Fatherhood²: Football, Frustrations, Frantic Fathers and Followed Footsteps

September 6, 2014 at 6:31 pm

photo 5Today I realised that my son is unlikely to be the next David Beckham. I also realised that, unlike a lot of my fellow fathers, this doesn’t bother me in the slightest.

This story starts back in the Spring. Whilst playing in the park with the other children looked after by our child-minder, Robert began to show a real interest in football. We’d often pick him up in the evening to be greeted with tales of games they’d played, what positions he enjoyed playing in and how many goals he’d scored.

Fatherhood²: Family Days Out – The Shard

August 23, 2014 at 5:57 pm

DSCF7583As I’ve reviewed a few family days-out now (all at my own behest, I hasten to add – though if anybody wants to send us anywhere nice, just shout!) I decided I might as well make a bit of a feature of it and review some of the other days out that we have as a family.

Today we headed in to London for a day of being tourists – starting out with a trip up one of London’s newest attractions, the massive Shard building. With Robert currently obsessed with “What’s the tallest X?” and “What’s the biggest Y?” questions, it seemed ideal, so off we went to London…

Fatherhood²: Review – The BOOMco Rapid Madness

August 4, 2014 at 9:00 pm

DSCF7034Back in April, we reviewed the BoomCo ‘Twisted Spinner’ blaster – you can read it here, or just watch the video we made at the bottom of the post. We must have done something right, because the latest release from BoomCo has arrived, and we were once again asked to review it.

Much like the Twisted Spinner, the magic of the BoomCo is that you don’t need batteries – they’re completely powered by air. With the Twisted Spinner, that air came from a single pump of the handle as you fire off the dart – pretty straight forward, though on the downside the motion of the pump DOES affect your aim a little.

They seem to have solved that issue – and improved it TEN FOLD – with the Rapid Madness blaster. As you can see from the video below (I’ve included the glossy one they sent me, as well as our own cruddy effort at a demonstration!) the Rapid Madness fires up to 20 dartss in a matter of seconds.

DSCF7023All you have to do is load up your clip with the darts supplied, slot it into the blaster and pump the little pump between 15 and 20 times. It’s a little tricky for the younger members of the family, but a grown-up can easily pump it up without spoiling the enjoyment of the shooting.

Once that’s done, you just blast away – either in single shots or rapid-fire style.

Robert and I quite liked the Twisted Spinner, but the Rapid Madness has taken it’s throne quickly and easily – you might even say… rapidly! They cost £49.99 but you won’t have to worry about replacing the batteries, since there aren’t any.

If you fancy one of your own, you can buy them at lots of toy shops including Amaon, Argos, Smyths and Toys R Us. If you want to see all the exciting things BoomCo get to while they’re pretending to work office jobs, you could look at their YouTube page and their Instagram channel.

Here’s the glossy video they made to launch it, with YouTuber Devin Supertrarmp – followed below by our own, less-glossy effort… judge for yourself which one is more likely to get a million hits!!

Review – The BoomCo Rapid Madness from Henry Elliss on Vimeo.

Fatherhood²: DISASTER in Tooth-fairy Land

April 30, 2014 at 8:11 pm

10169239_10203169737300424_7054126657678109860_nThe Elliss family were on the brink of a developmental dental-disaster this evening…

It all started when my wife picked Robert up from school. He’s had a wobbly tooth now for several weeks – possibly months. We’re talking the most hotly-anticipated teeth-based incident for decades.

This was Robert’s first foray into teeth-losing, so it took some getting used to – we had several days of delicate eating before he eventually got used to it, and the usual bedtime toothbrushing routine has been a little more stressful than usual.

All throughout this build-up, we’ve been distracting Robert (he gets quite anxious about stuff like this) with talk of the Tooth Fairy and the potential reward to be gained at the end of the ordeal.

You know, as all deceptive parents do.

Fatherhood²: 10 Phobias not Ideal for Parents

April 3, 2014 at 8:10 pm

610X5547Today I learnt (to much amusement, I’m ashamed to admit) that somebody I know has an unusual phobia. Now I’m not going to name names here, because I don’t want to see the person in question suffering from unnecessary anxiety (though part of me is quite curious to see what happens!) but the phobia got me thinking…

The phobia in question is Pittakionophobia – the fear of stickers or sticky labels.

Fatherhood²: When You Think About It, We’re Making Literacy Much Harder For Kids

February 25, 2014 at 9:25 pm

As I sat at our dining table this morning, eating my cornflakes and mentally planning the day ahead, I noticed something that REALLY annoyed me. Spread out around me on the table were countless pieces of paper – many filled with scribbles and doodles, some school forms to fill in and a couple of pieces of homework Robert (5) had been given to do over the half-term holidays.

It was on one of these pieces of paper that the offending item sprung into my view. The sheet in question was a worksheet asking the child to trace along a series of lines, presumably to test their fine motor skills and penmanship. The worksheet had been downloaded from one the many teach resource portals – something I’m quite familiar with myself, with a teacher for a wife. But the name of this portal REALLY annoyed me – and you might spot why on the blown-up photo I’ve posted below…

Fatherhood²: The Santa Delusion, aka Keeping the Dream Alive

December 17, 2013 at 7:55 am

imageWith the major disruption and stress of our house move now behind us, the Christmas spirit has well and truly arrived in the Elliss household. The Christmas tree is up and decorated, the tinsel is hung and the wreath has yet to be stolen from our front door. We’ve even had multiple viewings of the Snowman. Things are really getting Christmassy at last.

With the arrival of the season of giving comes a number of parenting quandaries: How do you give generously without spoiling? Should you arm your child with a card for everyone in their class, or just some? How do you get my son to say “advent”‘properly, rather than “advert calendar”? To name but 3!

Fatherhood²: STILL Getting Ready for the Move

November 26, 2013 at 8:33 pm

If you read my last post on the subject, you will know that my family is currently in the process of our first major house move. In exactly (well, hopefully!) one week’s time we will be moving in to our first new home in over 9 years, along with everything we own (again, hopefully!)

In my last post (“Fatherhood²: Getting Ready for the Move“) I explained some of my fears and trepidations about how the children were going to take the process, so I thought I’d provide an update on how things are panning out as we get closer to the big day.

Fatherhood²: Review – Amazing Name Labels

November 4, 2013 at 8:42 pm

A long time ago (not in a galaxy far, far away – sadly) the nice people at the Name Label Company asked if they could send me some of their magical name labels for me to review. I happily agreed, they sent me a small bundle of labels (for both Robert and Freddie) and they then sat on my bedside table for months.

Not because I didn’t want them – far from it, I was itching to try them out. No, simply because it wasn’t a particularly good time to be reviewing name labels – school holidays were approaching! Thankfully, I kept them safe and in August this year, as we restocked Robert’s school-time wardrobe, I finally got a chance to try them out.

So what, pray tell, did I think about them?

Fatherhood²: Getting Ready for the Move

October 24, 2013 at 8:00 pm

For the past 6-7 months, our house of 9 years has been on the market. Having lived here since 2004, we’ve decided that it’s time to move to a slightly bigger house – both to accomodate our expanding family and a slightly less cramped lifestyle.

Sadly, the property market as it stands means we can’t afford to buy bigger. So we’ve taken the slightly odd step of deciding to jump off the property ‘ladder’ for a while, and move to a rental house. As luck would have it, what we’re currently paying for our 2-bed mortgage can get us a 3 – maybe even a 4 – bedroom house here in Reading. So the down-side of losing our ladder-footing is more than made up for by the ability to get a bigger house – something we desperately need at the moment.