An average morning for a dad of four - Morning Stories
“Dad!”, my 7-year-old son whispers in that strange raspy shout that kids thinks passes for quiet subtlety, “can I play Minecraft?”
It feels like mere seconds since I drifted off into a blissful sleep. Against every instinct in my body, I manage to pry open a single eye and wearily reach for the mobile phone by the bed. The screen illuminates my face, causing my one open eye to blink furiously.
“Dude, it’s 5.30am! No, you can’t play Minecraft. Go back to bed.”
So begins another morning in the DannyUK house. A few years ago, a similar exchange would have ended with him slinking back to bed or asking for a cuddle. He’s a little more confident these days, and immediately leaps on the bed, his hand, elbow and fist all finding sensitive parts in quick succession as he scampers up towards the pillows and throws himself under the duvet.
I turn over and cuddle him. The youngest of four, he is the only boy in the family and is thoroughly spoilt as a result. Although his mum and I split when he was only 18 months old, I am fully aware he is a mummy’s boy. Even his three older sisters pander to him far too often. Not that I tell him off for causing me pain as he stepped on me. Nor do I turn him away. Cuddles get rarer as the kids get older. Besides, it’s the best chance I have of staying in bed.
“I built a rollercoaster that goes on for miles, and there are creepers that keep trying to attack me. I don’t mind though because one of the creepers was near some iron so now I have loads of that…”
5.32am. The Minecraft talk has begun and now won’t stop until bedtime. If the kids aren’t playing it, they are planning what they will do when they next switch the game on. If they aren’t planning it, they talk about it. They even scour YouTube for videos about it. I have learnt to drift away into a daydream whenever the subject comes up.
My ability to learn new games and technology ceased when DVDs gave way to Blu-Ray. I’ve tried Minecraft and I don’t understand it. I have now accepted that I am the older generation and have begun moaning about the state of the charts and making odd noises as I get up out of a chair accordingly.
5.35am. He’s still rambling. Worse still, he’s getting louder. At this rate he’ll wake his sisters. An idea strikes me and I reach over to the laptop by the bed and boot up YouTube. Minecraft videos. Yes, it’s a cheap form of parenting, but right now I’m shattered. If I don’t get more sleep, I’ll be snappy with the kids all day. The “Nom nom nom nom nom” sound of someone on the video eating a (virtual) cake catches his attention. He shifts his position and rests his head on my side and settles down to watch the video.
Mere minutes seem to pass and all of a sudden it’s 7.30am. My eldest, who turned 13 at the end of last year, cajoles me into getting up. I promised I’d get up at 7.30am, apparently. I don’t remember that, but I’m pleased with the extra sleep I managed to get, and roll out of bed with little complaint.
Breakfast time. Normally the kids are happy to feed themselves. We pop to Tesco the night before and pick up breakfast bits which they then have in the morning. This week is different, though. They saw the contents of a parcel that was delivered which contained some belVita Breakfast Biscuits.
belVita had kindly sent some for me to try and foolishly I had left them in view of the kids. All four children had their eyes set on having some. The Cocoa Biscuits with yoghurt centre were picked as the first option before I reminded the kids that if they shared each packet, they could try another flavour too. Milk and Cereals were next and they had one of each. The eldest immediately declared that she preferred the latter and, fortunately, my middle daughter was happy to swap biscuits, which meant the morning started without a fight.
Drinks were made (tea, apple juice and water - God forbid they should all drink the same thing and make it easy!), the biscuits were finished and showers were had. I wasn’t convinced that the biscuits would fend off hunger for long, but we were well past midday before anyone started moaning about wanting lunch which was a good sign.
The morning started with bright weather, so thankfully everyone managed to be torn away from Minecraft as we went into town. The kids were all vocal with their love of the biscuits. Milk and Cereal seemed to be the favourite, and when we got round to trying the Fruit and Fibre ones, they were declared the least favourite (though I have to admit I was happy with that as I really liked them!)
We got back home a little after 1 pm. There had been no arguments, no hissy fits and no moaning. That’s as close to a modern-day miracle that I can expect to experience with my four. All four asked for more biscuits across the day, especially in place of eating their vegetables at dinner, but we managed to keep them for breakfast the next day too. It’s just a shame the same couldn’t be said for playing Minecraft.
This post is an entry for #MorningStories Linky Challenge sponsored by belVita Breakfast. Learn more at http://facebook.com/belVitaUK.