My son could poo for Great Britain. I have high hopes that one day he will…. I had thought that he may poo for his country in the 2012 Olympic Games in his home city of London. Then I realised that by then he will be three and a half years old and no longer a baby – which may exclude him from the event. Anyway, our personal finances mean that he may have to turn professional long before then, and that would rule him out completely.

All this thought of poo got me thinking about nappies. I know that I buy them from the supermarket, Noah fills them up and I pop them in a nappy sack and put them in a bin. I have never really thought about what happens after that. So, I decided it was time I found out and what I did find out terrified me completely.

The average child between birth and two years of age wears around seven nappies a day. Over a period of two years this is roughly 5300 nappies. A nappy in a landfill site will take 500 years to decompose!

Now here is the really scary bit. According to Yahoo answers there are 615,842,173 children between birth and two years of age on the planet at the moment. If they all wear 5300 nappies each that will be three trillion, two hundred and sixty three billion, nine hundred and sixty three million, five hundred and sixteen thousand nine hundred nappies kicking around our planet for at least the next 500 years.

Now, if that fact does not scare both the pants and the nappy right off you then Houston, we have a problem!

However, the other thing I found out is that there is an answer. Companies such as Nature Babycare (www.naty.com) do a range of completely compostable nappies. My partner Becky and I use them all the time and they are great. I have not tried recycling the used ones to help my vegetable patch bloom, but baby steps – literally.

So, if you are reading this and have children in nappies have another look at that figure then check out http://www.naty.com. That’s the bottom line.

diaper

I have just returned from a UK tour of the in laws with my 17 week old son. This coast to coast extravaganza started in London, took in the mountains of North Wales, the hills of Lanark in Scotland, the rugged West Coast of Scotland and then all the way back to London with the boy strapped firmly into his maxi-cosi car seat for hours at a time.

Now, while I consider Noah to be a well behaved, contented kind of baby even the best children in the world need A LOT of entertaining on an 1100 mile round trip…  and the result became “Baby – The Musical. The most banal musical of all time!” Eleven hundred miles of pointless, nonsense songs that would make Andrew Lloyd Webber turn in his grave. (He may not actually be dead and this is only wishful thinking on my part.)

Before I had a child with my partner Becky I would have been mortified at the thought of singing in front of her. This week however I have been belting out such unforgettable numbers from Baby – The Musical as ‘You’ve got a nose and so have I!’ The smash hit, ‘Trousers! Trousers! You’re wearing Trousers!’ And who could forget, ‘I’m wiping poo off your balls! Poo off your balls!’. This is from the great nappy changing scene in the motorway service station car park.

Perhaps the most surreal moment was when I started singing the big finale number from Baby – The Musical, ‘You’ve got a booger up your nose. Doodah! Doodah!’ And Becky actually joined in.

My son loved this and would have given us a standing ovation, had he not been strapped into his seat… and if he could stand…

Unfortunately, Baby – The Musical is not available in any shops. However, I do have a suspicion that there are countless numbers of desperate parents out there regaling their offspring with their own versions… and I bet that somewhere out there one of those versions is even more ear bleedingly terrible than mine!

Order your copy today... or alternatively, don't!

Order your copy today... or alternatively, don't!

I drove my partner and my son to the train station at six am yesterday morning and packed them off on their way to Wales. Becky is off to visit her mother for a few days and after I finish up some work this Tuesday I will join them. This is the first time since he was born 16 weeks ago that I have spent any time away from him, and to be honest the thought of four nights without him filled me with dread.

“What about me?” Becky said, looking a little hurt. “Doesn’t the thought of four nights without me fill you with dread?”

“Absolutely,” I replied, quick as a flash. The trick here is to answer in the affirmative without missing a breath. Look like you are thinking about it even for a nano second and you’re done for. “But you know this is different, you and I can chat and text… I can’t even watch him go ‘Ooh!’ ”

However, in the back of my mind all this time was a little devil that was saying, “Woohoo! You have four days of freedom! Go mental! By Tuesday evening you should be knee deep in Chinese food cartons and beer cans! At the very least break out the quality single malt and stay up all night watching back to back Die Hard films!”

So, with the devil on my shoulder I stopped off at the supermarket on the way home from work and bought a crate of beer and two pizzas (I was still quite health conscious. I bought some coleslaw too.). I got home, had a slice of pizza, one beer and promptly fell asleep on the sofa even before John McLean had started to save the Nakatomi Plaza from the clutches of Professor Severus Snape!

