Sunday, 5 August 2012

“Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain - and most fools do.”

Our parenting philosophy can be best described thus: accidental attachment parenting. 

We're breastfeeding 21 months in. We never set out to go this long. When we started we aimed for 6 and ended up at 21. We're probably not the only ones.

We fucked up when we bought our first buggy. We're 3 floors up so bought one that was lightweight. As it was lightweight it was only front facing. Bug hated it and called us bastards every time we took her out. There's only so many times a 2 month old can call you a bastard (82) before you do something about it. We couldn't afford a replacement so for most of Bug's outdoor life we've had her in a kennel sling.

Bear uses cloth nappies during her Bug days. She cares about Bug's bum and the environment. I use disposables during mine as I obliviously don't give a shit about either.

There's no sleep training. It wasn't right for us. As a result we co-sleep. Bug's still feeding overnight so it's easier for Bear -- I say easier, they're often up a dozen times. I've occasionally woken and said 'cracking nights sleep!' only for Bear to growl 'she was awake every 30 minutes.' Bad Dad.

We split childcare between us. We felt it best for Bug to have one of us around at all times as opposed to sending her to nursery. Bear has her Thursday to Sunday while I work in retail. I have her Monday to Wednesday while Bear does a full-time PhD in part-time hours.

There's no naughty step. No time outs. We let her do whatever she wants while saving for any future court case. 

I'm mentioning these things to reiterate the first sentence: accidental attachment parenting. We never set out to raise Bug this way over a more robust Gina Ford style of parenting. We just made shit up and our shit was closer to AP's than GF's.

A couple of weeks ago I posted a rant about parents who feel it acceptable to criticise the way we do things. What instigated it was folks who do controlled crying telling me I'm wrong not to. Not that other people have a say. In all fairness, I barely get a look in-- Bear takes care of most of that, leaving me to sit around scratching my balls and trying not to nod off when the plot of Something Special gets a bit triksy.

So around the time I was having a bit of a rant, I stumbled upon this blog posted by Sophie.

I'm quite certain Sophie and I wouldn't see eye to eye. She's lefty loathing, I think the Tories are a Boris short of a cunt factory. She's a Gina Ford devotee and I'm obviously not. I bet she even says 'scone' while I clearly say it right: scone.

And yet here she is, ranting about exactly the same thing I was blathering on about: know-it-alls entering the realm of  'None Of Your Fucking Business.'

I read the post agreeing with the emotions on display. She sums it up perfectly: you do what you feel is best for your child. And I'll do the same.

A few days later I started to notice odd tweets on Twitter. People I follow and interact with were getting abusive messages criticising their parenting. The messages were sent via fake accounts from someone clearly convinced that attachment parenting is the only way to raise a child. Phrases like 'child abuse' were spat at anyone not parenting strictly as AP prescribes. It was fucking embarrassing.

Not long after, @slightlysubdad wrote an excellent piece discussing the event.

All these things combined, as well as a funny and honest post by @ministryofmum, led me to start wondering why people feel the need to attack other parents.

Let's look at the Twitter zealots: faceless entities that created accounts simply to attack people who dared to do things differently. It is both cowardly and a damning indictment on their own parenting. If you're so confident in your beliefs to behave this way why not do it from your own account? Either step up or off fuck. Twat monkeys.

Why do people criticise other parents in general?

They criticise as a way to feel better about themselves: I may be a shit parent but at least I'm no Fritzl.

Or to make themselves feel worse: that Fritzl gets all the girls.

They criticise because they see traits in others that they don't like about themselves. 

They criticise to cover up their own insecurities, as a way of justifying their own choices even when doubting them.

They criticise because it's Sunday, it's raining and they've yet to decide what to do with the day. Maybe they'll put down the laptop as the sun steps out from behind grey. Maybe they'll take the kids to the park and laugh and dance and be grateful for the utter joy that is their children and forget, for a wee while, everybody else's.

Bye for now.


