Friday, 5 October 2012

Long Time, No See

No.  It’s not been that long.  You must be mistaken.  How could it have been so long?  Well.  You see.  There was this thing, and then that other stuff happened, and then the dog ate the laptop, which all conspired to mean that I couldn’t possibly blog.  Sorry.  But hopefully this will mark the resurgence of the blog.  A strict new regime will be implemented, which will mean that I will be able to blog at least two out of every three blue moons, which will be a vast improvement on the current schedule I’m sure you’ll agree.

So, onwards and upwards.  Who’d like to hear about my holiday?  Good.

Those of you with very good memories will remember that we went to Wales.  The Pembrokeshire coast to be precise.  And that I thought it was a fabulous week.  A week by the seaside can’t really go wrong can it, unless it pours for seven days solid, but happily it didn’t, and so we were able to go on the beach every day.  Which led to one particularly memorable incident.

I’m no photographer, but I do like to take photos.  However, my photos tend to involve landscapes and empty beaches.  This holiday B said perhaps it would be nice if I took photos with people in.  This sounded good, but it turned out I couldn't really be trusted with that responsibility.





At least I got the bag in the picture, that's something, right?



I’m pretty sure B was there when I took the picture, but somehow she managed to evade the cold glare of the lens.  It wasn’t long though before I managed to pin her down and take this, quite stunning, perfectly framed picture of the top of her head and the bottom of my face.  I can feel the Turner prize winging its way to me as I write this. 
There is no truth to the rumour that I don't actually have eyes

(The inclusion of this photo was entirely against B’s better judgement.)

Whilst my wife and I were struggling with complex ideas like aim, and point and click, N had taken one look and decided that we were really not the parents for her.  She turned her back and strode purposefully across the expanse of sand, desperate to put as much distance between herself and her clowning parents as possible.
Excuse me captain, are you going my way?

I’m not convinced that she hadn’t decided just to dig her way out of there, note the spade she is gripping onto.  Happily, it didn’t quite get that far and we were all united again eventually.  This time I managed to get a photo of all of us.


Mummy, we'll never make sandcastles if you keep filling the bucket with stones.

Well, two out of three ain’t bad is it?

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Holidaying

Holidays change everything.  Routines are out of the window.  Cosy little rituals which you have developed with your child for months are out of the question.  The comfort of knowing where everything is and needs to be out back is just rendered totally out of the realms of possibility.  OK, maybe the last one is a little over the top, but I had to make it fit with the others.  Things definitely get harder when you’re on holiday, even just down to the fact that the rooms are laid out differently so you now can’t creep past the child’s bedroom door to get to your own room without the child immediately being aware of you and its eyes, like piercing lasers, suddenly locking onto you while you have the sinking feeling of knowing that the supremely tired child is not going to go back to sleep for another hour. 

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

A Triumph

On Saturday I went to Triumph Live with my dad.  Now I am no motorbike enthusiast, in fact, I’m not even really a motorbike lukewarmist, I can tell one end of a motorbike apart from the other, mainly because it would be a very brave design choice to put the handle bars on the back, but that is about as far as it goes.  I am a big fan of standing around people as they look at engines and nodding sagely when they talk knowledgeably about sprockets and cam shafts and the occasional carburettor but I couldn’t tell you anything about those things, I wouldn’t know what they looked like never mind what they actually did.  I can be part of a conversation like that whilst not actually following a word of what was being said.  I can point out the windscreen washer fluid inlet funnel, because it has the cool picture on it, and I know where the oil goes because I feel I should, but more than that and I am not the man to help you.  So I was mildly interested to go and see some motorbikes, but i didn’t actually expect to really understand what was going on, especially as part of the day was to go round the Triumph factory, a place that I was expecting to confuse me from the moment I stepped in.  In my head, as I prepared myself to go in I knew that this was going to be a trip in which my ego was going to take a bit of a beating.

It was brilliant.  It was so brilliant that I ended up taking almost a hundred photos which for me is like a normal person taking about a thousand.  This really was something quite wonderful.  There were explanatory plaques and stands, some incredibly intricate machinery and one wonderfully excited father.  The fact that I really hadn’t got a clue what was going on was more than made up for by my dad who was charging around like a small child who doesn’t know which present to open first.  It was like taking my daughter round, I kept having to stop myself from reminding him that he couldn’t touch anything.

Anyway, there were a few things that I really wanted to show you, so I shall now proceed to bombard you with photographic evidence.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Stoppit and Tidyup


Meet the new cleaner.  Blurry photos are my stock in trade!

Vacuum Cleaners are great.  There is very little that satisfies me as much as taking a room that is a real tip and tidying it up.  Putting stuff away in their proper place carries quite a thrill for me.  I imagine those of you that have supremely tidy houses with nothing out of place to begin with are bemused by this, but you should really try it.  Let a room get into a complete state and then feel the joy as you restore order from chaos.  Which is where the vacuum cleaner comes in.  It applies the finishing touch, the icing on the cake, the floor has been cleared of the detritus of life; books, coffee mugs, the odd slipper, an occasional hedgehog, all put back and then out comes the vacuum to give a room that just cleaned vacuum sheen.

I have quite the soft spot for vacuum cleaners as you can probably tell, so when the opportunity came up to put one to the test and then write about it, I will admit to having a little shiver of excitement.  Well, maybe not, but I was looking forward to it.  So much, in fact, that when it came to be delivered I forgot to let my wife know that it was coming.  Which meant that when a delivery man tried to foist what was for her a totally unlooked for cleaning device, she was, as you might expect, surprised to say the least.  Once the persistent delivery man had convinced her that the address was hers and that the name was mine and that really there wasn’t anything she could do but take the cleaner we were finally the recipients of a Hoover Globe.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Don't Toy with Me

For a while now I have had a suspicion that has been growing.  I think that children’s toys must be infused with something which makes them irresistibly attractive to people over the age of twenty five and completely unattractive to little girls who are almost two.  This suspicion has been confirmed to me by the visit of two friends this afternoon.

