Thursday, May 31, 2012


Somewhat inevitable this, I suppose. A post about boobs is surely high upon the checklist of “must writes” for any parenting blog.

Well, here’s mine. I’m not sure if it’s really about boobs at all, but it seemed a shame to miss the opportunity to have that as a title.

What it definitely IS about, is breastfeeding. Even more accurately, it’s about stopping breast feeding, something my son did nearly two weeks ago.

He’s a bottle baby now, and he seems to be loving it.

Tricky topic, breastfeeding, I feel like I probably need to tread carefully (especially as a man…)

I’ll start by saying this: both me and Mrs L considered breastfeeding a Good Thing. We would have loved Cam to continue exclusively with breast milk for the six months that the government suggests. But it didn’t work out that way.

Right from the start, every feed was a battle. Mrs L had support from midwives in the hospital (more on that further on), support from the midwife at home (who was truly fantastic and a credit to the profession), support from the health visitor, support from relatives, support from other mums, support from people on my Twitter timeline, support from websites, from books, from left, right and centre. None of it made much difference.

Almost every feed I watched was an ordeal. Mrs L trying different positions, different techniques, different pieces of equipment designed to help.

By the time she made the final decision to call time at the milk bar, Mrs L’s nipples were cracked and sore. Two weeks on and they’ve not yet fully recovered. She was tired, she was wracked with guilt at the prospect of turning to the bottle. I shared that guilt, but I’m no fool, I know the majority of the burden was with Mrs L.

Physical aspects aside, I have some thoughts on breastfeeding which may not be all that popular. So, I’ll don my flameproof suit and continue.

We were told throughout the pregnancy that breast is best. I agree with this statement. What I’m not so keen on is the implication that formula is bad. It’s unspoken, but the persistent promotion of breast feeding by NHS staff, though well intentioned, breeds a feeling of inferiority in people who can not breastfeed. I don’t think that’s fair.

If a mum is feeling stressed out, losing confidence in her parenting ability and being caused a lot of physical pain by breastfeeding, she needs to be able to stop it without feeling like a failure. I don’t know how that can be done without weakening the breastfeeding message. Tricky.

But by far my biggest gripe with the whole breastfeeding thing is this: everyone tells you something different.

Mrs L was visited in hospital by at least four different midwives. All were supportive, helpful, friendly. All had COMPLETELY different advice on how to breastfeed.

This, frankly, is fucking stupid.

The advice given needs to be consistent. I appreciate it’s an organic, natural process and that there will be variation in the best approach from person to person. But when a new mum, fresh out of labour, tired and likely a smidge mental with hormones is being given conflicting advice every few hours it doesn’t make her life easy.

I was glad when Mrs L took the decision to drop breastfeeding. Cam is obviously one of the most important things in my life, but Mrs L is the other one. Watching her wince in pain as he tried to latch on, watching him work himself into a screaming frenzy, was horrible for me as well.

What’s better for all concerned, a breastfed but angry baby with a mum rendered fragile and unwell by the experience, or a bottle fed but happy baby with a mum better able to enjoy him?

Before anyone unleashes a torrent of fury in my direction via the comments box, please note that when breastfeeding works for all parties it is bloody great. I just don’t think it was right for us.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

I Spy With My Little Eye - Something Beginning With Y

Wednesday. Beginning of the downward slope to the weekend. Woop de woop!

Not only that, but the day of Mum of One's weekly game of blog-based I Spy.  We get given a letter, we take a super spangly photo containing that letter, and go forth and guess each other's entries.

This week, the letter in question is Y. To be quite honest with you, barely anything I encounter seems to begin with Y. Luckily, I thought of something, can you spot it?

Insert your guessings into the designated comment area, then click on the badge to go and see who else is playing :-)

Mum of One

PS: Aren't fridges great, all covered in random crap? Amazing.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


DISCLAIMER: The following post is short, badly written and won't make you laugh. 

I just had a bit of an emotional outburst.

I'm all sorts of soppy, me. You may be coming to that conclusion of your own accord, but let me save you the bother with the following tale:

Our little guy is always happiest when he's being cuddled, rocked, walked around, but this evening he was really unhappy with any attempt at putting him down for a moment.

