Graeme when I’m upstairs, Daddy when I’m down

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I said to my wife the other day, “You’re always shouting at people. You need to chill out.”

I gave her a gingerbread man to help calm her down but she ate the face off him.

All joking aside my wife doesn’t shout at people very much at all.

She only really gives off at me and only when I’ve pushed her to her absolute limit and I really deserve it.

Taking that into account I’d say I’m subject to the sharp end of her tongue on roughly an hourly basis.

The other day I was upstairs whiling away the hours doing something trivial and unimportant. Karen guldered up the stairs for me. It took a whilefor me to hear her calls.

Eventually I heard my name ringing out and came downstairs to find Lucy redecorating the rug with sultanas and story books, and Ben trying to eat his own fist.

A few days later I was upstairs again and I heard little Lucy at the foot of the stairs repeatedly shouting something I couldn’t make out.

I moved to the landing so I could hear her better.

“Game,” she called.

I pondered as to what game it was she wanted to play. Probably some form of endurance test which involved me getting covered in sweet potato, I guessed.

I listened more intently and it dawned on me she was calling my name.

“Graeme,” shouted my daughter from her hollering post at the foot of the stairs.

“Graeme,” she cried in her most adorable of tones. I almost melted.

At the same time it felt a bit weird. It is very unnerving when your baby daughter calls you by your first name, though not quite as disturbing as when your mum uses your nickname.

Thankfully when I returned downstairs Lucy called me ‘Daddy’.

It would seem when I’m upstairs I’m Graeme, but when I’m downstairs I’m Daddy. I haven’t worked out yet if she’s got a name for me when I’m in the shed or the garage.

Lucy’s powers of memory are really starting to impress. For example, when she hears the microwave ding or the oven timer sound she climbs into her seat ready for food.She also knows where her favourite DVDs are hidden and, rather sweetly, she knows that when Ben cries he needs a gentle kiss on the head to make him feel better.

She’s also got clued in to my work routine so when I leave the house in the morning with my car keys in hand she’s able to tell any visitors that day, “Daddy at work”.

Sadly a child’s powers of lateral thinking can be thrown by slight deviations to routine.

On Sunday morning I went out to play football and she was convinced I was going to work.

Having got it into her head that I was chasing stories in Lurgan, she figured logically that the next person to arrive at the house would be her granddad, who visits regularly to spoil her rotten when I’m at work and take some of the pressure off Karen.

When I got back from the football she charged down the hall to meet me, I bent down for a big hug, but upon realising I wasn’t her ‘Pappy’ she turned and walked away, without a thought for my feelings.

People say kids at Lucy’s age are like a sponge.

I couldn’t agree more.

Just the other day I spilt Ben’s milk all over the kitchen floor. I let Lucy roll around in it for a couple of minutes and sure enough the worst of it was soaked up.