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This day was on FIRE!

Kids love the fire station. Thing 3 in particular is very keen on being a fireman when she’s bigger and takes great delight in telling me this whenever she gets the chance. Eager to encourage this vocation and, I’m not going to lie, I was very proud of Thing 3 for going against convention with her little girl ambition. No princess dress and fairytale carriage for her. She wants a fire truck!

The Plan

I’m lucky in that one of my friends works in the local fire station so I reached out to see if it would be ok to bring the Things for a short visit. Nothing special, just a visit to get the Things excited. Maybe see a fire engine. He was way more enthusiastic then expected and agreed I should bring them down the next saturday.

What actually happened

OHMYGODITWASTHEBESTDAYEVER. The firemen went all out to give the Things the most amazing day. It started with a test of the alarm so they got to see how emergency calls are put through to the station. After that it was wonderful chaos. I didn’t have time to turn around before each of the Things were off doing activities with 2 of the firemen looking after each. Thing 1 had found that a training body and was trying to drag it across the yard, Thing 2 was trying on breathing masks and Thing 3 was sitting in the front seat of the firetruck pretending she was driving.

It wasn’t all just messing about though and the kids got to learn lots about how the guys would search a house when it’s on fire and full of smoke, they learned how the Fire station worked in terms of how they firemen lived together in the station including where they ate and slept when they were on call.

Already the visit had been brilliant fun but the best was yet to come. We all piled into the back of one of the firetrucks and they proceeded to drive it round the yard with the lights flashing. Then out we hopped out and the hoses came out. The Things all got to fire the hoses in the yard to the point they actually emptied the truck with water and got the added bonus of working with the firemen to fill it up again from the hydrant.

Things review

Of the many adventures we have had this is definitely one that they all loved in equal measure. They all got individual attention from the firemen so there wasn’t a moment for them to be bored or fed up and it was definitely a dream come true to be given that level of access to the station and all the toys within it. 5s across the board from all the Things.

Conclusion

A hard one to repeat but we took our chance when it came up and definitely had a day that will stay with the Things as a very happy memory for a very long time to come.

Dinner Time is Family Time

Sitting together at the dinner table with kids can be a challenge and the Things are no exception. I’ve made it our goal that whenever it’s meal time, be it breakfast, lunch or dinner we sit and eat together. Its a chance for the four of us to talk and importantly, in this era of always on devices, just be present with each other. Now lets not kid ourselves here, it isn’t always an ideal little family moment, there are arguments and tears (sometimes the Things cry too!) but this post is all about how we’ve evolved feeding time to be a fun activity in itself

So what actually happened

Eating together means we really need to eat the same thing so it can be served all at once. There’s obviously cost benefits to making the one meal for the four of us too. Thing 1 has recently shown a knack for cooking and that’s added another dimension to our dining when the Things can help prepare it. If Thing 1 is busy making a bolognese then Thing 2 and Thing 3 get the important responsibility of setting the table. The Things all have their own specific chair and so making them set the table helps reinforce where their spot is in our crew. Once dinner is ready, it’s not served until everyone is sitting at the table. The very important duty falls to Thing 3 to round everyone up. She does her job with gusto and it always makes me smile when I hear her tiny wee voice telling her brother and sister their dinner is ready. Recently we’ve been using some technology to help build the occasion; Thing 2 will do the honours as I bring in the food with a perfectly timed “Alexa, can you play a drumroll please”

When we’re all sitting and eating together, I’m not going to pretend that we have a lively debate and discussion of the political zeitgeist. The usual pulling of teeth occurs when the Things are asked “how was their day” , “how was school” so my tactics have evolved to incorporate different games that we play between mouthfuls to keep everyone talking and (hopefully) laughing.

Story Dice

I invested a fiver in a set of story dice from flying tiger and they sit pride of place in the centre of the table. Whoever is making a good effort to eat their dinner gets to go first. They roll the dice and have to make up a story based on the pictures shown on each of the dice. The Things took to this game far better than expected, not least because one of the pictures is reminiscent of the poo emoji. Nothing like a made-up story about poo to get everyone laughing.

The Animal Game

This is a game I made up when Thing 1 and 2 were a few years younger and is a firm favourite. Whoever’s turn it is (again, doing a good job eating your dinner earns you the right to go first) has to think of an animal and then everyone else has to ask questions to try and guess what the animal is. “Does it live on a farm?” , “Does it have sharp claws?” That kind of thing. Basically it’s a variation on the yes/no game with added rules about taking a decent bite of your dinner before you can ask a question. Thing 2 loves this game because we can never guess the animal he’s thinking of. Usually because it’s an animal he has just invented.

The Teeth Game

Thing 1 brought this game to dinner last year and we have been playing it ever since. Everyone has to take turns saying a fruit or vegetable but you can’t show your teeth when speaking or you are out. This game always has everyone laughing particularly when I try and say aubergine without showing my teeth.

Things Review

Eating together is now our norm and rather than ask the Things to review it I am just happy that it’s a consistently fun time that we spend together and their laughing is all the endorsement needed!

Conclusion

As the Things get older we will adapt and tweak the games and activities but meal time together will always be our thing. My little knights of the round table know that it’s our rally point and when they are in the mood to talk more about their day it’s our safe place to have those chats.

And we’re off…

I’m a Dad. I have 3 kids. They are pains in the arse incredible little humans but they need copious amounts of knowledge, exercise, entertainment, fun, food and laughter to grow into incredible big humans. If we’re going to be doing all this then I might as well exploit them with a blog about it and document our adventures for the world to see. Don’t worry though, I promise they will get an appropriate share of any film or book deal and can stay up past their bedtimes on the night of the premier.