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All About Fatherhood[edit]

This is all Tarquin's fault. He mentioned that I'd given a great advert for having kids. I feel that perhaps I didn't convey the true horror that is fatherhood in one short paragraph, so here's a more lengthy analysis.

In order to truly appreciate the nightmarish upheaval that has taken place in my life since my little darlings have come into the world we need to rewind life a little to reveal a happy past.

Life was tranquil and calm, peace reigned supreme. I was able to get up when I wanted at weekends and stroll into work early or late depending on how I felt. My evenings and weekends were spent in glorious freedom; cutting code, taking the wife out for meals, and reading interesting books on algorithm design, project management, and team structure. The wife and I lived in married bliss, our house was easily big enough for both of us, and everything had a place. And every now and then I'd wake up with a hangover, roll over, and go back to sleep.

Now, lets wind forward in time, stopping briefly to mention that being at the birth of a child is an awesome experience. However, I should advise that this experience alone does not come close to being able to make up for the trauma that is to come. So, off we go again, whizzing forward in time to today.

Every (children don't understand about weekends) day now begins between 5am and 6am, abruptly. One (or both) of my little angels will wake up and stroll into the bedroom making enough noise to wake the entire street. They will then jump on me. If there's two of them one will jump on my stomach and the other on my balls. If there's only one they'll go for my balls every time. The only bright side about this is that you can hear them coming and have enough time to prepare for the onslaught. At this point one of two things will happen. The children will either demand (in a "if you don't do it we'll keep jumping on your balls until you do." sort of way) to be taken downstairs and put in front of the TV, or, climb into bed for some kip and a cuddle. The cuddle involves fidgeting, kicking, scratching, and talking to everyone and playing with the huge pile of toys they have somehow managed to carry from their room into our room. I am sure this daily migration of cuddly toys breaks several laws of Newtonian physics. By 6am I've generally had enough and get up.

After getting washed, dressed, and allegedly prepared for the day I then have to carry both of the little elephants inhabiting my house downstairs, one in each arm, both clutching their improbable piles of cuddly toys. They are not getting any lighter, and I'm sure they add a toy each week – maybe to see at what point daddy puts his back out trying to lift it all. The TV goes on and I have to change a nappy, empty a potty, get them some milk, stop any fights that break out. At this point I can escape to work and leave them to jump on the wife or trash the lounge.

I arrive home from work (between 3:30pm and 4pm since I start so early) and get mobbed upon entry. My little sweety-pies have drawn me some pictures and have been waiting to show me all day. After inflicting their hideous scribblings upon my retina and making suitable "oooh ahhh, aren't they wonderful" noises I get to take my coat off and collapse in a chair. This is the signal that daddy has become a climbing frame, slide, swing, and trampoline in one. So, after collecting some new bruises, getting bruises on bruises, and having my balls crushed again (I think they just like the "arrrrgh!" sound), they have something to eat. I've been in an hour or two by now and I've not touched my PC or had a coffee. After tea they insist that I re-read the same story at least once. The fact that it's the story I read yesterday, the day before, the day before that, the day .... you can see where I'm going here, is irellevant. It's the story they must have. Once they've had the story they start to get grizzly and whiny. They are getting tired. Then it's as many minutes as the wife and I can take of wailing, fighting, temper tantrums, before marching them upstairs to bed.

The time now – once my lovelies have gone to bed, got up again, been put back to bed, got up again, been put back to bed, eventually fallen asleep half-on and half-off their bed buried in toys, blankets, and other miscellaneous debris they've found in their bedroom – is 7pm. I've been changed from a (relatively) fit, almost middle-aged, well adjusted and balanced man, into a wheezing wreck of an individual whose first thought is committing murder, and whose second thought is to try and remember what the first thought was.

And my house ... my house is tiny. Everything I own has been crammed into the smallest room in the house. A tiny cramped pit. A pit that accumulates junk from all over the house. The rest of the room in the house is taken up by stuff relating to kids. Nappies, wipfe, and toys. The toys .. oh the toys. Big ones, small ones, huge boxes of all this stuff that my kids liberally sprinkle over the floor. Maybe they think it will make the carpet grow. There is no room in my lounge, and there is no flat surface that isn't overflowing with unidentifiable objects. Partly because everything is having to move higher to escape destruction by inquiry from one or the other of my enchanting little darlings, and partly because at least half of the available surface has some toys stacked on it. There's scribbles on most of the walls. I could render my carpet down as soup stock given the amount of food that's been dropped/hidden/cunningly concealed beneath a layer of toys on them. In short, my once immaculate abode looks like it's been trashed by an unruly party of 20 drunken 15 year olds on a rampage.

