Friday, 29 June 2012

Growing Up

Our little girl is growing up.

From September last year to April of this, otherwise known, in my brain at least, as the Dark Ages, I looked after our daughter by myself for two and a half days a week.   My wife worked four days a week, I worked two and a half and so it fell that I was in sole charge of the beast Tuesday afternoons, Wednesdays and Fridays.  In April my wife gave up her job to look after N full time.  So now I don’t really have any time alone with N.

Until today.  My wife went out from 9-5 today, to attend a Phoenix card trader’s conference, check out the website here.  She went out so it was just me and the child left in the house together.  Alone.  With no adult supervision.  Not a responsible person within 100 yards.  And the two of us had a great day, which was surprising.  I have a great time playing with my daughter, but when I had to look after her by myself before, at least one of us, and occasionally both,  would often be left as a frazzled mess by the end of the day, just desperate for mummy to come back, toys strewn in piles, kitchen utensils flung to the far corners of the house, and smoking holes in the walls.  Today, however, neither of us ended up like that.  When mummy returned she found two people serenely enjoying each other’s company calmly sitting in the lounge just taking in the latest in Thomas the Tank Engine stories.  I believe I have officially graduated and I am henceforth awarding myself the coveted Dad level 2 badge, and its only taken me 18 months.  I‘m so proud.  You can all congratulate me later.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Behold My Works

I’m hot.  This makes me grumpy, and sweeps away any vestiges of comedic ability that I might have.  Which is not great when there is a blog post to write and funnies to be made.  However, in the midst of my wallowing in self pity, which is generally the case with me when the temperature gets up above 20 degrees, about 70 Fahrenheit for those of you who speak foreign, I began to wonder about the little girl, whether she was feeling as hot and grumpy as me.  It would certainly explain the fact that she has just completely demolished one of her toys.  Literally, it is sat in bits in the middle of the floor right now looking reproachfully at me as I write this instead of fixing it.

Hang on, just wait there a moment please.

There, sorry about that, it’s done now, back in pristine condition waiting to be pulled apart again .  Which brings me to a question that I want to ask.  Why is my daughter such a destructoid?  I can foresee a great career in wrecking for her.  I think her dream holiday would be a tour of Britain’s 100 biggest demolition sites.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Water Baby

Have you ever tried to bathe a fish?  You know, give it a really good scrub, get its scales all gleaming and sparkly.  No, me neither, really it was a foolish question, but now that the idea is in your head let me give you a taste of bath night in our house.  It involves no fish, but a fairly good substitute.

Bath night is exciting, mostly for little Miss Jones (we have about a million things that we call our daughter, the vast majority of which are in no way related to her actual name, or any distinguishing features, they just tend to be the first things that pop into our heads.  Some stick, some fall by the wayside in the manner of someone that has just developed a cramp and needs to wait to let it ease off while the rest of the party goes on ahead.  Many of these names will crop up on the blog, I’ll try to flag up that it is the daughter that I am talking about, but sometimes might forget.  Just assume it is).

I think we’ll try that paragraph again, it having been hijacked somewhat. 

Bath night is exciting, mostly for little Miss Jones, less so for her two frazzled parents.  The cycle runs something like this.  She loves going in the bath, hates having her hair washed and then is absolutely determined never to leave the bath in her life once the hair is washed.  There is a very fixed routine for the bath.  Each of the various stages coming with their own particular challenges and dangers.

Friday, 22 June 2012

She's a girl!

Shopping has never been my favourite activity.  Along with millions of other men, I dreaded a shopping trip and would spend the entire time making snide comments about anything and everything.  Being a father has not really changed my feelings towards shopping, it has, however, ramped up my dread for these occasions.

I first noticed a real change in the shopping experience when people suddenly started stopping us to look at the Buglet and chat to us.  This caught me totally by surprise, it was not a practice in which I had engaged before having the child and I was just not expecting complete strangers to strike up a conversation amongst the processed meats.  For a start, why couldn’t they have picked a more exotic aisle to examine my child in?

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

A question of children

I had an interview today.  It went quite well thank you.  Why is it that you always come out of an interview feeling like you must have sounded like a complete idiot, as though you have been answering the questions in Hebrew, whilst standing on your head and juggling with your feet.  Or is it just me?  And anyway, if I had done all of those things I think they should just give me the job, who else do you know that can speak Hebrew and juggle with their feet?

All of this interview stuff got me thinking, unfortunately none of it was fit to publish as a blog post so I did what I always do in tight corners and asked my wife what I should write about.  That, by the way, is not the best question to ask when the tight corner you are in is surrounded by panthers. So here we are, with a simple question to answer.  What would you ask if you were interviewing prospective parents?

Monday, 18 June 2012

They're not Terry's, they're ours, unfortunately.

7 years ago today I watched the woman of my dreams walk up the aisle towards me as I waited to become a married man, and whilst this blog isn’t about me and her I feel like it is appropriate to take a little time to think about 7 wonderful years.

Enough time?  Good, now back to the calamities. 

We use cloth, reusable nappies, the majority of which are shaped.  Just like this.

I'll never look this clean ever again

 However, we also have some square terry nappies, which are just like this. 
Doesn't look like it could make a grown man cry does it?

