Tuesday, 29 April 2008


Emily's getting to that age where she's able to focus on things (like faces, etc.) and she can stay awake without bawling her eyes out for food.

Last night I had an entertaining play time with her sticking my tongue out and just generally trying to keep her entertained. I also got a couple of smiles out of her which was pretty nice.

I was reading today about how to play with babies, especially how to play without toys (as Emily doesn't seem interested in holding anything at the moment).

It basically broke down "playtime" into a number of categories - nursery rhymes, let baby mimic you, talk to baby and let baby play with household items.

We haven't really done many nursery rhymes with Emily, but the advice also says to tickle her and get her involved. I can do this!

On the mimic front, it suggests smiling or sticking your tongue out and getting baby to do the same. Having read this, I'm glad I was able to discover this last night for myself.

Both Sue and I talk and sing to Emily, and we get the odd response, but the advice says "babies don’t have to be able to talk to have a conversation" which is encouraging.

I have a suspicion that they only need to cry to have a conversation. FEED ME NOW!

Ah the joys of parenthood continue.

Friday, 25 April 2008

Growing Babies and Bottling a feeling

This week Sue went to get Emily weighed. In the last fortnight, the little remorseless eating machine has put on almost a pound. She is very quickly growing out of the "our little girl" moniker. Her weight is now hovering around a back breaking 13 pounds.

This morning around 5am, Emily was letting out noises like someone was punching her in the face or trying to cut her legs off... just a blood curdling scream. This was happening while Sue was trying to change her. I waded in with dummy in hand to try and soothe her screams, or at the very least shut her up. I guess I did the trick, because no sooner had dummy gone in then she cacked herself and peed all over Sue. Ah, the trials of being a new parent.

We eventually passed out around 5.45am, but I found a strange elation being rudely awoken so early in the morning. After the initial shock, it's like your body goes into some weird "Ok, so that was just a 5 hour nap, not a night sleep" mode. You feel awake, relaxed and refreshed.

It's only when your body realises what's happens that you begin to fade out, get a flushed feeling and wish you were dead.

If I could bottle that elated feeling, I'd be a millionaire!

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Remorseless, just remorseless

So far between Sue and I, when one of us has been off our nut with tiredness, the other has held the mantle of sanity and let it prevail. These days, with the sleep deprivation that Emily has wrought on us, it's been really difficult keeping it real, as the street kids say.

The last few days, the little tyke has been relentless in her eating... and subsequent crying if point A is not fulfilled. As the non-lactating parent, I can but look on as Sue cries things along the lines of "not more!" and "aren't you full yet?" I then roll over for more sleep as she spends hours at a time giving Emily her food.

I do what I can, trying to entertain Emily to give Sue some moments to regroup mentally. It's difficult entertaining something that is essentially a remorseless eating machine, but at least I was able to get all the way through an episode of "The Fall Guy" today before her lungs tore the air a new one.

Back to the very fragile layer of sanity that is still among us.

The breaking point almost came today. We went to Mothercare to buy Emily a "Flutterbye Dreams Swing" from Fisher Price. It's a motorised swing (that takes 4 D batteries and 4 AA batteries!!!!) designed to shut your grizzling child up and entertain them with noise, lights and fluffy creatures.

It did none of these things.

Emily sat in the seat and grizzled. Sue sat on the sofa and grizzled. I sat there wondering why a child would not want to enjoy a piece of kit so obviously designed to please a child.

The search for peace continues.

Now playing: Duran Duran - A View To A Kill
via FoxyTunes

Friday, 18 April 2008


Traditionally, parents have been driven to their wits end by the selection of baby/child-geared music available. If the inane songs don't get you, the cry of "again, again" from any child will have you unwittingly whistling the Thomas the Tank Engine theme in your sleep.

Wired Magazine have run a blog entry addressing the inane nature of these songs, being so bold as to hypothesise that "children's music causes mental disorders in adults".

I can imagine this genre being akin to a very slow Chinese water torture... it'll break you in the end. The blog entry espouses the benefits of new musical outlets like Geekdad as an anti-thesis to this genre.