Which is why I found myself pacing our living room, him held close in front of me with his eyes wide open, me sweating profusely, the stereo playing the Beatles.

We did that for about half an hour, something I'm now quite used to. As time goes on his eyes usually start to roll around in their sockets. We call it his Gizmo impression (you know, from Gremlins?)

Tonight, his Gizmo impression had been going for about ten minutes when "Here Comes the Sun" started playing. He dropped off to sleep while it played. At the same time, tears of happiness started rolling down my face. I have these moments every now and then, where I am just overwhelmed by the strength of feeling I have for that tiny boy. 

It doesn't last long, a matter of seconds, then I'm back to normal (which is to say, all gruff and manly, obviously. Like a cross between a bear and a bad tempered crocodile. Grrrrrrr.)

He let me put him down to bed too, and half an hour on he's still sleeping. I should cry more often.

Made me cry. For I am a wuss.

Monday, May 28, 2012


Not long after you have a baby you will need to take it somewhere. If nothing else, you will need to take the baby from the hospital it was born in and transport it to wherever you live.

I chose to do this using my car.

It’s a reasonable size vehicle. It’s made by Skoda, which in the old days would have meant it being hewn from pure iron in a former communist factory fuelled by sweat and woe. Nowadays it means it’s a Volkswagen, but with less impressive residuals. It is large of boot and copious of airbag, it is the sort of car which a dad should own. Which (as well as a need to ferry bikes around) is why I bought it.

Before the baby arrived I posted about the joy of installing an Isofix car seat here. When I set off to bring The Creature and his mother home the car was as ready as it would ever be to receive its precious cargo.

I, on the other hand, was a wreck.

In case you’ve never done it, or been in the car when someone else was doing it, here’s how it goes: you open the door and lift the car seat onto the Isofix base, bumping it on every part of the car it passes en route. You sit in your seat and notice you’re sweating profusely. You start the engine and enter into a state of hyper awareness.

Suddenly, every other car on the road seems like it’s being driven by a lunatic. A drunk lunatic. A drunk lunatic with an intense dislike for children. To ensure no harm comes to the baby (who is blissfully unaware, sleeping and emitting the occasional squeak) you drive ten to fifteen miles per hour slower everywhere. Of course, this makes the drunk lunatics angry.

Your own driving turns to shit. Changing gear goes from being as smooth as a baby’s bottom, the product of years of repetition and consideration for both the car and passengers, to a grinding, jerky affair. You wonder whether purchasing a neck brace may be a good idea.

When you finally arrive home, with self inflicted whiplash, you breath a sigh of relief and resolve never to take your baby anywhere you can’t walk to ever again.

Then you remember your brother’s wedding is in six weeks and is one hundred and fifty miles away.

Six weeks is a long time though, so I’m pleased to say that I didn’t have to drive all the way to Nottingham at fifty miles per hour. I’m even more pleased to say that The Creature was a model passenger, sleeping for the entire journey in both directions.

Best of all, I only had to change out of sweaty clothes at journey’s end because the weather was so hot, not because of all the nervous energy.

Tell me your tales of child travel hell. What do I have to look forward to? Will I regret the fact my car has white seats?

Friday, May 25, 2012

The One That Got Away

I’m very lucky. I don’t have a lot to be sad about. My life doesn’t tend to be filled with spectacular highs, but I take that, because it’s balanced with not having many of the terrible lows which so many other people seem to face.

But this post is about a time I was sad.

One of the first posts I ever wrote here was about finding out Mrs L was pregnant. It was a wonderful moment, an emotional moment.

Just a few weeks after that emotional moment, we had another one.

Mrs L was outside in the garden, while I was inside getting ready to go and play basketball. It was a pleasant, warm late summer evening and we were happy.

Then, Mrs L was walking through the house, very quickly, heading for the bathroom. I could see she wasn’t okay. This wasn’t a usual trip to the bathroom. The word I’d been fearing for the past six weeks was suddenly all I could think of.


I stopped getting ready and sat down, waiting to hear the bathroom door open again. Instead, I heard crying. Soft, persistent cries that seemed to offer nothing but confirmation of my fears. I ran up the stairs and found the bathroom door unlocked, I asked whether I could go in.