Our little girl has been singularly uninterested in her toys from a very early age.  She will give them barely a glance whilst on her way to a book, or something that she isn’t allowed.  It doesn’t matter how colourful, how much noise or how many moving parts a thing has, she will just totally snub it.  Every now and then a toy will be picked up and examined, as though she has decided that today she is going to learn all about colourful xylophones, and then, once all the information has been sucked out of it, it will be discarded again, cast aside like yesterday’s news.

The only time that she is interested in getting her toys out is when time is running short to get the house tidy for guests.  At that point she will be desperate to get everything out, and sit and play with them as it gathers in a pile around her ruining the effect of serene tidiness that you are trying to portray.

This means that when people come round it tends to be that there are a few toys still out which, having been put away three times already, manage to evade the final sweep and sit, sparklingly tempting, in the middle of the floor.  At which point the guest will, almost inevitably, as demonstrated wonderfully this afternoon, swoop upon the toy, turn it over in their hand a few times and then fall to playing with it.

This applies to guests who are in their twenties, thirties, forties, fifties, sixties or seventies.  It turns out that, in the end, we are all just children.  Drawn to the bright lights and exciting sounds of children’s toys no matter how old we are.  Unless, of course, we are their intended audience, in which case just point me in the direction of the shelves where all the ornaments are.        

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Leading Her Astray

So, it’s the first week in which I am working full time and the schedule has broken down already.  Which is bad when we look forward to the next few weeks.  I am going to be getting used to a new schedule and timetable for quite a while, which means that the blog may well hit a few road blocks on its journey to worldwide fame.  Sorry about this, once I know how things are going to work, I will establish a new routine and there will once more be regular issues of the tales of super girl and her clumsy, doomed to make every parenting mistake there is, father.

Speaking of examples.  I try to be a good example to my daughter.  She is, and has been for a while, capable of watching me and wanting to copy me.  In fact she has seemed to have been aware of what we were doing from much earlier than I had expected.  But now she is just like an eagle.  She doesn’t miss anything.  Which means that you have to be on your guard constantly in case you happen to do something that you might not want her to emulate.  Which, I’m sure, for most of you is simple, but as I have mentioned in the past, I’m not entirely confident that I am responsible enough to be looking after a child, which can lead to some awkward situations.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Match of the Day

I want to tell you about my day so far.  But I’m a bit embarrassed to really, and I don’t think that you’d actually believe me.  Well, here goes, please enjoy my recounting of the first 6 hours of my day.

I woke up at 7ish.  I had been inspired to go for a run this morning by my brother who was here last night so I did.  This, however, meant trying to get out of bed and downstairs without waking my wife or disturbing the sleeping daughter.  Not disturbing my wife proved impossible.  I’m sure she could be in the deepest possible sleep but will still wake at the slightest change of my breathing as I wake up.  Or perhaps she’s just got a bit of string tied round her little toe which makes her twitch whenever I wake up.  Whatever it is she was awake as I thought about getting up. 

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Off Topic

As you will all have noticed my daughter is the major player in this blog.  It is driven by her actions and words, and our tired, muddled reactions to them. She is Hamlet to our Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, the Doctor to our Companions, DangerMouse to our Penfold (please say I am not the only person who still, on a fairly regular basis, says ‘Good Grief Penfold’ when things go wrong or someone says something ludicrous, or the only one to say ‘Crumbs Chief’ when it has all gone wrong?).  Basically she is the main character.  So when she comes up with a topic which she would like to see addressed on the blog who am I to refuse?

Gotta love a super hero with an eye patch

Monday, 13 August 2012

You Wait Two Weeks for One

On Sunday the London 2012 Olympic Games, otherwise known as the games of the 30th Olympiad if your name is Jacques Rogge and your sole aim in life is to appear at major sporting events and look solemn and sound portentous, came to an end.  This was a sad moment for those of us who had been engrossed (read obsessed) by the sport that had been happening for the last fortnight, and life post Olympics is going to take some getting used to.  It was also a fairly major event.  On the same day Prime Minister David Cameron, otherwise known as the Prime Minister of the 25th Olympiad (if not, why not, someone should really get on to adding that to his job title. I think it could only be surpassed by the woman we were introduced to in the Olympics opening ceremony as Champion of the Earth, whose name is, Maria Osmarina Marina Silva Vaz de Lima. Surely it’s not really fair for one person to have the most awesome title and the coolest name?)  

Sorry, we seem to have lost our way a bit there, back to the point now.  Sunday was also the day when David Cameron announced his government’s extension of funding for elite sports (by which I think he means specifically the ones that the UK is good at) until the Rio Olympics in 2016.  This is also a fairly major piece of news which commits the government to around £40 million a year for the next 4 years. 

Friday, 10 August 2012

Now with more awards

So, today I am mostly going to be blowing my own trumpet.  For, you see, I have been awarded this

*drumroll*

Hurrah!

I am very pleased about this.

Quirky Grandma is an excellent blogger who, in her own words is:

"A student of life, a mother and grandmother, [who] writes about her life, her ideas, her family,and anything else that pops into her head."


Also, in news today.  It has been a day of family and friends, and very little time for blogging, but I will be back on Monday with more fun and frolics.  In the meantime I have trophies to polish and prize money to collect.

What's that?  No prize money? Well, I shall just have to enjoy the inevitable fame and fortune that is bound to come my way!


Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Pseudocrime

He had a suspect.  No evidence yet but he was sure that he knew who it was, it was just a matter of proof and he knew that that would only be possible if he caught her red handed.  So he waited.  She’d be back.

It was the quiet that had first tipped him off.  He’d heard it before, and it always meant trouble, less like the calm before the storm, more like that moment of complete silence at a demolition just before the building crumbles in on itself and all that is left is a pile of rubble.  A worrying lack of noise then, but not enough to get him out of bed.  It had been a rough night, and that was just his throat, these late nights and early mornings were not agreeing with him, but he knew it was what he had signed up for, and that it would not last forever.  Would it?

