Five (more) Great Children’s Books from the Let’s Dad! Library

Carl Marks, the bearded half of high-street philosophers Marks and Spencer,
once likened reading to your child to ‘throwing acorns at a scarecrow’.

Who knows what he meant, but throwing acorns at a scarecrow is the epitomy
of a great day out in the Daddington household, so I can only presume that Carl was endorsing
it wholeheartedly. And who’s to argue with the great Carl Marks? Not me.

So, with those wise words ringing around my girdled-brainbush,
here are 5 great acorns to throw at your little scarecrows.

Marx+Spencer_LetsDad
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Again! (by John Prater)
Plot: Heavy irony. In a handy pocket-sized volume.

Again_LetsDad

Ahhhh. Is there anything sweeter than when a toddler, having just finished a favoured activity, repeats the word ‘Again’ over and over, at increasing volume, until you give in and repeat said activity? Then upon completion, that sweet utterance springs forth once more. “Again! Again! Again!” And off you go again, like the diligent man-slave you are. Well, when the activity in question is reading ‘Again!’ (part of the mini treasures series from Red Fox – very handy for holiday reading/torture) then your cyclical existence takes on a delightful irony, that will either lead you to a higher plain or an early grave. Pocket-sized though, so there is a silver lining.

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There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly (illustrated by Pat Adams)
Plot: Due to extensive NHS cuts, an old lady takes matters into her own hands.

OldLady_LetsDad
After swallowing the fly, the old lady tried to get an appointment with her local GP, but he was too busy managing local healthcare budgets to actually dispense care or advice. The spider made not a jot of difference, other than taking the edge off the hunger she’d been feeling since the Tory government had delayed her pension for another 2 years,
forcing her back into relative poverty.

After eating her neighbours cat, she felt distinctly unwell and decided it was probably time for a trip to hospital. But no! The Tories had just closed down her local A+E, leaving her a good 120 miles from the nearest emergency services. The local dial-a-ride had been abolished (along with the library and community centre) after the recent council cuts. What was she going to do?! “I wonder if I can get medical help at that Tescos that’s thriving up the road from where the high street used to be?
Hmmm. Probably not”.

In desperation, she jumped on her dog, rode it until she found a cow. Rode that until she found a horse…and rode the old nag until it collapsed from exhaustion. Stuck in the middle of nowhere, hungry and alone, she was forced to eat the horse. Which, it turned out, was actually 90% beef, the one meat she was allergic to. She died. But hey, at least we’re cutting the deficit.
Oh, wait. We’re not, are we.

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La Surprise (by Janik Coat)
Plot: “Honey…we’re going to need a bigger litter tray!”

LaSurprise_LetsDad

This beautifully simple, wordless kids book would make the ideal present for a 3yr old whose world you’re about to ruin by gifting them a younger sibling. In delightfully simple, and strangely calming, graphic form, it tells a tale of tranquility, new arrivals and serene co-existence. Quiet and harmonious, it’s everything your house will never be once that second noise-box arrives.

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Not Now Bernard (by David McKee)
Plot: A step-by-step guide to getting your child taken into protective custody

NotNowBernard_LetsDad
Published in 1980 (before every children’s book had to contain a heart-warming and politically correct narrative about chasing stars or befriending animals…and research found that severe neglect can cause permanent psychological damage) Not Now Bernard is the tale of one boys attempt to get his parent’s attention. He fails…and gets eaten by a monster, who in turn, fails to get Bernard’s parent’s attention. Great illustrations and a slightly confusing moral undertone (neglect child, child becomes monster. Neglect monster, monster goes to bed quietly. Uh?) makes this far more interesting (for narrators at least) than a lot of the crap out there.

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Pants (by Giles Andreae + Nick Sharratt)
Plot: Hmmm. Not an extensive one, that’s for sure. In fact the title pretty much says it all.

Pants_LetsDad

I was stuck for a short while, trying to work out what can be said about this little beaut, beyond describing the vibrant illustrations and catchy rhyme that run throughout. Then it hit me! Whammy! Like a literary wedgy. It’s a subtle, underwear-based metaphor for embracing the myriad of different creeds, colours, shapes, sizes and sexualities that grace this doomed little planet of ours.
‘What a lot of lovely pants there are!’
How better to introduce your youngun to the joys of liberty, acceptance and equality for all, than through the medium of pant-rhyme. (Ironic then that the quote on the back ‘Hilariously funny for any pre-schooler’ comes from The Daily Mail….our gnarled bastion of ignorance and prejudice)

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Let’s Dad! urges you NOT to buy your books from amazon…until they start paying UK corporation tax.

