Saturday, April 28, 2012


Way back when, in the time before the arrival of The Creature, I went to Cardiff for a week.  Some of you may remember reading about it.  I was there to do a course.

I didn't just do the course for fun, the course was for work.  The course was to help me with my professional development.  The course seemed like a good idea at the time.

When I was on the course, I told the tutor that I was just a few short weeks from being a dad.  The tutor and my coursemates all congratulated me in advance, and we continued the learning.  The weather that week was beautiful; the sun shone in a manner suggesting it had forgotten what month is was (March!  Sun!  In March!  April, take note.)

The trouble with courses, is they come with coursework.  Not a problem in the before-times.  But, now, on top of the powerful distraction provided by Twitter, Facebook, blogs, forums, eating, making cups of tea, thinking about eating, the weather and what's on TV, there's the baby.

Babies don't know about coursework.  Because they're babies.  Babies don't care about PESTLE analyses.  Or SWOT analyses.  Or word counts.  Or Harvard referencing conventions.  They don't care at all.  They care about crying.  Screaming and screaming and screaming while you are trying to do coursework.


I didn't want to do coursework anyway.  So the baby gets a cuddle.  He stops crying.  I put him down, return to the PESTLE.  He cries.  Repeat.  Repeat.  Repeat.


I didn't want to do the coursework anyway.  So I shut the laptop.  Close the text book.  The baby gets a cuddle.  I get a cup of tea.  I'm far happier than when I was doing the coursework.

But the coursework must be done.  It is not optional.  It is the first of four, spread over the next four months.  So, readers, I turn to you: what are your strategies?  How do I complete the coursework while the baby is in the house?

Tomorrow, Mrs L will be taking the baby to her parents house for a while, so that I can concentrate on the coursework.  I will miss him.  I'd rather be bouncing my baby than SWOTing.  I'd probably rather be changing a nappy than writing a competitor analysis.

But just because a baby is incompatible with coursework, doesn't mean I don't have to do it.

Friday, April 27, 2012


New babies are great.  Everyone loves them.  They melt the hearts of even the stoniest of unfeeling bastards with the simple grasp of a finger, or moment of eye contact. 

Instinct innit.  Doesn’t matter who you are; you’ve had it hard coded into you to care about a new baby.  It’s all small and soft.  It exudes potential and promise (and poo).  It is wholly vulnerable; it NEEDS you to love and protect it.

This is why, when we are blessed with that greatest of gifts, everyone wants to come and see it.  Wants to be a part of the miracle of life, the excitement of by-proxy parenthood.  I get that.  I’ve been the guy spending a bit too much time in the house of the new parent because I’m busy cooing (sorry @chloehyde81 & @jameshyde80).

Me and Mrs L did a pretty good job of locking down our home to visitors.  We’ve seen our closest family, some of our good friends, but we have also turned people away.  The measly two weeks of paternity leave I am granted was used as it should be, as family time.  I didn’t even have to deflect any of the Unwanted Attention I was expecting (although, there’s still time for that)

We’ve had the help and support from professionals, we’ve had the help, support and food from family.  We have done well. 

We are drip feeding the arrival of our baby to the world. 

Subconsciously, I wonder, are we restricting the supply in order to bolster the demand?

The above mentioned Twitter people said something as they left our house last weekend, something which made me realise how glad I am to know them and count them as friends:

“If there’s anything you need, get in touch, even if it’s in a few weeks.  Because it’s once everyone stops wanting to help you that you’ll really need it.”

It wasn’t something I’d thought about.  But I think it’s true.  There will be people who always want to know about the Creature and what’s going on in his (and our) lives: our respective parents, the three sets of aunts and uncles who we are close to and speak to regularly, some of our friends.  

There are far more people whose interest in him stops once the next newborn comes along, people to whom our greatest achievement is just another baby, a fleeting novelty who they’re only interested in cooing over in the knowledge that he can be handed back at the merest hint of a cry. 

Which is fine, of course.  I don’t for a moment expect the rest of the world to revolve around MY child.  I’m in no way complaining about this.  I wouldn’t want him to be the centre of anyone’s attention for any length of time, anyone but ours. 

It is a relief though, to know there’s support there in the long term, once the novelty has worn off.  Because it’s not always going to be easy.

Now, who’s going to volunteer to be on my “list of people I can phone at 4am when he’s been crying for hours and just emptied his bowels on my last clean pair of jeans”?  *anticipates queue*

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I Spy - G

It's Wednesday evening, I'm full of fish and chips, it's farking filthy outside and I've had a long wait to see my family after a day at work.

