Friday, June 28, 2013


Yesterday, I made my son cry.

My beautiful, perfect, delicate little boy. I scared him, and I made him cry.

“So what?” you may be thinking. “Big deal? Kids cry all the time.”

Yes. They do. My son is no exception to this rule. He cries when I try to clean his face after a meal. He cries when I put him down for a nap. He cries when I get him up from a nap. He cries when I stop him chewing on the business end of a can of athletes foot spray (how dare I?) He cries for seemingly no reason at all.

He is very good at crying when he hurts himself. His mouth goes from its usual wide crescent smile into a downturned trapezium as he emits a primal sound which leaves no doubt as to its meaning: “that thing I just did really, REALLY hurt”.

It was in the process of trying to prevent one of those cries that I managed to make him cry myself. My vicarious fear for him causing himself pain transferred into real fear for him.

I feel lucky, and fortunate, to be able to say that in Cam’s year and a bit on Earth I’ve rarely had to shout at him. Actually, I’ve never HAD to shout at him. I’ve chosen to a couple of times. The times when the dark cloud of frustration comes over me and I wish with all my heart that he would stop doing whatever it is he’s doing. Just for a moment. Please. Stop winding me up.

But those occasions are few. And mercifully so. How easy it is for me to forget that my boy is tiny, and I am large? That he can be loud, but that I can be so much louder? That his actions may frustrate and irritate me, but that mine may terrify him?

Whoever designed folding doors clearly did not have children. Or hated children. Tiny gaps between wooden panels are seemingly irresistible to tiny fingers which are exploring the world for the first time. Cam has recently discovered the tiny gap, which can be peered through for “peepo” purposes. Soon, the peering gives way to pushing a tiny index finger through. At the same time, a barely perceptible shift in his position means the door begins to close.

The tiny gap gets tinier.

The finger remains.


The finger remains.

Tinier still.

I move my foot into the path of the closing door, stopping the immediate danger. But I am trapped. Sat on the opposite side of the door to him and unable to move to his side without removing my foot and  allowing the door to close completely.

I push his finger from the gap.

He immediately replaces it.

I push it away again.

He laughs. It’s a game now.

I wish he could talk. Wish he could understand EVERYTHING I say to him, not just “what noise does a pig make?” He can’t though.

He is in a giggling, ecstatic state. He bounces in excitement. This game is fun!

All I can think of is a tiny, crushed index finger and a frantic drive to hospital. This game is not fun.
I shout, because it is the only weapon I have left: “Cameron! No! DO NOT PUT YOUR FINGER IN THE GAP!”

The laughing stops. The finger remains. The smile is uncertain.


The finger is withdrawn. The bottom lip curls and trembles. The eyes well up. The noise begins its journey from his vocal cords to the atmosphere. His eyes question me: “who are you?”

I leap up and remove him from the vicinity of the door. The bastard, bastard door. I hold him tight and stroke his hair. I whisper comfort into his ear. Tell him I love him. Tell him I am sorry. Tell him I never want to scare him.

Ten minutes later we are playing happily together again. I hope he has forgotten all about it. That I am back to being the person who hugs him, tickles him, reads him bedtime stories in the softest tones I can muster. I hope that he is not afraid of me.

I consider smashing the door from its hinges.

I hope I never make my son cry again.

Monday, June 24, 2013

I Went to Britmums Live

Right, come on, settle down children, you're back to work now. Let's take a seat on the story mat and some of you can tell me what you got up to this weekend. Okay, who would like to go first? Lewis, stop fidgeting and pay attention, do you want to go first? Go on, tell us all about it...

*jiggles excitedly*

I went to that there London on the weekend, to that there The Brewery, for that there Britmums Live! blogging conference ting!

Five hundred odd people, including about fifteen men, descending on Londontown to spend a day and a half talking about blogging stuff. And other stuff. Also drinking. Oh yes. Drinking.

I met fellow dad blogger Ben from Mutterings of a Fool on the train (strength in numbers, see) and we chatted away the journey into the Smoke. Ben knew exactly where he was going, because he is a proper man who can navigate London. I just followed him, feeling exceptionally glad I hadn't had to brave much of the public transport on my own.

We had a pre-conference beer with a few fellow bloggers (three men, about forty women at this point). The third member of our Y-chromosome triumvirate was Tom Briggs, who I've wanted to meet ever since he was kind enough to give me my FIRST EVER comment on this blog. Anyway, he's a thoroughly nice chap. You'd like him. Katy Hill liked him enough to sit next to him at the Friday night award ceremony, and if he's good enough for her, I dare say he's good enough for you.