Sat, shaking, sobbing was my beautiful wife, face contorted into an expression of pure anguish. I’ve never seen a face so honest. I hope I never have to again. She had bled heavily. She still was in fact. She was apologising through the sobs, already trying to take the blame for something she could never have done anything to stop.

We sat there and hugged each other tight for what felt like a long time. I had never had occasion to be shellshocked before, but that’s how I felt. No tears for me. No tears. Just a feeling of loss, a feeling of emptiness. I tried to imagine how much more powerful those feelings must be for my wife, but I know I never could.

It was Mrs L who pulled herself together first. Began to take the first steps toward getting on with what we had to assume was a pregnancy free life. It was out of hours, so a call to NHS Direct got us redirected to an out of hours doctor. After hearing the events that doctor said that, yes, it was a miscarriage and to expect bleeding for a while and that would be that.

I’m as certain as I’ve ever been of anything that a man’s experience of miscarriage is nothing compared to a woman’s. Nevertheless, I felt completely numb. For weeks I wasn’t bothered about anything else. All I could think of was the little baby that no longer was. My little boy or little girl, gone before I’d ever had the chance to meet them.

We hadn’t even told anyone we were expecting a baby, deciding to wait until the twelve week milestone. All that meant to me was that I couldn’t talk to anyone about the miscarriage. That was hard. I’m a sharer where emotions are concerned, and I had no-one I felt it was okay to talk to about it, aside from the other person who already knew.

Another month passed and Mrs L was still experiencing all of the symptoms of a first trimester pregnancy. It seemed to us a cruel reminder of what could have been.

Actually it was because, whatever had happened, there was still a foetus in there. Our little Creature-to-be trying to tell us that not everything had been lost on that horrible day. A positive pregnancy test and a hastily arranged scan confirmed it.

We were told that it could have just been a bleed from the placenta, but there was a chance it had been one of a set of twins we lost.

I’m not sure why I’m so sure it was the latter. I am though.

I think about it a lot.

I couldn’t be more grateful for the beautiful baby boy we have now, but I will never ever forget the one who got away.

My thoughts go out to anyone who has ever experienced miscarriage. Every baby is a miracle, whether they make it or not.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Hay Fever

Hay fever is horrible. If you get hay fever you know what I mean. If you don’t get hay fever then I envy you. If I had limitless cash I would spend a large chunk of it on hay fever research. My vision is of a world where plants don’t need pollen anymore. It may not be life threatening, but it is unspeakably annoying.

If there is one feature of me that I really hope I haven't passed on to my son it is my allergy to pollen.

Flowers. Pricks.
It wakes me up in the middle of the night. If I must be awake in the middle of the night I want it to be because I’m doing something fun, not because some pollen has snuck inside me and started trying to get jiggy with my nasal membranes.

It makes you sneeze. A LOT. Contrary to the popular myth, I can confirm that sneezing seven times in quick succession does NOT equate to an orgasm. In fact, I can confirm that sneezing fourteen times in quick succession doesn’t either.

It makes me look like I am infected with the RAGE virus from 28 Days Later, so red and angry are my eyes.

It makes the roof of your mouth itch. There is no satisfactory way to scratch the roof of your mouth without employing sandpaper.

Right now, even my ears are starting to itch, and I only took an antihistamine an hour ago.

I have suffered with hay fever since I was eighteen years old, so I know a thing or two about it at this point. I’m nothing if not a generous and caring soul, so I am going to share with you my tips for hay fever sufferers:

  1. Stay inside and cry – this is a good starter, because if you have hay fever you will be crying anyway. All you have to do is stay inside. Like a leper. If you’ve ever looked at real sources of advice for hay fever, they actually say to stay inside. HAY FEVER COMES IN SUMMER, THE ONLY TIME ANYONE IN THIS COUNTRY WANTS TO GO OUTSIDE.
  1. Get quite drunk, quite often – antihistamines don’t work all that well, and neither does this. But, antihistamines don’t get you drunk. Getting drunk DOES get you drunk, which means you won’t mind so much about all the sneezing, crying and rage eyes, because you’ll be too busy dancing to Bob Marley songs in your living room (on your own, because everyone else is outside enjoying the summer)
  1. Moan – moaning about hay fever is good for hay fever sufferers, because if you moan about it you can share a little bit of your misery with everyone else. It’s best if you can moan online somehow, possibly in a blog post, for maximum sharing of the moan. This also means you won’t need to go outdoors, contravening point 1.
Are you among the one in three people who suffer with hay fever? Do you have any top tips for dealing with it? If I start an indoor hay fever club with booze and snacks will you join me there if I promise not to moan at you?