None of the above has anything to do with the fact that today is the day where we all join in with the lovely @jbmumofone's fabby I Spy linky.

She provides the letters and the link-a-doodle, we provide the brain befuddling photos containing said letter within them.  This week, the letter in question is G.  G for green, grass, grey, galapogos, gorgeous, gimp and Gary Barlow.  Also, something else, can you see it?

Guesses in my comment repository if you please:

Then, click on the badge below to allow the internet fairies to magically transport you to the rest of the participants, to guess their Gs as well, or to join in yourself!

Mum of One


Going back to work sucks.  There.  Simple.

I tried REALLY hard not to have to come back.  You know, did all the right things.  I bought lottery tickets for EVERY DRAW during my time off.  Euromillions and National Lottery.  Nothing.  Not even a measly tenner.

So I’m back.  Clocking in.  Logging on.  Reading through the multitude of emails sent to me in my absence.  Deleting seventy percent of those emails.  Trying to get back into the flow of the office.

But it sucks.

Two weeks is not enough time to get to know your new life, to support the mother of your child and to appreciate the cute squishy thing that now lives in your house.

Obviously, The Creature agrees with me.  He decided that the night before my return to work would be his worst in almost a week.  Nice one son.  It wasn’t too much of a big deal; Mrs L was her usual lovely self and dealt with all of the graveyard shift.

Sleep didn’t come easily.  A combination of not wanting to go back and crying (his, not mine) saw to that.  But I slept enough to wake up and go to work.  Enough to forget to spray myself with anti-perspirant.  Enough to leave my laptop at home; prompting an eruption of expletives when I realised, ninety percent of the way through my commute. 

I won’t lie to you all, I am jealous of Mrs L just now.  I know that her maternity leave will be hard work.  Harder work than if she was going to work.  Harder work than I will be doing at work.  But I still covet it.

Last week I posted about the range of things I’ve already noticed changing in our little boy.  Now, when I sit at my desk, I’m wondering what new things I’m missing.  I looked at him last night, he looked back at me, and he looked different.  What will have changed come the end of the week?

I now understand the plight of the working mum, who feels cheated when they miss the first words, or the first steps.  Perhaps this is dangerous grounds for complaint, but won’t somebody think of the dads?  Rare are those of us who don’t miss out on almost all of those fantastic firsts. 

I’m probably soppier than the average man when it comes to things like this.  Maybe most blokes just don’t care.  Maybe they all just want to go back to work so they can escape the screaming.  So they can talk about football and other man things.  I don’t know.  I just know that for every hour I spend at work there’ll be somewhere I’d rather be (frankly, it was ever thus, even pre-baby) and something I’d rather be doing.

No doubt I’ll get used to it.

This has panned out to be rather a whingy post, sorry about that.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Great Gig Meme in the Sky

Yes.  A meme.  My first in a while, and what a lovely one it is too!  

That Musodad chap created it, so, as you might imagine, it's about gigs.  Gigs we've been to and gigs we wish we'd been to.  Or would be going to.  I'll be wowing you all with my wonderful musical taste (ha) and adding some of the tracks to a Spotify playlist along with all the previous meme-ers.

Big thanks to Ben at Mutterings of a Fool, who was kind enough to tag me yesterday.  You should all pay a visit to his blog too, it's a good'un.

Right then, onto the gigs!

First Gig

I was fourteen.  I had the same ridiculous curtain based hairstyle as EVERYONE ELSE.  But I was "alternative" (or, in our local parlance, a "Jitter".  Anyone know where that comes from?  I never worked it out.) so I eschewed the number ones of the weekly chart (Wet Wet Wet - Love is all Around anyone? No? Thought not, so HOW was it number one for FIFTEEN WEEKS?? Shame on whoever bought it.)

Which is why I was to be found at the Bristol University Anson Rooms for my first ever gig: a dual headline brit-rock/faux-grunge bonanza.  Feeder and Everclear.  It may have been pretty good, but due to the fact I got served beer all evening I was pretty well comatose in the corridor by the time Everclear started.  Ho hum.

Added to the playlist - Everclear - Heroin Girl

Worst Gig

This is tricky.  I could be tempted to go for Bad Manners at the Fleece in Bristol.  They were good.  An hour late coming on because they were busy getting wasted backstage, but good nonetheless.  The crowd though, oh my goodness.  I have never feared more for my life than I did in a room full of beered up, angry skinheads, especially when they spent the whole of the support act's set (some friends of mine) jeering at their afro-haired trombonist.  Eep.

