DAD TALK – January, Here I Come!

I was really looking forward to Christmas this year, it really seemed to creep up on us quickly although we were as prepared as we have ever been. It felt different, calm relaxed almost peaceful.

It started well with my first park run on the Saturday before although being my first run in a crowd for a long while and I spent the night before quite anxious about seeing people again after a while. It appears any anxiety was unfounded and it was just that needless worries.

Christmas Eve was the same a very relaxed day and a few trips out and last minute preparations and we were good to go. Santa had checked the area for squeaky floor boards and hidden hazards, children were in bed and as far as we could tell asleep, so I decided to take my medication one being sleep inducing and then disaster struck footsteps, talking 3 awake😩. Children were resettled but unfortunately not sufficiently enough for Santa to come and said medication was taking effect. I was trying to fight it but in the end I don’t remember it happening but I was fast asleep. I awoke in a panic, what time was it? were children awake? had Santa been? luckily on this occasion I believe Mrs Claus had stepped in and saved the day, PHEW!

Now normally we have so many presents under the tree being a family of 8 that we decided to try and manage it this year with just stockings and one main present, and friends and family bought experiences such as horse riding lessons etc. We ourselves went down the electrical item route, although I don’t agree in using it as a babysitter it does have some really good points. The children love using audible and the family ability on the iCloud is superb so that they can access everybody’s music and film. They also have some excellent teaching apps that they find fun and imformative and with the right restrictions I have no problem with it. After all it really is a different world now! So when we came downstairs at a respectable 6-15 (happy with that) the tree was full but not overflowing with boundless plastic items and hoards of unnecessary items to add to the already overflowing playroom. We still had the game of catch up for thank you notes, now who was that from, did you read the label, and that’s lovely.

Christmas Day lunch was lovely and even better as we didn’t have to lift a finger, glorious! Also the obligatory Boxing Day Hare and Hounds run through countless streams, bogs, forest and the dreaded Horsford drewary whilst this year dressed as Bertie Bassett all in the name of charity. Although didn’t feel very charitable when our navigator, who shall remain nameless, got us lost in the woods adding an extra 2 1/2 miles on to the already tortuous run. Then with family games (although losing my Monopoly crown to the new property mogul 8 year old Neve) woodland wet boggy walks and forthcoming visits to and from family the week flew by. Probably our most relaxed enjoyable Christmas ever, I think it may have to do with not having the mass of expectations on having the perfect day it all just flowed from one day to the next.

New Year’s Eve we have our own tradition of playing lots of games a buffet tea and we wrap up prizes so each child gets a couple of gifts. We thought about taping fireworks on the early news and putting clocks forward (tricksy parenting) but as it was everyone was in bed by 10, Happy New Year!

As you will know from previous blogs I am suffering from a bit of depression due to a back injury and although my back is no closer to being resolved my resolutions involved my mental health. I’m still finding it really hard in the mornings so my resolutions are to have my alarm for 6.30 ( the Harry Potter alarm clock I got for Christmas #iknow will come in handy here). We have a mile loop around our house which I will run giving me motivation and wellbeing. This will also knock onto showering and breakfast and ready for work by 7:30 it’s a win win. So hopefully 2018 will see my back resolved, medication not needed, running back to normal, excess weight lost but most important I will get back to being myself.

Happy New Year, all the best for 2018!

DAD TALK – Light At The End Of The Tunnel

As I write this I’m lying in bed in my work clothes pain shooting down my back and my mind has won another battle,  I don’t know what I expected, a magic cure perhaps. Take the tablets and I’ll Be all Sister Maria twirling and singing on a mountain top?

Well unfortunately for me days like today still happen.  The lack of sleep, the constant pressures from the outside world as well as the expectation from within myself, the pain in my back and it feels like a weakness to mentally give in and hide in bed.  I’ve learnt that isn’t what it is, at some point a little kink of light will show I’ll get up I’ll deal with the day and I’ll know I am recovering.

