Please Don’t Ask!

I really don’t know how this headdress found its way into the house, let alone onto Caleb’s head. Oh dear, life can be very confusing at the age of 3, almost 4.

A fun day visiting a friend for lunch. Thea was a great host, 9 children catered for, plus 3 adults. Salmon with honey – a great choice of protein, new potatoes and broccoli. We all had a great time. Thank you so much! A real shame that the chocolate fountain didn’t work out, but maybe a blessing in disguise on reflection.

A night out at the Woodspeen restaurant in woodspeen to boot, I feel a little bloated at this point, just as well it’s time for bed.

Looking forward to the weekend!

A Quiet (or not so) Few Days


It has been a quiet few days. No really – it has. Summing it up, there has been no all encompassing change of direction from our usual ‘organised chaos’, rather a little less stress from the little ones. Thor has been better behaved, though there is still the occasional steam, whistling from his kettle. He earned his iPad (Kindle 7) for 3 days of good behaviour, due to, let’s say, a marked change in his outbursts. Of course they still exist, but overall, he has behaved better. He is much more articulate and he certainly has shown within these last 6 months Overall, that he wants to be good. Just like Aaliyah, there is a significant amount of hope, that he ascends into the mantle of being a big boy (for Aaliyah girl) and being able to start ‘Big School’ in three months time. We have of course considered Caleb’s situation. It is difficult, but if you look on the surface, he is trying so very hard. His diction is certainly getting better, though his ability to articulate at the dinner table, without slouching or dropping more than he consumes! Well, we are still in two minds…

Aaliyah is definitely ready for ‘Big School’ – Mrs Snodgrass will be disappointed that her school for naughty children, will miss out on Aaliyah’s attendance, as will Mr Strickland from ‘Baby Camp’. Please keep your fingers crossed in these coming summer months. I really want them to all start this new and exciting chapter together.

P.S. remember that Mrs Snodgrass and Mr Strickland are fictional characters!

That’s all for now – thank you for reading.

Very Last Reflections of Caleb’s Locks

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The Bank Holiday Roasty

You might remember in earlier blogs, the drama that surrounds roast meals in our house. They were never easy and most of the time we went without any dessert, due to the sheer amount left on the children’s plates. Thor loves Yorkshire puddings sometimes and hates them at others. Aaliyah’s plate is usually untouched. And Caleb tends to wear his meal opposed to actually eating it. On the other hand, our oldest two, Tara and Amritsar, absolutely love a roast dinner. Both wanting seconds and even thirds. The shoulder of lamb went down well. They both enjoyed the flavour and are quite aware that lamb was today’s source of protein. Aaliyah however started to question ‘what – lamb, this is baby lamb’! Oh dear, we may have a veggie vegan in later years as she scrutinises her meat options often. Now, all of our children eat well and love chicken and pork. We don’t often eat lamb, but it was good to have the ‘where does our food come from debate’. Did I say that Aaliyah refused to eat anything on her plate? Thor ate his own body weight in roast potatoes, but very little else.

We will perceive of course with roast meals on high days and holidays, I am sure that things will get easier with time!

Making Cubes

Dadda’s ‘Design and Make’ today was an up cycle of the recycle with Tara and I. We talked about ‘Stuff’ and we decided to go with cubes and trains! We learnt new scissor skills and the art of making templates. Firstly I corrected Tara’s rather shoddy cutting by saying that we always cut away from ourselves. Something you’d have thought, would have been on the agenda at school. But when I saw Tara cutting a circle by twisting the scissors in all directions. I soon put her straight (we turn the paper and not the scissors) and we got going on cutting six squares for each cube, using the first square that we cut, as a template. Tara got colouring and I showed her how to assemble the cubes. Lots of sticky tape later – voila! Job well done.

Mr Strickland and Summer ‘Baby Camp’

For some time now the worry of Mrs Snodgrass’s ‘Naughty School’ has not quite been enough when it comes to behaving like a baby. Something that all of our little ones do on a fairly regular basis. Neither Mrs Snodgrass or Bettina are cut out to deal with small children who act like babies! You know, when a 3 or 4 year old is still constantly sucking on fingers or thumbs. Caleb, bless him is still finding his vocabulary, so in an attempt to get him to articulate a bit more – to try the extra distance, we have instilled yet another threat. The worry of spending the summer at ‘Baby Camp’ has proved a winner, asserting correctional incentives. Baby camp is run by the fictional ‘Mr Strickland’. His camp is one for little boys and girls who like to act like babies (on a fairly regular basis). His dormitories are stacked high with cots that are 5 in number long and five in number high. These walls of cribs are essentially walls of bars and behind these said bars are ‘Baby Camps’ inmates, young children who like to act like babies! All that can be heard in Mr Strickland’s dorms are baby cries and the sound of goo goo gaa gaa. Now nobody wants to spend the summer at ‘Baby Camp’, so just the mention of his name is enough to stop any babylike behaviour in our house, at least for a while…