But, actually, no.  My worst gig was one where I didn't get to stay until the end.  The same friends' band was  playing a small venue in Bristol, the Louisiana.  One of those pubs where they have crappy local bands on every night of the week.  It was great.  But the support act to my friends' band on this particular night was the now-famous Incubus-ripper-offers, The Lost Prophets.  Trouble is, at that time they were just really angry Welsh lads, and they somehow pissed off the landlord.  To the extent that the landlord threw EVERYONE out of the pub and closed early, half way through the evening.  Lame.

Added to the playlist - Lost Prophets - Shinobi vs Dragon Ninja

Best Gig

Another tough choice.  I've seen a lot of really impressive bands.  Bands I really love, and whose live shows were truly excellent.  But I think I can pinpoint the best gig I ever went to.

It was while I was at university.  An act who I don't think had much UK recognition at the time, and may not even now, but one who a friend of mine had pointed me toward about six months earlier.  A Canadian rapper whose hip hop was as far from the gangster rap mainstream as it is possible to be.  Buck 65.

The one album of his which I had was my most played CD.  It was dark and moody, impressive in both content of lyrics and their delivery.  So when I found out he was playing at the Barfly in Cardiff I bought a ticket for me and a friend immediately.

What made it the best gig I've been to was that only about twenty other people bought tickets.  We got an intimate, interactive and hugely impressive performance from a great artist, plus we got to chat to him afterwards without having to jostle for position with hundreds of other fans.

A few beers, a great friend, a great musician and an unexpected atmosphere.  Great memories of that night.

Added to the playlist - Buck 65 - Paper Airplane

Last Gig

Right.  Stop it.  You're making me feel old now.  When was the last gig I went to?  Too long ago.  Erm.  Okay, I think it was at the Bristol BBQ festival last summer (what do you mean festivals don't count?  Shh.) and we'd reached the end of a lovely, sunny day full of slow smoked food and lovely local booze.  The sun went down and the only thing left to look at was the stage.  I wasn't expecting much, it's not a music festival after all, but a band called The Congo Faith Healers came on and got everyone dancing and having a great time; they were not quite like any band I'd seen before, but if you ever get the chance I'd urge you to give them a go, great fun.

Woe! They are not on Spotify.  So here's a video of one of their songs from Youtube:

Dream Gig

Last one!  I've really enjoyed this, but I also really need to go to bed (work tomorrow, booooooo) so I will keep this brief.

I managed to see most of the bands I'd have liked to during the years I went to quite a lot of gigs.  But there was a band who I loved, a band whose songs had an energy and drive which I never got from any other band.  A band who I had TICKETS TO SEE.  A band who decided on an "indefinite hiatus" just FIVE FARKIN DAYS before the date printed on those tickets.  Honestly.  Angry doesn't even cover it.

Eleven years later, they've recently regrouped and are playing together again.  If they announce a UK tour wider than just the Reading and Leeds festivals I will find a way to see them.

At The Drive-In

Added to the playlist - At The Drive-In - Enfilade

As is the way of the meme, so here are my onward tags:

@_Mushypea - Cos she's got a lovely blog and you should all be reading it
@_firsttimedaddy - Cos he's got a lovely blog, but needs to blog more often ;-)
@motherventing - Cos she told me not to tag her in another meme, but I reckon she'll like this one

Normal babychat service will resume tomorrow, thanks for reading :-)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Two Weeks

My baby is two weeks and three hours old.  Amazing.

Fourteen WHOLE DAYS and we haven't managed to break him yet, he hasn't gone significantly wrong and (touches wood, caresses rabbit's foot, eats four leaf clover, nails horseshoe to self, seeks out seagull to entice into pooing on me) having a child actually feels kind of, well, *whispers* normal.

Obviously, I still look at him several times each day and think "bloody hell.  That's a baby, and it's mine".  I don't know when or if that will ever change.  He's a tiny life and, in partnership with Mrs L, I'm responsible for him.  Sometimes I emit an involuntary squeak when I remember that.

I can't quite believe how quickly he's changing.  Every day, in amongst the nappy changes, the screaming, the little bits of sick, the lengthy naps, there are new things.  I know they all do this, but this is my one doing it.

Eyes which are a little wider every day.

Starting to look over my shoulder rather than AT my shoulder.

His hair is already longer.

I'm pretty certain the tiny hands are just a tiny bit less tiny.

His cry has developed; from the steady pitch of the newborn to the incredibly insistent, anger and desperation infused wail he is now capable of.

Demonstrating his crying skills (also uppercuts)

If you're already a parent you probably read the above with a wry smile.  Perhaps you thought "yes, but wait for the tantrums, the colic, the myriad challenges ahead of you.  Just you wait, rookie, remember these peaceful days of teeny tiny baby time".