*sneezes repeatedly*

*blows nose*

*rubs eyes*

*scratches roof of mouth with tongue*


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

I Spy... W

Every week I take part in Mum of One's game of blog-based I Spy.  It is fun, so I wholeheartedly encourage you all to do the same!

This week's letter, is W. Here is my picture, which I took last night while wandering around with The Creature:

That's nice and easy, innit? Let's have your guesses in the comments section below. Once you've done that you can click JB's badge to hop on over and see who else is taking part this week:

Mum of One

Monday, May 21, 2012


It was the weekend yesterday. I know this to be true, because I was not at work, longing to be elsewhere. Since The Creature graced the world with his appearance I have looked forward to the weekend immensely. When the weekends have arrived, I have enjoyed them.

Yesterday was still a weekend, but it was different. I wasn’t enjoying it.

I was tired. But that’s fine. I’m always tired now, just as every other parent is always tired. Tired is fine.

The Creature was grumpy. That’s fine too. He usually is.

We had been through the usual stuff we try to calm him down without going walking. None of it worked. So on went the wrap and in went the baby. The screaming, rigid, beetroot-faced-with-incandescent-rage baby.

Ten minutes of artificially bouncy walking and he’s settled. Woo.

Ten more minutes and The Creature has filled his nappy. So forcefully on this occasion that he’s woken himself up.

Surprisingly, even at such a tender age, he has worked out that he DOES NOT LIKE being sat in his own excreta, with two layers of clothes on top, then a further layer of clingy wrap to exert a bit more pressure on it.

He is screaming in his most persistent tone.

I don’t have any of the necessary gubbins with me to change him, because I am stupid.

I consider finding a puddle, cleaning him in it, then fashioning some kind of impromptu nappy solution from the wrap. I remember I’m not very good at knots and abandon the idea. There are no puddles anyway, because of the amazing drought we’ve been having.

The Creature is not the only one who is unhappy about his outfit. I have been fooled by the weather and am wearing jeans, but it is hot. I should be wearing shorts.

Ideally, I shouldn’t be wearing an eleven pound baby shaped radiator either.

I continue walking until I reach his grandparents’, my parents-in-law’s, house, where I was heading anyway to rendezvous with Mrs L for a quiet and relaxing Sunday lunch.

Thankfully they are not idiots and have all the changing gubbins ready to go within moments. Clean bummed equilibrium is restored, lunch is eaten, The Creature does his best impression of a quiet lovely baby for some relatives who are visiting and we go home.

He spends the remainder of the afternoon crying. Neither me nor Mrs L can settle him and eventually I find myself lying on our bed with him next to me.

That’s when Mrs L enters the room. She looks sad. I ask her what’s wrong and she says this:

“I’m worrying. I’m worrying about him. But I’m also worrying about you, you seem like it’s getting to you.”

She was right. It was just one day, and today I’m okay again. Recharged by a good night’s sleep. But I really felt it yesterday. Felt like it was hard. Felt like I needed to walk away and have an hour where I was on my own.

And that felt shit.

PS: Wow this sounds whingy and needy. I'm not looking for sympathy, and there's no need for any concern, it's just a bit of a vent.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Parenting Classes

Here's what I think of the concept of parenting classes:

1.  Hi, my name's James and I'm a really shitty example of a parent.

I don't pay any attention to my kids, they do whatever the fuck they want most of the time. It was probably them who keyed the side of your car the other week, but I didn't tell them off. Shit, I don't even know if it was them who did it. I don't really care how they turn out, whether they have good morals, values and standards or any of that guff.

