’t had a hygiene check or technological upgrade since I was 7, but therein lay the charm. Watching Jack’s delight as he pushes ball after ball down the gutter (never mind we’re paying $2 per bowl or something) made up for any weather concerns.

At night time, Oce is in bed reading Enid Blyton to Jack under the covers, the muffled stories of meddling kids solving mysteries coming through to our bedroom. Angie and I drift slowly off while the kids stay up by the lamps glow lost in the adventures. Tangent – surely someone noticed these kids missing for days on end? Imagine if she wrote those books now – talk about irresponsible parents. Then again, those Dursley’s hardly cared too much about Harry’s whereabouts and no outspoken parents groups seemed to care. But I digress.

It’s been a wet week, a cold week, a miserable week. But it’s not like we came to Scotland to get a sun tan. If I wanted to hang around British people and get a suntan, I’d go to Ibiza. The important thing is that the kids have been happy. And the fact that Angie and I could do that whilst re-living our own childhood has been even better.

To your health.

Andrew