The Boy That is Thor

Great picture Thor, but truth be told, he is saying ‘Dadda, my finger hurts, my finger hurts’. Though I am now reminiscing about his very bad behaviour at preschool yesterday. He lunged out at one of the teachers with his fist. Very, very naughty, I think you’ll agree. Today however, I think he made his amends. He was a bit silly at lunchtime, not eating his corned beef sandwich and throwing it at Remus to make a quick meal if it – but overall today he has been a real superstar. So much as to me making a deal with him. Like Aaliyah, he has been promised his very own iPad (fire tablet).

As you may recall, Aaliyah is now a model student. All down to being good for 7 days and being given a Kindle Fire 7 tablet like her sisters. I held back on the offer to Thor a number of times now as I believe he can not be a good boy for 7 hours , let alone 7 days. Well, I gave him a handicap and said to him ‘If you can be good for 3 days, you will get the tablet’. He was very good tonight, but will he fall foul to his naughtiness in the morning? I will keep you updated…

Hounded off the Dogs Bed


You might be aware that the only ones who do not sleep on the dogs bed in our house are the dogs! Yes, Remus and Gracie can always be found on the sofas – so much so, that it is generally me that snuggles up on the dogs bed in the evening, post the children’s bed time and the children enjoy the enlarged cushion in the daytime hours. John is staying in London tonight and once I said to Remus and Gracie ‘no John tonight, just Andi, Remus and Gracie’, they completely understand that it is only us here tonight. There is suddenly no whining, waiting for Johns arrival, they know that it’s just them and me. Well tonight they decided that they needed to be close – for twenty minutes they nuzzled and walked around in circles, trying to get settled on that said ‘dogs bed’, with me sprawled out ‘akimbo’. Very unusual behaviour, as they love the sofa so much. Well, there I was, lying in the middle of the dogs bed and both nudged for space to the rear and front of my relaxed slumber. The result was me, finally getting up as there is only so much space on the said cushion and here we conclude their somewhat strange behaviour and I now sit in the sofa whilst the dogs are chilled in front of the television on the dogs bed. Oh, our hounds are always surprising me, even after 10 very long and engrossed years of cohabitation. Remus and Gracie, they certainly broke the mold when you were both created in nature’s expression… Remus is now looking up with a look of contentment – he really is quite unique.

A Busy Enough Day

The girls and I did a fleeting visit to London to meet Daddy at work today and we saw an old friend for dinner earlier this evening. Only a quick  diary entry tonight, but we will be a little more settled in a day or so. Another busy day planned for tomorrow – whoosh. And guess how colourful our London bound train to Paddington was? I just love it. Go for it GWR.

A Day in the Cotswolds

Destination ‘Fun’ and a day out in the Cotswolds. I really had no idea that this part of Gloucestershire was so beautiful. Lunch was a nightmare however with Thor and Caleb getting rowdy in the restaurant. I really hate the way some people happily look on with distain when they see children behaving badly. They have this look that just exudes ‘bad parent’. It’s always the people without children I’ve noticed. Those with little ones know the struggle you’re up against. It makes me smile when you get the very occasional supportive nod from a person who obviously knows what you are up against.

The day progresses and we drive on to the next ‘moment’ or pleasant distraction…

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Welcome Home MiMi


After seven days of searching, MiMi is finally unearthed. Thor is besides himself and very proud to be the one that found him. Well, he was the one to have lost him after all. And guess where Thor’s intrepid bear was hiding all of this time? He was just discovered hiding in the piano stool. Well all is back as it should be. One very happy little boy and his most favourite bear ever.

