1) Time to myself? No way!
As my very wise and wonderful girlfriend said this week "life is all about maintaining the correct balance between the things that matter most in life."
Well something that matters a lot to me sadly had to be squeezed out of my life when I became the boys full time father. It might not be top of everyone's priority list but indeed, to sacrifice the odd game of golf from my life was unfortunately a necessity I would feel guilty to continue on with. So the clubs went to the back of the garage, the shoes up in the loft and my swing, well that went up in smoke.
That was of course until my best friend Dean invited me to stay at Tudor Park Marriott in Kent with him and his wife, so that we could have a nice dinner in the evening and then go for a long overdue 18 holes in the morning. Well the dust was brushed aside from the equipment and indeed the rust was expelled gradually from my tee shots until I found my rhythm... only to lose it again!
Credit where it's due, the course was incredible, to those that have had the experience, the feeling of getting out nice and early on a bright and sunny day is hard to match. I had to remind myself to relax and allow myself to enjoy not having somewhere to be or something to do, which told me a lot about how quick paced I've allowed my life to become.
It would seem however that during all of that relaxing I happened to forget something on the day. I should of brought a bucket and spade! According to Dean, I spent most of my time in the bunkers. Now you can see why I love him so much.
2) Girls Smell...
Boys are the best, aren't they? I'd always wondered what it would be like to have a little girl. Isabella was the name almost set in concrete that she would be called if she were to be mine, but then along came the two girls in my life, Nicola and her daughter Poppy, who at the age of three clearly already had a name, so she didn't need mine!
So with a three year old infiltrating a very male house, just what does a young lady in the ranks add to the mix? Pink most noticeably, followed by strange toys like dolls, teddies, pretend ironing boards and cooking utensils, even this balance bike from John Crane has managed to sit proudly in my living room whether Poppy is round or not (much to do with the fact the boys sit and ride it when nobody is looking).
Here I am having a go on the http://www.john-crane.co.uk/ bike! Bit of a squeeze for me but a great fit for little Poppy!
What she does very well is bring out a lovely side in the boys that they haven't had a chance to discover until now: the big brother in them! Okay the big brother role is not always played out kind and fair but on the whole, reading to her at bedtime, holding her hand as she walks down the road and explaining things to her in a caring and considerate manner are all common sights that I regularly enjoy.
I can't help but feel Poppy will end up slightly 'tougher' for her experience of Bobby and Freddy. She's certainly learning that if you go in to a boys room and tinker with his 'stuff' be it at your peril! Keep Out, No Poppy's allowed!
3 Maybe I'm not just talking to myself...
I arrived back from Dublin this past Sunday lunchtime and got myself straight to Bobby's football tournament to find a very unhappy nine year old. On enquiring about his problem it would seem that in dividing the 14 or so players he had been put in the weaker team for his new football club and sadly they were not doing so well.
There were a few big lessons for Bobby here and I had to explain them to him as constructively as I could. What I was keen to nip in the bud was this feeling of being hard done by, which was starting to be noticed by the other parents and unfortunately being translated in to "he thinks he's too good to be on the same team as my son."
The last thing I want is for my children to have a bad attitude, so we adjusted that straight away. A few well chosen words later and before you knew it the kid that looked defeated before the game had begun found a spring to his step, a grit in his teeth and a goal in his right boot. We discussed what the difference was afterwards and we both agreed it was his attitude that was holding him back.
They went on to qualify to the knock out stages but there wasn't to be any tales of a victorious underdog as they were knocked out in the quarters. Ironically by the other half of the team! Wanting to follow my words up to make sure the lesson was learnt I taught Bobby of a way to get what he wishes for in the future.
Obviously for him to find himself selected for the 'A' team when the impending season starts he has to earn it by working hard and accepting any fate graciously, favourable or otherwise. The most important factor in all of this is that he has to BELIEVE that he can make the A team so I taught him about visualisation and that is where the proud feeling starts for me.
He took it upon himself to write these post-it notes out and stuck them on his ceiling above his bed, maybe more times than he needed to (!) but nevertheless he had grasped the concept of 'if you think about something enough, if you imagine yourself getting what you desire, then it will happen'. Bobby can apply this to a number of things, I think more children should be encouraged to visualise because it really only equates to them being brave enough to dream, something we sadly neglect to practice in our adult life.
4 Hello, is anybody there?
A few weeks back myself and my girly-friend Nicola went off to sunny Marbella and had some pictures and an interview done which currently occupies 6 pages of this weeks edition of Hello magazine, so if you A, want to see me topless B, would like to see Nicola in a bikini or C just like looking at pictures you know where to find us!