Anyway, prior to the awards there was some conference gubbins in the afternoon. Prior to that I had my photo taken to appear in a national newspaper. Y'know. As you do. No big thing. Also in the photo were Darren from One Dad Three Girls (also lovely) and the BEAUTIFUL daughter of Me and the Tiny Three. She was lovely. So was her mum. Sensing a theme yet?

Our little group expanded to include the frankly awesome Lizzie (@eliza_do_lots), who has many websites, including this one, the absolutely delightful Lara Golden (@APluckyHeroine) who blogs over here, and the equally delightful, totally hilarious in person and on her blog Hannah Smith from

I didn't feel I took all that much away from the sessions on the first day, the exception being Pippa from Story of Mum, who gave a great talk on storytelling. It was really good stuff. Also, guess what? She was lovely!

We bunked off the last session, like naughty school kids. Naughty school kids who wanted to check into their budget accommodation and try to quickly eat some food. We only managed the first of those things. Oops.

Awards happened, some extremely talented bloggers stood up and accepted some shiny things, lots of clapping, several glasses of prosecco, white wine, and red wine. Katy Hill was badgered into following me on Twitter six minutes after I tweeted that I didn't actually know who she was. AWKWARD.

We fleetingly met lots of other people (who aren't getting hyperlinks, because I'm tired now) and then decamped to the pub, where we met Andy Harris (a man who trusted me enough to take my advice on what bike seat to purchase, which was nice) of Always Time for Biscuits and the vision of beauty that is Ella Shaw from Trying My Patients. Fucking. Hot. Saynomore.

We were soon joined by EXCELLENT dad blogger Sam Coleman (@DustandLove) who made the effort to come and see us even though he hadn't been to the conference itself. I'm truly glad he did. Great chat. Great beard. Great blog.

There were more people than I've listed there, and they were all just totally great. It was like meeting up with old friends, yet aside from one person I had never met any of them before. There were laughs, there were hugs, there were surprises, there was even some drooling.

No dinner until I managed to order in pizza at about 12:20am. More bloggers in the hotel bar. More great chat. More. More. More.

It. Was. Fantastic.

The following morning, with its five am wake up call from some bastard in a tower crane, wasn't quite as fantastic. But it was okay. Cooked breakfast. Lots of water. Lots of tea. Reconvening at the conference venue. Better sessions on the second day (still not all brilliant though). Meeting more online friends in real life (special mention for @SonyaCisco and @glosswitch, two of my absolute favourite bloggers).

A bit of a blub over some of the blogger keynotes, and the conference was done.

I went and got some proper barbecue at Bodean's then met up with the few remaining delegates in a bar for more booze. Among them, ace new blogger Ruth who writes A Pencil Skirt and is just as funny in person. I spent much of the evening catching up with Annie ( She also squeezed my bum and told me about hitting seagulls in her car. Good times!

Fate brought me and Her Royal Hotness Ella Shaw back together to finish the evening, as well as gorgeous Julie from More excellent chat and more tasty drinks. A general sense of all round winning.

So, yeah, in summary: Britmums Live, really good, especially the bits that weren't really anything to do with Britmums Live.

I hope I won't have to wait until next year to see everyone again.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Britmums Live