Saturday Morning

Good morning to all. Not even 7am here in ‘The Shires’ and here we all sit, in the living room. A very early bed invasion – I am talking 5am and downstairs we ascended soon after! Tara was first down and worked out what she wanted to watch. Something called Beatbugs on Netflix. I guess the Michael Jackson foundation (if they still own the rights) want to instil the music of ‘The Beatles’ back catalogue early on in life – the entire musical score for the program is the beauty that is ‘The Beatles’. At present that timeless tune called ‘Let it Be’ is to be heard. Okay, back down to the ground, we had a breakfast of toasted raisin and cinnamon bagels and I’m about to sort out some clothes for the day. There is no John today, he’s back from Dublin at 6pm tonight. So I am sure we will have a fun, but less ‘crazy’ day as we would have had with John here, they all seem to play up that bit more to buy the attention of Daddy! Caleb is looking well without the plaster cast, I think you’ll agree! More of our goings on later today.

Oh! Did I mention that I peeled and cut 2 x pineapples into half Moons for candying. Just poached and I am about to set out to dry them out in the dehydrator. Home made candies are just ‘The Best’! Especially when dipped in chocolate…

Thursdays are Quiet Days


Well, that is if you exclude Remus and Gracie following me from room to room. They are never far out of sight! Thank you Michelle Martinoli (photographer) for today’s image. The girls at school, the little ones at preschool all day on Thursdays with a packed lunch and Sindy usually off until home time. Just me trying to work on my new project. Did I tell you about my idea for writing short stories with moral outcomes. Fuck! It’s really hard to get my head around writing fiction. And apologies for the ‘F’ word, but it is the perfect word to describe myself being at a loss for words. The day has been broken by the occasional text or phone call, a document to sign. So really not such a quiet Thursday after all. I don’t think that I have written an essay or short story since my Uni Days, but that work, like my diary was pretty factual. A little internet research has lead me to the formula for writing a good short story however. You start with a Crisis. You develop your characters quickly and set the location for your prose. Then you unravel your plot… I want to work on the content of several stories loosely based on a few of Aesop’s Fables, but I’m still having trouble figuring out the best ones to consider. If they were all as straight forward as ‘The Boy Who Cried Wolf’, now that would be great. Thor would be the perfect candidate for that storyline! And it is an easy story to follow. I am trying to imagine stories that grown ups would enjoy reading, but have content that can be simplified into a shorter story with child appeal that could be illustrated and would be fun to read! Not an easy ask. Any thoughts out there?

On another matter, it’s a real bugger not driving a car. It seems that Sindy, our nanny is heavily relied upon. She did not take this morning off, rather take Caleb back to the hospital for his plaster cast to be removed. Woohoo, he is now a regular little boy again, one without a broken arm. They are due back in an hour or so, after the school run. I’m really looking forward to seeing Calo, but hoping hard that he will try to be a little less ballistic. But trying to tell a three year old to ‘take it easy’ is in itself not an easy ask.

John off to Dublin this afternoon to visit his Mum Hazel for her birthday tomorrow. Happy Birthday Hazel, from us all Xxx

More later…

In Memory of Jean E Paradise

Jean Eve Paradise was my Mum. She had three boys (Paul, Brandon and me) and a daughter Shae. Yesterday was the 14th May – her birthday. My mum passed four years ago this September. She is missed very much, but we always remember ‘Grandma Jean’ with colour and theatrics. She was in the movie ‘Charlottes Webb’, an extra in a number of scenes, but a few closeups in the scene at the hairdressers. She also acted in a number of adverts in Australia. The main one being shot in Melbourne for a national jeans brand ‘Just Jeans’. Odd that her name was also Jean. Well yesterday was her birthday and today’s photograph is of a pink orchid. Something I would send her every year on her birthday. She loved the colour pink and she adored orchids as they have a good shelf life. One year I broke the model and sent her yellow tulips. She was horrified. She called me and inquired ‘why would you do that’? I had to apologise and swear that it would never happen again…

I miss you Mum. You are fondly remembered.

The Boy Who Likes to Covet

Okay, the bigger story would have been Thor’s second night without his beloved MiMi, his very best bear. I’m not sure where he is to be quite frank. John and I looked high and low yesterday, but alas to no avail. Today’s search has also not been fruitful. The picture above is Thor’s return from preschool this lunchtime, heralding half a trash can of refuse. He wouldn’t put it down for a while, he just held onto it tightly. He finally desisted and enjoyed his chicken sandwich with Dadda’s home made tomato chutney. ‘No’ I said ‘that junk is not going upstairs’. The little ones enjoyed their midday nap and later arose. Not too many mentions of ‘where’s MiMi’ and a trip to the park with Sindy before picking up the girls from school. He was allowed to take his tray of recyclables to the park. ‘Please Sindy’ I implored ‘please can we loose the pile of rubbish’? Now much later and they are all in bed. Sindy has kept the smorgasbord of junk in the car – to be discarded on tomorrow’s school run in a public bin! You see, Thor checks out our recycle bag at home often.

