Learner Dad: What I learned from week two on lockdown

This week we had a lockdown birthday party, too much TV and a reminder from Joe Wicks that I’m 53
Learner Dad: What I learned from week two on lockdown
Ben and Isaac Rickett following PE with Joe, a fitness workout by Joe Wicks that is aimed at children that are being home-schooled due to Covid-19. Picture: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

Another week for all us Lockdown Dads. (And mums, before I get flooded with angryreminders on Twitter. We’re all in this together.)

This week we had a lockdown birthday party, too much TV and a reminder from Joe Wicks that I’m 53. Here’s what I learned from week two on lockdown.

‘Are You still watching’ guilt: You know the way it goes.

The kids are under your feet so you tell them they can watch one episode of Teen Titans Go on Netflix.

‘Just one OK! And then you have to go back to doing your schoolwork’.

Fifteen minutes later, you start to forget you ever had kids.

Fifteen minutes after that, you wonder is three in the afternoon a bit early for your first glass of wine.

And then you hear the words that haunt every parent. ‘Dad, it’s saying are you still watching?’

This is the thing that kicks in on Netflix if you watch something like 17 episodes of the same show in a row. It always makes me feel guilty and sad, because now I feel like I have to turn off the telly.

So if anyone from Netflix is watching, please remove the ‘Are You Still Watching’ feature? It’s kind of wrecking this lockdown for a lot of us.

Never workout with a seven-year-old: Have you seen the morning PE classes with Joe Wicks on YouTube?

His workouts start at 9am and run for 20 minutes. And I mean run. I did one yesterday with my seven-year-old daughter.

There is something liberating about doing bunny hops in your front room at 9am; there is also something embarrassing about sitting out every second routine because you’re not as fit as you thought you were.

It doesn’t help that Joe is young and hot and your wife keeps putting her head around the door to see how we’re doing. She told me afterwards that Joe isn’t really her type.

She also joined my daughter to do the workout this morning. Just saying.

Lockdown birthdays rule: My five-year-old is a six-year-old since Wednesday.

He has a habit of getting good weather on his birthday, and this year was no exception. The difference was we didn’t have a gaggle of aunts, uncles, friends, grannies, and babies in the mix for his party.

It was just the four of us and too much food.

And guess what — everyone seemed to have a better time of it. There were no tantrums, fights or tears — and that’s just the adults after the fifth bottle of Prosecco.

Instead, we got to enjoy an hour or so together celebrating our boy. My wife baked a chocolate cake, we ate rubbish for an hour, and then played with his new table tennis kit on the kitchen table.

This was a small clear-up, no hangover party. I’m all for doing it this way next year.

I love chicken nuggets: My son’s main request for his birthday was lunch in McDonald’s, but they closed two days before it because of the you-know-what.

My wife decided there was nothing for it but to replicate the McDonald’s experience by giving him supermarket chicken nuggets at home.

This was pretty seismic for us because we’re ferocious food snobs, but it turned out to be the best decision of her life, even better than choosing me over Joe Wicks.

Supermarket chicken nuggets are give-me-moreish, just like the ones they serve at birthday parties in those indoor play areas, where all the parents sit around and swear they’d never give them to their own kids.

Well, from now on we’ll be giving them to our kids. Life is too short.

We’re coming for you, France. We’re booked to go to a campsite in France this summer. That’s a bit of a long shot, given Ryanair has already said it doesn’t expect to fly again until June at the earliest.

But a lot of the nice bits of life are off-limits to us right now, we need a bit of hope to get from one day to the next. So, ‘bon chance’ to everyone in France. We’ll see you in late June.

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