Monday, 6 August 2012

A Moment of Praise

You know how people can just get singularly obsessive and boring over holiday photos.  Even if you haven’t experienced it you can imagine it, sitting on a settee whilst photo after photo is passed before your eyes and a story unfolds which, though you may try as hard as you can, you cannot be interested.  Well this post may be a bit like that, I am about to talk about how great my daughter is.  Just thought I should give you all fair warning.

My daughter is amazing.  I know that as her daddy I am not really entitled to pass judgement, after all, if it was up to me she would have been awarded a Nobel prize in some shape or form by now, if Barack Obama can win it after barely enough to draw breath in the Oval Office, why not N?

I’m biased is what I’m saying, and therefore my analysis in this area is not really to be trusted, however, she really is pretty awesome, despite the impression that you may have been given by reading what I have already written.  So let me try to redress the balance just a little with this, very short, but incredibly positive, post about my little girl.  Perhaps I’m going soft?

We read together quite a lot.  We have been incredibly blessed to have received many many children’s books from some very generous people.  I love books (which has led to some quarrels with my wife as I desperately and jealously try to guard the book shelf space that I have against incursions by other things.  I think I must have lost the battle when the exercise bike ended up in the study though.)  I really, really love books, which seems to have rubbed off onto N because she also really loves them.  Her attention span is sometimes not quite as long as mine, although Lord of the Rings was probably the wrong place to start her off, and so we do occasionally find ourselves, despite the one book off one book back rule, surrounded by a pile of discarded books as she tries to work her way through all the books one by one. 

At least I thought it was her attention span.  Until recently when I discovered that she could just be getting bored with the selection.  You see, we have a bit of a game with a particular set of books.  The Usborne Farmyard Tales books, (fabulous, entertaining, colourful, just right for our little girl.  It also turns out, I found out tonight, that you can follow the little yellow duck, who is hidden on every page of the books, on Twitter, brilliant.)  With these books, as we read I will pause as we come up to the people’s names at the beginning of the books, which all start the same, and N will fill in the blanks.  We do this because the first page is always the same and she really enjoys shouting the names, especially Rusty the dog.  It was only these books though, I had never even thought to try it with any of the others we read. 

But then, one evening last week, Nana came round.  Which was great as it took the pressure off me and she got to read N books all evening instead.  And suddenly, N was filling in all sorts of words for her.  Nana would get to the end of a line and leave off the last word which N would dutifully and fairly consistently supply.  Both my wife and I were stunned, which led to a round of testing to find out just how many books N had committed to memory, it turns out a fair chunk of the library is now stored securely in our little girl’s brain.  Incredible.  I’m sure it’s a fairly commonplace sort of a thing which is unlikely to garner international press attention, especially not during the Olympics, but it impressed me.

You see, clearly destined for great things, even if I do say so myself.  Now I will probably go back to writing about the infuriating, maddening, impossibly difficult things that she does to drive both me and my wife mad, but just for a little while it has been nice to be able to bore you all with how great my daughter is, perhaps you’d like to stick around?  I’m sure there are some holiday photos here somewhere I can talk to you about, there was this really great one of a caterpillar I just know you’d love.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Polar Peril

Special Extra post time!!

It’s Sunday, but here is a blog post.  I know, I’m excited too!  And in keeping with the theme of last week it is full of charming self deprecation, or something.

I tend to be quite exuberant about sports, and hurling myself around in general.  I have managed to break a bed in one of our old flats by diving onto it whilst practising my penalty saves.  That was quite the experience, although it was capped off by B laughing hysterically whilst filming my attempts to fix the bed which went progressively from bad to really quite bad to total failure.  In the end the bed was held up by me piling books underneath it.  Probably not quite conforming to manufacturer’s instructions, but a solution nonetheless.  Oh and that film, it vanished mysteriously and will never, ever, be seen by anyone.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Another Intermissory missive

There will be no regular parenting posting today.  Today has been a day when I actually had to practice the art of parenting which has left me with very little time to write about it.  Hopefully there will be a spectacular post concerning my deficiencies as a person on Sunday. 

Until then amuse yourself with this fantastic little doohickey that the BBC have kindly created for our enjoyment.  Check your body against Olympic Athletes.  It's pretty self explanatory, all you have to do is pop in your height and weight and it will match you up to athletes currently taking part in the Olympics.

Enjoy! 

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Poorly Hair

I have a constant battle with my hair.  There is a sweet spot of about a day and a half after my hair has been cut when I am happy with it.  For the rest of the time, it is just a nightmare.  Which wouldn’t really bother me too much, after all I don’t have to look at it for the majority of the time, except that it doesn’t just not look good, it looks like a total mess.  I have hair which is very similar to a guinea pig’s, all swirls and sticky up bits.  Unfortunately for me there aren’t any rosettes available for humans who have wild hair.



What my hair looks like in the morning, and afternoon, and evening.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Can't Touch This

I like singing.  I tend to sing a lot when I'm at home.  Just bursts of songs as I remember the lyrics, or as the tune pops into my head.  I have listened to a lot of music through doing jobs in various factories, where the radio was constantly on, and somehow most of it seems to have buried itself deep within my brain and will come bursting out, sometimes at very inopportune moments.  Moments of great solemnity can be spoiled by my subconscious suddenly deciding that all I want to do is belt out the chorus to a Beatles track, or something worse.  It hasn't happened yet but my constant fear is that I am going to have a desperate desire to sing 'Barbie Girl' by Aqua whilst in a public place.  If you don't know it you are one of the lucky ones.  A terrible piece of pop featuring the ludicrous line, "Life in Plastic, It's Fantastic."  At least you can't complain about it not rhyming.

This evening my song of choice was 'Can't Touch this' by MC Hammer.  Not a song I like especially, or would recommend to anyone, but the song that bubbled to the top of the pile during tea.  Of course, being at home, with only my wife and N for company, I went for it.  Also of course, it's the sort of tune that demands a dance routine.  So there I was hurling myself around the kitchen whilst the girls sat at the table watching me.  Until the little Buglet decided that she wanted to weigh in on my singing. 