In just a couple of days time I'm heading over to that London, famousest place in all of England, for some blogging conference good times.
I'll be honest, I don't really know what to expect. I've been to a few conferences for work before, and I usually spend them sitting on my own, wishing away the minutes until the next time I can get a cup of tea and check Twitter on my phone. This time though, LOTS of the people who usually live in my phone will be IN THE SAME ROOM AS ME. Eek.
If you see me standing on my own, please come and talk to me. I'm really very friendly once I get past my shyness.
On with the questions for the I'm Going To Britmums Linky Meme Thing
*sings* Getting to know you, getting to know all about youuuuuuuuuuu...
Name: Lewis
Twitter ID: @babberblog
Height: 6ft
Hair: Very little on top of my head, a bit more on my face, some in other areas which I won't be displaying during the conference.
Eyes: I have two. They will likely be the bloodshot red of a person with a serious pollen allergy. Because that's what I have. Or, possibly, I've got the rage virus but haven't turned all "fast zombie". Yet.
Is this your first blogging conference?
It is. I'd only been blogging for a few months when last year's conference happened, and wasn't sure I'd still be doing it a year on, but here I am.
Are you attending both days?
Yes. Unless I get so devastatingly drunk on the Friday night that I can't face any more new knowledge. I'm sure that won't happen.
What are you most looking forward to at BritMums Live 2013?
Meeting people for the first time in real life, catching up with a couple of people I've met before, learning some stuff.
What are you wearing?
Nothing special. Jeans. A t-shirt. Trainers. I don't really do dressing up. I might bring a shirt, just in case I'm feeling flash.
What do you hope to gain from BritMums Live 2013?
A hangover. Some friends. Bloggy tips. 
Tell us one thing about you that not everyone knows
I once got so drunk at a Christmas party that when my girlfriend (now wife *fist pump*) phoned to ask if I was okay I couldn't work out whether I was stood up or lying on the floor. Proud moments. I was lying on the floor.
There we are, that's a bit about me. Come and speak to me at Britmums Live to find out much more. Some of it may even be interesting.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Loan Moan

Something which has really been invading my brain space and fucking me off recently is people who have never known hardship thinking it’s appropriate to tell people who do, or have done, or may do sometime in the future, that they shouldn’t moan about hardship.

Most recently, this has been done by whichever person wrote the Rothschild investment bank’s report on how best to remedy the fact that investors aren’t interested in buying the MASSIVE student loan debt from the government (who will use the money to line their dishonest, career politician, detached from the real world pockets, or to pay consultant friends vast sums to tell them how they can fuck up the NHS, or austerity the fuck out of everyone’s benefits payments, or just generally spunk it up the wall in some other way which makes the general public wonder what in fuck’s name we’re doing voting for these tossbags anyway)


Anyway. What? Oh yes. Selling the student loan book to private investors.

Apparently the private investors don’t want it. Because it’s been set up in a way which means it wouldn’t make them enough money to be interested in it.

Obviously, I’m crying into my Tesco Value cornflakes over that predicament, but there we go.

How nice to be able to turn down an opportunity to make money, because it wasn’t going to make you ENOUGH money. I’d just like something to make me any money. But I digress. Again.

Obviously, the solution to the problem of the loan book not making enough money is to shit on all the people who took out the loans (because they had no choice, because it was the only way they could afford to go to university) by increasing the interest rate.

Which is FINE, by the way. I’ve always expected it would happen eventually. It will probably make little difference to the fact that I’ll likely be paying that bastard loan back at a rate of bugger all pounds per month for the rest of eternity, before passing the remainder on to Cam like some horrible parting anti-gift.

That’s probably not how it works, does it get written off at some point? Or do they come around and chop off your arthritis riddled legs in lieu of cash? Or maybe put you to work knitting Shreddies?

So, yeah, one option is to increase the interest rates. In some truly “of the people” thinking, the author of the report recognises that perhaps this won’t go down too well (he should have asked me, I’d have told him I’m cool with it *eats beans on toast for a week*) and has included useful suggestions on how the government could bring us graduates around to the idea:


Oh no, wait, I mean: SHUT UP.

Because it’s stupid to suggest that the reason I ought to suck up an increase in the cost of my repayments is that my younger siblings have a worse deal. By that logic the next step will be to ask the generations who got grants for their university education to retrospectively pay some money back, because they got a much better deal than I did.

A moment of fairness: we weren’t supposed to see this report, it was all written in secret. Even when a Freedom of Information request meant it was sent into the public domain the vast majority of it was redacted (oh, how I loathe that term). It just wasn’t redacted with a dark enough pen. That’s the calibre of redaction the government has working for them. Perhaps I could get a new job as a professional redactor? I’ll even bring my own black markers.

But now the report is out there, and I know there are likely to be loads more documents, floating around the shadowy halls of power, describing ill-conceived ways of letting the plebs and proles know that they’re coming for you. The country is bankrupt and fucked and has no solution aside from taking more of your money.

Because we’re all in it together. All of us. Except those that aren’t. The twenty plus members of the cabinet who are millionaires. The potential investors (who the report suggests are the least good option to bear the brunt of any financial risk, after the government and graduates). I don’t think they’re in it with us. I think they’re eating five course meals and pissing themselves laughing at all the little people.

One day, I’d like to get the opportunity to tell them to fuck off.