Saturday, 28 July 2012

Holidays part 1

I've been on holiday the past two weeks. It's been lovely. When I started to blog about my time off the first draft was a confused splice of zoos and childcare implications. It works better split in two. Next week's blog is about me and childcare; this week it's the Great British Day Out.


The Farm

I've wanted a dog as long as Bear and I have been together. She's always said to me 'you can have a dog when we live somewhere with a garden.' I've recently started saying 'I notice how the same rules don't apply to children...'

When I was little my Dad would threaten to send our pets to the farm. I struggled to see how useful Jimmy the budgie would be in the tractor driving department, or whether Donna the dog would fully comprehended the benefits of crop rotation.

It was only years later that I realised that when dad said 'farm' he actually meant 'slaughterhouse.' The old joker.

Bear knows all of this, so when I suggested taking Bug to the farm she gave me the look.

"No, no!" I laughed. "I don't mean like that!"
"Good," replied Bear.
"For now."
"There's cows..."

I often get the look.

I digress. We went to the farm. Here's proof. Bug in a tractor:

The Beach

The farm bit had very little to do with farms.

I'll do better with the beach.

We bought Bug her first bucket and spade:

Sandcastles were built. I'm a father, she's a daughter. It seemed the thing to do. When I first removed the bucket leaving a perfectly formed sandcastle, Bug squealed 'oooooh!' delightedly and flapped her arms like a mental.

It was one of those moments when you realise the awe in which your child views you and the world you're introducing her to.

Afterwards we collected shells only for a bunch of bastards to steal them. I didn't see it coming. Nobody expects a well dressed, polite family of four to be a bunch of bastards. Two children came over and asked if they could play with Bug's bucket and spade. I said yes because I'm not a bunch of bastards. The mum of the family came over and started small talk while browsing the shells we'd picked.

The small talk stayed small until it talked itself out. The family said their goodbyes and left. That's when I noticed all of our shells were missing. A bunch of well dressed, polite bastards had stolen them.

I managed to take this photo as the bastards danced triumphantly away:

Not Swimming

We'd taken Bug to swimming classes every week for over 15 months. In January, the council closed down our local children's pool. It was losing money. I always assumed the long term health benefits for the area's children outweighed any monetary loss but then I am a fucking idiot.

A new swanky pool, The Royal Commonwealth Pool,  has opened in the centre of Edinburgh. We were very excited. We bought Bug a new swim suit. The night before I checked the website for opening times. 8am-10pm.

We got there at 09.05.

"Two adults and a little person for a swim!' I cheerfully said to the lady on the desk.

"The pool's closed," she replied. "TeamGB are training in it."

Now, I don't know much about swimming, but if TeamGB are training in a baby pool then their chances of Olympic gold are pretty fucking slim. I'm certain TeamUSA have got past the armband stage.

To lesson the blow, a friend pointed out that when Bug's older she'll be able to tell friends that she did her bit for the Olympics. 

Other things we did

We went to the zoo...

 ...explored nature...

 ...and chased bubbles.

Bye for now.


Sunday, 22 July 2012

This post has nothing to do with coffee.

I drink a lot of fucking coffee. I don't have many cups -- maybe three a day -- but in each cup there's around 1/2 dozen spoonfuls of coffee. As we all know, 6 spoonfuls of coffee plus 6 spoonfuls of coffee plus 6 spoonfuls of coffee is approximately a lot of fucking coffee.

It's no wonder I'm raising a child that doesn't do sleep.

I hear rumours of children that do do sleep.

People often say: our son's amazing. He sleeps from 9pm until 9am.

People often say: our son's amazing. He falls asleep around 7 and wakes in his mid 30s.

Bug's never slept. She suffered from colic when wee and couldn't sleep unless held upright on our chests. Each night for four months I'd stay awake until 3am at which point I'd wake sleepy Bear so I could get some kip before work.

Bear's days started at 3 am when mine ended.

When the colic cleared, we were left with a decision to make on sleep: either we committed to sleep training, or we didn't. For those new to sleep training, here's a link to a Super Nanny explanation: Controlled Crying.