There are hundreds of independent bookshops out there that offer fine collections of kids books and great levels of service.
Failing that, charity shops are often choca with classic children’s books.
Basically, do anything, even write your own, before feeding the devil that is amazon.

If shopping online is your only option, try The Book Depository, who are often cheaper than amazon and offer free delivery…and they’re a registered UK company paying their share of tax.

Ever wondered what kind of parent you are? Take the Let’s Dad! Parenting Test to find out…

Ever wondered how to define your parenting style? Maybe you’re as relaxed as Ferris Bueller after a weekend in Jersey? Or more like Dirty Harry on a dodgy pill? Perhaps you’re a helicopter Dad? Or you take a hands-off approach, conducting most of your parenting duties with your credit card?

I said, tidy your room, punk”

Well, Let’s Dad! has put together this quick test (based on the three parenting styles defined by Professor Diana Baumrind in her ground-breaking study of the early 1960’s) which enables you to discover your parenting style in just a few easy steps…

The Questions:

1. You enter the living room to find that your kids have played a game called ‘Let’s Get Every Toy Out, Pile Them Up And Then Disperse Them So That We Can’t See An Inch Of Carpet Anywhere, Except The Bit We Peed On Over In The Corner’. Do you:

a) Tell them that you they won’t get any dinner/pocket-money/love until the room is spotless.

b) Turn the tidy-up into an exciting race against the clock! Quick, let’s see if we can get everything put away – and the pee cleaned up – in under 3 minutes!

c) Ask them nicely to tidy up…but end up doing it yourself after they ignore you and head upstairs to play round 2.

2.  Your son has a clarinet recital approaching, which unfortunately clashes with a particularly important sporting/theatrical/musical event you’d planned to watch with friends. Added to that, your son is f*cking awful at playing the clarinet, it just sounds like he’s fisting a goose. What do you do?

a) I’ll drop him off, wait until he starts tormenting that poor goose and then slip out the back. That way I can catch the second half/act/set and make it back in time to tell him how great he was.

b) They’ll be other chances to watch this game/play/gig, so this time I’ll support my little goose-fister. Next time, I’ll put myself first.

c) Of course I’ll go, it means so much to him. I’m sure I’ll be able to get Champions League Final/Private Box/VIP Glastonbury tickets free through work some other time.

3. Your kids have just heard the latest 4-minute ear-rape from Lady Gaga and seem intent on singing it back to you, over and over and over again, whilst you try and prepare dinner. How do you respond?

a) Listen, briefly, before making them stop and then telling them, in no uncertain terms, that there is a time and a place for singing Lady Gaga and this is not it.

b) That’s super guys, but I’m a little busy right now…and I’m more of a Bryan Ferry fan to be honest. How about we have a right old sing-song after dinner?

c) Put dinner on hold, use the ingredients to create skimpy outfits, download the ear-rape from iTunes and stage an impromptu Gaga gig on the kitchen table (despite having guests arriving in half-an-hour and finding Lady Gaga as inspirational as a bowl of sick).

4. You won’t let your twelve year old daughter watch The Human Centipede, so she’s throwing a tantrum, claiming that “Mrs Miller, our science teacher, said we have to…and all my friends have seen it!’ How do you respond?

a) Kneel down, grab her arms and shout at her, “If all the other kids were sewing their mouths to each others bums would you want to as well? Would you? WOULD YOU?!”

b) Explain to her that it isn’t appropriate for her to watch The Human Centipede and suggest an alternative movie. Maybe a high-school drama that subtly reinforces superficiality and gender stereotypes or a harmless comedy that doesn’t contain any strong female characters?

c) What’s the worst it can do, really? I mean I watched The Exorcist when I was a kid and it did me no harm.

Really, which is worse?

