4 Years, 7 Months & 1 Week into Daddyhood


When Katy Ashworth singled me out for my enthusiastic dancing, during the ‘Meet and Greet’ at Merry Hill on Thursday, I was inordinately pleased with myself. Not just because Katy is lovely (which she undeniably is), but because it got me thinking about what has led to this point.


Let’s apply a little more context…

We queued for nearly an hour to get a ticket, then we waited another hour and a quarter, upon which we were finally let into the makeshift enclosure, whereupon Talise and the other kiddiwinks, along with some parents (mainly mums), stuck stickers on notebooks. When stickers had been stuck (including letters making up the names of the children – a canny move on the part of the organisers, reducing the potential for Katy making errors pertaining to such), everyone moved down to the mat in front of the little stage, whereupon, after a few minutes… the lovely Ms Ashworth arrived!


We (myself, Mummy and Talise) had bagged ourselves a prime spot, right in the middle of the mat, such that when Katy (who was standing just a couple of metres in front of us) launched into the Washing Up Song, there was no option to slink away into obscurity. Not that I wanted to – not I!

“Do you all know the words?”


“And the mums and dads?”

“You do, don’t you, Dad?” said Talise, as she turned smiling towards me.

Yes! – I nodded enthusiastically.

And off we went…

Roll up your sleeves!

[rolling up sleeves motion]

And give your hands a wash
With slippy-dippy soap!

[washing hands motion]

Splish splash splosh!

[alternating starbursts with hands]

Have you done your hands?
Washed and dryed?

[more hand washing and drying]

Sleeves rolled up,

[rolling up sleeves]

Apron tied.

[hands behind back as if tying apron]

What can you do?

[alternating hands splayed to sides in a ‘What can you do?’ gesture]

I can cook!

[pointing to self with both hands, then both hands splayed to sides again]


I tell you, I was there! I was giving it some with the words and actions, like a CBeebies pro! And Katy noticed me! And commented thereto! I was, of course, flattered – but more to the point, it did, as previously mentioned, get me thinking about stuff.

I was under no illusions that the marvellous Ms Ashworth noticed me because I was the most handsome man there (although one can dream) – more likely, as was later pointed out to me by the missus, that I was one of only about two or three dads on the mat, and the only one to actually join in with stuff rather than ‘play it cool’. Because that’s the kind of guy I am!

And that’s the point. I love all this stuff! Sitting on a mat full of kids, singing the Washing Up Song, gazing up at CBeebies royalty… what’s not to love?


I was thinking only recently about how I will feel sad when Talise moves out of CBeebies-land. It’s not just a TV channel, it’s a way of life. Seriously! Well sort of seriously. It represents Talise’s early childhood – and my early dadhood. And its presenters, especially the longstanding ones like Katy Ashworth, are people we have grown up with. We know these people (kind of). They have been there for us during a pretty monumental phase of our life – in a manner of speaking.

CBeebies Presenters

On a personal level, what people like Katy Ashworth represent is a substantial shift in my personality and aspirations. This may sound like a pretty lofty assertion to make in reference to the presenter of a kids’ cookery programme… but there it is! Since the beginning of dadhood (with the help of CBeebies), I have grown from someone who at best tolerates small children, into someone who appreciates, enjoys and relishes their energy, enthusiasm and boundless journey of discovery and innocent fun. I appreciate the comedy of Mr Tumble! And I laughed along with the kids at Merry Hill, when Katy taught them the language of Banana Island – involving substituting every word for banana. Genius!


I am not one of those parents who never wants their child to grow up. I have mentioned before on this blog that I am looking forward to every stage of Talise’s life. As much as this remains true, however, I do feel that I will miss this stage of innocent fun and the enthusiasm of learning and discovery. Talise’s communication skills are now such that we can have an interesting conversation and share a joke, but she is not yet so ‘mature’ that she doesn’t appreciate the value of bounding around, pulling funny faces and having a tickle. And she is not yet so self-conscious that she doesn’t want her parents to join in with such shenanigans.

The joy at being singled out by Katy is a joy of realisation. I am a child! And I never want to stop being one. But as much as I will always enjoy being Talise’s dad, she will grow up – and the kids in the class I am presently working in are entering teenhood. So what to do? How to remain in touch with that not-so-inner child? Become a CBeebies presenter? Nah, too old. Children’s entertainer? I think not. Attempt to steer my career in the direction of primary education, with an emphasis on the performing arts? Hmm, thinking on…




Katy Ashworth on Twitter
Merry Hill Shopping Centre
I Can Cook