Friday, 15 June 2012

The Name's M, just M

In 1888 Bertha Benz, (incidentally, what a name!) the wife of Karl, took to the road in what is considered to be the first long distance car journey, proving the roadworthiness of the invention and ushering in the age of traffic jams and road-rage.  Therefore, in a round-about way, I believe that I am perfectly entitled to blame her for what I am about to relate, seeing as how without some form of internal combustion engine I would not have been able to get to the registry office.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Here are a few of my favourite things

One of the great things about being a new parent is all the really incredibly disgusting things that you suddenly get to try out first hand.  No, really, I distinctly remember whilst I was growing up yearning for the day when I would get to wipe the snot off my baby’s face with my bare hands because she needed to look good and there was nothing else available.  If there is one thing that new parents learn it’s that there are no lengths they will not go to for their child.  Anyway, here is my, totally non-exhaustive (believe me, there are some things that are just too horrendous to use electrons on), list of things that I never imagined I would do, guess where the snot thing comes.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

The First Word is the Hardest.

First words are tricky things, both for the child and the parent.  For the child it is the moment that they introduce themselves.  This is what people are going to be talking about in twenty years time.  “Yes, well, my Johnny’s first word was kumquat, so beat that,” your parents will say in just one more attempt to keep up with the Joneses, (as everyone knows, Martha Jones’ first word was triceratops as she stood in the Natural History museum pointing out the spelling mistake to the curator.  We just can’t hope to keep up.)  First words stay with us, you really want them to be something big, something important, something Descartes would have been proud to have said, and let’s be honest, isn’t there a moment in all of our lives when we wish we’d been the first to say cogito ergo sum? Just me?  Oh well. 

Monday, 11 June 2012

A Brief Intermission

Uh Oh.  Sorry to everyone who has come here expecting some new wit and wisdom as per the schedule.  Unfortunately, what with being on holiday last week, going back to work today and then being out this evening there are no new wonderful words to delight and amuse you.  I'm sorry about this, but promise that there will be something tomorrow related to babies, fatherhood and probably some major mishap, perhaps even resulting in a fire.

In the meantime why don't you have a quick gander at this, The Scale of the Universe.  A stunning interactive scrollable journey through the universe from the very smallest things which exist only as potentials in string theory, to the estimated size of the universe.  The music gets a bit much after a while though so you will probably want to turn that off.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Such Sweet Sorrow

We say goodbye all the time.  At work, at home, we are constantly bidding people farewell.  So you’d think we’d be quite good at it.  A cheery wave off and away we go to the next thing.  But it’s not quite like that is it?  Especially not when you are saying goodbye to your first child for the first time.

As with most fathers I got the statutory two weeks paternity leave, which was wonderful, thank you HM Government.  Being able to be with my newborn for a fortnight was brilliant,  and also an absolute necessity as I don’t think I could have coped with suddenly plunging into the world of sleep deprived nights and constant attention to a new person during the day.  I couldn’t have done it if I was having to go to work as well.  So  paternity leave, all in all, a good thing and I am glad that it was available to me.  But two weeks does not last forever.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

A Perpetual Holiday

When did going on holiday become such a chore?  Actually I can pinpoint the exact time.  It was the point at which we had our first child and suddenly the amount of stuff and junk that we had to try to fit into the car expanded exponentially.  From being a couple who packed fairly lightly we turned into a family for whom the kitchen sink just wasn’t enough.  If we haven’t got all the kitchen cupboards and the bread bin then we haven’t been trying hard enough.  

Monday, 4 June 2012

Tempus Fugit

One of the things you notice when you have a child is that the things about which you never gave a moment’s thought in your previous life suddenly become tasks which require the utmost concentration, dedication and Olympian levels of determination.  There are countless tales that all parents can tell of how their lives slowed down to a snail’s pace at the moment that they became parents.  Here is just one of mine.

Time is not the most static of things.  It jumps forward in fits and bursts, struggling to get out of first gear some days and yet leaping ahead at other times, surging to drag you with it and leaving you gasping and wondering what just happened as the morning evaporates around you.  This was one of those days.  Mummy had gone to work and N and I were just finishing off our breakfast.  Let me paint the picture for you because that is rather more innocuous and innocent sounding than it actually was. 

Friday, 1 June 2012

Four Hours

Have you ever tried ice-skating?  I wouldn't recommend it.  There's the moment, looking out over the unpolluted ice when the possibilities seem endless.  Your brain pictures you sailing unobstructed, with a grace normally reserved for soaring birds or swimming dolphins.  Then your legs take over, you step out onto the rink and all thoughts of birds in flight are swiftly dispelled by the fact that one of your feet has gone off in a direction which they haven't found a compass point for yet, somewhere between N and NNE whilst your other foot is doing some intricate dance step which falls loosely under the category of a rumba.  Swift, humiliating disaster ensues, closely followed by the desperation which comes from noticing that you have somehow ended up 25 yards away from the exit of the rink, facing the wrong way and a gossip of teenage girls is about to run you over. Now I’ve put that picture in your mind, perhaps my story of mine and my daughter’s first night together without mummy won’t seem so bad.