I then wake up at four am, have a glass of milk and a biscuit while looking at my son’s empty bouncer seat and feeling rather maudlin before getting into bed only to wake at seven, bright as a button and wondering why I have so much time on my hands. So far this bachelor party weekend is not working out as my little devil planned and the lyrics of the party song in my head go round and round taking on an entirely different meaning from their original intention….Rock and roll and brew, rock and roll and brew, I know that you and I we got better things to do….

Unlike this man my party animal days are over!

Unlike this man my party animal days are over!

Having only become a parent 16 weeks ago the whole super nanny phenomena has pretty much passed me by. I’m still not 100% sure where this woman came from but I do know this – it’s all a bit weird. For a start she looks more like someone who would be into a bit of S and M than a person I would leave in charge of my children, and as for the whole concept of “the naughty step” – what the hell!?

Sure, I accept that children will misbehave and that there has to be an element of discipline in all our lives but for parents to actually click on to Amazon and buy this brightly coloured, slot together, no tools required, piece of kit is just messed up!

The Super Nanny Naughty Step is suitable from ages three till seven. Great! That’s 5 whole years of mind f**k fear for just 25 quid. That’s 5 pounds per year of terror.

And then once your step arrives what are you meant to do with it? Does it just sit there in the corner like a silent, brightly coloured threat, reminding my son that at any moment in his innocent little life he could be scooped up Rendition style and banished to baby Guantanamo Bay?

So, no I will not be spending my hard earned cash on one of these things and helping to line the pockets of a woman who has made millions from telling us how to raise our children when it turns out she is not even a mother herself! If I could I would banish Jo Frost to the naughty step. However, having just Googled her and had a look I think we may have to build an extra wide, reinforced step for that blowhard!

The Naughty Step. Has the world gone mad?

The Naughty Step. Has the world gone mad?

A generation ago children were pretty much left to their own devices to get on with it and grow up – albeit within the parental guidelines set out by liberal and semi relaxed parents… and I think we turned out okay.

However, a few years ago something happened. “Parenting” suddenly became a verb and everything got a bit competitive. I almost expect the International Olympic Committee to announce that London 2012 will feature Parenting as an event – time to leave the athletics now and head over to the indoor arena where Great Britain are currently lying in fourth place in the Parenting….

From nowhere I am surrounded by parenting and childcare experts and the only result is that I am more confused than ever before. Gina Ford tells me how and when my child should sleep, Anabel Karmel tells me what my child should eat,while the breastfeeding Nazis at the NCT tell me that if my partner does not breastfeed our son he will turn out like an extra from the film The Hills Have Eyes!

As if this is not enough then along comes Super Nanny Jo Frost and tells me that when my child misbehaves I have to put him on the naughty step. How the hell am I going to do that, I live in a bungalow!

star-wars-grand-moff-tarkin-naughty-step

Meet Priscilla Dunstan, the woman who says she can tell you exactly what your baby is complaining about and surprise surprise, she has just released a complete book and DVD set available for purchase at just under thirty quid!

In the book and DVD Priscilla has uncovered what she says is a baby language with five key ‘words’ that express the baby’s every need. Priscilla says she discovered the secret language after hours in her local university language reading Get Rich Quick books, er, sorry, I mean anatomy books.

After keeping a diary she discovered the 5 different sounds associated with all things were, ‘neh’, ‘heh’, ‘eairh’, ‘eh’ and ‘owh’, which translated mean, ‘charlatan’, ‘fraudster’, ‘laughing all the way to the bank’, ‘nonsense’ and ‘I’ve just had a great big dump again Mummy!’

Independent studies have shown that over 90% of first time mums found the course highly valuable… just not as highly valuable as Priscilla Dunstan has I bloody bet!

Hello! You're through to the Priscilla Dunstan DVD call centre, can I take your order please?

Hello! You're through to the Priscilla Dunstan DVD call centre, can I take your order please?

My son turned 15 weeks old this morning. Incidentally, why is it with babies and pregnancy in general we tend to measure in weeks rather than in conventional terms. Me telling people I just turned 1924 weeks old would seem ridiculous. Me telling people my son is 15 weeks old is generally accepted!

Anyhoo, I digress. The point is that my baby is now starting to display traits and characteristics that are unique to him. He is becoming a little person. For instance, on holiday he became utterly fascinated with watching Inspector Morse. Nothing else on the TV took his fancy, made him look up from his travel cot, or disturbed him from feeding, but as soon as John Thaw graced the screen in his red Jaguar e type the small boy was hypnotised.