5. Your 8 yr old son tells a neighbour that she looks like ‘Mo from The Simpsons’ and ‘smells like something might be growing in her bum’. Do you:

a) Confiscate his Simpsons DVDs before sending him to his room without any dinner.

b) Make him apologise immediately. Then gently explain how likening Cathy to a bitter and perverted bartender with dirty knickers might hurt her feelings.

c) Ruffle his hair and laugh it off, “What a tike! He’s got a point though Cathy…not sure the short perm is working for you.”

6. Bored of playing with her toys, your 5 yr old daughter wanders out of the front door, up the street and is found by a neighbour trying to exchange some Duplo for a Ginsters Breakfast Roll at the local newsagent. Do you:

a) Drag her up to her bedroom, sit her on the bed and angrily consume the Ginster’s Breakfast Roll to drive your point home.

b) Gather the whole family together and explain, using recent ITV News footage and Daily Mail clippings, why it’s important that the front door stays closed and anyone who fancies a walk must seek permission first.

c) Praise her adventurous spirit before asking if she’d like a glass of shandy to go with her Breakfast Roll.

7. At the local Soft Play Centre, you discover your 3yr old daughter in the sensory room, trying to insert the dismembered limbs of Human Rights Barbie into the nostrils of another child, whilst wailing “Yarpol. Yarpol. Yarpol!” at the top of her voice. Do you:

a) Furiously sweep your littlun into the car and drive home in an angry silence, tossing Barbie’s limbs through the sunroof as you go.

b) Intervene immediately. Put Barbie’s arms and legs back in their sockets, explain to your daughter that the little girl has rights, one of which is the right not to have Barbie’s limbs rammed up her nose. Make her apologise and explain that if this happens again you’ll rescind her right to have yoghurt for pudding/bedtime stories/a university education.

c) Watch from a safe distance. Who are you to interfere with the behaviour of these wild and fascinating creatures?

8. You’re idling round Ikea, fantasising about how quickly you could burn it to the ground if you had a litre of petrol and a box of matches, when your son starts pestering you for a Shåtlumpƒ Crane and Tower Set, do you;

a) State that he has enough toys already, then grab his arm and storm straight out of the nearest exit (after spending 25minutes walking through every single department).

b) Ask him if he has enough pocket-money to buy the shåtlumpƒ and then discuss with him whether he’s sure he wants to spend it on a piece of worthless tat that 700 million children worldwide already own (and are bored of).

c) Whimper, “No honey. No honey”, until he increases the volume, drawing concerned looks from passing students and slum landlords. You give in and buy him two.

Just look what you can achieve with teamwork son…

9. You’re woken up at 3am by your 4yr old daughter jumping into bed with you, scared stiff after a nightmare involving the cast of In The Night Garden getting abducted and butchered by bitter Teletubbies.  Do you:

a) Tell her to go back to bed. It’s late and you’ve not got no time for nonsense.

b) Take her back to her own bed and comfort her, simultaneously explaining that both programmes were devised by the same prduction house specifically for the BBC, so the Teletubbies didn’t mind being usurped by In The Night Garden. All good things come to an end and only last week you saw Makka Pakka and Laa-Laa enjoying an ice-cream whilst strolling through Covent Garden.

c) Give her a cuddle, assure her you’ll hire additional security for the Night Garden first thing in the morning and fall back to sleep as one big snoozy family.

Your Parenting Style:

Mostly As: Authoritarian
You rule with an iron fist. An iron fist in a chain-mail glove. With a brass knuckleduster and poison-tipped fingers. Discipline is key and when it comes to right and wrong, you draw the line. You won’t explain why you’ve drawn a line, what’s on either side of it, where it begins and ends, how long it’ll be in operation for or why it is that you get to be the one who draws lines, but hey, they better understand about the goddamn line, or else…

Mostly Bs: Authoritative.
When little Johnny burns down the shed you don’t fly off the handle, you carefully and considerately get to the bottom of why he did it and proceed to explain to him why burning down sheds ‘because you like to feel the warm glow of the flames on your face’ isn’t acceptable behaviour. When Johnny burns down the replacement shed you don’t fly off the handle, you carefully and considerately get to the bottom of why he did it and proceed to explain to him why he’s going to need to spend sometime with Mrs Craythorne, the local child psychologist.

Mostly Cs: Permissive.
If your beloved littlun took a dump in your work shoes and updated your facebook profile to ‘gay divorcee’ (before throwing macaroni cheese all over the keyboard) you’d laugh it off as ‘just what kids do’, raise their pocket money and tweet about how ‘individual’ they are. You’re a soft touch, but hey, kids do the funniest things, don’t they!