The trouble is people cannot physically see anything and I have to admit you feel like a fraud, oh yes multiple fractures in my spine and the small matter of depression , oh poor you and then the embarrassment factor as you notice people shut down ‘ NUT JOB’.  No please don’t skirt over it, talk to me about it, I’m not ashamed and talking actually helps would you believe, and quite the contrary I’m still the same person and yes, ok maybe a little nut job, but aren’t we all? Bad days will happen but they’re not bad weeks or months anymore.

Luckily  I have some amazing clients who put up with my erratic nature and are just about allowing me to keep the business going, the Doctors is on speed dial although unless you go through triage at 8 am in the morning ‘the next available appointment is 10.50 on the 25th of February’  could you make it? Yep we’ve all been there, pull your hair out as you think A: hope not to be ill then and B: who blinking well knows it’s two months away! As you say, “oh that sounds great”.

I have some amazing friends who have offered lots of support and I’m sad to say I perhaps haven’t taken advantage of there generosity and kindness, instead I have pushed people away. I can’t explain why but I guess I just didn’t want to wear the mask of pretence it’s exhausting but as I have been dealing with it I realise it’s ok to just be who you are that day and to lean on people. It’s the simple things like receiving a text ‘fancy a run’ and although I say no more than yes when you’re out there pounding the pavement in the fresh air with nature around you, having someone converse with you or just listening to you ramble that support is worth the world. So thank you all, please keep persisting.

Mrs H is an absolute rock as are our six children, they all deserve so much credit as I’m well aware it really hasn’t been easy.  I had a pretence that I’ve been using to keep home, happy, light and fun but when I hit the bottom it became quite hard and for a while I just lost all interaction any responsibility around the home, I was almost a ghost.  They accommodated me understood what I needed and allowed me the time to be, I cannot underestimate the strength and love that it took for Mrs Hurr to see me so low yet not allow it to take her down, everyone participated in the running of the house, they all seemed to accept an unsaid word and realised it was time to pitch in as a family unit.

It isn’t all roses and perfect families we are just perfectly imperfect, we do have two teenagers who are finding their feet in the world and with each other and normality resumes most days as they can’t bare the site of each other, children who get undressed and throw clothes and toys where they happen to be standing at that moment, we hear I’m hungry, he hit me she’s been in my room a thousand times a day, thank god for anti depressants I’m as cool as cucumber now, ha ha!

I cannot communicate how proud I am as a husband and a father of my beautiful family.

Last  night whilst preparing Felix for bed I got one of the most rewarding joyful moments  he merely asked “are you coming to watch the school play Dad”  to which I replied “I wouldn’t miss it for the world ‘ he then said “I don’t want you to” to which my heart sank but persevered “don’t want me to what” to which he replied get ready #joyfulmoment “I don’t want you to miss it you are the best dad in the world” tears stream, big hug and kiss super proud emotional wreck of a Dad .

Bring on Christmas and all the joy that come with it.



Dad Talk – The Unexpected Benefits Of Feeding Your Baby

Having five children mildly self-sufficient in the eating department (apart from one who cannot eat anything without dropping it down her clothes, at 13 I might add) with a five year gap to our youngest, I had completely forgotten the joys and perils of feeding a baby.

The weaning process is relatively straight forward as they just sit expectantly and eat whatever you give them, relatively little mess apart from those first few delightful multi coloured, smelling nappies.

The fun really starts as the touching and feeling starts and the realisation of how fun their little hands really are, the different textures and tastes that are to be explored.
Now one of Milo’s favourites and my nemesis is porridge. In the early days his mouth opens, in it goes. Occasionally it would come straight back out but harmless, not anymore it really is a full-scale operation.

It starts with:-
• Make sure we are on a hard-based flooring;
• Have distraction at the ready;
• Full bib is absolutely necessary;
• No 3 goes for me too!;
• Wet wipes at the ready.

The first few mouthfuls are fine, but then fingers start to go into the mouth mid spoonful. Distraction tactics – start the train, the plane zooming through the air, the silly facial expressions. Mrs H @allabouthurr always laughs at me as with each spoonful I open my mouth completely through habit in the hope that he will mirror the action, but I’m sure he’s just laughing along with Mummy at silly Daddy. Then as the spoon is on its way it’s like a pendulum course trying to avoid the hands to get to the mouth. He seems to be able to move at lightening speed and my reflexes just aren’t up to it. Before you know what’s happening he has a spoonful of porridge, he then proceeds to rub it in his hair via his ears, eyes and nose. Now I don’t know what it is about porridge but I am sure you could build houses with it. As soon as it makes contact, it sets like concrete aahhhh!! It also seems to multiply as soon as it touches a wet wipe and it spreads and spreads – as you can tell I love the stuff.

