Come along for the ride!!

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Normal service is resumed

Yes, apologies for my last couple of posts. This is supposed to be a blog about my experience of being a Dad but reading back, I see my self indulgence and self pity spilling over into my blog! Probably not what you come here to read right? Right.

Ok, where was I?

As I have explained in the past, our experience of our second child is vastly different from our first. That may sound blindingly obvious to many of you but give me a minute to explain.

With Poops (for explanation on pet names see previous posts) M and I did everything together.
I mean, everything. We changed his nappy together, bathed him together, fed him together, dressed him togeth ......... well, you get the idea.

With our second that has been virtually impossible. M and I have gone slightly different ways. Take into consideration that M breastfed Missy - something I would have found very difficult to do myself!! - she naturally spent more time with her than I did - I stayed with Poops.

Unfortunately, things kind of stayed that way - M with Missy and me with Poops. I said to M a little while ago though, that I should try and get A ready for bed, give her her bottle etc at least a couple of times a week. This we did although it's sometimes easy to forget and I realise we haven't spent that special time together for a while.

Last night was one of those special times. I got her changed, fresh nappy and all the glamour that goes with babies, then settled down to give her her bottle. She likes to pull her hair with one hand but last night I held her hand, gently and she forgot all about her hair. She just gripped my finger, not tightly, just holding on and lifted her other hand up to gently touch my face. She drank most of her milk and then, just as she was getting to the end, I pulled a face at her. As she was tired I only really expected her to look away (as she sometimes does) but she had a fit of the giggles! She was chuckling away for about 5 minutes with the teat of the bottle still in her mouth, before she laughed so hard that she spluttered on the milk and meal time was over.

I then stood up, put her against my chest, high up near my shoulder to giver her a pat and she lay there, limp, one arm lovingly holding on to my shoulder like we were dancing together and the other draped over my other shoulder and hanging down my back a little. After her milk she usually motions towards her cot straight away but this was totally different. We stayed like that for maybe 3 or 4 minutes before she lifted her head, gave her usual little squeak and pointed at her cot. I put her down, patted her and that was the last we heard from her - she must have gone straight to sleep.

Missy is just over a year now and so, slowly, things are becoming more "together" again. Meal times, dressing is chaotic but we do do that together and so on. J is very good with her although they both get a little jealous when we're doing things together. One-on-one time with each of them is something I imagine most families have to rota into their week.

I wonder what effect that has on children? I wonder how the arrival of another baby in a family affects the first born? And what about the second born? The fact that only one parent gets to spend the majority of time with them when their sibling had two? Any thoughts?

Sadly, this argument is proved out in the pictures and video that we have of them both. We have hours of video of J and only a trickle of Missy (this is something I intend to rectify over the coming months btw).

Thankfully though, love for your children isn't measured in how much video footage you have of them.

As long as they grow up realising that, I should be in the clear.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Dad on a train!

Following last weeks "incident" which led to my bike most definitely being out of action for the immediate future, I made my way into London this morning by means of public transport; namely, the train (I haven't travelled by tube for almost a year - nor will I).

You know, it wasn't too bad! I didn't think I'd hear myself say it but it was ok. I got a seat, with a table to put my book on, it was relaxing even!!

I compared it to my usual journey in - hectic, noisy, fast paced and, as I found out last week, dangerous at times!

I wouldn't change things though. What I didn't enjoy was the waiting around on platforms, my journey time dictated by the arrival of the train and by the journey of the train in front of that one and so on! It took me 1 hour and 15 minutes door to door - that was from the nursery door too, not my own front door - compare that to my usual 25-30 minutes on my bike. A loss of an hour and a half a DAY! Another working day per week sat on a train!!!

Hmmm....... hectic or not, I can't wait to get my bike back!!

Sorry love!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

You never know!

These words are often found marching with ill informed confidence from my mother-in-laws mouth and can apply to absolutely anything of which she's not sure. They are however, entirely accurate for the events of my Tuesday ride home.

I was 3 or 4 minutes from home on my bike - which incidentally, has a 600cc engine in it - when a chap in a car, sat in traffic, decided to turn right at the last minute and very kindly collected me and my machine and dumped me on the wrong side of the road in the path of an oncoming car which, thankfully, stopped before dumping me elsewhere!

A cut hand (where I smashed his wing mirror off), and a badly bruised shoulder, neck and noggin (thank heavens for crash helmets), put paid to any idea of normality for that evening. Things were made a little easier by the fact that the guy never stopped apologising, repeating that he had "only watched that advert about looking twice for bikes last night", even though the message didn't appear to have sunken in properly - one in the eye for all you advertising people out there!!

The bottom line though? I picked myself up and walked away from what could have been a very different outcome. Not so lucky for my bike though which may be written off according to my insurers. I reckon conversations will be taking place between M and myself about my next mode of transportation for my daily commute. For some reason, she's lost confidence in motorbikes - can't imagine why!

As the recovery truck guy was wheeling my broken bike off his ramp, M, missy and poops were walking down the street towards me - M looked very relieved to see I was ok. J looked concerned however, pointing out that my bike had "lots of scratches" on it! When I returned from the Accident & Emergency department after getting stitched up and checked over, M and I had a hug. A big hug, a proper "thank God you're ok, what might have been" type of hug.

