Thursday, 3 November 2011

Honey I scared the kids! The pitfalls of having a creative dad


I would say that I’m adjusting to being the primary carer for Thing 1 and Thing 2 while working from home. However, the truth is that I adjusted quickly when it was easy, but I’m having a few problems on the days when sanity starts to drift away. Oh yes, and we’ve finally sold our house and have to be in a rental house 350 miles away (that we haven’t found yet) by the end of the month.

The best way to escape the build up of stress is to take our kids out into the stunning Scottish Borders countryside for an ‘expedition’ to soak up some of the kids’ endless energy. Today we were paddling at the edge of a loch, spuddling in deep mud, escaping from trolls and wolves, building dens and being polite to pirate ghosts.

The sun was starting to slide languorously behind a hill giving a gorgeous, golden light to our side of the loch, yet behind us was the menacing black of a pine forest. We hadn’t had snack yet (four and two years cannot survive without food of some description at least every two hours) and I had told them throughout our expedition that pirates would be giving us our snack.

We crept very carefully into the outskirts of the pine forest and looked back at the inviting sun outside. For those who have never entered a managed pine forest you will be amazed at the blackness and the silence. Graveyards are a long way down the creepy scale in comparison.

The story I concocted is that the wood was full of pirate ghosts who had buried their treasure near the loch. If we crept into the forest and asked them very politely they would leave us some sweets and snacks. This was dutifully and very seriously done with very wide eyes as can be seen in the photo.

We escaped the woods and found that X marked the spot (courtesy of two big sticks) of a bountiful treasure of Jaffa cakes and sweets (from their Hallowe’en stash). Sitting in the sun we discussed the fact that the pirate ghosts would appear when it got dark and that we should go soon. I should have known from the earnest request for snacks, delivered into an empting forbidding forest that they had taken it very seriously. However, the true extent of this was yet to come.


A toilet stop was required on the way back to the car and Thing 1 (my four year old son) had just finished watering a tree with his trousers round his ankles when a hiker appeared on the path. The man looked distinctly unimpressed to see this urinating cherub and hurried past. Unfortunately he was harangued by Thing 1 who tried to tell him all about the complex lives of pirate ghosts and their generosity mixed with deadly danger – all with his trousers round his ankles.

The poor man was obviously a seasoned hiker but I’m not sure he had ever been stopped by a trouser-less four year talking earnest nonsense about pirate ghosts. I just shrugged my shoulders as if to say ‘Kids!’ I never thought working from home with the kids would be easy but I didn’t think it would be so entertaining.

Just in case you were worried that the kids really were scared here they are after they had their snack.

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