Learner Dad: I get ants in my pants around 11am on Saturday morning if we don't have a plan

Learner Dad: I get ants in my pants around 11am on Saturday morning if we don't have a plan

These are the dog days of mid-February. New year, new you is long gone, helped on its way by the box of Scots Clan that somehow managed to escape the feeding frenzy at Christmas time. Spring is coming, but not yet. It’s still dark when we get up in the mornings, and by 6pm at night. The kids start “why do we have to get up for school every morning?” by Tuesday, and it goes downhill after that.

There is only thing that keeps us all going — the weekend. It’s all we talk about in our place now. Our five-year-old — Numbers Boy — starts announcing the number of sleeps to Friday some time around Sunday afternoon. As I’m putting the same boring lunches in the same boring lunchboxes every dark weekday morning, I dream about a little sleep-in on Saturday morning, maybe we’ll have pancakes again, with Nutella.

The reality doesn’t match the dream. The main problem in our place is there are two factions when it comes to the weekend. My wife and son reckon that getting out of their pyjamas is a sign of failure. I’m slow to suggest this has anything to do with laziness because she tends to read these articles sitting next to me on the sofa at night and I’ve been getting in a bit of trouble with some of the stuff I’ve been writing recently (sorry honey). So let’s just say ‘jaahmee days’ as they’re known in our house, suit their chilled-out personality profiles.

I don’t have a chilled-out personality profile. Neither does my daughter. I get ants in my pants around 11am on Saturday morning if we don’t have a plan; she gets a bit lairy if she spends too much time inside, almost as if she’s had a couple of pints.

The two of us had the upper hand last year. I’d bring her to 10am football practise on a Saturday morning, we’d arrive back home full of beans just after 11am and guilt the other two out of their pyjamas so we could head off somewhere for the day.

This came to an end when my daughter hung up her boots and retired from football, at the age of seven, to focus on drama, swimming and the ukulele. (It’s in everyone’s interest to keep her occupied.)

The upshot is we are back to jaahmee day weekends. I’ve tried to get around this by announcing a plan on Friday afternoon that we’re heading for West Cork the following day, come hell or high water. Unfortunately, hell or high water is a pretty good description of the weather around this time of the year. So more often than not, I’m stuck at the back door, checking the sky for any sign of clearance around 2pm, while my wife tries to console me, in her pyjamas.

It’s not like we never get out — every now and again there is enough of a break in the weather to get our wellies on and scoot around some forest for an hour. But most times, Sunday evening 6pm rolls around and I can’t help feeling another weekend has slipped away, while my daughter bounces away outside on the trampoline in her pyjamas, trying to knock off some taspy before going to bed.

There’s no escaping this. We’re better off at home in our pyjamas than driving along some rainy road in West Cork, terrified to get out of the car in case we get scooped up by the wind.

In the end, it’s just February. There’s nothing for anyone in this month, unless you’re one of those eejits who can’t stop celebrating Valentines Day. March, that’s my kind of month. My son’s birthday is in there (he’s counting down the hours), Paddy’s Day, the flowers out, the hour going forward, it will probably snow but you can’t have everything. For now, it’s just a case of hunkering down and counting down the days. Unless I can persuade my daughter to take up football again.

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