Tuesday, May 1, 2012


At three weeks old, my baby boy isn’t much good for anything. He’s nice to look at, even when he’s crying. He’s cuddly. At least he is when he’s not screaming in your face. Mostly though, he’s pretty useless.

I haven’t tried, but I reckon if I put him in control of the lawnmower he’d do a terrible job of cutting the grass.

I asked him what he thought of the Leveson enquiry. His response seemed to communicate a certain distaste for most of the key players, but then I noticed he’d filled his nappy again and just wanted a change.


Cuddles and aesthetics, yes.
Chores and discussions, no.

To date, I’ve found one other pretty brilliant use for him: he’s a ready made excuse. 

During my paternity leave our doorway was darkened by the form of a man.  Men who call on houses during the day are usually men I don’t want to speak to.  They say things like “Scottish Power could save you money on your gas bills…” and “would you like to set up a direct debit to donate to the Fund for Rehabilitation of Homeless Hamsters?”  These are not questions I wish to answer, nor conversations I wish to have.

When this man rang our doorbell, the Creature was engaged in a full volume auditory attack on his immediate surroundings, Mrs L was trying in vain to calm him, so it fell to me to answer the door.

The Man smiled.  The sun reflected off his immaculately styled and gel covered hair.  He was wholly unperturbed by the steady dripping of water onto his shoulder, from the bit of slightly dodgy guttering on our porch. 

He spoke.

Man: “Hi, I’m John, we’ve carried out a survey on your area and it seems you’re entitled to a grant to help make your home more energy efficient!”

Me: “Hmm.”

Man: “If I can come in, I’ll check your cavity walls, but we don’t think they’ve been insulated!”

BRAINWAVE: I have a legitimate excuse!

Me: “Oh, you know, I’d love that but, maybe you can hear?  We’ve got a newborn in here, and he’s really not very happy at the moment. Maybe some other time?”

Man: “Oh, um, well.  Okay, I hope he gets to sleep soon.”

Me: (cheerily) “Okay then!  Bye!  Enjoy the rest of your day!”

I closed the door, locked it, and danced my way back to the living room.

Previously, I would have had to make small talk for five minutes, my anger and frustration gradually increasing.  Then, losing my cool British composure, I would snap; shouting at The Man and bombarding him with muddy shoes.

Now, thanks to the baby, I can look forward to people I don’t want to speak to ringing my doorbell.

Less than a fortnight to see some non-soppy benefits to my new role as parent, I’m happy with that. I just need to get a sticker made up for the door now:

“Don’t even bother ringing the bell, the baby’s angry and may wee on your suit”


  1. HA! So true. And so wise. Record him screaming and use this excuse forEVER. Also works on cold calls, and unwanted visits from friends and rellies.

    1. Oh my god, you're a genius! I am going to record him. Salesfolk will think my wife and I are some kind of superfertile babymaking enterprise!

  2. Small people are also very good to have when required to make akward small talk to anyone. Everyone knows someone who's had one.

    1. I like this tip as well. I'd reward you for it, but I can't, as you are anonymous ;-)

  3. I've got out of jury duty, dentist's appointments, weddings, funerals, smear tests, job interviews, birthday parties, housework, paying tax, inoculations and running the London marathon.

    (I may be lying)

  4. yep. anyone who calls my house or knocks on the door gets the same line. "im ever do sorry but im just about to feed my baby"

    1. This evening he happened to be screaming when Jonathan from The British Red Cross called.

      I didn't make a joke about already having something red and cross.

  5. Yep - use this one. Good for telephone sales call too 'Sorry, just about to feed / change / bathe the baby.' Still use it and mine are 5 and 3!

    1. I feel I have joined in on a big secret ploy to remove nuisance calls, everyone's at it! :-)

  6. Do it, it works. I am frequently heard saying, "Not now I'm feeding or bathing The Boy!" or the best is, "I've got to go and wipe his bum!" (although phrased more politely).

    I've also written notes and put them on the door, 'baby asleep, please don't ring' or 'getting baby to sleep, I'll be down in five minutes'.