I have already commented on her love of music, and we often have a laugh with me singing and dancing away and her trying to copy my moves.  She's got rhythm, but her balance leaves something to be desired.  She can occasionally resemble Gabrielle Anderson running the last few hundred metres of the frst ever Olympic women's marathon (if you haven't seen it just have a peek at this video.  (Skip through to about the minute mark to get to the actual race footage.)   It would be funny if it wasn't such an epic achievement, I think I would probably look like that roughly a mile into any marathon I tried to run.)

Back to this evening.

Me: Can't touch this *accompanied by some chicken dance which will never be seen in public no matter how much you all ask*
N: Daddy noisy

Only two words, but so crushing.  There goes any dream I may have had to take my talents and go professional.  "Noisy" is not really the critique you are looking for when you showcase your abilities in front of your 20 month old daughter.  At this point my wife burst out laughing and tried to encourage her to say it again while I slunk away into the darker recesses of the kitchen in order to hide the shame. 

Incidentally, this was the same mealtime that had included my wife pouring half a bottle of soy sauce onto her dinner by mistake, and me stuffing a wrap so full that as I took my first bite most of it fell out onto my plate.  A fairly typical mealtime then, except for the part where I learnt that my daughter doesn't like rap, or at least my rendition of it.  Good job I haven't quit my day job then.

Friday, 27 July 2012

A Fish out of Water

It’s sunny.  Not just like an occasional ray of sun poking through thick black clouds, but actual sun, blazing down from a cloudless sky.  This has been the case all week which has caused rejoicing and general merriment everywhere I look.  It has not been a welcome occurrence for me.  I am the sort of person whose general capabilities diminish exponentially as the heat goes up.  I have already mentioned in another post, but if it gets up above 20 degrees or so I turn into this gibbering wreck unable to perform the simplest of tasks.  Tying my shoelaces becomes an ordeal that Hercules would have baulked at, writing my name is completely out of the question, and anything that actually requires physical effort is just unthinkable. 

But then something changed.  Our little girl came along.  Last summer she was only six-seven months and wasn’t mobile so the garden wasn’t quite the excitement which it has become.  Now however, she is desperate to be out and about, and absolutely loves the freedom she has running around the garden.  Which has meant that the rain this summer has been particularly unwelcome, our garden, being as it is at the bottom of a hill, has a tendency to fill up rather quickly when the rain comes.  We have whole areas of the garden which could be deployed as a reserve pool in case anything goes wrong with the Aquatics Centre in London, I would even be prepared to knock up a makeshift podium out of matchboxes and sticky back plastic if they needed the garden for any medal presentations.  I’m also pretty sure that given a little bit of practice N and I could belt out most of the national anthems for the major nations, although I think her personal favourite might be “Yumi, yumi, yumi”  Vanuatu’s national anthem. I don’t think they have sent over a large swimming contingent however.  She needs a bit of work on her tuning, but no one can doubt her enthusiasm for singing, and she does go right to the heart of most songs.  She has recently been introduced to a certain nursery rhyme, and though she doesn’t have all of the words, you know what she’s going for when she bellows out, “three mice runnin’, three mice runnin’,” at the top of her voice. 

That was a long paragraph, let’s try to get back on track shall we?  Having rained pretty well everyday since the beginning of June, thus rendering our garden completely out of action, it has finally got hot.  Which has meant that N can now really enjoy charging round the garden.  What has tipped the enjoyment over the edge however (though not to quite the extent of Boris Johnson’s Olympic mania geiger counter, really, “zoink,” what was he thinking?) is the fact that we have been able to get the paddling pool out.  She does love the paddling pool.  And clearly getting wet doesn’t bother her in the slightest, fully clothed, wellies firmly on she will charge into the water soaking herself, her parents, and anyone else that gets within her orbit. 

Which is how, earlier on today, I found myself, also fully clothed, being dragged into the pool with her.  And then being ordered, nay, forcibly conscripted, into sitting on the edge of the pool whilst she merrily threw pre-wet balls at me, and poured water out of her wellies all over me.  I was soaked, she was soaked, the sun was out and we were both loving it.  And it hit me.  Not just the ball she had just thrown at me, but an epiphany.  Life had changed.  All too often I find myself thinking about how having our daughter has closed opportunities for us, things are just more complicated and the range of things that it is appropriate to do with a little one feels very slim, but now and then you find yourself doing something, and enjoying it, that you would have never done without having a child, something, in fact, that I couldn’t ever have believed I would have enjoyed.

So thank you little girl, you’ve given me a new experience and opened my eyes.  Just think of what we could be doing tomorrow.  Now, how does that anthem go again?  

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Music

BANG, CRASH.

Our little girl loves music.  In fact it would be fair to say that she is a fan of noise in general.  And she seems to have a very good ear.  She can tell the difference between a lawn mower and a motor bike fairly consistently, and she can tell when the bin lorry is coming down the hill well before I’ve been able to pick the noise up.  (She loves the bin lorry, every Wednesday when it comes she will stand at the window and beg to be lifted up so that she can watch it perform and close to every week she is guaranteed a wave from the men, which I think is pretty cool.  The only downside is if they come whilst she is having her daytime sleep, they will wake her up).

Whilst most noises are extremely welcome, especially the percussive delights of the lids she can get out of the pan drawer, it’s really music that she is desperate for.  Instant obedience is commanded simply by threatening to turn the music off, and if the music is off she will demand that it be turned on.  Although, the way she says it makes it sound more like she would like you to bring her a poorly cow.  “Moosick, Moosick.”  This will continue until you either explain why music isn’t possible, or until the music actually starts, at which point she will lapse into silence for a little bit. 