You're right.  I know there's a bumpy road ahead of me, Mrs L and The Creature.  But we're looking forward to it.

Thursday, April 19, 2012


No.  I haven't dropped the baby.

But since we've had the baby, I've pretty much dropped everything else I lay my hands on.  Seriously.  

Today, I have dropped: my phone (I was surprised to find it still works), my keys, a VERY sharp knife millimetres from my foot, a box of teabags and then lots of individual teabags while trying to pick them up to put back in the box.

I'm usually not a complete butterfingers, although I will freely admit that I couldn't reliably catch a tennis ball until I was about to attend secondary school.  Catching's different though, you don't choose when the thing enters your hands.  Under normal circumstances my dexterity does extend to hold things.

But not now.  I am the newly crowned King of Letting Go.  Lord of Lost Grip.

Has having a baby meant that ALL of my fingers' reserves of grip are being used up on The Creature?  I don't walk around with him in some vice grip, knuckles whitened at the effort of holding his increasingly squirmy little body.  Of course, I don't want to drop him (although, after reading @TomBriggs79's post about his paternity leave, I have wanted to check his Moro Reflex, which would require dropping him) but I really didn't think I was trying THAT hard not to.

I really don't know why I'm doing such a good job of losing my grip just now.  But I do know it has brought into sharp focus exactly how scared I am of doing anything to hurt this little tiny person who lives in my house now.

As I type, he's lying on my lap (refusing to acknowledge the existence of night time, looking all cute and squishy, aaaaawwwwwww!) and I'm terrified. Mrs L is in bed, tired from a day of looking exactly like she knows what she's doing, handling the baby with confidence and skill, while I spend every moment with him in my arms wondering when my newfound penchant for dropping things will extend to letting him fall.

Terrifying, parenting.

I Spy - Q

A difficult I Spy this week, Q. 

Oh come on, nothing begins with Q.  Nothing sensible anyway.  So, with no further ado, here, from my phone, is my rubbish I Spy for this week.

I will add the link to jbmumofone when i'm not typing with my thumb.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Many Faces of Faeces

Yes, that's right folks, one week into parenthood and I'm writing a poo post.  

In my defence, at one week old I have a limited choice of topics regarding the baby; sleep (lack of), breastfeeding (difficulty of, tentative overcoming of) and poo (lots of).

If you're reading this you've probably got kids.  You know the score.  The initial period of worry when the baby DOESN'T DO POOING.  Will the baby poo?  When will the baby poo?  What happens if he doesn't? All these questions and more race through the mind of the new parent.  Lucky for me, our little bundle didn't keep us waiting too long to render them all moot. 

"Hooray!" we thought, "the boy can poo!"  This reaction is the start of an alarming process.  The conversion of your brain from an organ of rational thought and reason into one which cares an awful lot about poo.  Colour of poo.  Consistency of poo.  Frequency of poo.

All things poo are on the cognitive agenda.  Not only this, they are on the conversational agenda (please tell me that's not just me, I've been talking to my non-parent friends about poo...)

But, for those who don't know already, baby poo is not the same as adult poo.  Where adult poo can be categorised using the Bristol Stool Scale (another claim to fame for my fair city) baby poo can not.

Baby poo is categorised, at least by our midwife, by comparison with various foodstuffs.  

Initial poos, we were told, should have consistency and appearance of Marmite.  Nice.  Amid the worry of the run up to the first poo, with all the aforementioned questions, now I had the added concern that I may never be able to spread delicious yeast extract on my toast again.  The Horror!

Marmite: Not Made of Poo
I needn't have worried.  I didn't have to deal with the Marmite poos (or, more accurately, Meconium. Thanks Google.) because he did all those at night when still in the hospital, with only Mrs L to clean the tar-like substance from him.  So, obviously, I can still enjoy an umami filled breakfast.

Once the Marmite days pass it's onto stage two poo: Nutella.  No worries about falling out of love with that one, I'm not a big fan of Nutella anyway.  Phew.  Just as well, because I did get to do battle with one or two of these.  You know how sticky Nutella is, yes?  Well.  That.  But smeared on the delicate skin of your beautiful newborn.  Delightful.
We don't have Nutella in our house. Apart from in nappies.
Next up, and our current stage: chicken Korma.  I don't have a photo of chicken Korma, because I don't like it.  Similarly, I don't really like chicken Korma poos.  Though I've never actually tried eating the latter.  It's less sticky than Marmite poo.  Less sticky than Nutella poo.  But what it lacks in sticky it more than makes up for with coverage.

