Andrew Wallace Chamings

Andrew Wallace Chamings

Andrew is a British writer in San Francisco. He also contributes to The Atlantic, The Bold Italic and other places. He has two young daughters, a cavapoo and a weird accent.

Father Figures: Uppy Doos

(Andrew Chamings)

“Someone once said to me, ‘one day we put our kids down and never pick them up again’ and I’ve never forgotten it. My oldest daughter is five now and I know soon she won’t want me to carry her anymore.

My youngest is three and I’m making sure that I never say no when she wants ‘uppy doos’ even if that’s when I’m carrying a bag of groceries and walking the dog.”

Andrew Chamings

Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email fatherfigures@thedad.com.

In Defense Of The Dad Joke

In Defense of the Dad Joke
(Getty/Radius Images and Twitter/@chuuew)

From the moment a new father attempts to convince his baby that the thumb pushed between his fingers is in fact his child’s disembodied nose, the dad joke is a big part of fatherhood, like throwing a kid on your shoulders in the park, or teaching them to ride a bike.

Unfortunately the dad joke has become shorthand for a bad joke, but a well-timed “Hi Hungry, I’m Dad!” can be a pure and endearing thing. More than that, it can often be the first communication between a tongue-tied dad and a stubborn teen.


There’s a stereotype with a big old chunk of truth in the middle: some men aren’t great at communicating their feelings. You know who else is bad at communicating? Hormonal kids approaching adolescence. This can lead to a lot of icy cold car journeys and awkward meal times.

The dad joke is a beautiful and innocent method dads have used for generations to get a response from uncommunicative teens. Even if that’s just a groan and a tiny smile out the car window, it can feel like the thawing of the arctic tundra to dad.

What is a Dad Joke?

Dad jokes are short gags that normally involve the often-considered enemy of good comedy: puns. They are not meta, clever, or edgy. They often veer into the so-bad-they’re-good territory, and could be considered guilty pleasures.


The other pure thing about dad jokes is that they are never offensive. Most teen girls would rather throw themselves out of a moving minivan than the topic of sex come up on a family drive. Your son is probably thinking about girls all day, but anytime you even consider mentioning the subject to him he disappears into his stinky room for the winter. The dad joke never veers into the tawdry or raunchy. It’s a safe distraction from the minefield of teenage awkwardness.


Dad jokes are rarely original. The same lines have been echoed through the years, from dad to dad, from 80’s station wagons to rainy baseball practice, from backyard barbecues to sock-scented bouncy castles.

Why Dad Jokes? WHY?

They are not going to change the world, but I can’t imagine a world without them. A dad joke will rarely even make a room full of people laugh, but the simple dad joke is an innocent way of making your changing child laugh at the world. Sure they may be laughing at you not with you, but that’s okay, sometimes that’s enough.

Father Figures: See The World

(Andrew Chamings)

“My dad’s dad died when he was pretty young so he never had any choice but to take over the family dairy farm back in England. So when my brother and I were growing up he really wanted us to go out and see the world, as he never got the chance.

I took him to his word, and now I live 5000 miles away I sometimes wish I was back on the farm so I’d see him every day. At 70 he still works on and lives in the house he was born in.”

Andrew Chamings

Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email fatherfigures@thedad.com.

5 Terrifying British Kids TV Shows They Actually Let Children Watch

(Getty/Flutter_97321)

When you have young children TV can be a godsend. Sure too much screen time can be problematic and cause their brains to turn into mash potato blah blah blah, but when your daughters are trying to vacuum the dog or paint the couch, there are few more satisfying things than yelling “TV time!” And seeing them fly like moths to a flame, and maybe be silent for an hour.

I’m sure our parents felt the same when we were young, except things were a little different back then. I grew up in England where we had only four channels, and kid’s shows would only be on for an hour in the afternoon. Oh and the shows were fucking terrifying. Here are some of British children’s television more insane offerings.

Knightmare

This kids game show started in 1987 and featured some early virtual reality, which is cool. The fact that it was based around a bug-eyed beardy fella called The Dungeonmaster watching actual blindfolded children helplessly stumble around his castle wasn’t that cool. Seriously, look at this poor kid.

Knightmare
(radiotimes.co)

Captain Pugwash

This 70s show has become famous for the (reportedly unfounded) fact that all the characters had very inapropriate names, such as Seaman Staines, Master Bates and Roger the Cabin Boy (in England “roger” is a verb meaning, well, you know). Even the show’s name is apparently an Australian colloquialism for oral sex. And they say that the Brits are sexually repressed.

Captain Pugwash
(YouTube)

Five Children and It

While Americans had Bart Simpson and the Fresh Prince, the BBC decided that British children may fall in love with this adorable little fella. Toy sales were disappointing.

Captain Pugwash
(YouTube)

Bertha

You know what would make a great kid’s character? An anthropomorphized machine that grabbed at passing factory workers. It didn’t.

Five Children And It
(YouTube)

The Trap Door

Pitch: Let’s make an animated horror with a disembodied human skull and the “Thing Upstairs” who would occasionally come down from the castle attic to bathe the protagonist. You know what, even better, let’s make it a kid’s show! I actually remember not being able to sleep due to this shit. See you in hell, the BBC.

The Trap Door
(YouTube)

So next time you’re concerned about what your kids are watching: Why is Caillou bald? Why are these vegetables talking about Jesus? If she’s an explorer why is Dora always lost? Just remember, it could be a whole lot worse.

Parenting With David Hughes

Parenting With David Hughes
(Twitter/david8hughes)

In 2016 legendary Twitter funny man David Hughes, more known for his literary criticism and popularizing the word “fucken” than sharing baby pics, had a son. But David had been teaching his followers the nuances of good parenting for a long time before that.

Here are the parenting tweets, the brutal and fucken hilarious parenting tweets.

Important dadding issues were addressed, such as abandonment…

The importance of knowing what day it is...

The value in teaching your kid the arts...

The need for a good education...

Always being there for your child...

Teaching your child about the wonders of nature...

Playing with your children…

Being an attentive father...

What could go wrong?

Follow @david8hughes on twitter for more invaluable lessons in fatherhood.

Father Figures: Disappearing Accent

(Andrew Chamings)

“I’ve been a stay-at-home-dad for five years now. My incredible wife has the big career in the city. I know she often gets jealous that I get to spend so much time with the girls, and I miss talking to adults during the day, but it works. Because my daughter spent so much time with me she had a hilarious little British accent for a while, but now she’s at kindergarten it’s disappearing.”