There have been times, however, when her love for music have driven her to dangerous extremes.  We have a hi fi in the lounge which is about three feet off the ground on a little niche built into the wall.  It didn’t take long for N to work out that this is where the moosick comes from when we are in the lounge.  What took her a little longer was to work out how she could get up to it.  However, she’s a bright little thing and it came to her in the end.  If she clambered up onto the settee, teetered across to the wooden arm and hauled herself up onto it she could just about reach over and turn the stereo on. It took a bit of time for her to establish which was the on button, but she got it eventually.  This was not the end of the troubles however.  Just turning it on doesn’t make the music come out, thus more buttons needed to be pressed.  Soon enough she could get the CD drawer to open, but still the music wouldn’t come out. 

It is at this point that the cries for music will start up, and one of us will wander into the lounge to be greeted by a little girl trying to scramble off the settee before we notice that she’s been up there.  Unfortunately she hasn’t worked out that leaving the CD drawer still waiting eagerly for a CD to be put in it is a bit of a give away. 

One day she will learn that the music comes from the little silver discs that she loves to leave strewn around the floor anytime she can get her hands on a pile.  Once that happens there’ll be no stopping her.  Until then I’m just going to enjoy the peace and quiet.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Milk

I got a job today!  After a long time trying, going on interviews and not getting anywhere, I got a job today.  Which has made me pretty cheerful, as you can imagine.  As such tonight will be mostly celebratory in our house and so the blog has taken a back seat I’m afraid. 

However, because I can’t leave you with nothing, and as I know that you all hang on my every word, here is a little story about milk.  Milk is currently in the news, farmers don’t think they are being paid enough for it, and supermarkets think that they are, that seems to be the general gist.  And having seen that incisive commentary on the situation, I imagine Jon Humphreys has already begun to plan his retirement as I step into his shoes. 

Anyway, milk.  We like milk in our house, N is a particular fan.  Milk is what she asks for for breakfast, lunch and tea.  Recently we have added a new milk element into the bedtime routine as well, which seems to have gone down like a treat. 

Unfortunately, N does not have quite the cubic capacity in her mouth as she would like.  She loves to fill her mouth with milk and then slowly gulp it down.  Every now and then however she bites off (sucks in?) rather more than she can chew (swallow? I’m sorry this little picture has got a little out of hand).  This results in fountains of milk pouring out of her mouth as she struggles to contain all the milk that she would like in her mouth.  It’s like she saw a documentary on geysers in Yellowstone National Park and thought, ‘now there’s a career move I should give serious consideration to.’  (Although of course she would never leave her conjunctions at the ends of her sentences.)

She’s not quite as regular as Old Faithful, but can be just as impressive when she gets up to peak flow rate.  Now I wouldn’t mind too much.  It’s clear she doesn’t do it on purpose by the forlorn look on her face when she realises that all that good milk has just disappeared, never to be consumed by her.  The only problem is, the majority of the time while she is drinking the milk, she is sat on my lap.  Thus I become some sort of milk target.  My t-shirts, shorts, trousers, shirts, all have succumbed to a blast of milk from the little girl.  I have now taken to trying a technique whereby I return the glass to her mouth almost before I’ve taken it away.  That way milk embarrassments are avoided, and everyone is happy.

I hope the farmers get paid enough to keep on producing milk, I’m not sure what I would tell N if we suddenly had a milk shortage.

Friday, 20 July 2012

A Good Walk Spoiled

Golf is a funny game.  Though perhaps not in the classical sense of the word.  There’s not a lot of humour to be found in strolling around on grass with sticks, unless you have a dog.  And yet there is something inherently amusing about watching people chase a ball around.  Which is why I imagine there were people chuckling the whole time my wife, N and I were playing pitch and putt on holiday.

I want to set the scene a little first.  It was raining.  Lightly at first, but by the time we were half way round it was raining the sort of rain that is reserved  for British summer time by the sea.  Cold, very wet, rain that soaks into your clothes, and doesn’t dry for hours.  And there we were, knocking two little white balls around a course.  You won’t be surprised to know that we were the only ones there, in fact, considering how this summer has gone we’re probably the only people who have been on that course for about 3 months.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Le Tour

I’ve never cycled in the Tour de France.  In fact, of all the major cycling races I can proudly boast an unbroken 100% record for not having competed in them.  Not many men can say that.  Well, maybe the odd one or two.  Anyway, to continue the theme from the previous post of people who think they are having a hard week, I don’t think Le Tour can be as hard as all that.  I’ve ridden a bike and it wasn’t that difficult, and it’s not like any of them are likely to forget how half way around is it? 

Our daughter can’t ride a bike, her main problem is that her feet don’t reach the pedals, and her hands don’t reach the handlebars, and her balance isn’t that great either.  All in all, not a natural cyclist.  She does however have a little pink push-a-long thing that she sits on and rides.  Again, she is not quite up to self propulsion just yet, and so far I’ve been able to convince her that it is not appropriate to fit an internal combustion engine.  I haven’t yet confessed to her that I am not actually competent to fit an engine, nor could I source one at the speed which she demands.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Security Issues

Security is an issue.  I’ve recently been tasked, by my wife, with recruiting 10,000 guards to look after our daughter, but it turns out that even though the deadline is coming up very soon, I’ve had to come clean and admit that due to massive administrative complexities I only managed to recruit around 6 thousand and that the rest of the guards have to be conscripted in from the public sector.  I’ve owned up, and I held daily meetings with my wife to keep her fully abreast of the situation, but somehow she doesn’t seem to have read the memo that I put at the bottom of her briefing documents written in size 3 Wingdings which explained the numbers in detail.

Hang on, that’s not actually true, just something that I’ve heard from somewhere.  Anyway, security is an issue in our house as our daughter is at the age where she can put Houdini to shame with her feats of escapology.  Seriously, I have found her in situations that would push Jonathan Creek to drink. I still have no idea how, when she was quite a bit younger, she managed to climb up and out of her cot, and make it to the floor without damaging herself.  Perhaps it has something to do with that radioactive spider she was bitten by?