We didn't start parenting with a particular philosophy in mind. Like most things, I didn't give it any real thought until the day Bug was born, at which point it became quite important. Bear, of course, had thought about it at length and was just waiting for tell-tale signs of me panicking such as little poos dotted around the flat.

When we first started discussing sleep, I wasn't even aware that there were different approaches. I simply --  and some have called it naively -- assumed that if my daughter was upset then I'd go comfort her. It seemed the right thing to do for my child

This became my philosophy to parenting.

It's led to a lot of sleepless nights. It may also have led to a daughter that sparkles with wit, intelligence and adventure. Who really knows? Like everything, for each study you find justifying your parenting you'll find one criticising it.

All would be well, only whenever I tell people I don't do controlled crying they kindly explain to me why I'm wrong, entering territory I like to call 'None Of Your Fucking Business.'

I don't preach about how I raise Bug. If someone's having a tough time with their little person, I never say 'well, it's obviously because you're not doing it like we do.'

But people tell me. They tell me all the fucking time.

Controlled crying: Bug will never sleep without it.

Baby led weaning: she's bound to choke to death trying to swallow a pea that's not been cut up into 95 pieces.

Child care: your relationship can't possibly survive.

Sling wearing: she'll just get use to the hugs.

Seriously. I've been told Bug will get use to hugs if I carry her in the sling. Which makes me think 'what the fuck are you doing to your child if hugs are deemed a bad thing?'

I digress.

Or maybe I don't. Maybe it's all pertinent.

Why do some parents feel it's okay to tell other parents they're getting it wrong?

I'd be interested to hear what you think.

Bye for now.


Sunday, 15 July 2012


After chatting with @Mean_Steve and reading the Tales of Sonny and Luca  blog, I quickly realised that I RAGE quite a lot. Full on anger pants.

For example, if you're a driver and you run a red light then you're an idiot.

Unless it's a medical emergency there's no excuse for it -- even then you're likely to cause another accident. Near where we live there's a roundabout that leads directly onto a crossing. Daily, without fail, someone will come off the roundabout and run a red light. 

Sometimes they've clocked amber and tried to sneak through. When this happens I'm normally stood on the pavement asking Bug to tell me when the green man's arrived.

Mostly they are completely oblivious to the lights, often looking at pictures of things they'd like to fuck on their phone. Pictures, more likely than not, of themselves. On more than one occasion we've already started to cross when some idiot has gone through the lights.

I always wait for the green man. Traffic lights go amber then red. The green man doesn't grant permission until a few seconds after red.

Bug and I cross.

This is how long the light's been red when a car goes through it and passes within a metre of killing my daughter.

"You," I shout at the car, "are a fucking stupid cunt!"

I then look down at Bug in the sling looking back at me.

"Nose," she says while tapping said body part.

Wise beyond her year.

When out I'll sometimes have Bug in the buggy. Why don't people get out of the way when I come towards them? Lots of times people -- mainly men -- walk straight into us. I don't expect them to throw themselves to one side in an act of altruism not seen since Catherine Zeta Jones knobbed Michael Douglas, but come on. Half and half's the rule yeah? I move this way a bit, you move that way a bit. We get past without our willies touching.

Apparently not.

I'll be in the process of  'half and half' when a man simply walks into us and looks at me like I'm the mental.

I don't say anything as they're normally bigger than me.

What the do they want me to do though? Throw the buggy in the road so she can be run over by some cunt running a light just so Mr.Pavement can save a couple of inches from his day?

Why do some parents take their kids to playgroups and then abandon them in favour of tea and chat while their toddlers run around bullying the other kids? They're called 'playgroups', not 'let your child run around like a fucking psycho groups.'

Finally, some people need to keep their fucking noses out. Bear was out with Bug in the sling a few weeks back. A mum went past with her little person in a buggy. She audibly tutted to a friend and said of Bug "I bet that child can't even walk yet."

That's right. We bought a sling from Rose & Rebellion's 'Impede-a-Toddler' range. They also do one that prevents even the most rudimentary understanding of algebra.