Apparently, that wanker David Cameron has decided I can get some parenting classes. I don't really know what they're about, I don't really care, because I sure as shit won't be going to any of them, because I'm a really shitty example of a parent.

2.  Hi, my name's Richard and I'm a good, average example of a parent.

I love my kids, I'm in touch with what they're up to most of the time. They get up to a bit of mischief every now and then, but they're given a telling off when they need it and they know right from wrong. I do my best to make sure they're being brought up right, and I think I'm doing a pretty good job.

Apparently, that wanker David Cameron has started rolling out parenting classes. They sound like a good idea, sometimes we all need a little help. But I've got friends who are also parents, all the books about parenting and I know where to go online to get advice I trust. I don't think I need classes on top of that, I mean, what can they tell us that isn't already easily available? Seems like it might be a waste of time and money.

3.  Hi, my name's Gideon and I've got a bank balance the size of a small African nation's GDP, I also have kids and I want what's best for them.

We have a full time nanny, who's very well qualified and always knows what to do when little Tarquin plays up. When the time comes he'll be off to boarding school, just like his daddy. They'll teach him all he needs to know, right up until he gets his place at Cambridge and becomes a board member at a blue chip firm.

Apparently that wanker David Cameron is going to waste a load of our money on some stupid parenting classes. Of course I won't be going; they'll no doubt be teeming with poor people.

4.  Hi, my name's David Cameron and I'm trying REALLY HARD to convince everyone that I think family is the most important thing in this country, while allowing my party to systematically strip away layer upon layer of the support networks that exist for vulnerable families at present.

I've introduced parenting classes because if I go on about loads of STUFF all the time no-one will notice that I'm not enough of a Tory to be good at that, but just enough of one to fuck up everything I touch.

We're all in this together, innit. Brrrrap.

So, where do I sign up, and what do you all think? Parenting classes, yay or nay?

Thursday, May 17, 2012


Once, when I was little, my mum was watching me sleep. While she watched, I sat bolt upright in bed, eyes closed, clearly still in the grip of slumber and announced “hooray! But I wanted the toffee one!”

Then I put my head back down and continued my snooze.

I’d love to know what I was dreaming about that night. Sometimes I worry it was a nightmare; that I’d been playing Revels Roulette and my next turn would land me in a coffee flavoured hell.

I obviously didn’t get the toffee one, but was still pretty excited, so what would have happened if I HAD got the toffee one? I used to sleep in a cabin bed, six feet off a floor covered in hard plastic action figures. Getting the toffee one could have left me writhing on the floor, impaled on Lion-o’s Sword of Omens. Doesn’t bear thinking about.

My dad has a recurring dream, where he revisits a childhood accident. He fell down a flight of stairs. He was fine, but it obviously left an impression on him. Fifty years on, when he has the dream about it, you can see the jolt go through his body as he hits each step in the dream.

I love the feeling of waking from a bizarre dream and trying to piece it back together: why did my brain think I’d like to be at a party with Boris Johnson and the Dingle family from Emmerdale? Why was everyone telling me we were in Rio de Janeiro when the venue was clearly a dingy rock club in Cardiff? Most importantly, why was I not me, but Hulk Hogan, in full WWF attire?

The nightly brain defrag is a magical, mystical thing for me.

I saw a thing on Twitter the other day, it was one of those accounts which spews out facts to its followers and is presumably run by someone who just loves flicking to random pages in encyclopaedias. It said: “babies dream even before they are born”.


What do they dream of? Dark? Muffled voices?

It may be true, but I just don’t get it.

A baby has no experiences to draw on for dreams, no visual experience more exciting than a bit of light, no concept of what will happen once they’re born. Their brain has nothing to sort through and file away at the end of each day. They haven’t watched Homes Under the Hammer or Neighbours, so where are they getting their material?

So, I’ve concluded, baby dreams must be really boring. Until they get out of the womb. Imagine that! Going from the barest of sensory input for months on end, to a sudden EXPLOSION of stuff, attacking you from every angle.

Sights. Sounds. Smells. Tastes. Textures.

All day every day. No wonder they cry a lot, daytime TV is shit.

I spend quite a bit of time watching The Creature when he’s asleep (I feel I should savour it) and I’ve noticed something. He hasn’t sat up and proclaimed his excitement at not getting something he wanted yet, but I can quite often tell what he’s dreaming about.