Friday, 13 July 2012

Sound of Silence

The silence was wafting through from the living room.  And it wasn’t the good kind.  It was the kind that set your teeth on edge, that caused your heart to pump just that little bit quicker, that gave you goosebumps all over, that caused a feeling of dread to creep over you, like that time you woke up to find yourself all alone in the insect house at the zoo, when all the insects had escaped.  It was the sort of silence that had been known to make grown men cry, and grown women run screaming for the hills, only stopping to grab the phone so that they can live tweet the occasion.  Harry Potter would have quailed at this silence, Frodo and Sam would have had one listen and simply walked into Mordor muttering something about a ring they’d dropped and some guy called Sourman, the entire Justice League would have looked away, whistled a jaunty tune and slunk off pretending they hadn’t heard.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Well D-O-N-E!

I seem to spend a lot of my time telling off my 19 month old daughter.  You know the sort of thing. 
Don’t touch that
You can’t go in there
You remember what I said about going near the nuclear reactor. 
The usual sort of stuff.  But so much of my time seems to be taken up by telling my daughter all the things that we would really rather she didn’t do.   See this post for examples of the sorts of things she does, familiar to you all I’m sure.

This has the effect of making me feel like I am an incredibly mean person.  There are all these things she can’t do, with me acting as the bad guy who has to stop her.  Already this morning I have caused her to have a major grump out at least twice by stopping her from doing things she knows she isn’t allowed to do.  This consists of her being told not to do something, and then being removed from the object of her desire.  At this point she either reacts by just moving on to the next unobtainable, and therefore desirable, thing that catches her attention, or in her crashing onto the floor, and wailing, whilst flailing limbs mean that her body becomes the centre of a no-fly-zone which extends much further than I would have imagined she could stretch.


Friday, 6 July 2012

I like you (yes, you)

I want to like you.  Obviously I love you, but liking you is different, and much more difficult.   You just make it so hard when you behave like you do sometimes:
When you get angry and refuse to do anything that you are asked.

When you are so tired that you fight against everything, especially your mummy and me.

When you decide that eating is for inferior beings and, that you never want to eat anything again but instead, (like those people in that story that I have forgotten) have decided just to be nourished by smell.
 
When you throw your arms around and nothing is safe.

When you throw your toys around and those things that had been put safe from your arms are suddenly in the strike zone again.

When you say you need the potty, only to sit there for ages and not do anything.

When you’ve sat on the potty for ages, but hold on to whatever you’re going to do until I’ve picked you up.

When we’re outside in the garden and all you want to do is pull plants up.

When you’ve got bored of pulling plants up and decide that the only thing you’ve every wanted is to eat peapods, not the peas so much just the pods they come in.

When you stab me in the chest with a pencil and then get really grumpy when I take it off you.

When toys are not for playing with but for scattering like fairy dust around the house.

When, having done your best Tinker Bell* impression, you want the one thing you’ve scattered that we cannot find.

When you don’t believe me when I tell you that we’re going to put you in your chair to have lunch, so you take it out on my ears.

When you absolutely will not go to sleep no matter how tired you are.

When you decide that if you aren’t going to be asleep no one on the entire street will.

When you hate being in the bath until the exact moment that I take you out of the bath and then you hate being out of the bath.

When mummy is the parent you want, until you’re with mummy, and then daddy is the man for you, until you’re with him.

When you have been told not to touch the cooker time after time after time, and yet just can’t resist playing with the knobs one last time.

When you climb up on the arm of the chair and won’t come down until you’ve fallen off.

When you won’t play with any other children at all but are sad when they leave.

I want to like you, but you make it so hard, are you just keeping me on my toes?  Are you trying to wear me down so far that I will let you get away with anything that you want?  Is this how life will be for the next 18 years, or is is just a phase you are going through?  Is there anything I can do differently?  Will I look back at this one day and wish we were back here again?  Because even though it is so hard to like you, I never want to let you go.

I want to like you, and underneath everything, despite this list that I have put together, you are very likeable, your smile is wide and toothy, your giggle is infectious and comes easily, your cuddles are freely given and heartfelt, you are my daughter and every now and then I see myself in you and almost explode.  Yes, I do like you, but couldn’t you just make it a little easier, even just this much.


Check the awesome table cloth!


*Who knew that Tinker Bell had two names?  Not me before writing this!

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Staring, Staring, Staring

Our daughter is a girl of many expressions.  For a long time it made no difference that she couldn’t speak, she managed to convey her feelings through the medium of her facial expressions.  Which I suppose is preferable to the medium of modern dance.  Anyway, she is one of those people who you would not describe as inscrutable.  In fact, scrutable, if it existed as a word, could have been coined just for her.  (It turns out that scrutable has been used and is a recognised word, although it has fallen out of the rather niche use which it once enjoyed.  It even merited a definition in Samuel Johnson’s dictionary, or to give it its full title, A Dictionary of the English Language: In which the Words are Deduced from Their Originals, Explained in Their Different Meanings, and Authorised by the Names of the Writers in Whose Works They are Found.  What a wonderful book that is.  One of these days, when I have totally run out of ideas, I’m just going to dedicate a blog post to words and definitions from that most remarkable book.  Let us all hope that day is a long way off.)

Monday, 2 July 2012

The Road Less Travelled

Our daughter likes walking.  A lot.  She’s really a big fan of perambulation.  Offer her the chance to go for a walk and she’ll have her shoes on before you can finish your sentence.  They usually won’t be on the right foot of course, in fact often they won’t be on her feet at all, but you can tell that she’s eager. 

If you asked her though, she’d probably say that she was a walker in the mould of Sir Ranulph Fiennes or Ray Mears, you know, the adventurous sort, not content to follow the map.  If her grasp of idiom were better she may even say that she was mostly an ‘off the beaten track’ kind of a gal and that walking on pavements was for sissies who couldn’t cope with off roading.  That’s pretty much what I assume she is saying to me anyway as we make our way down another pavement.

Oh can we go up there?  Can we?  What do you mean by car?