Liquid can't flow uphill.  It's against the laws of physics (and, before anyone starts, capillary action doesn't count).  But guess what?  Korma poo is anti-gravity.  It comes out of the same hole as all the other poo types, but instead of staying in the region of said hole it creeps all the way up the baby's back.

Don't worry, I've told NASA.  I anticipate space suits coated in KormPoo (my trade name, hands off) before the end of the decade.  I'll be retiring off this discovery I reckon.

So, yeah, poo.  Sorry.  Hopefully he'll do something else soon...

Silent Sunday - 15/04/2012

Friday, April 13, 2012

Zombie Apocalypse

I don't want to alarm anyone, but I've experienced a moment of clarity.  Sometime in the middle of the night, with the screams of Baby Babberblog as the backing track to my thought process.

Zombies.  I know where they're going to come from.  I have unravelled how the apocalypse will befall us.  Revitalised dead people?  No.  Carriers of some mysterious disease, passed on through germ ridden bites?  Again, no.

Really, really tired people who've got young children?  Yes.  As I shambled around the downstairs of my house last night, alternating between bouncing on the Swiss ball (Godsend! Thank you Switzerland!) and singing Soft Kitty (that moment when you realise the only lullaby you know is from a TV programme? Upsetting.) to the beautiful creature I held in my arms, I could sense a change.

I felt fuzzy around the edges.  My brain felt as if parts of it were falling away, like the end of a biscuit when you've left it in your tea too long.  Or a simile which you couldn't really make work because you were a bit tired.

As I wandered around, inconsolable ball of cute held tight to my chest, I could imagine how I might end up walking out the door and finding all the other parents, drawn together by their shared plight.  We would then rampage (slowly) down the street, attacking anyone who looked like they may have had more than a few hours sleep.  Maybe we would feast on their brains, to get at the juicy sleep that must surely lie within them.  Almost definitely we'd get covered in mud and assorted other muck, our sleep deprived brains would make staying upright a near impossible task.

Yes.  Definitely.  This was it.  Tonight was the night.  Zombies were coming and I would lead the charge.

Luckily, before my wobbly brain went any further wrong, Mrs L woke from her slumber and rescued me.  We had a loosely sensible adult conversation, without any rhyming couplets, we co-operated to get the little one fed and changed, then settled into a blissful sleep.  Then I went to bed.  At seven in the morning.

Zombie apocalypse averted for one more night.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

I Spy - U...

The lovely JB over at Mum of One hosts this linked meme every week.  She provides the letter, so all us lazy lot have to manage is taking a photo of something appropriate.  This week it's U, which is awkward.  Thankfully I have a newborn (you may have noticed...) so U hasn't been as difficult as it otherwise may have been.

What do you see fellow I Spy-ers?

Click on the picture below to be whisked off to Mum of One and see all the other photos from this week!

Mum of One

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

First Night

First Night at home.  Third night in total.


He is asleep.  Finally.  She is asleep.  Finally.  I am watching them both sleep and hoping it can last more than the five minutes it already has.  It is the one thing in the world that I want more than anything at this precise moment.

Everything everyone has ever told me about this is true.  I have already felt wracked with guilt for sleeping while she does not, for not having the physical means to feed this tiny person who I am so utterly fascinated by.

Over ten minutes now.  The most sleep my wife has had in over 24 hours.  Her soft snores are music to my ears, with my son's short, tiny breaths adding a second track to the mix.

He looks grumpy even when he's asleep.  He is almost too cute to bear.  It still hasn't all sunk in yet. 

Fifteen minutes.  Thank you little man, not just for doing it, but for proving that you can do it, and for saving your mum's sanity in the process.  Maybe she'll stop hallucinating for a little while now, and have a little respite from the raging headache she's been enduring.

Me, I am the lucky one.  Tonight my prize is watching my two sleeping beauties.  I've also grabbed more sleep already than the other two combined.


He's stirring now.  But I feel like I'm already winning.

Disclaimer: typed on a phone, any and all spelling or typing errors are its fault, not my tired brain's.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Dawn of the Dad

I didn't Google it, but I bet that's one of the least original blog post titles going.

You know what though?  I don't care.

Oh my days, it's finally happened.  I have a baby.  I have a son.  I am a dad.  *does dance of ecstatic joy*

This post isn't going to be a birth story or anything as deep and meaningful as that.  I may do one some time, I may not, I'll see how I feel.

Right now, I'm sat at home on my own, for the second night, while my baby boy and my amazing wife remain at the hospital.  Hopefully they're doing well.  Maybe they're not.  I have no way of knowing.  But this post also isn't about not being able to stay at the hospital.