So if you disagree with your wife or husband, boyf/girlf, son/daughter about something before you leave the house next week, make up before you go. If you've argued in the evening and you know you'll be out of the house before they wake in the morning, sort things out before you go to bed.

I wonder how many loved ones of victims of the July bombings last year parted on less than great terms? I wonder if any of them will regret missing their chance to make up for the rest of their lives? Hopefully none.

But you know what?

You never know.

Monday, May 22, 2006


Having introduced our pet name for A to my blog, I reckon it's only fair to get J's pet name into print.

Poops. Or Poopy (that's to rhyme with scoops or Snoopy by the way). I call him Poops, M calls him Poopy.

You know, I can't exactly remember why we adopted this name for him. I'm pretty sure it had something to do with his full nappies being our first true hands on encounter with parenthood - oh boy, what a marvel!

I like it though - doesn't matter if you call him by his name or pet name, he spins round to answer.

Well, he does now he can hear of course.

Friday, May 19, 2006

There she blows!

Picked up our car from the garage this morning after I dented the door. It was all polished, valeted inside, gleaming, smelling nice - hold that thought.

Ok, cut to this afternoon - we're all off to see the Fimbles after I won a family ticket through a competition at work - £50 worth of tickets, marvellous. We are half a mile from the theatre when Missy decides to projectile vomit in the car, over M, me, herself, her car seat, the back seat, the floor and so on. Our choices are fairly limited so I explain to J that we can't go to see the Fimbles and that we need to go home and get A out of her clothes and clean the car out. He took it amazingly well - bless him, he's such a trooper - a little upset at first but he understood. I think perhaps I was more disappointed for him than he was. Missy seemed totally unfazed by her episode and was her normal self 5 minutes later. M thought that "someone" was trying to tell us something, or was looking out for us - I think she's right.

I tell you though, it doesn't matter how much you plan .........

Anyway, to make it up to J, I took him for his first trip to the cinema to see Ice Age 2. The film was ok but I think he enjoyed the experience of the dark cinema, the curtain peeling back to reveal the "giant television", the popcorn, snacks and drinks, not to mention 5 trips to the toilet throughout the film which he thought was hilarious - running down the stairs to the front of the auditorium, out the door, run across the foyer, toilet, run back across foyer, through door, back up to our seats - the family behind us took it very well too.

More father/son bonding which is always a pleasure.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


People often say how you "never have two the same" when referring to your children. It's absolutely true - at least where ours are concerned.

I remember speaking with a health professional when M was pregnant with A and learnt that in most cases, boys take after their mum and girls take after their dad. (This is certainly the case where my mum is concerned, although amusingly, she refuses to see it). As we already had J who did take after M plus the fact we were absolutely positive we were going to have another boy, I thought, "fine", neither of our children will have my fiery temperament which is fine by me.

What happens? We have a girl!

(I will never forget the surgeon holding up a screaming A, facing her towards us so we could see down below that we definitely had a girl on our hands and M and I just stared, mouths open, disbelieving). "Oh-oh", I thought, "time to see if this hypothesis is correct".

It is.

Whereas J is calm, good natured, patient and amenable (exactly like M), A is fiery, impatient and loud (exactly like me). She is extremely kind and loves to share - I certainly don't want to paint a negative picture of her - it's just that she has this ability to go from happily playing to a pounding scream that can shatter concrete.

I have (perhaps unkindly) nicknamed her Foghorn Leghorn after the large Loony Toons character. Although I don't remember this large rooster as being particularly loud, the very fact he has the word 'foghorn' in his name was enough for me to adopt it for A.

It doesn't win me any brownie points with M however.

Foghorn facts:

A navigation aid for mariners, the first foghorn was installed on Partidge Island in 1859, replacing the less effective bell end cannon

Foghorns can be heard for up to 5 miles (hence the comparison)

Our real pet name for A is Missy.

She sure is a sweetie.

Monday, May 15, 2006

I don't like Mondays

Well, except when I've taken the day off to try and get various bits and pieces done. Ok, so it's Monday, ok, so it's raining ever so slightly but you know what? I don't mind.

The reason I don't mind (when I normally hate the rain) is this; it was A's 1st birthday last week and her party was on Saturday. The weather forecast was grim, heavy rain, overcast etc but did it rain on the day? Nope, it held off until the evening after everyone had gone and, after all the expense and the organisation of a small get together for a 1 year old, M and I couldn't have been more pleased. Actually I was more pleased for M than anything else - she really doesn't ask for much but a rain free day on Saturday was something she really wanted. Especially after the whole of last week had been t-shirt weather with beautiful sunshine.

M also printed out a picture of A for every one of her first 12 months and put them up along the wall - they made for a lovely backdrop to her first soiree.

Another successful event as organised and executed by the ever adaptable M. Actually, since starting this blog and referring to my wife only as M, and taking into account her adaptability with just about anything really, I've realised the only other person as clever as that and who is referred to as M, is James Bond's gadget inventor friend.

I wonder if I can get her to call me Bond?