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.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Perchance to Dream (Chance would be a fine thing)

There’s a hushed silence the first time you bring your newborn baby in through the front door.  No matter who’s with you there is just a moment when you can’t really believe what has just happened, you have brought your baby home.  The silence doesn’t last long of course, soon enough everything returns to bustle and movement and noise, but for a brief moment everything is wonderful and the future stretches out in front of you full of possibility and joy. 

It is at this point that it hits you.  You are the proud owner of one unused child, although it quickly becomes clear that the transaction hasn’t quite worked out the way you thought it had and you’re looking for the receipt to find out exactly who it was who did the purchasing. 

Monday, 28 May 2012

The Road Goes Ever Round and Round

I had an epiphany on Saturday, it wasn’t dramatic, not like a bolt from the blue, it was just as the result of spending some time with my daughter.  Before I tell you what it was however, let me sing you a song. 

Round and Round the Garden
Like a Teddy Bear
One Step
Two Step
Tickle you under there

Before having N, I always assumed that the first line of that rhyme was just to mirror the actions as you swirled your finger round and round their hand.  What else could it possibly mean? 

...

Friday, 25 May 2012

We all Scream for Sun Cream


You will have noticed the total lack of topicality so far in these posts.  All of the stories I have told so far took place before or at the birth of our daughter, who is currently galloping up on 18 months with the speed of someone who really has no right to be riding a horse and is struggling to stay in the saddle.  Seriously though, where have 17 months gone?  My old philosophy teacher had a theory about time and the way it sped up when you got older, if it is true I think having a child has aged me by about 50 years.  All the stories so far have taken place well over a year ago anyway, but all that changes today.  Today, to coincide with the 5 days of sun which will make up the summer, I am going to talk about sun cream.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

What's in a Name?

What do you think of the name Elsie?  I think it’s quite a pretty name.  480th most popular name in the US (Official UK statistics are very difficult to source if the name is not in the top 100, but according to BabyCentre Elsie is number 72 in their list).  It’s not an unpopular name and has a lot of charm.  One thing Elsie isn’t, however, is the name of our daughter, it hadn’t even been an option that my wife and I had talked about. But for a few early minutes of her life Elsie was our daughter’s name, sort of.  Let me explain.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Love's Labours Won (in the end)

Our journey to the hospital was uneventful.  It was late at night and there was very little traffic.  I would like you to remember, ‘late at night’ as it will become relevant later.  I mentioned in the previous post that it was a Sunday evening.  This will also become relevant.

We arrived outside the maternity department at the hospital and rushed inside, although rushed is a relative term when you are with your pregnant wife, who is experiencing pain which, if I hadn’t known better, I would have thought was being caused by Daleks.  It felt like rushing though.  Time seemed speeded up, like we were moving faster than I could think.  Without really noticing anything, except the passing resemblance of the decor to that in ‘Goodbye Lenin’ of course, we were at the counter waiting to be let in to the labour ward.  And waiting is what we did, a lot of it.  I have mentioned that it was late at night haven’t I?  Also that it was a Sunday?  Yes, good, because that’s all I can think to explain the delay.  All through the pregnancy the help and support from the midwife and other nurses that we saw had been fantastic, and during and after the birth it was wonderful, they were there for us and were informative and comforting and just superlative in every way.  But that night, at that time, when it seemed like the world was ending for my wife and my hand was getting crushed, there was noone.  Which was particularly hard to take as the waiting room lights were turned off, so we were sat in darkness whilst my wife’s contractions got quicker and fiercer.  I had rung the bell when we got there, and at various intervals during our wait but it seemed as though there was noone else in the entire hospital, or at least within hearing distance.

Friday, 18 May 2012

A Labour of Love

I was not prepared for our daughter to be born. Judged against any meaningful metric I was woefully underdone when the time came. My understanding of how a baby worked was basically founded upon knowing how I worked and just shrinking things. Just little people right? Well, not so much. My grasp of exactly how hard she would be was also limited by this. I knew that she wouldn't necessarily go to sleep when I wanted her to, but to not go to sleep at all was, I thought, a bit much.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

DIY Masterclass



 As has been previously documented, DIY is not my forte, in fact it’s barely even my piano.  However, today I am going to share a triumph with you that I am so ridiculously pleased with myself about.  Today, I managed to fit ... three sets of cupboard and drawer clips to prevent the child from charging round the house wielding our knives.  Seriously, I have photographic evidence to prove this.
Ta Da, how many cleaning products can you name?




See, there they are, fitted, working and everything.  Although, you will probably be amused to discover that when I went back to take the photos I found out that one of them wasn't working and I had to stick another screw in it, all done now.

Like a Colossus astride the cutlery

Anyway, that’s it for today, thanks for celebrating with me about my DIY prowess.  Perhaps tomorrow I’ll tackle that loft conversion.



Here is one of the less successful photos I took.  Having mastered DIY perhaps my photography skills could do with a little brushing up?

Craving to help

I was so used to hearing funny stories about people craving the most ridiculous things when they were pregnant that I was well prepared when it came to my wife’s turn.  I was ready and really wanted to help out with this.  I didn’t drive when my wife was pregnant so I had to make sure I knew where the nearest convenience stores were, which wasn’t too hard as we have one within 512 feet.  (I just checked, I didn’t know that already.)  And another, bigger superstore around a mile away.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Making a Meal of it (Part II)

The continuation of last night's tale of a meal like no other.

The wait continued for many minutes, I am unsure exactly how long and I don’t think the time we waited would convert back to the real world, but it was a lengthy period.  After quite some time footsteps were heard and our hopes were raised, at least there was still life and we weren’t the only two people left on the Public House equivalent of the Marie Celeste.  The person didn’t come in, but I was ready to waylay them and request menus.  After waiting for so long we weren’t going to give up so easily.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Making a Meal of it

I mentioned a story about a meal in the last post which doesn’t really belong on the blog as it has nothing to do with me being a father, but it’s my blog and my rules and I think you’ll probably appreciate it, and I really need to tell this story to get it off my chest.

