Dad’s Life: ‘It’s a race to be last’

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ONE of the more interesting aspects of fatherhood is the wide variety of roles you have to fulfil.

When the boys were babies, I was a protector and feeder.

I helped to ensure the boys were clothed, warm enough and well fed, always trying to do my fair share of the night-time feeds.

When they were toddlers, I was a playmate, if no-one else more interesting was around. I was also a teacher, of language and behaviour.

This teaching role continued, but changed to include elementary maths and spelling when they were young boys.

My role as playmate largely disappeared when they were pre-teens, although I did pick up another role – that of taxi driver.

A very short-lived role of confidant thankfully disappeared before they hit their teens.

It was just before they both hit 13 that my role as teacher disappeared. My limited knowledge was no longer sufficient to help them with their homework.

Now they are both teenagers I feel my roles are clearly defined. I am a cook, a cleaner, the butt of jokes, a bank and my job as taxi driver has expanded as their horizons have broadened.

I have to say that I don’t enjoy any of these particularly.

It is the role of cook that I least like, however.

I am not a cook, nor do I want to be. I have no training, nor do I want any.

Unfortunately, and sometimes despite my best efforts, I return home most work days before my good lady – who also hates cooking.

It is a race to be last in. For that means getting the pans out.

Fifteen-year-old Gabriel has long fed himself on a school night. A packet curry or some prawns to fry and he’s happy.

Isaac, 13, however, is a meat and two veg man.

Which means he has to be cooked for.

My school of cookery is the one by which if the smoke alarm is ringing, the food is cooked. I feel sorry for the little one, but not sufficiently sorry to embark upon a cookery course.

After a few nights of my cooking, Isaac and I usually revert to a local takeaway, with some relief.

My wife sometimes partakes, sometimes not. She doesn’t just dislike cooking, she dislikes food.

My other saviour, as with so many other things, is my mother.

Nana is a good cook, and of the food Isaac likes in particular. She occasionally sends him food parcels.

Oh, the shame.