Follow these links for more information on Diana Baumrind and the definition of the main parenting styles.

The readers of Let’s Dad! bring you… Top Tips for New Dads (Part 2)

“Honey, the RAC route planner suggests we take the B2129 via Rotherham instead…”

Following on from the success of Part 1 (we’re up for a Croydon Council ‘Services to Men’ Award, alongside Jasmine’s Massage + Spa and The Pig and Whistle), here’s the second installment of the Let’s Dad! Top Tips for New Dads. Just like Part One, it’s chock full of practical know-how and dadding wisdom courtesy of the Let’s Dad! readership, so you can safely navigate the maze of early parenthood. Start your engines and away you go. Oh, watch out, someone’s left a massive pile of sh*t where the A258 joins the A3…

(As before, I’ve interspersed the tips with some old fashioned advertisements, to remind us men that we had our own way for many, many years, much to the detriment of fair and kind women the world over. So if you’re feeling put upon because you have to run the odd bath, clean up some breastmilk from the glovebox or remove a piss stain from the changing bag, just deal with it.)

Top Tips for New Dads – Part Two

- When you change your baby’s nappy, put a light coating of olive oil around their bottom before putting the new nappy on. It forms a barrier, making it easy to wipe off any poo next time around…and it keeps their skin as soft as…well, a baby’s bottom.

- It is ok to put on a Disney movie, CBeebies, or anything for that matter, if you need a break. It won’t instantly undo all the hard work you’ve done reading to them, buying wooden toys and dressing them exclusively in organic cotton.

- Your baby is not as cute as you think they are. Really, they’re not. To most people, it’s just a baby, which they already have or don’t ever want.

- Take the leap and buy a nappy bin. You’ll save approximately 6 full days of your life that would have otherwise been spent fiddling around with nappy bags. Your nursery is less likely to smell like ‘My First Sh*t Factory’ too.

- Kids bring up themselves. Your primary function is to keep them alive. Don’t fuss, just leave them to get on with it. They’ll let you know if they need something. You can read the paper.

- Make a note of those special moments, as they can easily be forgotten. The first song you made-up to get him off to sleep, the fortnight where she dragged her bum along the ground whilst simultaneously punching herself in the head or the first time they woke themselves up with a fart. They’ll want to know one day and you’ll want to be able to tell them. Or they won’t want to know one day and you’ll definitely want to be able to tell them (and the boy they’ve just brought home).

- Take a holiday around the 6 month mark. They’re not mobile, still snooze a lot and have all the food they’ll need handily stored in their Mum. It might just be the easiest family holiday you ever have. Unless, like Peter, you go camping in the New Forest…and they wake up at 1am…and you spend 3 hours, lost, pushing them round in the dark.

- In most cases, having a child will drastically alter the dynamic of your relationship, so try not to lose sight of your girlfriend/wife/partner. Make an effort to communicate, be considerate and spend quality time together – just the two of you – as often as you can. Please note, quality time does not mean pestering her for a hand-job whilst you watch Doctor Who re-runs.

- It doesn’t take two people to bath a baby or get them to sleep. Don’t get into the habit of always doing it with your partner – or just one of you being able to do it – as you need to be able to run the routine independently, so that either of you can get out of the house now and again without chaos ensuing.

- Whenever you feel yourself growing frustrated or angry with your little one, try to remember that children, as a rule, are not very bright. Worse still, this stupidity is almost always down to genetic factors, which means that you yourself are not very bright either.

- Be open to advice, as sometimes, amongst the sh*t there shines a diamond. However, it’s important to trust yourself and don’t be pressured by other people or opinions, only you know what is right for your kids. Unless it’s a doctor telling you that your baby’s faeces really shouldn’t be that colour. Definitely listen to her.

Let’s Dad! would like to say a massive thank you to all of the dads who chipped in their great tips. Great Dadding! These old ads were found on likeables.

Inappropriate singalong?

Just had a lovely family singalong…to Golden Brown by The Stranglers. Followed by a lovely conversation about whether it was inappropriate or not. Well? Was it? Was it?! Either way, it got the little lady’s head bobbing, just a like a pint-sized smackhead.