This post is to say that I feel a new understanding, respect and connection to all those other dads out there.  And all the mums too.  I thought I got it before our baby was born.  But I was wrong.  I didn't get it when I was a broody young man.  I didn't get it when my wife was pregnant.  I didn't get it during my wife's labour.

I got it when that tiny little fragile body made its exit from the womb.  I got it when he was placed, still covered in all manner of goo and stuff, on to my wife's body moments later.  I got it when my face contorted into a display of emotion which I had no hope of controlling, of tears and sobs and snotty sniffles of pure, joyous happiness.

Even our first day as a family has shown me that there will be challenges.  That all the talk of how difficult it is to have a child is true.  But it has also shown me that there is a whole world of support out there for new parents, a world of experience and knowledge that we will be able to draw from to help us, to pick us up when we are down, to cry on, to complain to.
Cute, but with a penchant for pissing up your arm.  I don't mind though,  because I'm a dad.

This is the dawn of a new era then, an era where my BabberBlog actually has a babber to blog about.  I can't wait.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Silent Sunday - 08/04/12

Writing the Book on Parenting...

Every lunchtime during the working week I walk from my office and go to ASDA.  It's the only place within walking distance; which is both a shame, and an indication of the salubrious setting of my workplace.

One day this week, as I walked from one end of the store to the other, I passed a family: Mum, toddler and Granny.  This is not unusual in this particular ASDA, lots of people seem to think their kids should learn the ways of Smart Price early on.

A little more unusual was the snippet of conversation I heard as I passed them:

Granny: "do we need to get cutlery?"

Mum: [shouting] "she don't need a fork, she'll use her fucking fingers"

Which was nice.

Now, I'm in no position to give parenting advice, nor am I the sort of person who is likely to tell someone else that what they're saying to their child is possibly, maybe, just a tiny bit inappropriate.  But it was, and I didn't think it was a technique Supernanny would have been proud of.

I'm very happy to litter my speech to adults with swearwords, I don't attach any greater significance to them than I do any other word.  But this made me feel sorry for the child.  Maybe it was the first and only time the mum had ever sworn at her, or maybe it was a regular part of their relationship.  I don't know.  But it just seemed so unnecessary.  It was swearing as filler, swearing as punctuation, not swearing for effect or emphasis.  Even if it had been the latter, not in the direction of a toddler surely?

It made me judge the mother too.  I wondered what other things she might think were okay which I might not.  I wondered what the girl would be eating with her fingers; bolognaise perhaps?  A tasty curry?  Perhaps this mum also thought that a bowl of cereal should be eaten without a spoon?

Two days later I heard another mother tell her son "you can't go on the fucking ride, and you're not getting any fucking sweets, now shut up".  That was in ASDA too.  The boy didn't look to be misbehaving, but he did look like he hadn't enjoyed being spoken to like that.  Not an isolated case then.

Am I wrong, or being prudish?  Maybe everyone swears at their kids (and I don't mean the under-the-breath frustration swearing, I mean swearing AT their kids) and it's all part of their growing up experience.

Perhaps when I'm a dad myself I'll understand it, but for now I'll just remain dumbfounded.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

False Alarm

Two nights ago, at about 1am, I was woken by the following word from my wife:


It took my sleep addled brain a few dozy moments to process that.  Then, assuming that the baby had decided it was time to make an entrance, I did the natural thing.  Panicked.  A thousand thoughts went through my mind.  Well, a couple at least.  They were: "ohmygodshittingshitit'sfinallyhappeningthebaby'scoming" and then: "calm down, calm down, find out what's going on".

My mouth hadn't quite finished booting up yet, so I said something like "nnngggghhhmmmddight?"

Luckily, Mrs L is good at deciphering my incoherent mumblings.

"It's cramp, really bad cramp in my legs".

I asked whether she was sure, because, y'know, I'd imagine cramp in your legs feels pretty similar to contractions.  I blame the fact I was barely awake.  Pretty soon I was back to sleep.  An hour later it happened again.

Since that night, I've been on code red, Defcon 1 (or 5, I forget which way round that works), super-alert-phone-checking mode.  Because it could happen any time now.  I might have to exercise the full accelerative ferocity of the almighty Skoda to get to the hospital at the drop of a hat.  I've started fending off new pieces of work which people try to give me (to be honest, I do that anyway) and trying to wrap up outstanding bits and pieces.  I'm ready for the call, whenever that call may come.

Every single thing we do I find myself thinking "this is probably the last time we'll [insert activity] before the baby arrives".

We're in a period of lasts.  Last restaurant meal.  Last visit to the cinema.  Last game of basketball.  Last trip to the supermarket.