Before I had kids I was almost completely healthy. I practically never got ill with anything. Since the sweeties have turned up I feel like I should be permanently quarantined. Well, actually my kids should be permanently quarantined but I digress. I get at least two colds a year, plus all sorts of weird viruses and flus, most of which don't have names but are probably tropical in origin. And that's just me. When the kids get ill it's a nightmare. When they have a cold children don't just get a bit of a snotty nose – that's a default state for a child. When a child gets a cold they produce huge great long rail track like strands of snot from their nose. And when they sneeze .... lets just say they could give Spiderman web casting lessons. And if a child starts puking just make sure you've got some boots, and a peg clipped to your nose, and never wear any clothes you want to keep uncontaminated inside the house. Get changed in the garden if you have to.

Meal times are truly an experience. The person who invented the bib was reasonably smart but didn't go nearly far enough – Bibs should be a full blown easy-clean body bag with two holes for the kids eyes, and one hole to put the food into. I'm not sure about they eye holes actually – if they can't see what they are eating it might take them longer to tell you they don't like it. My two honeys will quite happily smear food all over their face, the table, the floor, and the chair they are sitting on. In fact, anything they can reach is guaranteed to get a generous coating of half masticated goo. If there's anything they can't reach then the spray from their mouths as they talk while eating will do the job. My honeys are able to turn weak stomached adults green in seconds at meal times. And send unwary visitors scurrying for cover and the full body radiation suits we keep in the cloak room.

I could still go on ... I've not mentioned the gradual destruction of my belongings, the fighting, whining, moaning or whinging. The constant, wearing lack of a continuous nights sleep. The incessant background noise .... there's still more I could write about....

I guess by this time you are wondering why I agreed (I was always a bit reluctant and cagey) to have kids in the first place. Well, to be honest, I was lied to. Not one single person told me the truth about what having kids was like. They all said, "Well, it's a bit of a change of life, but it's great fun and very rewarding.". If murder was legal I'd be hunting them down right now. The only possible reason I can see for the lies is to ensure that I became as miserable as they are. They obviously felt I was too happy in my child-free life. And because of these lies I just ran out of excuses, and gave in to the wife's "I want kids" demand. What I should have done was either left or refused.

But the very worst thing about kids is that once you've got them, and you realise what a hideous mistake it was, it's too late. You can't take them back to the store as faulty goods. They become a permanent part of your life, sucking the cash out of your wallet faster and more effectively than even the wife can manage.

So, you still want to have kids? What part of "don't do it! – run away!" didn't you understand?

Disclaimer: I love my kids to bits - it's the only reason they are still alive. However, all of the above comments have far more truth to them than you would think. There are some good sides to having kids though – I'll write them down here when I work out what they are.

The above text is not to be reproduced without permission.

Tarquin: sounds fun. I'll swap you ;)

EntropicLqd: For what exactly? Or do you like getting up early?

Tarquin: For what? You don't want to know. I tend to be nocturnal so getting up early would mean a big routine shift. I'd probably end up having my "nocturnal" moments around 5am. It all sounds like hell, but it's not putting me off. A boy can get broody you know. As for the early morning call, here's a tip from my parents: they taught me how to read the hour hand on the clock, and said I was to play in my room & not to wake them up until it reached a certain angle. Apparently it worked, but then again I had a really good jigaw puzzle of a steam engine that kept me occupied for hours on end.

Dma: I am 22 (last time I checked) and haven't been married. I haven't even been on anything close to resembling a date. I don't really have a social life. You make me even more certain that I made the right choices.  :-D

Bean: This has further confirmed my decision to not have kids. :p

Wang: I can pretty much confirm all of the above (even though I "only" have 1 little "spirited" 2 year old boy) (for "spirited" read: if you take your eyes off him for a second he'll be diving off the sofa, climbing the kitchen table, reprogramming all the radio stations on the hifi, spreading chocolate over the remote controls and generally running everywhere as fast as he possibly can with complete dis-regard for personal safety).

I have not been able to stay in bed beyond 8.00 a.m. for two years now (literally). I have been able to stay up all night wiping his nose on numerous occasions. I am unable to get within 2m of my pc while he is up unless I am prepared to deal with the mother of all tantrums. Whilst he may appear to be playing happily with his latest favourite toy, he is merely patiently waiting to deny me any possibility of "personal time".

However, the good points: Toys. I can now relive my childhood and buy the new versions of all the toys I remember. Just bought him a toy motorbike with a friction motor (it's not meant for a 2 year old but I'm sure he'll grow into it :) ). The downside to this is he seems to have the same taste in toys as me, since I can't get anywhere near it without screams of "mine".