Stay and Play: A Guide to Etiquette

Just like the jungle, Le Tour de France and dogging, there are certain unwritten rules that govern how you should behave at Stay and Play. If you deviate, the consequences can be catastrophic; alienation, expulsion and, worst case scenario, being known by everyone as the parents who let their daughter take a sh*t behind the miniature kitchen. So for those of you having trouble navigating the fine line between acceptance and persecution, fear not….help is at hand:

(from right to left) Stay and Play

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Stay and Play: A Guide to Etiquette

Intended as a melting pot, where children from all backgrounds can get together, snatch toys from each other and cry, Stay and Play is a rich and diverse tapestry of race, class and culture. Fantastic! But this also means being aware that the sensibilities of other parents might not match your own. Follow these seven easy guidelines and you’ll be fine…

1. The Sign-in Sheet is an essential part of administrating the Stay and Play. Writing ‘Abductor’ in the ‘Relationship to Child’ column is neither helpful or clever. As you’ll quickly be informed by a member of staff.

2. Obey the line-of-sight rule.  You wouldn’t stand between Tracey Emin and her Titians at The National Gallery would you?! Or between a chubster and the cake display at Gregg’s? Blocking a parent’s view of their beloved at Stay and Play, even for a second, is tantamount to murder. Imagine if something happened when they were out of sight?! IMAGINE!!

3. When your 9 month old daughter, cranked-up on raspberries and follow-on milk, approaches an occupied Little Tikes Cruiser, twitches weirdly and then proceeds to drag the 2 year old driver out by his hair, as if re-enacting her favourite scene from Terminator 2, don’t even think about laughing. You can allow yourself a brief, guilty moment of pride on the walk home, but in the meantime, discipline her sternly, “No honey! Remember? We don’t play the angry, car-jacking time-traveller game unless the other kids want to play too.”

Easy pickings…

4. “He’s a funny-looking little f*cker isn’t he! Bet you’re glad he’s not yours?!” is not an acceptable ice-breaker. Nannies, au pairs and child-minders can often be just as fond of their little charges as the biological parents. Similarly, women of all ages are having kids these days, so be very careful what you assume. “I wish my parents were around to help out more”, should only be muttered after having carefully studied the sign-in sheet.

Ma? Grandma? Great Grandma? Answers at the bottom of the page…

5. Uncensored opinions, parenting suggestions and observational jokes should be kept to an absolute minimum. Sarcastically chuckling, “Never too young to sexualise them, hey buddy!” at the guy who’s 3 yr old is wearing a mini-skirt, will get you in a fight.  Similarly, if your littlun is being chased around by a chubby kid in a police costume, don’t yell, “Back off you f*ckin’ pig! Back off!” Just smile politely. Before handing over any pills or weed you’ve got on you.

6. As difficult as it may sound, when photographing your child doing something funny/stupid/dangerous, make sure THERE ISN’T EVEN A TRACE OF ANOTHER CHILD IN THE SHOT! Seriously, what are you?! Some kind of paedophile?! Might just be easier to take a sketchbook. Or are paedophiles using those now too?! Damn paedophiles, they’re so wily! And don’t forget…they’re everywhere!

7. Don’t ever let your child take a sh*t behind the miniature kitchen.

~

Answers to the quiz:
a) Kurt Cobain and friend.
b) Mum. And a pretty good one I’m guessing.
c) Yep. She’s a mum.
d) Grandma. And possibly mum too, judging by the kid’s eyes.
e) Mum. Seriously. Click here…
f) Great Grandma.

Guest Post: The Complex Art of Telling Dad Jokes

This guest post comes from James Schloeffel. Take it away James…

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Life as a new Dad can be tough. The challenges of balancing work commitments with sleepless nights, nappy changing routines and playgroup appointments are familiar to many men. But what is rarely discussed – openly at least – is the pressure on new dads to be funny.

The ‘Dad Joke’ is now generally accepted as one of the most established and sophisticated genres of humour, particularly in Australia. A well-told Dad Joke not only gives laughter, it can also alleviate domestic tensions and provide comfort for youngsters as they navigate the maze of modern life.

But the implication that new dads somehow become funny overnight is misguided. The Dad Joke genre is complex; it requires skill and practice. New dad’s can become overwhelmed or intimidated by the prospect of mastering the Dad Joke. There are no courses, no mentoring programs and no manuals. Until now.