Given these developments I decided that it was time he should be talking. Him simply bursting into tears of frustration when things were not going his way was going to come to an abrupt end – today. Now I would require an articulate explanation from him for his behaviour.

So, before breakfast I set about an intensive speech therapy seminar, holding objects in front of the boy and saying what they were – cup, cu-up, toast, toe-oast, letter, le-tter.

The results were quite remarkable. To my astonishment my child would then repeat back, er, well, nothing actually, not one word… and then would randomly ‘ooh’ like a monkey over and over and over again oblvious to anything I was doing. I think it would be fair to say the exercise was an unmitigated disaster. He definitely takes after his mother’s side of the family.

I know what you're thinking Clyde, did the small boy 'ooh' five times or six...

I know what you're thinking Clyde, did the small boy 'ooh' five times or six...

…And Relax!

July 7, 2009

Relatively speaking I was a child not that long ago. Sure, we have made huge technological advancements in the time it has taken me to grow up – mobile phones, broadband, drive through off licences…. but basically  the world is pretty much the same place as it was when I was wearing out the knees of my school trousers and getting told off for breaking windows with my football.

So, If we can accept that fundamentally things are still the same for children now as they were, lets just say, ‘back in the day’, then what I want to know is why we have all gone bonkers and think that our children need to be wrapped in cotton wool balls and carried about in a big fluffy pocket.

My two top offenders – and two things that I will now hold my hands up to and admit my son has had forced upon him – are Baby Yoga and Baby Massage! For the love of God if there are two things in the bloody world that a baby does NOT need then surely it has to be yoga or a frickin massage!

My child does not have a care in the world. He lives a life of pure indulgence and completely believes that the world does not revolve around the sun, it revolves around my son! What does he have to be stressed out about? Nothing! Not one thing. So why the hell are we massaging our babies and exploiting their bendiness by forcing them into Pose of a Middle Class Child?

The world has gone mad. None of it makes sense… and what’s worse is that I am perpetuating it! Now, I apologise but I must cut this blog short as I have to take my 14 week old son to his Tai Chi class, if he does not have his Zen balanced at least twice a week he gets so cranky!

This child is quite obviously in the zone...

This Tai Chi child is quite obviously in the zone...

Apart from the facts that when you become a new parent your social life grinds to an abrupt halt, you laugh in the face of people who complain about insomnia and you exist on a plateau of fatigue never before experienced there is also another strange phenomena that happens – you become completely obsessed with poo.*

(*I should point out that in 99.9% of all cases this is ever only your baby’s poo and not poo in general – although a passing interest in why you don’t see white dog poo anymore is also okay)

In the way that reformed smokers, people who do yoga and skiers are excruciatingly boring to be around, due to the fact that they drone on endlessly about smoking, yoga and skiing, parents are overwhelmed with a new found interest in poo and all its incarnations and feel the need to talk to each other about it at length.

Has the baby done a poo? When did he last do a poo? Whose turn is it to change the poo? Can you smell poo? Is that poo on your hand? Should his poo look like that? That poo looks like wholegrain mustard, is that normal? Yes, the baby is fine thanks, he has just had a poo! How can someone who only drinks milk shit something that smells of pure dog food? – And on it goes, ad nauseam….

Wow! You can even get it in Tesco now! That's a talking point!

Wow! You can even get it in Tesco now! That's a talking point!

Just when I thought I was starting to get the hang of this fatherhood stuff I go and do something stupid, like go on holiday. A fortnight in France with the boy 24 hours a day opened up a whole new world to me and yet another steep learning curve. Up until now I had seen him before I went to work and when I returned. What he got up to in the nine hours in between was, up until this holiday, a complete mystery to me – for all I knew he could have been banging out a bodice ripping novel on his tiny mac book while I was at work. It turns out reality was just a little less exciting.

What I did discover during this time is that Mothers are natural parents and Dads are not – at least, I’m not. I have to work hard for every little parenting victory while my partner Becky has some sort of female voodoo power over my son that can instantly calm and soothe him when all I manage to do is wind him up even more until I think the poor child’s head may actually explode.

Becky can nurse the boy while toggling between Hotmail, Facebook and Ebay – chatting online with friends, looking at photographs and buying the boy a new babygro all at the same time. To watch it is a feat of majesty. It’s like multi tasking gone professional and she doesn’t even break a sweat. On holiday she sat in the back of the car, looked after our son and read the map to our destination. All I had to do was drive and I still went round a roundabout the wrong way – twice!

Don't forget that today is Flying Cat Friday!

Don't forget that today is Flying Cat Friday!