Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Everyday superheroes : Super 'Pappy'

Welcome to the March 2014 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Everyday Superheroes
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have talked about the remarkable people and characteristics that have touched their lives. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
For my 4 year old a superhero is very much someone who saves others. So when he told me that 'Pappy' (his grand dad, my dad) had saved him I could just picture my 83 years old dad posing as Super Pappy, in cape and... well, tights. I'm sure DH won't thank me for putting that image in his head but never mind! The point is that it was really sweet.

The story was that we were on holidays in France while DH was still in the UK, working. We'd been to the beach in our London taxi.

Kids, granny, body boards, buckets, spades, all jumbled up at the back of the car, the children requiring of their grand mother to play games with them while she was trying her hardest to do so without being sick (she's a bit sensitive to travel sickness). Then I heard the tale telling flap flap flap flap of a flat tyre and stopped on the kerb of the road (thank goodness there was a kerb to stop on!).
Now, our taxi is a heavy car (more than 1 and a half tonne) with big, heavy wheels. I have had my share of shabby cars and I know how to change a tyre or check the oil. But on the Fairway Driver, with 4 children and a granny, on the side of a very busy, quite fast going road? I was pretty sure I wouldn't manage to do it. And I didn't have much faith either in my dad being able to do it to be honest.

I know you must be thinking, but if the grand dad was the hero of the story surely he did change the flat tyre in the end... Well, no. We called a recovery van (DH did, from England!) and started to wait after having spent already a little time faffing about, finding a recovery company, etc. The children were getting hungry and tired, worried too, so my dad offered to come in his car and take most of the children (except for my then 22 month old who would not have been happy to leave me) and my mum, back home.

So he came, the knight in slippers and Volkswagen Polo. The children, still in their swimming costumes, piled up happily in the smaller car with the promise of dinner when they arrived at my parents' house. And that's what prompted DS, later that night when I was putting him to bed and telling a story of his day, to add to the story 'And Pappy saved me!'.

That elevation of my dad to hero status took afterwards a different significance for me as he suffered a stroke in November. He lost the ability to use language (in speech or writing) and the mobility in his right hand. Knowing that his two passions in life are drawing (he's an artist by profession) and talking, it's been quite hard on him. He is very strong willed though and determined to recover what he's lost. He has become independent again in everyday life as soon as could be expected and he's now working hard at learning again how to communicate and use the fine motor skills of a right handed person (he has regained some movement in his right hand but he can't always feel if what he wants to grab and hold is actually in his hand).

That's hero's stuff, isn't it ?!

To finish the story of the flat tyre... DS had been saved by Super Pappy but the taxi was still in the ditch with its, as DS called it, 'black tyre'. The recovery van arrived and it appeared that I had been right : neither me nor my dad could have changed the tyre. As it is even the recovery guy couldn't do it at first! He'd been coming straight from wherever he was, with his standard tyre changing kit, but for the taxi he needed to go back to his workshop and get the lorry kit... Yes. So a bit of going to and fro followed. He dropped me (and DB) at my parents'. I put everyone to bed and was even lucky that DB went to sleep on the breast and allowed me to deposit her on the bed, just before the mechanic came back. We went back to where the taxi was (by then it was dark), he changed the tyre and I could finally drive back to my parents' (it turned out we had stopped only a few hundred yards from the town, where we could have parked the car on a proper parking space and walked home...) at the rather ungainly hour of 11.20 pm.

But... it was almost worth it for the story of Pappy the superhero in the end :)