It's harder for Mrs L, having to ferry the baby around within her, but the uncertainty is having an affect on me too.  I'm not sleeping well (and not just because my Mrs L has developed a very impressive talent for snoring in recent weeks) and I feel a bit fuzzy around the edges.  I got all snappy at someone in the office the other day, which is not at all like me.  It's quite stressful, having a baby, and we don't even have ours yet.

So come on baby, get a wriggle on.  We want to meet you, and I want to stop feeling a compulsion to check my phone every thirty seconds.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

I Spy - Something Beginning with R

The lovely @jbmumofone takes a mean photo.  Every week she posts a linkythingy on her blog and invites us all to join in a big old game of photographical I Spy.

This week the letter of the alphabet she is interested in is R.  Beloved of Bristolians, it seemed this was an appropriate letter for me to make my I Spy debut.  Without further prattling, here is my photo:

What do you see?

Clickify on this here badge and find yourself in a world of other R based pictorial joy:

Mum of One


No, not her.

There’s something which has been pissing me off for a while now.  I’ve been biting my tongue on it, because it’s not really important in the grand scheme of things.  But yesterday’s Samantha Brick debacle brought it back to the forefront of my mind.

I’m not going to start harping on about how beautiful, or not, or whatever, Samantha Brick is.  You’ve already read all about that.  You read all about it on the Daily Mail’s website.  You read all about it on Twitter.  You may well have read the follow up article which is apparently actually in the Mail’s printed publication today, as well as online.

I’ve read all the above.  I was as swept up and fished in as everyone else.  But when I read the second instalment of the Samantha Brick saga this morning one paragraph leapt out at me:

 - Samantha Brick, Daily Mail
Until this week I never really understood the term 'Trolling' — used to describe when anonymous people viciously attack others on the internet. Now I do!”
No.  You don’t.

Because that’s NOT WHAT TROLLING IS.  That’s what the media, who obviously couldn’t be bothered to research it properly, have decided it is.  And have decided to start spouting off about all the time.

Trolling is the posting of deliberately inflammatory content online, with the express intention of provoking a reaction.  (Paraphrased from Wikipedia, because I CAN* be bothered to research)

It is not Samantha Brick who spent all day yesterday being trolled (though what was happening to her was indicative of the ugly, pack mentality of the internet.  To actually think it’s okay to send her hate mail directly doesn’t seem okay to me.  She didn’t have to read what was on Twitter, or being blogged, or even on the comments about her own article, but actually emailing her?  That’s a bit nasty.)

It was us being trolled.  That’s right.  You just got “pwned” by the Daily Mail.  We all did. 

Someone posted on Twitter yesterday that the Daily Mail had won the internet.  They were right.  Mail Online is already the most viewed newspaper website in the WORLD.  Now they’re being clever enough to use the internet against itself.  It’s like some sort of postmodern mindfuck.  If the Mail is now trolling us, who will troll the Mail?

No-one.  Because the rest of the media is using its power to convince us that what I would probably term “cyber bullying” is actually trolling.

So here’s my intention for the future: I will not click on links that are to the Daily Mail Online.  I will try not to react to articles elsewhere which are blatantly planted to gain a reaction.  I will do my best not to feed the trolls.

And if you see that I have slipped, you’re more than welcome to tell me I’ve been a right old Sammy (in a thick cockney accent, preferably).

Disclaimer: I know I’m feeding the troll just by posting this.  The irony has not passed me by.

*Can’t.  I know Wikipedia doesn’t count as a valid source for anything.  It is right though.


We had some friends over at the weekend, to drink tea and eat cake in celebration of Mrs L's birthday.  The tea was nice, and so was the cake, but the star attraction was the nine month old not-quite-toddler son of one couple.

From the moment he arrived to the moment he left he was the focus of everyone's attention.  Rightly so, because he's a fab little man, smiley and engaging, with a definite cheeky edge.

I learnt something in that hour of toddler time: to a toddler, EVERYTHING is a toy.  Specifically, the things which were not designed to be toys.  Even more specifically, the most expensive things in the room which were not designed to be toys.  To take it one step further, he was fascinated by the TV.  He also quite liked the laptop, but we hid that.  There's nowhere in our house that you could hide a reasonable sized flat screen TV, not if you ever wanted to watch it.
Not a toy.
Little man's mum was alert to this, and had him under close surveillance at all times.  A fact I am grateful for.  She also managed to prevent him from eating my car keys, which was nice too.  For him and me.

