Growing pains

Our kids are growing up fast, too fast and I’m getting left behind.
4 years ago, Zach was 14 and Rhys was 10, they had typical characteristics of children that age, head too big for body, small teeth with 2 great big ones at the front.
They both looked up at me with great admiration and awe, perhaps in the same way I might look up at my heroes, Mr-T and Manco.

We used to watch them playing together with Lego and toy cars, talking in American accents as they rolled around on the floor in an imaginary world of fun.
Sure they would bicker too and eventually their American accent would turn into an English whine “I hate you, I hate you, Mum! Zach stole my red Lego brick”

When they were 16 and 12, the Lego was replaced with toy guns and school bags disguised as army issue back packs.
Crawling around in the garden and arguing who should be dead from the others imaginary bullet.
Zach was older (still is) so naturally he would always be a sniper, which always seemed a tad unfair on poor Rhys ashe ran about the garden in a panic, wondering where the next invisible bullet was coming from.

I would watch them enjoying being kids from the kitchen where I would be doing grown up stuff, I decided to inform my wife that I never actually grew up and that it was only my body that continued to grow after the age of 12.
I believe her answer was a sarcastic one “Really? You kept that very quiet”
This in my book was the all clear to quit acting older than I was and to buy myself a nerf gun at the earliest opportunity, which is what I did.
During our grown up supermarket trip I bought myself a plastic shotgun which fires foam bullets.
It was pretty cool really, it had pump action loading and cartridges that dispersed every round.
Pleased with myself, I returned home to play army with the kids.
Now seeing as I am half adult, whether I like it or not, I do have responsibilities and therefore I couldn’t justify spending more than £15.00 on a toy gun, but the boys however had guns worth 6 times that which they had put their Christmas money towards.

So there I was, bandana around forehead, shotgun in hand, bursting through the kid’s bedroom door and POP! POP! Emptied both rounds with great accuracy straight into the backs of their heads.
As I scrambled around on the floor desperately trying to find my foam bullets and plastic cartridges, the boys both grabbed their preloaded, battery operated, 50 round magazine, scoped rifles and left me buried under a mound of foam bullets before continuing with their computer game as though nothing had happened.
From this moment I learned to only shoot them when they were less expecting an attack, like when they were asleep.
If they attempted to reach for their guns I would quickly revert back to being a parent and tell them off for not being asleep.

Apart from guns, the boys would frequently come on bike rides with me where we would find and collect drift wood from the river.  Once I remember we carted so much back at once we looked like a couple of sheds on wheels.
Once, on our journey towards the sea wall, me and Rhys stopped alongside a field of peas and gathered some to snack on.
Once up upon the windy sea wall we tasted some only to discover they tasted like crap and spat them out.
My spit however was caught in the sea breeze and rendered Rhys’ entire face with the green mush.
Oh, how we laughed.
We still reminisce about the time when I peed in Rhys’ face on the sea wall.

Rhys has now ditched not only Lego and guns but life itself for the Xbox.
Zach is now 4 feet taller than me and has swapped the toys for rugby, alcohol and porn.
I am pretty sure if I was to barge into their room wielding a plastic shotgun the only reaction I would get would be in the form of a 3 letter word “gay”

In an evil quest to make me feel aged, the boys both play the very dangerous game of rugby and whilst they run around on the pitch getting jumped all over, my wife and I stand at the side lines moaning about our aching joints.
The boys have banished their guns to the depths of our loft and I eventually gave in to my wife’s constant nagging and gave my shotgun to my nephew Vince.
My parents did bring me back a lightsaber from Disney world recently, which I shall keep safe until my boys reach their 30’s and become immature enough to play with me again.
Until then, when home alone, I shall build my dog Jasper  a body armour made from tin cans and dress myself as HE-MAN.


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