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Boy With New Ears!

Well, J's appointment did go ahead on Monday and what a trooper he was! He was excited more than anything - well, he was starving too - but the team on the childrens ward at the hospital were fantastic, they deserve a mention. To get from the ward to the anaesthetic room, he had to drive a battery operated jeep down the corridor, following a painted white line until he came to a nurse standing in front of a set of 'traffic lights', whereby he got out, beaming all over his face and into the anaesthetic room.

M and I agreed that I would go as she said she would be too upset watching him go under so, me being the man, said, no problem - I'd be more than happy to take him. They distracted him while inserting a canula into the back of his wrist - he's not daft though - he looked over, unfazed by it all, and in went this drug and that drug and finally, the giant syringe of white fluid that sends you off to Wizard of Oz land.

"Ok Joseph, you might start to feel a little bit sleepy ...... ", said the anaesthetist and I looked down at him.

He momentarily looked up at me, wide eyed, he took a B-I-G slow motion blink as the drug coursed around his little body, his long eyelashes batting once, twice, three times before a huge yawn and then .......... gone . His head fell slightly to the side and he was out. They straightened his head and the professionalism of the whole team kicked in, tipping his head back, oxygen mask over his face, me being led gently out.

At exactly the same time I could feel my tears fighting their way up, could feel that I needed to cry, let out a sob but for some reason fighting it - saw M and that was enough for us both to start blubbing.

Not 10 minutes later, we were motioned back out to the empty ward and there is J, in a half druggy sleep, trying to wake up but falling back on the bed. It reminded me of J's favourite wildlife programmes - they dart an animal, work on it and then watch as it comes round, falling and stumbling around, not looking too happy about things generally.

That lasted for about 15 minutes, he wanted a cuddle and then said he was hungry - poor little guy had been starved all morning. M had put together a fantastic picnic lunch in a new lunchbox and his eyes widened when he saw it. He then proceeded to eat non stop for about 40 minutes - I'm not kidding - until he had eaten every last scrap of food, yoghurt, crisps and drink there was. Then he wanted to play and then, after about an hour, he was given the ok to go home by the surgeon.

When we got home, J asked "what the funny noise was?" It appears that he was hearing A's monitor beeping quietly for the first time. There were lots of other examples of this too - the dustmen collecting the rubbish bags outside was noticed, a scooter engine in the distance - all noticed by the Boy with the New Ears!

After hearing about the continuing failings of the NHS on the news and reading about it in your paper day in, day out, it was nice to know that there are positive points about the service. Today really was an example of the NHS working well.

Thank you for making such a difference to J's hearing and, I would imagine, his quality of life.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Sod's law

J hasn't been unwell for a few weeks now but of course, as he is due to go into hospital to have grommets put in tomorrow, he has a high temperature and is off his food! The last time he had a cold he went almost completely deaf and this was what we put his 'clinginess' down to a short while back when he didn't want to go to nursery in the morning.

Anyway, we've prepared him for what might take place in the morning. He knows he isn't allowed to eat anything when he wakes up - I can't help but think the gravity of that hasn't entirely sunk in; the boy loves to eat - and he also knows that their is a surprise for him afterwards.

He said to M tonight, "you know Mum, for my surprise, I want a really fast racing car". What did we buy him today? An air powered racing car that goes really fast!!


Friday, May 05, 2006


A little time has passed since my last post - a week to be precise and I was kind of hoping that I would manage to keep a daily diary but alas, no. The only danger of me trying to put something every day is that, to be honest, as much as your children give you something new on a regular basis, a daily offering is pushing it - anyone who has read my past posts will tell you that on a couple of occasions I have ventured into a more 'self self self' type posting and I reckon that's not what the Blog world needs.

That said, J gave me the perfect topic tonight - language.

As per usual, you will perhaps appreciate this blog more if you have children of your own or at the very least, are expecting or trying for children - they are amazing.

The unbelievable thing is the rate at which they learn. At 1 year to 18 months they are burbling and 'talking' jibberish and within a year they are talking to you. Think about it. They have not only learnt a language (you know how tough that it right?) but they have actually learnt to speak! Learnt how to form words, their meanings, which way round to put the words, how to correct themselves when they hear the words coming out wrong etcetera etcetera.

Tonight, J and I sat at his little table just under his window, with his pre-requisite plate of fruit and snacks (or his 'platter' as he calls it) and me lounging on the armchair in his room. As he was eating, he looked out of his window and smiled. "Look, an airplane", he said, all the while craning his neck forward to keep the plane in view. "Oh, it's gone behind that roof now. I can't see it anymore. Maybe I'll see it again when it comes out the other side".

Now that may or may not sound like much to you but take it from me, it sounded amazing. I couldn't help but smile. The cool thing is that J now sees (or rather, hears) his little sister slowly learning to speak. She will be one year old next week and is already moving from the nonsense noises and rambling and dribbling to loosely forming actual words. Her favourite word at the moment sounds a bit like "pickup" or "big-up" - not sure which, but she always says it 3 or 4 times in a row, much to J's amusement. "What are we going to pick up today A" he says laughing.

Children are mighty clever you know - never underestimate them.