What follows is a comprehensive guide to the many different forms of Dad Jokes, complete with explanations, examples and tips for making them your own. If you’re a new Dad, it could be just the guidance you need.


“The Classic”

This is the first form of the genre that most new dads put into practice. While inherently complex – it requires Dad to skilfully twist the intended meaning of the verb ‘to be’ – with practice it can become an effective part of the Dad Joke arsenal. The gag follows the structure:

CHILD: “Dad, I’m thirsty”
DAD: ”Nice to meet you Thirsty, I’m Dad”

The strength of this form of the Dad Joke is its adaptability to a multitude of situations. It is just as funny when used with “I’m hungry”, “I’m hot” and “I’m finding your jokes annoying”. Perhaps hold back on using this joke with “I’m being bullied at school”.

A slightly modified, but equally clever variation of this form is when your child tells you what he or she wants to eat.

CHILD: “I feel like an ice-cream”
DAD: ”You don’t look like an ice-cream”

The conjured image of a human being in the form of an ice-cream (or can of Coke) is both absurd and unexpected. It’s also very, very funny.

“The Deadpan”

A further step-up in sophistication, “The Deadpan” requires Dad to cunningly pretend that he doesn’t understand the context of his child’s question. The basic form is:

CHILD: “Where are we Dad?”
DAD: “In the car son”.

The genius of this joke is that the punch-line is a statement of truth: you really are in the car. Of course, as Dad well knows (but doesn’t admit to knowing), the child was after a broader geographical definition of location. This surprising switch of interpretation is unanticipated and consequently, more than a little amusing.

When you’ve mastered this basic form, you can move onto more complicated executions such as:

CHILD: “Is there something on my face dad?”
DAD: (A long concentrated look before saying) “Yep, I’ve found it. Your nose”.

“The Word Play”

“The Word Play” is the most versatile form of the Dad Joke and can be adapted to almost any domestic or social situation. In time, dads can use the World Play to carve out their own ‘voice’ and persona.

At the dinner table

MUM: “Eat your peas”
CHILD: “I don’t like peas”
DAD: “All we are saying is give peas a chance!”

At the movies

DAD: “Exit signs. They’re on the way out!”

At the breakfast table

DAD: “Oh, good morning, here’s the cereal killer!”

“The Word Play (Nationality)”

“The Nationality” is a sub-form of “The Word Play” Dad Joke. It follows the same rules, but focuses entirely on country names. Hilarity ensues.

CHILD: “My new teacher is Russian”
DAD: “Well tell her to slow down then!”

CHILD: “I saw a bike rider crash into a pole today”
DAD: “Don’t worry, he’ll be fine. Those Eastern Europeans are a tough lot.”

CHILD: “Let me know when you finish”
DAD: “I was planning to be Australian for at least the rest of today”

CHILD: “I’m so hungry”
DAD: “I’m so Slovenia” (note the cross-over with “The Classic” Dad Joke form here)

“The Blame Shifter”

This simple but hilarious form of the Dad Joke requires Dad to fart or burp and then blame his wife/partner.

DAD: (after farting or burping) “Oh, honey, please not at the table”.

Only try this joke when children are present at the table.

Don’t forget, practice makes perfect. In fact, as many children will attest, telling the same joke over and over again is very much in keeping with the spirit of Dad Jokes, so keep at it. And remember, if it’s all too hard and you need to take a break or you feel like a cup of warm peppermint tea, well, you don’t look like one.

James Schloeffel is a freelance writer…check out his website here.
Big thanks to SMH too for allowing us to use James’ work.

Let’s Dad! Reader’s Letters – The Case of Pam’s Rusty Funnel

In a new feature on Let’s Dad! our resident Agony Uncle, Dr George Pfaff, is on hand to answer all your dadding dilemmas…

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Dear Dr Pfaff,

Last week, at my local Stay and Play, the group leader (a lovely middle-aged lady called Pamela) was reading That’s Not My Train to the class, offering the book to the kids so they could touch the fabrics on each page. After the third page, she offered the book to the class and asked, “Does anyone want to touch my rusty funnel?”