It was the last night of the holiday in Northumberland and we had decided to go out for a meal to celebrate our anniversary.  We chose a place relatively near to the cottage basing our decision on an entry in the visitor’s book and some judicious Googling.  The visitor’s book having, amongst other things, mentioned something about asking at the bar when we went in if we wanted to eat in the restaurant, we ventured bravely out forewarned and forearmed and strode in to the pub ready to request our meal. 

Friday, 11 May 2012

A Single Step

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
Many of you will recognise this as a quote from the Chinese philosopher Lao-Tzu, in the Tao Te Ching written in the 6th Century BC, for those of you that didn’t know this, you’re welcome!  Now go out and amaze your friends.  The lesson is obvious isn’t it, we all have to begin somewhere and we need to take the first step.  Northumberland is not a thousand miles away, actually just under a quarter of that, but setting out to go there was still exciting.  We went on holiday to the Breamish Valley in the summer whilst my wife was pregnant, we chose Northumberland because of the stunning scenery and wonderful coastline and the opportunity to walk in the countryside.  That was not exactly how the holiday went.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Gastronomic Wizadry

Before we had our first child I had never spent an extended period of time with a pregnant lady.  It was an experience.  Obviously I am totally unqualified to be talking about a period of pregnancy but I am going to venture out from the safety of the shoreline and offer my thoughts as a passenger on this journey.  This has the potential to become a running series of posts, so look out for more in the near future.

I want to prepare you for what is coming by stating two facts.  Firstly, my wife worked full time before our daughter came along, and secondly, I am a terrible cook.  Really anything kitchen related is pretty much beyond me.  Once, whilst I was at home, after our daughter was born, my wife rang to ask me to get some mashed potato, and pre-prepared mince out of the freezer for tea.  What could possibly go wrong?  I had been tripped up by this sort of request before (just the day before actually, having managed to produce 11 sausages from the freezer just for the two of us) so this time I was determined that nothing could go wrong, and I thought I was on a winner.  Our daughter was in bed so I can’t even use her as an excuse for what happened.  

Monday, 7 May 2012

Lost in a Translation

I’ve always been prone to lose things.  I put them down and forget to pick them up again, or tidy them away and then can’t find them when I need them.  Wallets, keys, glasses, mobiles, bills, reminder notices, passports, the occasional wellington boot, things just seem to go missing and get lost.  The value of the object, sentimental or material, doesn’t matter; I have no partiality when it comes to losing important things or trivial items.  For a long time I blamed other people, or the weather, or the position of the sun relative to Venus, or whether the day of the week was named after a Norse Deity or an astrological phenomenon.  However, the sad day came when I had to take a long hard look at myself and conclude that I am just one of life’s absentminded people destined to go through life with a look of perpetual bewilderment and one hand in my pocket frantically looking for my credit cards.  All this self-flagellation is merely to set the scene for what I’m sure you can predict is coming.

My Schedule and other Details

So, I just thought I would give a bit of a logistical update, now that the blog is up and running and a going concern. This will not constitute today’s post so there will be another one to look out for later.

I intend on posting on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule, with the occasional post at the weekend, though weekends are quite hectic so I’m making no promises here. Thank you to those people who have already given me comments and feedback, I do appreciate it and if anyone has anything they want to see on the blog please let me know in the comments or by emailing foraysintofatherhood at gmail dot com.

As an aside, if there are 24 of you who happen to be looking for a place to holiday together, in a beautiful part of the world you should look no further than the Big White House in Cumbria. Stunning scenery and luxury accommodation, though you might want to think twice before you try to venture a walk up to the summit of Catbells. Despite being described as a ‘modest height’ it was deceptively difficult, especially for an unfit 29 year old with a child on his back.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Through a Scanner, maybe?

It was sunny when we went for our first sonogram, a nice day in May, and I was incredibly nervous.  I was sure that everything was going to be all right but a very small part of me wouldn’t stop whispering ‘what if there was nothing there?’  But at least the sun was shining.  It was to be our first time inside the maternity wing of the hospital as well, which also filled me with dread.  One day in about 6 months we would be coming back here and I would need to know my way around.  Spatial awareness isn’t exactly my strong suit so I needed to pay especially close attention to where I was going, except I kept getting distracted.  I noticed the colour of the chairs in the cafe just inside the door, blue, the paintings which were on the wall, abstract and geometric, not my cup of tea but probably meant to be soothing, but not which way we had gone once we got inside, was it left or right at the end of the corridor?  Two double doors or just the one?  My face began to settle into its familiar bemused expression as we went and sat in a room that I couldn’t have found my way to again had my life depended on it.  I began to wish I had adopted the navigational approach pioneered by Theseus and then plagiarised less successfully by Hansel and Gretel.  Where was a ball of string when you needed one?


Wednesday, 2 May 2012

A Brave New World

There is one thing that dominates my life more than anything else at the moment, in terms of time spent and emotion invested and that is my 17 month old daughter.  She is my firstborn, and so she has the benefit of all of my attention without having to share with any of those pesky siblings.  It is not all roses for her though, she also has to put up with my utter inexperience and possible unsuitability for the job of being her father.  This blog is my attempt to recount the journey we have been on so far, as well as chronicling our life together as we grow older.  There are a number of other people who are important in her life, not least her mummy, but also a galaxy of friends and family who all help and support us in their various ways, some good, some unexpected, all wonderfully appreciated, but first and foremost this is our story, just me and the little bundle of dependence who came like a thunderbolt into my life.   
Many of you reading this you will probably recognise my stories, I can only hope that I am not the only one who found that the advent of their first child ushered in a brave new world in which all self-determination went out the window to be replaced by a feeling of total inadequacy at the task ahead.  I have never really thought of myself as a grown-up, working at a university and being a 'mature' student, will do that to you, causing you to think of yourself as roughly the same age as the people, in some case 9 or 10 years younger than you, that you are working and studying amongst, and so when the time came and it became obvious that I was soon going to be a father there was an inescapable feeling that this was probably happening to someone else, that illusion was very quickly shattered however, so here are some tales of my forays into fatherhood.