Some people eh?

Bye for now.


Don't get me started on the utterly awful Cbeebies show Me Too


Or parents that hurt their kids To judge or not to judge


Don't get me started on most things.

Sunday, 1 July 2012


Nobody told me about parental guilt.

Admittedly, I never asked. But then nobody told me so surely it's their fault?

When I say 'nobody' I mean parents/in-laws/friends/people I have never met, nor even heard of but who could have at least given me a heads-up.

Not sure what folks could say to make it sink in though:

ME: What's it like being a parent Mum?

MUM: You'll not be able to breathe because of the constant guilt. It's suffocating.

ME: What?

MUM: Make sure you get a nice quilt. It's liberating.

So we did. It's got Igglepiggle on it:

Do you have any idea how fucking guilty I feel getting Bug a quilt that ties in with a TV show?

It purveys everything I do, think or say: we'd been to our playgroup on Monday with friends Bug adores. I declined lunch afterwards because I'd had a disagreement with a staff member at designated lunch place. A week earlier, because I'm a fucking rebel,  I tried to throw away half a can of sweetcorn. I was told I couldn't as it hadn't been purchsed at the cafe.

The staff member in question seemed to be under the illusion he wasn't an idiot. I disagreed.

So I declined lunch and left my friends. Bug then spent the next few minutes whispering 'bye bye' to herself and waving sadly.

The guilt.

O the remorseless guilt.

I'd done what was best for me, not Bug. It's only a small leap to imagine me walking out on her forever.

Bug has a favourite part of the sofa. If I say 'shall we watch TV?' she'll run and get comfy. This morning I was trying to find a DVD I needed to send back to Lovefilm.
     'Where's my film?' I asked Bug.
     I continued the search.
     It didn't register that Bug had gone and sat in her TV spot. She'd heard me say 'film' and assumed that's what we were going to do next.
     I kept entering and leaving the room. Bug kept smiling sweetly.
     After five minutes or so Bug held her hands up and said, with the slightest hint of concern, 'whereisit?'

Guilt: it can be like walking into a wall. My beautiful girl had sat there patiently waiting for Dad to put a film on. And he hadn't. What an absolute bastard.

To alleviate the guilt I popped The Aristocats on.

Brilliant. TV makes everything better. Everything except for the knot in my stomach.

A wall.

If she doesn't eat much lunch I'll scrap the veg casserole I'd planned for dinner and give her fish fingers.

A fucking brick wall.

Yesterday we went to Tesco. Bug pointed to the park and got excited. I told her we'd pop by after we'd been to the shop. We didn't.

A fucking brick wall built out of a child's trust.

Last week I told her I was on the phone to the Sleepy Man and he wanted her to go to sleep. I wasn't on the phone to the Sleepy Man. I lied to my daughter while talking into a stickle brick.

This is my confession. It has been 4 minutes since I last felt guilty.

Bye for now.



I once dressed her in odd socks and told friends she'd chosen them herself.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Next thing you know I'll be sat atop a church hall dressed as Batman

We recently had a PhD student round to ask me questions on Dad-hood. Two minutes before they arrived Bug wanted the TV turned off and asked for her art materials. PhD student turns up to find Bug sat in her high chair happily sticking stars and animals onto paper.

Best. Parents. Ever.

The interview itself raised issues about how isolated I often feel as a father. This blog is going to cover some of what we discussed.

The first time I heard Bug's heartbeat was profound. I was absolutely terrified. What if the midwife couldn't find it?

She attached the monitor to Bear's stomach. Seconds stretched into infinity.

And then a moment that will always be a part of me: a single beat that became rhythm that became life. And the speed! So fast, so full of energy.

I turned to the midwife and, choking back tears, asked when our next appointment would be.

'It doesn't matter,' she replied. 'You don't need to be there.'

It was my first taste of what it was like to be a father in a pregnant world. It wasn't to be my last.

I went with Bear to all her antenatal appointments; throughout the entire process my name was simply Sperm Donor. For all the interaction I had with the medical profession I could have been Bear's father, brother or lover.