Sorry, that was a bit ranty and incoherent wasn’t it? I’ll post a picture of Cam looking cute tomorrow. Cheerioh.

Monday, June 17, 2013


Funny old thing, innit, love?

Makes you feel all gooey inside. You ARE all gooey inside, whether you’re in love or not. Don’t think about it too much though. Urgh, nasty gooey people innards. Erm, anyway, when you’re all loved up and wotnot, the ever present gooiness is foremost in your consciousness, replacing whatever mundane crap it was you were thinking about beforehand. The latest episode of Hollyoaks. What you’re having for dinner. How awesome it would be if you could fly. All these things pale into insignificance when love is in the air.

It’s one of those things which, no matter how old and wise we may get, it can still creep up and confuse us, like a ninja with a book full of brain teasers. And if adults can find love a confusing thing, what chance to babies have? No chance, that’s what.

Now, you all know I’m a confirmed liberal, so I’m all for a bit of tolerance and acceptance when it comes to love. But there are certain things which are plainly still off limits. The loves which dare not speak their name. Forbidden loves.

I always knew that being a dad would bring with it new challenges, but I didn’t expect that barely a year into my parenting career I’d be having to think of a way to tell my son I didn’t approve of the object of his romantic feelings.

You see, Cam is smitten. Utterly smitten. She’s small, perfectly formed and wears a permanent smile. A little noisy at times, but utterly reliable and well known to the family.

She is also a vacuum cleaner.

They (who?) say you can’t help who you fall in love with, and Cam is living proof of that.

Love is... a household appliance?

Whenever Hetty (feminine sibling of Henry) comes out from her home under the stairs, my son is transfixed. He maintains a distance at first, having clearly inherited his father’s shyness. He looks on, rendered motionless by the intensity of his interest in the bright pink vision as she whisks about the living room carpet, feasting on the assorted detritus of our lives.

Eventually, he plucks up the courage to make contact, approaching her carefully and placing his hands on her. Sure, it would probably be more polite to start up a conversation, but when your vocabulary is limited to three words it can be a little difficult, especially if your conversational partner can only make a loud whooshing noise.

When the time comes for Hetty to return to the cupboard, he waves a sad goodbye and looks doleful for a few moments. Lucky for him, his attraction to inanimate objects doesn’t end at pink vacuum cleaners, he quickly moves on to something else: Mrs L’s hairdryer, a bedside lamp, the Xbox controller.


It’s all training for the eventual, inevitable, real deal sometime in the future. A time when I will lie awake at night worrying about him, worrying about what mistakes he may be making, thinking back to the (many) that I made.

I’m glad I don’t have to think about that for a while. I think it might make my brain melt.

Thursday, June 6, 2013


What’s the first thing you do when your child goes to sleep?

Pour a glass of wine? Slump in front of the TV? Breathe an exaggerated sigh of relief (because even though you love them, they’re exhausting)?

In my house it isn’t any of those things. It’s tidying up the accumulated mess they’ve made since the last time they were asleep. All the time Cam spends awake he is deconstructing the world around him, systematically unpacking EVERY SINGLE TOY in his possession and scattering it about the place.

Here’s a time lapse of me sorting them back into their proper place once he’s settled for a snooze:

I did it in time lapse because filming it properly would have been a four minute long waste of your time. This way I’ve only wasted twenty seconds. You’re welcome.

What I’m starting to wonder (after just a year or so of routinely stooping to the ground for four minutes at a time, several times a day) is whether this whole tidying lark is utterly, utterly pointless. Obviously, objectively, it is. There is no sense in putting away a collection of things which will IMMEDIATELY be taken out and strewn across our living room again once Cam wakes up. But is there anything in it for him? Mrs L reckons it’s a good thing to do, because it means he gets to rediscover all his toys every time. But Mrs L likes to keep a tidy house, so that may just be a convenient excuse.

I, on the other hand, have never been a big fan of tidying. Or cleaning. It is all so quickly undone. Does dusting actually achieve anything? Aren’t you just moving the dust from one place to another, so that the new place needs dusting? Or, if you capture the dust in some cunning receptacle, you’re just leaving space for NEW DUST to accumulate. I don’t really know what dust is. I suspect I don’t want to know. Bits of skin that have parted company with the body? The broken down remnants of pizzas long since eaten? The cough inducing ephemera of daily life I suppose. Dust. Pah.