Thor was shouting down for MiMi a moment ago, but all seems okay now. I really have looked everywhere, even the watering can in the garden. You see, he likes to put MiMi in secret places! A shoe box, a paper bag, in fact any place where he feels MiMi will be comfortable and safe – then he completely forgets where poor MiMi might be…

Last time MiMi went missing, he was found in a draw in our bedroom two weeks later. I will update you as and when the situation rectifies itself.

A Day in The Garden

Been a long enough day here in ‘The Shires’. An early morning bed invasion at 6am and toasted sourdough bread with the last of ‘Dadda’s X-Rated Xmas Jam’ (spiced pear and raisin) for brecky. Another birthday party for the children at 10.30am at a well known soft-play establishment, yet Dadda had to remain at home whilst John managed all five at Williams birthday. Woohoo for William – 6 years old today. I stayed at home to meet an old friend at 11am, Michelle Martinoli, a fab gal who is one of the best photographers I know. She kindly said she would help Dadda capture a few images of himself! Well, you know the score, it’s always me stood behind the lens, so I never get my image captured. And after today, I can happily parade myself on my diary every now and then. Mich is great – she doesn’t tolerate fools lightly, she’s a no nonsense kind of woman and I love her for just being her!

And Mich is a dog lover – her own loveable pooch Loppy, she missed very much, but Remus and Gracie did all they could to make her feel welcome.

We got a few reasonable shots, which is great as I don’t feel I photograph well – you know, looking vague, eyes closed, mouth open. I am now laughing to myself. Anyhow, is the lady in question. Check her out! I remember a retrospective of ‘Pete Burns’ (you spin me round) she did a fair few years back. A great recorder of personality and expression. Mind you, I’m pretty conservative in comparison to such high camp frivolity.

The day ended for the little ones after a rather raucous bath time. Thor and Aaliyah were ballistic, Amritsar and Tara were not that much better behaved and Caleb, dear Caleb, after his wet wipe bath (remember his broken arm), he was so sweet. He actually just pounced on me and gave me a big kiss on the lips and a very affectionate hug – it really moved me as it was quite out of the blue.

A long day and an early night I think. So here’s to the beginning of another week here in ‘The Shires’ with ‘Diary of a Gay Dad’, with me Andi Webb. Thank you for reading. Nite nite all.

Roll on the weekend

Well if our robot can be left to do its job, we should have a nice vacuumed living room floor for the weekend. But I fear it is an uphill struggle. To be honest, I’m a bit rubbish at doing the cleaning. I keep a clean kitchen however. Don’t get me wrong, but having qualified as a chef many years ago, I still apply the kitchen rules, ‘if there’s time to lean – there’s time to clean’. Mind you, outside of the kitchen, said rules do not apply. Sindy our nanny helps out when she can and we have a cleaning duo Becky and Hayley who come in once a month. My time is mostly spent tidying up after our motley crew. And that in itself is a full time job. Becky and Hayley have said in the past ‘you guys keep one of the tidiest houses that we do’, but with the sheer amount of ornamentation, we fell foul to being one of the dustiest. More later – roll on the weekend!

Aaliyah’s Very Own IPad

Now off to preschool, but this morning saw an extremely happy Aaliyah at the breakfast table. She had earned that flashy, new Amazon Fire 7 tablet with a ‘fusia’ purple case. All set up with her very own profile and a pink unicorn as her motif. She was one very happy girl, with the biggest grin imprinted from cheek to cheek. Yes we had a few thwart moments over the last week, but she managed to keep a hold of herself and contain her anger when, in normal circumstances, she would have screamed the house down. Once Tara and Amritsar are back home from school, they are going to assist Aaliyah in her selection of games and educational tools to download. It’s win win really as in order to actually spend time on this new accessory, she will have to continue this streak of being good.

Thor on the other hand has been told that if he is also a good boy for one week, he will get his replacement iPad. But with Thor, seven hours would be an achievement, let alone seven days. I am looking forward to a near future when Thor is able to prove that he can be a good boy as well. Sadly it will be some time before Caleb is a contender as his ability to break stuff (his left arm included) is just too great at this point in time. We can only wait and see to what the future holds on that score!