I burst out laughing. Not little whimpers either, but loud, uncontrollable heaves which drew outraged and disdainful looks from the assembled parents and carers. This didn’t help matters, as I just couldn’t stop by this point and was in fits of hysterics, with tears rolling down my face. At the end of the session my son and I left under a cloud of shame and we haven’t been back since.  He loves that place, and it’s incredibly convenient, but I’m just not sure I can go back there. What should I do?

Neil, Streatham.

~

Dear Neil,

Falsely accused?

Firstly, let me assure you that you’re not alone. Children’s books are riddled with innuendo; barely concealed behind a mask of innocence and with the sole intention of plunging unsuspecting readers into the exact pickle you describe. However this doesn’t solve your problem. You need a solution. I’d say your options are threefold:

1. Pretend it never happened. Walk right back in there, tall and steely, as if Pam had never propositioned you with her pungent sweathole. Be friendly, engaging and playful, bring some extra fruit for snack-time and make a point of only raising socially conscientious and agreeable topics of conversation with any parents (who’ll actually talk to you). Never let your guard down or exhibit even the remotest flicker of acknowledgement or remorse for your outburst.

Repeat this tiresome display of conformity for the next 4 or 5 sessions, until the other parents and carers start to doubt whether ‘the incident’ (as it’s probably called behind your back) ever really happened. This will require considerable effort, but if being able to attend is so important to you and your son, then it’ll be worth it.

2. Apologise. Wait until the group convene for storytime and before Pam sets off on another innuendo-heavy adventure, offering up her gunky plughole to all and sundry, fire off an explanatory, and heartfelt, apology that manages not only to explain away your childishness, but paint you in a favourable light.

Peekaboo Pole Dancing Kit – “Soon you’ll be flaunting it to the world and earning a fortune in Peekaboo Dance Dollars” Available at Tescos for £49.99.

Maybe you’d been replacing the oil filter on your wife’s car that morning and you’d both had a chuckle over the rusty funnel you’d found in the toolshed? Perhaps ‘Rusty’ was what you called your dear, and recently deceased, Grandfather and you’d been using laughter to mask a deep, inconsolable sadness. You get the idea. Bounce your son on your lap throughout the apology and finish by mentioning the half-marathon you’re running for charity in a few months time. Don’t worry, no-one will sponsor you – because they know in their hearts that you’re a pervert who’ll probably spend the sponsorship money on coke and hookers – so you won’t actually have to run a half-marathon.

3. Relax. The cat’s out of the bag. They all know that you’re an immature twat…so enjoy it. You’ve been liberated! If Pam is manhandling her flaps during story-time, pipe up. Next time the surly little Ukranian girl is grinding around the dance-pole, wink at her mother, “Aaah, she just wants to be like mummy” and finally, after all the weeks of keeping schtum, you can tell the centre manager that the drawing on the fridge (by Ralph, aged 4) looks like a scene from The Human Centipede. Don’t hold back…be yourself. What’s the worse that can happen?

Dr Pfaff.

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If you have a problem, issue or ailment you’d like to discuss with Dr Pfaff, email letsdad@gmail.com with ‘Dear Dr Pfaff’ in the subject line.

The Beauty of Creation…

…can be tricky to capture on film.

But hey, you’re riding the crest of a wave; you’ve just impregnated the women of your dreams (or the woman of you played it safe with after being rejected by your cousin) and you’re secure in the knowledge that your genes will be passed on to some lucky young thing, who’ll no doubt battle with, and against, them for most of his or her life. You can achieve anything right now. ANYTHING! So go on, get semi-nude, cradle your beer gut, tote your Glock 9mm, smother the lens in vaseline, crop out your wife’s head and create a timeless reminder of those blissful days before your life changes FOREVER!

Guest Post: Fat Dad to Fit Dad in Five Easy Steps

By Mark Lawrence

“YAY! A baby brother!”

The first few months after becoming a dad are challenging for many reasons, but one of the factors that rarely gets a mention is the effect it has on a man’s health. Late nights, poor sleep, less time to exercise and the additional stress of your new family dynamic (coupled with the alcohol often used to deal with it) can all lead to a phenomenon known commonly as ‘Fat Dad’.  Yep, it’s those far-less-welcome additions to the family; the extra pounds around your waist, the turkey jowl under your chin and the extra breaths you take when attempting to climb the stairs in a hurry.
But by incorporating these simple – and largely effortless – measures into your routine, Fat Dad can very easily become Fit Dad!