We have discovered that although yogurt is a big favourite Milo cannot tolerate it so by the time you are releasing him from his chair he is rather nicely giving you a lovely sick present down your back. Another feeding peril is the clap of doom where he manages to perform the perfect two handed clap with the spoon in mid-air which ends up 99% of the time with me having a face-full of yoghurt. On the plus side I hear it does wonders for your complexion. Although I can honestly say spaghetti bolognaise does not have the same effect.

His best trick at the moment is the joy of having two top and bottom front teeth, the spoon goes in and there it stays clasped between his teeth until (and I believe the genius is showing here) he picks the opportune moment and the correct amount of resistance to let go and send the contents back from whence they came. Then the cheekiest and cutest of grins spreads across his face with the look of ha got you again.

At the moment we are up to self-feeding with an array of cereals fruit and vegetables for him to discover. I love the way that he eyes mouthful after mouthful and takes it all in, chews, spits it out whilst putting the next handful straight in. I’m really not sure he ever actually eats anything.

He adores pineapple and Cheerios but once again the game continues. As soon as he sees Petal our Jack-a-poo he starts launching food at her. Most dogs are like hoovers and will consume almost any food although but she seems to draw the line at soggy Cheerios. Me on the over hand I love them as I discovered at breakfast this morning whilst drinking my cup of tea. There mid gulp as the expanded soggy mass of a cheerio hit the back of my throat I found that he also has an excellent throw and had managed to get two in my tea.

Oh the joys of feeding time. I’m off to remove my yoghurt facemask and wash the spaghetti bolognaise out of my hair whilst finishing the new protein drink of cheerio tea!



DAD TALK – It’s Ok Not To Be Ok

Many of my friends will know that it’s been a tough year; from seeing my newborn head to NICU and my wife rushed off to surgery, to a cancer scare, to the last few months of back problems leading to an osteopenia diagnosis. Those friends however, are probably not aware that I have also been battling with depression.

I’ve been in and out of doctors and had numerous tests at the hospital, but somehow in my head, the taboo behind mental health stopped me expressing my concerns. Instead, the cave man gene took over and I struggled day to day keeping up an illusion for friends and family. I kept looking at my beautiful family and at my life, and just couldn’t understand why I felt like this.

Every morning, I’d battle with my mind trying to find the motivation to do even the most medial tasks such as getting washed and dressed. I cannot tell you the amount of times I got dressed for work but didn’t make it out of the door. I felt constantly tired, I couldn’t seem to turn my mind off and I simply couldn’t face people.

I thought that I was being strong, until one morning, my wife stopped me, cuddled me and said ‘I think you need to get some help’. On reflection, I now realise that I was being strong in admitting that I couldn’t keep it up and that I needed help to pull me out of the quicksand. So I rang the doctors made the appointment and sought help.  The meeting with the doctor was a big release just hearing myself talk of how I was struggling and how overwhelmed I felt. I have to admit I was fighting back the tears and found myself choking up. I remember the doctor saying ‘you are broken mentally and physically, but the good news is we will fix you’. Hooray!

Being self-employed in a physical job with the pressures of existing work, tending for new work, financial commitments, constant back pain and lack of sleep, had left me broken. It’s heartbreaking not being able to fulfil your role properly, especially given the expectation of home life and how important it is to the children. I’m also a keen runner and enjoy the freedom and peace it brings. Being unable to do this has also been a contributing factor to my health.

Hopefully, I’m now on the road to recovery and I know with the love and support of those closest to me I will conquer the stumbling blocks in my life.

So finally, be brave, do not be ashamed, it is not a show of weakness to ask for and accept help, talk to those you love but equally sometimes it might be easier to talk to a complete stranger. To borrow what someone recently said to me, “Always look for the light on the dark days”.

I hope this helps even just one person. It’s certainly helped me.