A toy.
So how do they know?  It's not unique to this baby, I've see other ones drawn like a magnet to iron when they're placed within sight of some expensive item.  I don't think we did anything to highlight the value of any specific items to him ("hello baby, listen carefully, these are the ten most expensive things in the room, please feel free to destroy them as you see fit") and we certainly didn't make the mistake of refusing him access to the TV.  Innate ability?  Some kind of genetic affinity with the magpie?  I don't know.

The nice thing was that he wasn't actually interested in mauling the screen itself, it was the faux-carbon fibre weave on the stand he liked; running his tiny nails over the texture over and over again, making the sort of scratching noise usually reserved for sound effects in bad horror films.  I suppose that's it really, it wasn't some unfathomable addiction to the pricey he was displaying, but an entirely fathomable desire to do something interesting.  Nothing else in the room made that noise, or had that feeling.  Maybe he'd never heard that noise before in his short life.  He was exploring the world, the world where almost everything is still new to him, and that's a lovely thing to watch in someone else's child, so I'm really looking forward to watching it in my own.

Monday, April 2, 2012


It's been a while coming.  Nearly thirty-nine weeks in fact.  She's done well, but now she's just about done.  It's just too much.  Too much weight.  Too much volume.  Too much circumference.  The bump is finally defeating my wife.  Wobbling around like some 50s b-movie monster attached to the front of her, the bump has begun to take its toll.

I've been amazed through this whole nine month process that there hasn't been more in the way of aches and pains.  The books all say a woman should expect to start hurting far earlier than one week prior to the due date, and I'm sure most do.  Mrs L has been toughing it out though, that or extremely lucky.

But not any more.

Every movement is accompanied with a breathless sigh.  A trip to the shops is akin to a major expedition to some hitherto undiscovered corner of the globe.  Even resting is no longer a rest, rendered unpleasant by the sheer size of that baby oven.

No combination of pillows, cushions, duvets and assorted other ephemera yields the comfort my wife so desperately craves.  Her anatomy is at the mercy of the baby, stomach squished up inside her so that she's never hungry, her hips, knees and ankles working under conditions that have their union rep threatening strike action, her feet swelling into caricatures of their normal selves.

Yet through all of this, there is hardly anything by way of complaint (there's certainly a lot less whinging than would be happening if I was carrying all that around).  Not once have the words "I just want this baby out of me" passed her lips.

She's bloody amazing, and I, in turn, am bloody amazed.

Sunday, April 1, 2012


I heard a story recently about names.  Part of me hopes it isn't true.  It went like this: a couple has three children.  The oldest is called Coco, the middle child Princess.  When the third child is born they register him with the name Dikenwe.  The registrar is a little surprised, so asks the parents how they decided on it:

"We named all our children after perfumes we like, Coco by Chanel, Princess by Vera Wang and now Dikenwe, you know, because we couldn't call him DKNY"

Oh dear.  What a terrible abuse of power.  Thankfully, he'll only have to live with it until he's sixteen, when he can change it via Deed Poll.  Or maybe he'll love it, it's certainly different.

But even without the benefit of having a parent who is clearly mental, many people end up with names they're not keen on.  We're keen to avoid that, which is why we've been having the name conversation now for nearly twenty weeks.  Because we want to like the name we give our baby.  We also want our baby to like his name, once he's old enough to have an opinion on it.
Meet my son, his name is Sexy.

It's difficult though, isn't it?  Without realising it, I've been going through my life marking names up with little tags: John is too common.  Luke, Leo and Liam would all be alliterative with the surname.  Isaac is already taken by a close member of family.  I was bullied at school by someone called Jason, and someone else called Antony.  Colin sounds too old.  Matthew is too biblical.

Mrs L has a separate list of names which she wouldn't want to bestow on the boy, some of which I quite liked.

We want something a bit different.  But not too different.  Something with no negative connotations from people we've known, or people from history (not too many Adolfs around these days, wonder why?)

The conversation isn't over.  Won't be over until the day we register the baby.  But we do have a short list now.  Eventually we realised there aren't going to be many names we can say, without any reservation, that we're 100% happy with, so we went for the closest we could get.  There are five names on the list, I'm not going to write them here, but I will write our concerns:

Options one, two and three: they're nice, safe, popular names.  But that's the problem, they're a bit dull.
Option four: is shared with a current politician, whose policies we don't like.  We'd like to avoid the inevitable "is he named after...?" questions.
Option five: is of French origin.  Neither of us is remotely French.  We're a bit worried that it might be a touch silly.

When the little guy does make an appearance though, I'm sure all our concerns will melt away.  We're not going to love the boy because of his name, but because of what he is.  A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, and a son by whatever name will be amazing.