Which explains the constant Fritzl comments from the midwife.

Since I started blogging I've spent time looking for parenting resources online. The majority of the sites available seems to be aimed at Mums and Mums alone.

Which is ace for Mums. They're brilliant.

Not so good for Dads.

We're not barred from these sites -- everyone I've met has been lovely. A few have dedicated men zones where we can go and chat about boobs and cars and things that go bang crash and/or wallop. At times though it feels a bit like teacher telling us boys to do some colouring-in while the rest of the class does important things like raising children.

I worry about Bug. I worry all the time. Is she happy? Do we play enough games? Has the TV been on too long? Am I teaching her enough/too much? Why does she point and say 'door door' and then refuse to put her shoes on? Why are some days a success if we're both dressed by 3pm? Will she ever sleep longer than 3 hours straight? Are her teeth sore, or is she still pissed that I took the nail clippers off her?

Do Mums not worry about these things?

I looked for Dad sites. They are out there, but many are agenda led. It's Dads pissed off about perceived slights at Dads.

Am I one of these now?

We take long walks down the canal. Sometimes I have Bug in a sling, sometimes the pushchair, lately holding my hand and toddling. I pass many Mums and Dads during our excursions. I smile at them like a loon. I'm so proud of Bug; so in love with being a Dad.

I want to tell the world.

More often than not, if a Mum's by herself she speeds up to get past me. If Mums are in a clan, they become engrossed in a conversation and allow me no eye contact whatsoever.

It is heartbreaking.

I simply want to say 'this here's Bug, she's amazing. I see your little one's amazing too.'

Instead I feel shunned. As a father it appears I am either unimportant or a threat.

There must be a middle ground in which I can simply be a parent.

Bye for now



Not every mother, health visitor or general member of society is like this.


Twitter's been brilliant on the Dad (and Mum) front.


There's another way to look at this: I may simply be a twat that both mums and dads should avoid.

Monday, 18 June 2012

A reader appreciation award


Recently I went out to find Dads.

It seemed the thing to do: Dad stalking.

Which sounds mental. It's not. I wanted to meet Dads to discuss Dad type things such as football, boobs and Bugs.

Not only did I find some wonderful Dads (and Mums), I got to read about the ups, downs, lefts and rights of their collective worlds. One such gent is Steve who passed this lovely award my way. I simply had to answer a few questions and not mention Liverpool FC.

What is your favourite colour?



I'm not sure I have one. When I was wee it was grey, which is like gray only spelt correctly. I'm going through a purple phase at the moment, but only because it's my preferred colour for Bug. 

What’s your favourite animal?

I often joke about a Labrador with great boobs. Just to have a pair of boobs that loyal. Imagine the possibilities. Boobs chasing sticks. Boobs begging for titbits. Jesus. I've had a lot of coffee.  

What’s your favourite non-alcoholic drink?

I refer to my previous answer.

Facebook or Twitter?

Facebook. It never annoys me like Twitter does. A few months back there was an international emergency and the number 1 worldwide trend at the time was that Justin Bieber had a cold. It gets on my twat cake when folks slag off Facebook and it takes them 4 tweets to do it. You are a fucking genius.

What is your favourite pattern?

Gosh. I have no idea.

Favourite number?

5: Skywalker and Mansell. Red five standing by. 

Favourite day of the week?

Monday. It's my first Bug day of the week.

Favourite flower?

Sunflowers. They're happy flowers.

What is your passion?

I have many and I want to be better at all of them.

Bye for now.



Here's a few blogs that I enjoy:

Makey Cakey
the only boy in the house


Here's a few things about the award:
  1. Include the award logo somewhere in your blog.
  2. Answer these 10 questions below
  3. Nominate 10 to 12 blogs you enjoy. Or you pick the number.
  4. Pay the love forward: Provide your nominee’s link in your post and comment on their blog to let them know they’ve been included and invited to participate.
  5. Pay the love back with gratitude and a link to the blogger(s) who nominated you.