Typical man.

Tell me your funny dream stories and I PROMISE I won’t recount them to all my friends. Go on…

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

#ISpy: I Spy with my little eye, something beginning with R

A strange feeling of deja vu came over me when I was told that this week's I Spy was the letter R. I'm not quite sure why...

Anyway, I'm going to make it dead simple this week. This is a photo I took to go in a frame in The Creature's room:

If you can't see the R in there, I fear there is no hope for you.

Click the multicoloured badge below to visit @jbmumofone and see more R-rated (not like that) pictures

Mum of One

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Momentum is nice. It makes life easy. When I’m out on my bike and something happens to rob me of my momentum (like a careless driver, an inopportune badger, one of Britain’s many glorious potholes, a hill) my internal dialogue becomes a torrent of spite and vitriol.

I’m already discovering that there’s a definite benefit to momentum in parenting. It’s not proper momentum, before anyone points it out, but a feeling of it.

The mounting sense of invincibility that comes from two consecutive good nights of sleep. The palpable feeling of achievement from getting The Creature to sleep for a while so that we can do something else. Like eat. Or clean ourselves.

This weekend we had momentum. We felt like we were winning at being parents, largely characterised by not feeling like we were having to work at being parents.

We spent part of an evening in our local pub, we both had a drink. We chatted and smiled.

I went for an idyllic walk in beautiful sunshine. I wore the baby for three hours, the majority of which he was asleep and making the little snuffly noises that still make my brain go all melty round the edges when I hear them. I took these pictures to remind myself of how the world could look on a good day.

Mrs L had a much needed break from the daily demands of maternity leave. The constant attention giving and inability to get anything done aside from feeding and changing, feeding and changing.

My parents visited and we went out for a pub lunch, followed by a wander around the grounds of a local manor.

It was a good weekend, but it was never going to last.

Like a metaphorical badger, The Creature has ushered in the new week with a wave of momentum stopping behaviour. Renewed commitment to exercising his lungs. A dedicated approach to pooing and weeing only once the nappy is off him and he has a clear shot at whichever parent is changing him. Suddenly deciding that, actually, he doesn’t like sleeping in a wrap.

I’m not complaining, but for the time being we’re going uphill again. Grinding the pedals and powering through. Relying on the memories of the weekend to make it through the week. Looking forward to the next stretch of freewheeling momentum, no matter how many soiled nappies, sleepless nights and vomit soaked babygros away it may be.

So, yeah, parenting. A bit like a bike ride, but less sweaty.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Don't Sweat the Small Things

I'm still pretty new to all this parenting gubbins. Five weeks isn't a long time. Not even a full summer holiday's worth of experience under my belt.

I wrote a post earlier this week about dummies. Perhaps you read it. Perhaps you were one of the many people who were kind enough to leave me a comment which would reassure me that, actually, I shouldn't worry about giving The Creature a dummy/soother/pacifier/gobstopper. If you were, I thank you. You made me feel better about the choice I'd made and I'm grateful for that.

A few people expressed the sentiment that is the title of this post. They're right. The one I took particular notice of was @tricky_customer. She has a blog which you should read:

She doesn't sweat the small stuff, because she's got too much of the big stuff going on. I won't try to re-tell her story here, go and see it for yourself. Needless to say, theirs is an inspiring family.

It's a great piece of advice for a new parent, along with number eleven on @SAHDandproud's list over here. I am the first to admit I've found it difficult to not be drawn into the swirling melee (how can I put the correct accent on that? I can't be bothered to look it up just now) of conflicting advice and evidence surrounding parenting. It's fucking confusing.

So when your new baby, your first baby, the baby you waited what seemed like forever for, does something a bit confounding, it's easy to panic. To run through EVERY option for calming a baby down in the space of fifteen minutes. When none of it works, it's equally easy to panic again and assume there's something wrong.

There's nothing wrong. It's just that he's a baby. Babies cry. A LOT. But it's just crying. Just a small thing. So don't sweat the small things.

It's going to be my mantra for parenting from now on, because if it's not I might go actually mental.