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be updated by afternoon March 11 with all the carnival links.)
  • I Am A Super Hero — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares how she learned the hard way exactly what it means to be a real super hero and not a burned out shell of a human simply pretending to be one.
  • Quiet Heroics — Heroism doesn't have to be big and bold. Read how Jorje of Momma Jorje is a quiet hero…and how you probably are, too.
  • Not a Bang, but a Whisper {Carnival of Natural Parenting} — Meegs at A New Day talks about the different types of "superheroes," ones that come in with a bang and ones that come in with a whisper.
  • Silent courage of motherhood in rural Cambodia — Nathalie at Kampuchea Crossings marvels at how rural Khmer women defy the odds in childbirth.
  • Super PappyMother Goutte's little boy met a superhero in checked slippers and Volkswagen Polo, his grand dad: Super Pappy!
  • An Open Letter to Batman — Kati at The Best Things challenges Batman to hold up his end of the deal, in the name of social justice, civic duty, and a little boy named Babe-O!
  • My Village — Kellie at Our Mindful Life reflects on the people who helped her to become her best self.
  • 5 Lessons My Kids Taught Me — Children are amazing teachers, when we only stop to listen. They remind us to choose happiness, to delight in the small things, to let go and forgive. There is so much we can learn from our children. Justine at The Lone Home Ranger shares a few of the lessons she's learned.
  • Could you use some superpowers? — Tat at Mum in search shares a fun activity to help you connect with your own superpowers.
  • Like Fire Engines — Tam at tinsenpup tells the story of the day she saw a surprising superhero lurking in the guise of her not entirely mild-mannered four-year-old daughter.
  • Everyday Superheroes — Erica at ChildOrganics shares her list of Walker Warburg Syndrome Superheroes that have touched her life forever.
  • My Superhero of the Week: Nancy GallagherTribal Mama muses about the transcendent things her superhero mom has done.
  • My choice in natural birth does not make me a super hero — Bianca, The Pierogie Mama, discusses her thoughts on her experience with the perception of natural birth and putting those mamas on a different level. Does giving birth naturally give cause for an extra pat on the back? No! All mamas, no matter how they birth, are superheroes.
  • Someone's Hero — Sometimes being a parent means pretending to be a grown-up, but it always means you are someone's hero. Read Mandy's lament at Living Peacefully with Children.
  • Growing into a Super Hero — Casey at Joyful Courage shares how owning our behavior and choosing to be a better parent, a better person, is an act of courage.
  • A Math Superhero — Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling writes that her 7-year-old daughter's superhero is an MIT-trained mathematician.
  • It Starts With Truffula Trees And Tulips — Luschka of Diary of a First Child takes a hard look at the realities of her relationship with her mother, and through this post goes on a journey of discovery that ends in a surprise realisation for her.
  • We Don't Need an Excuse — Maria Kang (aka "Hot Mom") asks women #WhatsYourExcuse for not being in shape? Dionna at Code Name: Mama asks Hot Mom what her excuse is for not devoting her life to charity work, or fostering dozens of stray dogs each year, or advocating for the needs of others. Better yet, Code Name: Mama says, how about we realize that every woman has her own priorities. Focus on your own, and stop judging others for theirs.
  • It's not heroic when you're living it — Lauren at Hobo Mama knows from the inside that homeschooling does not take a hero, and that much of what we choose as parents is simply what works best for us.
  • Superheroes, princesses and preschoolers — Garry at Postilius discusses why his preschool-age son is not ready for comic book superheroes.
  • The Loving Parents of Children with Special Needs – Everyday Superheroes — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares posts with resources for parents of children with special needs along with posts to help others know how to support parents of children with special needs.
  • Everyday Empathy — Mommy Giraffe of Little Green Giraffe shares why her secret superpower is everyday empathy.
  • The Simplicity of Being a Superhero — Ana at Panda & Ananaso explains what superheroes mean to her wise three-year-old.
  • My Father, The Hero — Fathers are pretty amazing; find out why Christine at The Erudite Mom thinks hers is the bees knees.


  1. Aw, that's really sweet. I'm so glad your kids have that memory of their Pappy saving the day!

  2. Flat tires by a busy road are awful! So glad it worked out - and that both the kids and Pappy get a nice memory out of it :-)

  3. What a beautiful story. Your dad really is a superhero. I hope he recovers some of those superpowers soon!
    Thanks for lovely comment on my blog too.

  4. I love children's perspectives! It really is true that Pappy saved him (from certain boredom) — how sweet. :)

  5. We have a Pappy and this story gave me a little chuckle as I pictured our Pappy in this story. I love the innocence of childhood and your dad certainly is a hero. ;)

  6. It can be so easy to stumble into a hero role in a child's eyes. :) What a cool story!

  7. I can see how that would definitely feel like being saved :) Such a sweet story to have of your Pappy!

  8. I'm glad to hear Super Pappy is healing after his stroke. His super powers (and more to the point, his grandchildren) can only help his recovery. ;) This is a lovely story.

  9. Thank you, everyone, for your lovely comments! xx