Day 1 with the kids 

One day in, six more to go. Is it wrong that I have a countdown for when I hand control of the kids back to the ex?

Don’t answer that. If the answer is yes, then it makes me a bad dad. If the answer is no then it makes you a damned fibber!

The peace and quiet of Chelmsford was broken in less than an hour of me picking up my youngest from school.

By the time I’d collected his sisters, emotions were running high and the tension was palpable.

Having parked up on the road near the Junior school to collect Chance. I then had to spin the car around and drive a mile down the road to meet the girls.

Halfway there and my phone rang. A woman asked if I was Dan and then continued to tell me that she had found Brooke’s purse in the street. Thankfully Brooke had one of my business cards in there, which is how the purse-finder had known my number.

I arranged to spin around and collect the purse, which had been found by a nearby church. Panic started to set in as I immediately feared the worst, thinking that maybe Brooke had been mugged.

Some quick phone calls to all three girls revealed that despite them almost never being without their phones, none of them answered. Brooke’s phone rang out three times and my mind was working overtime with worry.

Ten minutes later and it had all been sorted. I spoke to Brooke, who revealed that the purse had been in the car, and it hadn’t had any money in it, so nothing had been lost.

Working backwards, we figured out that the purse must have slipped out when Chance got in the car, but it took some time for my heart to stop beating so fast.

View from my balcony

I’ve timed my holiday badly, as there is building work disrupting my normally tranquil balcony.

My panicky demeanour must have rubbed off on the girls because by the time we’d stopped off at Tesco they were in full-on wind-up mood with each other. Sarcastic comments and subtle digs were the order of the day, with a side serving of passive-aggressiveness. Joy.

We got to the till and the lovely checkout lady looked at me with nothing but pity in her eyes. She did her best to try and help, cajoling Aaliyah to help me pack the bags, but to no avail. Aaliyah was in a crappy mood and I was instead left as an embarrassed parent apologising for the way that Aaliyah had dismissively spoken to the checkout lady.

By the time we’d loaded the car, Charisma, my eldest, had stormed off, declaring that she was walking the mile or so back to my flat. Not ideal, but seeing as it was a bright and sunny day, I cut my losses and let her go.

She got home a while after us and a lot of the tension had gone by then. (A lot of it. Not all of it, obviously. Welcome to a house full of hormones.)

Charisma revealed that she had been cat-called as she walked home. The ease in which she told this brief tale told me that it must be a fairly common occurrence, and I’m glad that she can take it in her stride.

Day 1 with the kids - Hallway like a battlezone

The hallway looks like a battlezone

After having had dinner, baths and generally getting ready to settle down for the evening, Chance, my 9-year-old, revealed that he found the thought of two men kissing, or two women kissing, as weird. His sisters were quick to jump on this and chastise him for his thoughts.

I tried approaching it from a different angle to find out why he thought it was odd, but he couldn’t come up with anything other than “I just find it weird.”

It’s even weirder given that both his mum and I are fairly liberal, he knows that some of his favourite YouTubers are openly gay and one of his mum’s best friends is gay too.

I’ve decided to leave the issue for the time being, though I know that I don’t want him growing up thinking that homosexuality is wrong. I think it may just be that he doesn’t understand it (and let’s be honest, at his age he doesn’t need to), but we’ll see.

This morning went fairly smoothly, and although the house looks like a bomb has gone off, with clothes, sweet wrappers and God knows what else strewn everywhere. We all managed to get out of the house in one piece, though, looking like we knew what we were doing and that we were, in fact, a family living in harmony. Ha! Suckers!

Just six more days to get through…

by DannyUK

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