Keep your kids away from hard cash '“Â Kieran HowardÂ
Every now and then I spot a news story about a toddler involved in expensive mischief, and I just smile contently to myself.
The grinÂ on my face is out of sheer relief that it isn't Louie who's cost us money in one unbelievable way or another. I read one such story last week. It involved an exceptionally unfortunate family in Utah. As a direct result of their nightmare ordeal, any designs the Howards had of purchasing a shredder, have been banished forever. In short, two-year-old Leo Belnap annihilated more than $1,000 (over Â£750) of his parents' money, which had, up until that point, been safely placed in an envelope. The $1,060 in cash had been saved to pay back relatives who had bought them some American football tickets.Â Having searched high and low for the money, they finally turned to their shredder, only to discover that the notes had been torn into hundreds of pieces.Â Fortunately, the treasury department there have said they may be able to replace the money on the family's behalf. I know I wouldn't be that lucky. The closest we've come to a similar disaster is when Louie gave one of the dogs a Â£10.Â Thankfully for us, as we quickly found out, a canine shredder isn't nearly as efficient as its electronic equivalent.
I've made it to '˜proper' dad status with my odd socks
I've learned a lot this last week, but sadly most of it centres around socks and goats.Â I'll begin with the feet warmers and leave the goats cliffhanger until next week.Â
So, it turns out there's good, bad and catastrophic times to discover you're wearing odd socks.Â
The good is when you're still at home and haven't yet put your shoes on to leave the house.Â
The bad is when you realise you've made the same basic sock faux-pas while already in the car and more than halfway to work.Â
The catastrophic is when you reveal your inability to dress properly while with family at Staunton Country Park.
It's when you've just been summoned by your toddler to join him in the soft play area, and there's fellow mums and dads as far as the eye can see.Â
They're all more than capable of locking their gaze onto your feet at any given moment, and can easily spot what's covering your plates of meat as you begin to remove your trainers.Â I was placed in that very awkward position last week.
I'd removed one half of my footwear and had not even a hint of cause for alarm.Â I then pulled off the left shoe to display a scene which, for me at that very moment, resembled something from a horror movie.Â
I'd managed to select two grey socks, which was superb. Unfortunately, however, the colours and patterns printed on each were poles apart.
It wasn't a subtle mistake either. It was out there for the whole world to notice and Â question.Â
I had three choices at this point. I could either hurriedly put my trainers back on, pretend nothing had happened, and disappoint Louie, who was starting to look a little confused himself.Â
I could just go barefoot and expose my size 11 clown feet to more than 20 complete strangers. Or, I could plough on, forget what I'd just observed, wait for the blushing to fade, and occasionally hide my feet under one of the larger soft play shapes.Â
I opted for the latter,because I'd weighed everything else up and knewÂ humiliation wasÂ favourable than a screaming toddler.Â
Thankfully, nobody picked me up on it, and any sniggering aimed in my direction wasn't audible.Â This incident proves I'm well on the road to becoming a proper dad thoughÂ way sooner than I'd previously expected. And by '˜proper', IÂ mean embarrassing.Â
I've already got the dad dancing nailed on and now just need to start wearing sandals with socks to complete the mission.Â
Louie confirmed his highlight of our Staunton trip was the soft play. In stark contrast, I can reveal it wasn't mine.