We're getting there I think. This evening we didn't sit in, in front of some random televised shite. We tried to feel like real people for a bit, took a little walk down to the pub we used to visit every week to do a quiz. We both had a drink. A sit down and a chill out for an hour. Mrs L was wearing the baby in a wrap and he behaved beautifully. For a minute we even forgot he was there at all.

Does that make us sound awful? No, I don't think it does, but there I go again, worrying. Don't worry, I've stopped now.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

I Spy... H

Every week I take part in Mum of One's game of blog-based I Spy.  It is fun, so I wholeheartedly encourage you all to do the same!

This week's letter, as decreed by JB Herself, is H. Cast your peepers below to my excellent phizzog, wherein there is something (or things) beginning with the appropriate letter.

Comments in the comments place, first to guess the correct thing will receive a prize*

What do you see? Hmm?
You can use the magic of the internerd to go over to Mum of One and see who else has joined in today. Do it, or I'll send The Creature over to cry at you for hours.

Mum of One

*All prizes are at best shit, at worst imaginary.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012



That is the sound of my son.

Last week I wrote about The Creature’s decision to enter himself in the World Screaming Championships (actually, it was about colic, you can find it here).

Empathetic comments were left on the post, and I was pleased to read them. A problem shared may not be a problem halved, but it certainly makes a difference to know that it isn’t just your own child who spends all his waking hours doing an impression of a banshee. 

The final comment on that post was from Mum of One, and it was the one which I was probably most glad to read.

Here’s why: Mum of One mentioned the D word. Dummy. Not only mentioned it, but mentioned USING one to soothe her own teeny person.

By the time I read those comments we had already reached that mindset of “will try anything to make this stop”.

While I had been considering seeking out venture capital to start up Cyberdyne Systems, in order to get to work on development of a retrofit volume control for babies, Mrs L had taken the more pragmatic approach of buying a couple of dummies and trying them out. She’s the brains of this operation, of that I have no doubt.

The dummy works. The Creature is now far more likely to be quiet for a bit, to drop off to sleep, to give us some much needed respite from his vocal stylings. 

The Dummy. Or, Peacemaker.
Hooray.  Or so you’d think.

No. We feel awful about using it.

I’m aware that guilt is becoming enough of a theme on this blog that I should probably make it into a separate category, but WOW, parenting is a daily guiltfest. With a guilt party running alongside it, in case you get bored of all the guilt and need some more guilt.

Neither of us know why we feel guilty. We haven’t gone down the route of researching every piece of equipment we subject our boy to. We don’t have medical journals confirming or denying the side effects of dummy use.

We DO have intact eardrums though, which is nice. Meanwhile, Cam doesn’t seem to mind, and he hasn’t been any worse at breastfeeding since using the gobstopper (though that’s not hard, he’s SHITE at that).

So why the niggling feeling that we shouldn’t be doing it? I must confess, the one thing that I know is bothering me is the possibility it could affect his teeth. As the (resentful) owner of a truly stereotypical British smile I would love Cam to have lovely straight teeth. I don’t want Mrs L to have to endure endless days of inconsolable screams to, maybe, improve his chances of perfect pearly whites though.

We’re making as little use of the dummy as we can, it’s only a last resort, but we are going to keep using it for now. 

Is it just us and Mum of One who’ve pacified our babies like this? Hit me up in the comments to either make me feel better about our decision, or to pour scorn upon my parenting skills.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Stag Do

Stag do. Making the groom look and feel completely ridiculous. Doing fun stuffs. Getting drunk. Getting more drunk. Losing the best man. All these things are expected.

Not on the list of things to expect from a stag are: feel guilty, spend much of the time thinking about a baby, spend much of the time TALKING about a pair of babies.

The stag do I've been on this weekend was my brother's. We had a great time, me, him and eight other friends went to Bath (armed with a raft of suggestions for suitable drinking establishments from the wonderful people of Twitter, the first time I've used it for something other than advice on breastfeeding and banging on about how great my son is) to do all the above.

A note on stag dos: I didn't have one when I got married last year. That's because I didn't want to have to ask someone to kill all my friends after they strapped me, naked, to a lamp post using duct tape. Ritual humiliation holds no allure to me. If that makes me boring, I don't care. So ner.

