On Your Father's Side  

Kids' author scores an idea

This is how you watch World Cup soccer with your family.

First, find a comfy place on the couch. Adjust the TV volume accordingly.

If you have kids, “Jet Engine” is an appropriate level.

Then, assemble your children around you: toddler on the back of the couch and around your neck like a shawl, preschooler on the arm leaning on your shoulder, and first grader in your lap.

Next, answer 832 questions about soccer that often come out sounding like Confucian riddles.

“Dad, which one is Canada?”

“Canada doesn’t play World Cup soccer, dear.”

“Dad, who is the green guy?”

“That’s the goalie.”

“Why him use his hands?”

“Dad, what team is the yellow guy on?”

“That’s the referee; he’s like a policeman.”

“Does him arrest people?”

“No, but he has the power to take away your life and your career with one wave of his arm.”

That’s when you remember subtlety, sarcasm, and nuance are not friends of your children.

It’s about 14 minutes into the game when your wife suddenly develops the energy of a small wind turbine.

She decides it’s now she wants to wax the hardwood floors and proceeds to start the buffer.

You’ll be needed soon to move that new corner bookshelf into the basement bedroom before dragging the old play structure into the front yard because someone is coming around to buy it soon.

You know, in eight hours or maybe tomorrow.

Return to your chair. Find three little girls in your seat and re-adjust them into their starting positions.

You’re back for the last two minutes of stoppage time in the first half, right when the right back from Nigeria fouls Argentina’s winger, setting off a global diplomatic crisis that requires United Nations Security Council declaration to settle.

It’s riveting political drama.

Finally, the winger kicks the ball of bounds, high over the Nigerian goal.

“Dad, does them take breaks?”

“Yes, at halftime.”

“When’s that?”

The referee blows his whistle, and it’s halftime.

Your wife — who must have received a text alert on her phone -— reappears from the roof, needing your help cleaning the gutters.

Thankfully, with games in Russia being played nine to 13 hours ahead of us this year, it’s only 9 a.m. 

On a Tuesday.

And she has to go to work.

Return to your chair. Re-adjust your children for the second half.

Revel in the glory that is being a stay-at-home dad/writer/contract worker with only night shifts scheduled during the World Cup.

Realize, then, you should probably be working. Or, you know, raising your children.

That’s when it hits you.

You have the next great young adult, post-apocalyptic bestselling literary series on your hands. 
Inspiration has struck.

You grab a notebook and start world building and character sketching.

This is the other wonderful thing about being a stay-at-home dad/writer/contractor: scribbling notes while you watch the World Cup with kids surrounding you is “working!”

With kids, you have to get your work in whenever you can.

Probably the most common question I’ve been asked by friends is that. “How did you write three books with kids?”

I give my fingernails a little “huh-huh” and polish them on my lapel with a jaunty smile, then, tell them, “I have no freakin’ idea.”

It’s all a blur.

I admit that when I wrote my first book, I only had one child and another on the way, so it was slightly easier.
We couldn’t leave the house, either, so it was a good excuse to squirrel away into the basement and write.

The first two books were also written in the fall, right around Halloween.

Tiny little Snickers bars are great writing fuel. I write at about 96 Snickers for every draft of a story.

My “books” are also shorter than you would guess. They’re roughly 23,500 words (plus or minus 10 per cent), and that makes life more manageable.

I also wrote them for “reluctant readers,” meaning kids who struggle to read or who lack motivation to pry themselves from a screen.

Are they Dick and Jane? No, but they’re not The Hunger Games, either.

That’s today’s lesson: if you want to write, don’t wait.

You’re not going to suddenly “find” them time as life marches ahead.

Not with a World Cup to watch, three children to parent, and the next YA bestseller to write.

Incidentally, it’s about a boy who helps his post-apocalyptic government settle a political dispute by volunteering as tribute in a winner-take-all bloodsport.

It’s called The Soccer Games.

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About the Author

David Trifunov is a proud father, humble author and recovering journalist.

Trifunov and his wife, Erin, are raising three little girls in Kelowna and enjoying every second of the trials, triumphs and tribulations.

As a humble author, he has written three middle-grade books for publisher Formac-Lorimer.

To pay the bills so he can raise those kids and write those books, Trifunov is a journalist with 20 years of experience as a reporter and editor.

His parenting column will appear regularly. davidtrifunov.ca

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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