I’ll carry on with the pointless tidy, of course, until the glorious day I can make Cam do it himself. In the meantime, I might just make sure I have a glass of wine first.

Does everyone do The Tidy? Or have I fallen into some weird tidy trap? What’s the first thing you do when your little people head to bed?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


You know that thing people always say if they haven’t seen your baby for a while? “Oh my god, he’s changed soooo much”?

And you think: “really? I hadn’t noticed.” Because you haven’t, because it’s tough trying to keep track of the continual, gradual changes occurring in your offspring. But then, because it’s been pointed out, you do notice, and you spend a little while thinking about how the baby used to be?

Last weekend I spent an evening with a person who I hadn’t seen in eight years. Eight years! That’s more than a quarter of my whole life. Ages. Too long, actually, because the person in question is a great person to spend time with. Interesting, intelligent and amusing. The downside is he lives in America, and I can’t just pop to Seattle to meet him for a pint and a chat.

*shakes fist at the Atlantic*

The one thing an eight year gap does do though is provide a good opportunity to look back over what’s happened during that time. Which, aided by a few alcoholic beverages, was exactly what me, him and a few other people I went to school with but no longer see much of did. Just like the parent who doesn’t see the changes in their child, the evening made me realise that I don’t do a great job of seeing and appreciating the scale of the changes in my own life.
When my friend was last in the UK he spent a few nights at my house. Except it wasn’t. I still lived at home. We spent evenings drinking (far too much, probably) with some mutual friends, including my wife. Only she wasn’t my wife. She wasn’t even officially my girlfriend. I probably complained to him about the job I was made redundant from over two years ago. This time I told him I don’t like the job I have now. I was still too busy acting like a child to give much thought to having one of my own, now I can barely remember what my life was like without Cam.

We talked about him, we talked about me, we talked about the other people at the table and we talked about the many people who couldn’t be there. We talked about what they were doing, where they lived, which of them had kids and how many. We reminisced about the last time he’d been with us, and we reminisced about reminiscing about the time before, a further eight years back.

He has swapped playing in bands, working as a chef and all night drinking for climbing mountains, teaching others to climb mountains and training to be a teacher for children with special needs. I have a wife and child.

No matter how much our lives might change over time, no matter that we might not always be paying a suitable amount of attention to what’s different, we stay the same person. Just like the baby who hasn’t been seen for a few weeks.
Someone even managed a bit of beer fuelled insight toward the end of the evening: “none of us have changed, really. We’ve just grown beards.”
It was great to see you Dan, I hope you’re right that it won’t be another eight years before we see you again.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


Babies are always changing, developing, growing. Much like a Terminator, they are a learning computer, taking their experience of the world and using it to become a more efficient killer.

Wait, that doesn’t sound quite right. Killer? Sorry, wrong consonant in the middle there.

Kisser. That’s what I meant.

Cam’s been learning to express his affection, via the medium of kissing. Aww.

He may be a bit behind the curve on this one, I’m not sure. Certainly his younger cousin has been dishing out the sloppy lip smacks for a while already. Cam’s been holding back though, waiting for right moment.

Actually, that’s only half true. For a while now he’s been more than happy to engage in a bit of one way snogging action with various inanimate objects.

The squidgy bellied pig in his farmyard book? Irresistible. Naturally I assumed he had simply realised the appeal of bacon.

Big Ted, his aptly monikered soft toy? Enticing. Several times a day the fur around his mouth is left glistening with saliva.

But, until very recently, kisses for people were definitely not on the menu. Putting on a brave face, my wife and I made do with his (excellent) hugs. But our lips and hearts yearned for more, and now we get it. Satisfied that his technique has been honed, our beautiful boy has been bestowing upon us some high quality affection.

He’s not one for subtlety; once he’s decided someone is getting a kiss he accelerates toward the recipient at a full speed, thundering crawl. Upon arrival, the kissee is held tightly in a two handed grip, and treated to a full, open mouthed contact.  It’s a good idea to have a tissue handy, Cam has saliva in abundance, and is keen to share it.

Which, obviously, is lovely. Really, really lovely. Cam’s becoming a really affectionate little boy, and I love that. Hugs are common these days, waving is near constant, a beaming smile  whenever me or Mrs L enter a room is almost mandatory. He’s telling us he likes us, even though he can’t yet tell us in words, and that means the world to me.

It is a little disconcerting when he tries to stick his tongue in your mouth though.