Our fun stuffs were quad bike riding and Rage buggy driving. Both brilliant. Both incredibly muddy. Both potentially a bit dangerous (not properly dangerous, but broken legs and arms can happen if you're not paying attention). I've never paid too much attention to that sort of stuff before, but now I'm a dad and there's a squidgy little human in the world who I need to take care of. Self preservation is more of a concern than it was a month ago.
A Rage buggy. I want one.

When we went out drinking there was plenty of non-baby chat, but, between me and the other (even newer) dad, there was plenty of cooing and male broodiness. Even the South African who works on a building site was going all gooey. Babies win every time.

Of course, as great as the weekend was, it was the return home to Mrs L and The Creature which was the highlight. There's nothing like a cuddle to help with a hangover.

Friday, May 4, 2012


Colic is a thing. A thing which no-one really knows what it is. Like electricity. No, wait, clever people probably know what that is. Ok, dark matter. Clever people can’t find that, and they’re clever.

No-one really knows what colic is, not even Wikipedia, which has the following to say on the matter:

“Colic, right, is, erm, yeah……when your baby cries. For ages. Because it’s got colic. And stuff.”

Wikipedia didn’t really say that.  I did. But it’s paraphrased. I may even go and edit the article in a minute.

The world is so unsure about colic that it can’t even decide whether a baby HAS colic, IS colic, GETS colic or what.

But, unlike dark matter (have they tried looking under the fridge I wonder? I bet that’s where it is) I can tell you EXACTLY where to find colic. You can find colic in my house. My baby is OOZING colic. He’s like a COLIC MINE. I’m going to set up a stall at our local farmer’s market (natch) in an attempt to offload some of the abundance of colic there is in my life right now.

Colic is a bitch.  A bastard of the highest order. Our baby has been/had/is/got colic for about a week so far. That’s nothing. The people who don’t know what colic is certainly do have some thoughts on how long it can stick around: up to a YEAR.

There’s also plenty out there on the side effects of colic: emotional stress, feelings of inadequacy in parents, low self esteem, resentment, marital discord, postpartum depression. There are even studies attributing car accidents to colic. I’m sure I heard that Hitler had colic, and we all know how well that turned out.

See those stars? They're colic. Probably.

To be serious for just a moment, colic has the potential to be genuinely devastating. If your baby has/is/gets/oozes colic I would encourage you to seek out any and all support available to you. Also remember this: it is not your fault.

It is not because you are doing something wrong as a parent.

It is not because of something you did during the pregnancy.

It is not just your baby. It is not unusual.

It will pass, it will improve, you will have that shiny beautiful tiny person back.

(In case it’s not obvious to anyone, I am telling myself these things as much as I’m telling anyone else who reads this)

Once again, I’m left feeling guilty for not being able to do anything to help Mrs L through the long, scream-filled days she is currently dealing with, while I go to work and feel like someone’s secretly lobotomised me during the night.

He tends to sleep in the night (so far, fingers crossed, sacrifices made to the God of colic) and save his unbridled fury for Mrs L to deal with during the day. So I get just a small portion of the colic. A snippet. A modicum of colic.

Mrs L gets the full fat version. The unlimited use package. I feel so bad as I leave the house, it just doesn’t seem fair.

So now it’s over to you. Your suggestions in my comment area: what is colic? What are your experiences of colic? What is the best animal to sacrifice or witchcraft to perform to exorcise our home of this elusive yet utterly pervasive…thing?

Colic: it can fuck ever so off.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

I Spy... J

It's Wednesday again, which means I'm half way through another week at work, but also that it's time to play some online I Spy with the lovely jbmumofone and all her linky friends.

I didn't think I'd be able to take part this week, the hour was getting late and nothing had inspired me to haul my arse off the sofa and take a picture.  But then, from nowhere, a thought, an idea.  Hopefully it isn't going to be guessed within five minutes of posting like my last one *challenging stare at JB*

Yer tizz:

There.  What J do you see? Hmm? Hmmmmmmmm? My comment box welcomes your suggestions.

Find more of these tricksy pics by clicking on this magic icon:

Mum of One

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”