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.