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1. Eat slowly, it’s not a competition. If you eat too fast your body doesn’t have enough time to tell you that you’re full. Subsequently you eat too much, or, to put it another way, more than you actually need to maintain your energy levels. Start with a smaller portion than you’d normally have and eat it more slowly. You’ll be surprised how satisfied you feel after just 70-80% of your usual intake.

2. Cutting down on your drinking is an obvious one, but it’s not always that easy alongside the stresses of being a new father. What can help is substituting beer for an alternative tipple. A typical pint of 5% lager has around 250 calories compared to a (single) spirit with mixer (soda, tonic, lemonade, coke not juice or red bull) which has around 105 calories or a double spirit with mixer which has around 160 calories. If you can handle the taste, then diet mixers provide even better results, with a single spirit and diet mixer coming in at only 70 calories or 110 for a double. If you multiply these amounts by an evening out, you could be saving 800+ calories…the rough equivalent to a 45-60minute run, 2.5hr cycle or an hours swim.

3. It’s the most important meal of the day, but that doesn’t mean it has to be the biggest. Avoid traditional fried breakfasts or mountains of toast, instead dish yourself up a modest bowl of muesli, granola or wholegrain cereal like weetabix or shredded wheat served with semi-skimmed milk or low-fat greek-style yoghurt.  Sprinkle with honey or a few nuts or raisins to boost the flavour and away you go. Remember the first point and don’t fill your bowl to the brim as the likelihood is a standard size bowl (the guideline amount on the side of the pack, or thereabouts) will be enough to see you through to lunch.

4. Don’t snack between meals…and if you have to, snack on fruit or nuts. Again, it’s obvious, but that’s because it’s true. If 11am rolls around and your stomach is asking for a top-up, tuck into a banana, apple or satsuma rather than a bag of crisps or a chocolate bar. Remind yourself how tasty fruit is…and how it doesn’t leave your mouth coated in manufactured gunk. It’s cheaper too…and won’t make your breath smell like a butchered pig. Try to cut down on puddings or desserts after your evening meal. Fruit, yoghurt or a square or two of nice chocolate can provide some sweet relief instead.

5. Exercise. This can incorporate a myriad of activities…not just the usual few. Take your little one out in the buggy, at a hearty (but safe!) pace, for an hour or more, have some vigorous and drawn out sex with your partner, rather than just lying on your back like a troubled whale or go for a long walk or activity session as a family on the weekend, rather than spending it in a pub garden.

Don’t drop whatever exercise you were doing before your nipper came along. This might mean some healthy negotiating with your partner about the allocation of baby-sitting or chores, but that’s not the end of the world is it? That hour or so each week when you’re running through the park/providing a killer pass/swimming steadily/cycling along an empty road or smashing a forehand past your best mate will be more than worth it. Or you can turn dead time into exercise time; cycle/jog to work, use the stairs instead of the lift or have a swim during your lunchbreak instead of sitting at your desk trying to find a way around the firewall.

Lastly, buy some scales. You’ll be buoyed by the difference one week of restraint, and a small amount of exercise, can make. If you fancy it, make a note of your weight at the beginning of each week (first thing on a Monday, pre-breakfast) and you’ll be able to clearly associate the effort you’re making with the results you’re achieving.

Good luck…and don’t forget, the effects are threefold; you’ll look, feel and function better. Mark

Guest Post: Skid marks – when to wash ‘em and when to toss ‘em

Big thanks to Andy Herald for this informative guest post…

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I wish we could say that this chart was only for parents doing mountains of their kid’s or teen’s laundry, but we have to admit it… this chart is for everyone. Young and old, male or female. Accidents happen. Not just to little kids’ tighty-whities after a severe wedgy or to folk that prefer g-strings…even parachute-pant-style boxers or lazy Sunday jammies aren’t 100% safe.

Anyone who does laundry has been confronted with one level or another on this skid marks chart, and may have had to ask themselves: wash it or toss it? Now, with this handy instructional diagram, we hope people doing a skid mark evaluation can spend less time turning a pair of soiled underwear around in their hands and come to a swift, decisive conclusion. We also hope to prevent them from being over-optimistic and making the wrong decision, thereby contaminating an entire wash-load of clothes.

Andy Herald