First you need to make sure dad is ready to walk. But as you know, the common-or-garden dad can be a sleeper so make sure, if he is asleep, that you wake him gently. Remember, dads can be a little grumpy if they are woken too quickly; so, without giggling, whisper in his ear - (careful of the ear hair) – ‘dad – walkies’.
Our recommendation is that you leave his bedside and vacate the room as the dad leaving the bed is not a pretty sight. There can be a great deal of scratching. The head can look like it might flip-top off like a Grolsch bottle as the last of the massive yawns takes place. And if your dad is of the toothless breed, gums can be off-putting to the ill-informed.
Classic dad's always make their way to the bathroom on leaving the nest. We are not too sure what actually happens in there. Some say it can be a ritual that involves facial hair removal. Others say that they hear prayers being chanted to various gods. Demands made in grunts, ‘what the hell did I eat last night’ – ‘where are my socks’ and ‘coffeeeeee....’ This last one can be said very loudly. Ignore them all. Let the dad get ready on his own. Pandering and engaging with him through these rituals can lead to dramatic outcomes. Blame can be cast far and wide and you do not want to get caught in the crossfire as this can lead to a silent walk.
When the dad is fresh, both in odour and facial hair with teeth that are hosed and re-grouted, the transformation can be incredible. In the olden days, back in the 80's many dad owners (Children) used to think that different dads roamed the house. The Saturday morning dad was especially gruesome, and it was only after serious investigation that it was proved that Friday night dad and Saturday morning dad were actually one and the same who had been transformed overnight by a substance called beer. If this happens again you will know as the dad will blame various food items for making him feel awful, he will also run around the house looking for his wallet holding his head. Let him motor on as it helps with clearing the nausea many dads can feel after what is termed a bad kebab.
Dads will need to eat before a walk. Cereal is preferred if there is any in the house - but if he wants to grab a banana and an old slice of pizza - again, just let him - he knows best and take it from me, after many years of dad rearing, arguing with him about when and what he eats is a task better left to the professionals.
Once outside and before you set off, make sure your dad has his keys, the found wallet and his phone. His phone is most important as it will be called frequently by his wife as he walks. He does not need a lead, just a firm grip of the hand. Let him decide where to go, and whatever you do, do not question his decision in the direction he chooses. They like to think they are right and have knowledge of their surroundings, but as we all know, this is an old wives’ tale. Once they do get lost, direct them wisely and make sure you accept that they know where they were all the times. He can raise his voice in denial when asked, "dad, are we lost?" - and it can be a fun game to play with your dad, nodding in his nomadic prowess knowing full well he has no clue where he is heading.
After about 15 minutes of walking most dads enter a Zen state of mind where all their troubles vanish and they become, quite literally putty in your hands. At cafes and shops, they will open their wallets for you - ice-creams and jeans are the main objects of desire you can elicit from him. It has been known that two-scoops and even jeans worn by celebrities can be leveraged if you just say, ‘yes’ to everything the dad asks!
Have you completed your homework? - have you done your washing? - have you been to see your gran? Yes, to all of these coupled with a gentle squeeze of his hand and you will be able to get anything, and I mean anything you desire. The more experience you get with dad walking you will learn the techniques of the old world. A certain look - skipping and our favourite - really liking his choices in music, politics and fashion and letting him think he is right ALL THE TIME (this can be very hard to master) pay handsome dividends.
Do not walk him too far as dad-knees can ache and a dad-bad-back can begin to change moods, so watch out for the tell-tale signs. These are what we term “the blame game". You will hear gripes like, ‘mum is to blame’ – ‘the bed is too hard’ – ‘the sofa is too soft’ – ‘his boss too demanding’ – ‘the car too old’ and the garden too ‘gardenly’. Sometimes even the cat can get the blame. Again, ignore, ignore and ignore – nothing is to be gained by engaging in a dad-health debate. And the older your dad gets - the worse the moaning.
Once home your dad will be rested - engaged and good-natured for the best part of the day. You will also feel a sense of pride in this act of kindness you have shown to your dad and if you were fortunate, you will have been able to offload all your worries and concerns onto his shoulders - guilt-free!
Dads should be walked at least once a week to keep them keep fit and healthy. And as we have come to learn, an engaged, healthy and cleaned up dad is ‘almost’ the perfect companion any child will need.
Happy Father’s Day dad - let's go for a walk.