They Might Be Giants, among other acts, seem to be getting in the act of making children's music that parents can actually dig. They started off slow, with an album in 2002 called "No! No! No!" but have now whole-heartedly embraced the genre with two recent CDs - "Here come the ABCs" and "Here come the 123s".

Saint Etienne have also touched on the genre with the "Up The Wooden Hill" ep (including songs like "Let's Build a Zoo"), and promise to release an entire album of children's songs soon.

In the dearth of baby gifts we've been receiving, these two TMBG albums magically appeared like magical beacons of mental acuity in the night. Decent music, as any adult will know, gets better the more "again again" you give it.

It's a savvy ploy, get the kids onto your music at an early age, and then sell them your back catalogue at an older age once you've established "brand". I can just see Emily and I rockin' out to "Particle Man" or "(She Was A) Hotel Detective" when she is 8 or 9.

That thought alone should save me from (even more) mental disorders.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

The Commute Test - results

well the picking up of Emily and the carting home on the train of Emily went well-ish.

Left work about 10 mins early and got to Em and Sue with buckets of time to spare. Picked the l'illun up and walked to the train. Got on the train and before we'd left she decided on a grizzle... which didn't really stop until mummy called for a pick up around 8.45p

Between those two points we went through mummy's expressed milk and a bottle and a bit of formula, something we're both loathe to do, but when you have a child that's screaming and red in the face it's either feed them, or put the out in the garden shed to scream themselves to sleep. We don't have a garden shed.

Em's asleep now and about the only benefit of formula is it's heavy and knocks babies out. We MAY get a good night's sleep tonight, so that's something. I personally need it as my eyes are like two piss-holes in the snow right now and I feel like the walking dead most of the time.

Yay for me! Yay for us!

The Commute Test

Well, today is another test of fatherhood.

No, I'm not meeting Emily's first boyfriend.

I have to co-ordinate meeting with Sue and Emily at Moorgate, so Sue can drop the little bundle of joy off and attend her Uni class.

I then get to attempt to navigate commuter traffic with Emily and pram and hopefully arrive in Wallington safe, sound and not all that frazzled.

Em and I then get to collect ourselves at home for a little while before picking Sue up from East Croydon once her Uni class is done.

Repeat this twice a week until June.


Friday, 11 April 2008

Baby weight

Sue took Emily to be weighed today and she's clocking in at 10 lb 13 oz. That makes an 11 oz gain in a week.

All is on track which is good. Emily seems to be eating more and more often which is not good news for Sue, the milk machine. Speaking to my colleague, the new dad, his son's hunger got so bad they had to switch to formula to sate his hunger and give his wife something else to do during the day than feed.

Food, as they say, for thought.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Lunch with the ladies

Just finished having lunch with mum, Sue and Emily at a restaurant near work.

A big adventure for all involved. Mum and Sue and Emily had travelled to Balham by train for a dental visit, and from Balham to Tottenham Court Road by tube. They regaled me over lunch with tales of issues and problems involved with clambering up and down stairs with baby, push chair, nappy bag, etc.

I don't know how young families are meant to cope. We're quite lucky living in Suburbia that we can get everything we really need - food, etc. - without having to resort to undergrounds or trains or taxis. Being a truly dependent urban young family must be quite a trial.

It was Emily's first visit to a restaurant and as such behaved herself quite well. Sue fed her while waiting for her lasagne and then Em lay quite happily in her "coffin" and just grizzled a bit when her dummy fell out.

I was originally going to bring her up to show my colleagues, but don't really feel comfortable doing that. Had I still worked at AOL, I would have shown her off in a heartbeat. Such is the variety of work environments we see ourselves in these days, I guess.

The girls have a couple more adventures today before they head home. Sue has to go talk to her Uni lecturer, then stop in at her office to show off the newborn show pony.

Hopefully all this adventuring will mean a peaceful night sleep for mummy and daddy and Emily, but I wouldn't be placing any bets on it.

Monday, 7 April 2008

To sleep... perchance to dream

It's tempting to take the easy path.