Despite all this though he means everything to me. If he's happy I'm happy. We had family over this weekend and watched the videos we have taken of him. Just made me want to pick him up love him to bits. The family didn't seem to get it though ("can we fast forward this?" "What this bit!!???, But he's about to roll over!!!!"). I reckon it's a chemical imbalance parents have to prevent them from throttling their kids.


"The rest of the room in the house is taken up by stuff relating to kids. Nappies, wife, and toys." Assuming that is a spelling mistake and it should read "wife", I sure hope she never gets to see this page or you'll wish you were never born :)

For Dma, whilst I can't in all honesty recommend the kids bit the stuff before that can be fun :)

NFG: I love this page,...think Entropic should become a MAJOR comedian. Anyway, I thought I'd add some frightening real-life Intel on what my 2 year old nephew was like (Incredibly, he's still alive).

Occasionally, I'd visit my sister and brother-in-laws' house to terrorize the kids (she has two, both very bright and very funny, about grammar school age). My nephew's name is Kyle, and he was just fascinated with (obssessed by actually) large mobile equipment transport and huge trucks. His idea of fun was to run out in the road when a cement mixer or humongeous construction crane was driving along, stand DIRECTLY IN ITS PATH, and yell some thing like, "Look at that Humongeous truck!" He would actually laugh when three or four frantic and terrified adults would race out into the road and save him from a grizzly death. He was absolutely FEARLESS. Scared the hell out me. After that, I never let him get beyond arm's length from me. And, he attempted this ALL THE TIME. HE WAS A COMPLETE MANIAC. He'd just scream excitedly, and try to run out into the road. When we were out in public, I always made him wear an expedition-style, heavily re-inforced shirt, and, had to pay to replace these on a regular basis.

I think if I were actually his Father, I would have made him wear a climbing harness at all times, to which numerous industrial-strength elastic bungee-cords and nylon ropes, rated to withstand the fall of a horse at 100 feet, were attached . These would then be attached to major concrete structures with nautical winches.

EntropicLqd: Hee hee. My eldest daughter likes to do the run off at high speed into mortal peril trick every now and then. We do have a harness for her, but the threat of a clip round the ear can also be very effective. I really need to tweak the main content of the page. There's a few typos in there and whole paragraphs missing. Hey Wang – how do you manage to get them to stay in bed till 8am? That sounds like heaven. Heck, even getting them to sleep in to 7am would be like heaven for me.

Wang: Well despite the fact he is 2 he still sleeps in a cot with sides so he can't get out. He could feasibly climb out now but we use an infant sleeping bag that sufficiently restricts his leg movement that he can barely get to a standing position :) He is a nightmare to get to sleep though often staying awake till 9pm which is probably what causes him to sleep in "late". We have now devised the clever plan of having mine and my wifes pc in the conservatory. Full double glazing completely drowns out all screams from upstairs :p

Kerlin: You have lots to look forward to, though. When they're 4 or 5 they get their own juicebox in the morning. And now at 9, the kid's making her own breakfast (bagel and cereal)...and microwave popcorn. She made a grilled cheese sandwich with her mom the other day. Enjoy it while you can cause they grow up fast. Ahhh christ, now I sound like my parents. I gotta get out of here... :)

Aphex: Oh crap.

Aphex: Ah well, kid is now 2 yrs old, and just getting naughty (that is, more naughty than before) Should have read this page more thoroughly I think. Wife is suggesting another one. Am considering becoming Tibetian monk to avoid. Suggestions? ;)

EntropicLqd: Hi M8 good to hear from you. Has it really been two years? That's the problem with getting older - you blink and a year passes by. Stop to cough and splutter a bit and suddenly your half a decade older. My two (5 and 6 this year) do actually play very nicely together most of the time. The rest of the time they are either wailing and crying or trying to kill each other. Be warned that having two offspring running around the place is more than twice as much work as having one. To be honest if the wife is suggesting it you're probably doomed and you might as well give in sooner rather than later as she'll get her own way in the end anyway. I was kind of lucky in that having two was so much work that the wife didn't want any more (she originally wanted three).

T1: 2 kids closer in age get along better because they have similar interests and can't hurt each other as much. But if the age difference is bigger, like 13 years or so, then the older one is usually responsible enough not to hurt the little one. But the little one will probably be an annoying pain in the ass to the older one.

Aphex: Yeah Entropic - good to see you're still around. Yours are 5 & 6 already!? I know what you mean - time IS flying!! :( I'll get the wife to read this I think, but yes... probably doomed lol  ;)

Bob_The_Beheader: I've heard that a parent is someone who gets up in the middle of the night to see why their child is crying. A parent is also someone who gets up in the middle of the night to see why thier child is not crying. You kinda have to be a parent or know children well to get this, but I bet you get it Entropic. :)