We're constantly discovering that with Emily. If she cries, give her whatever will shut her up. If she won't sleep, put her in bed with us, etc. etc. etc.

I realise that developing these bad habits early on is tantamount to guaranteed damnation, but when it's 3.30am and you're desperate for sleep you will do ANYTHING to ensure it comes sooner than later, and that really doesn't include listening to a baby cry itself to sleep for an hour or so.

How will things be when she's two or three and desperate to sleep in our bed or else not sleep? Who knows. I can plan down the road for future events, but with Emily future events seem to end when my eyes close.

Of course, a baby sleeping with you isn't the end of the world. The mid-wife who came to visit said she did it with all her children, and the books only say not to do it for fear of smothering, crushing or overheating your baby, not because they'll never want to leave.

Hopefully we can continue to weave the obstacle course of bringing up baby and come out the other end victorious. I am fully aware we'll make mistakes along the way, just as our parents did with us, but as long as their the small stuff, I'm happy with winning the larger problems.

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Birth weight and other stories

The health visitor came round today and weighed wee little Emily. She's now 10 lb 2 oz. Anyone who's been following this will know she was born at 9 lb 15 oz and promptly shed 7 oz almost over night.

It's nice to see the little tike's relentless feeding frenzy is resulting in some of it staying inside her (and not all ending up in the nappy).

This arvo Sue met up with a couple of the NCT mums and unknown to me, the dads were there too (as they still have paternity leave, etc.) Sounds like they had a wonderful afternoon eating nachos and apple cake, basking in the spring time sun and listening to the choir of infant cries.

I woke up at 4am this morn when Em grizzled for a feed. As I enjoyed a couple of bevvies last night, I found it rather impossible to get back to sleep. I have to say, I just keep going from tired to even more tired.

Does it end?

Now playing: Public Image Ltd - Death Disco (12" Mix)
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Back at work

To paraphrase Billy Madison: "Back to work, back to work to prove to dad I'm not a jerk".

Wow. I really wasn't ready to enter the office today. Apart from the over 100 emails I had to wade through, I realised that lack of sleep is tolerable - just - if you have bugger all to do.

I've taken the art of sitting on the setee with Emily on my lap and staring aimlessly at the TV to a new level. Add to the mix having to actually use my brain and I actually feel really really drained.

Still it's been good trying to get back into a routine. The last two weeks, while nowhere near a vacation, did have that rudderless feel you get a vacation. Get up when you want, do what you want during the day.

It was quite liberating seeing the day-life of our local environment and checking out who actually is around during the day. The people who shop at Sainsbury's, the people who walk the streets, hang out in the parks, eat at the cafes. You kind of assume that everyone has a job in an office and the streets should be ghost towns, but they never are.

I think it will benefit Sue and Emily having me away as well as they can get into a routine, well one that spurred on by me leaving every morning around 8.00a (after the morning nappy change of course) and arriving home around 7.15p (just in time for the evening nappy change).

So paternity leave is now over, moving on to the next phase, whatever that may be.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Phase One almost at an end

Tomorrow night will mark the end of my Paternity Leave, and come Wednesday it's back to the long slog - commuting, foraging for lunches, getting home late, wishing I won the lottery, etc.

However hard it will be for me trying to provide for myself and my family, I'm worried about Sue. As she only had the c-section two weeks ago, convention dictates she can't drive for another four. This is fine if she doesn't need / want to go anywhere, but stuck in the wilds of Wallington with no vehicle could drive anyone mental.

She's going for tea to a fellow NCTers' on Thursday and will either have to cab it or take a bus. We're still not sure about the whole car seat / taxi legal issue, so she'll probably take the bus and walk.. or throw caution to the wind.

Regarding my own well-being, I'm stuck in some sort of holiday routine, where I can't fall asleep before about 3am and wake around noon. Fine when I have nothing to do, absolutely dire when I have to rise around 7 am for work. Bets are now on regarding how much work I'll get done Wednesday!

Now playing: Propaganda - Dr Mabuse [12"]
via FoxyTunes