What Goes Around…..

November 24, 2009

Last weekend we agreed to meet our friends in the local pub for Sunday lunch. Given that Becky and I have only really been out socially twice since the boy was born this was treated with more pomp and circumstance than the trooping of the colour.

We packed the changing bag, secured Noah in his buggy and off we went…. and when we got there, settled into our table and unpacked, spilling bottles and toys, blankets and buggies everywhere I took a long, deep drink of my pint and was hit by a sudden realisation – We had turned into one of those couples that used to drive me mental in pubs!

When I was young, free and single I would enjoy nothing more than nursing my hangover on a Sunday with a hearty lunch, a couple of pints and a read of the paper in a convivial, but most importantly, quiet surrounding. I would scowl hard at the intrusion of these bloody middle class idiots with their smelly children and stupid pram contraptions taking up far too much room. They should be at home with those children not cluttering up my pub and ruining my Sunday. How bloody dare they!

Now here I was, my worldly belongings cast to the four corners of the pub like some makeshift Everest assault, my son mashing carrot into the leather sofa and shouting, “Bob, Bob, Bob!” at the top of his voice and my friend Brad holding his son up above his head and having a sniff of his bottom!

And while this chaos reigned, out the corner of my eye I caught sight of a man just a couple of years younger than me – and far less tired looking – on the other side of the pub. He sat with a woman who looked not dissimilar to my partner Becky, two drinks in front of them and surrounded by newspapers. A deep scowl was etched across his brow as he stared straight at our group. I could tell I was just messing up his laid back Sunday.

I nodded and smiled jovially towards him thinking, enjoy it while you can my friend because one day all of this will probably be yours!

Next week we take the drums to the pub!


Today I stood in the supermarket aisle and wrestled with the seemingly endless choices of baby food on offer. Surely this should not take up this much time or brain space? How do you ever make a sensible choice when I don’t even understand what half of them are?

After 45 minutes of procrastinating and fretting that I was going to make the wrong choices I finally settled for: Cheesy Pasta Bake, Vegetable Lasagne, Carrot and Lentil Medley with Cheddar, Organic Sweet Potato Pear and Plum, Spinach Parsnip and Basil Risotto and a Lentil Bake.

Now, can anyone spot what is wrong with the above paragraph? All this food is not to impress my neighbours at a dinner party nor woo my partner with a romantic candlelit soiree – it’s for a seven month old baby who thinks my name is Bob and that the height of entertainment is slapping the palm of his hand on the dinner table for ten minutes at a time. Let’s just say that he is not a connoisseur of fine food. He does not even care that much if you don’t heat up his Rigatoni Alfredo with Organic Alfalfa and Couscous!

So, supermarkets of the nation it’s time to call a spade a spade. I will not be hoodwinked any longer and will not be paying over the odds for what is basically just the same dinner over and over again only dressed up with a fancy name.

Herein, I would like all main courses titled: Red Mush. Red Mush with Vegetables. Red Mush with Pasta. Red Mush with Vegetables and Pasta. All desserts should be renamed: Brown Puree. Light Brown Puree. Beige Puree.

Sorted! Done! Now how easy was that?

I would like to stress I am NOT the father pushing this buggy!

“So did you cycle here or are you off to a fetish party?” I ask my friend and fellow father Will when we meet for a coffee the other day.

“What do you think?’ He replies, and then continues before letting me speak. “I have to… I’m a bit prone to Dad Fat you see… it’s age… and the kids… and the beer. Do you not agree?”

“I suppose so,” I say, sucking in my stomach, trying to sit up straight and putting back the tiny shortbread biscuit that had arrived with my coffee. “I’ve always been quite lucky. I have a fast metabolism,” I say lying through my teeth. The truth of the matter being that I hit 25 years of age and my metabolism basically ground to a standstill, meaning that harumph years later all I have to do is look at a packet of French fancies and I gain half a stone.

However the reality is this… I either work all day and the last thing I feel like doing when I get home is going to the gym, or I look after the boy all day – which is twice as hard as going to work – and by the time he finally goes to bed at around seven pm I can’t get back down the stairs quick enough to uncork a bottle of wine, make a tall gin and tonic or grab a cold beer from the fridge – there are days when I consider all three in quick succession! Calories, calories, calories!

And that is why I am working on my latest invention. A Dad Fat Fitness Contraption based on a running treadmill that you would find at the gym… only twice as long so I can fit the boy’s buggy in front of me, allowing me to exercise while never leaving the house and looking after the boy at the same time!

“That is a bloody good idea!” Will said to me when I ran the idea past him. “You could even put it next to the drinks cabinet so you could have a sneaky gin while you are exercising!”

“Genius!” I replied.

"That's right love, bring your old Dad a beer!"

I have a theory about raising children. I think there is a higher power involved. Some of you may think it is a God like force, a Supreme Being, an Almighty ruler determining the pathways of our lives.

I see it more like the Ed Harris character in The Truman Show – someone who, just when I think I have got things sorted, monkeys around with every single facet of my life so I am back at square one and no more knowledgeable about all this children business than I was the day Becky and I brought our son home from the hospital.

Somewhere, in a virtual Big Brother like nerve centre there is a scene that runs like this:

‘Number One, we have been watching the Terrified Dad fellow and he seems to be getting the hang of things. Today he managed to feed his son with only a minimum of mess, make sure the boy had a nap and he later managed to do some shopping and meet a friend for a coffee. And he did not look as ravaged and tired as we had planned for him at this stage!’

‘Really?’ Number One would reply, arching an eyebrow and stroking a white cat (do your own filthy jokes if you must) ‘Okay, let’s change things around. Have the boy refuse all his food from now. Ensure the boy no longer sleeps through the night. Wake him at one, three and five. Make his poo hard, then soft, then hard again just to really confuse everyone. And then just when this Terrified Dad chap gets used to that routine…. change it all again! Whoohoohaaahooohaa! (that is how you spell out an evil laugh) That will teach him to think he can be a good parent!’

watching you

I do not approve of war. It’s a terrible thing…. however, in saying that I think I have found the ultimate solution should our peaceful shores ever be threatened by an aggressor. Instead of sending in crack military troops armed to the teeth with guns and bombs a much more effective method of combat is to parachute in a squadron of babies.

These deadly assassins can wreak havoc, completely tire out our enemies and still leave everyone smiling. The babies could storm the houses of our enemies leaving baby-like devastation in their wake. They could mash mango into the carpet, push toast down the back of sofas, fill every conceivable space in the enemies house with their things, leaving our enemy bewildered as to ‘how such a small person needs so much stuff!’

If the fighting got down and dirty the babies could fight a stealth war, strategically placing model cars on stairs and leaving plastic toys with hard edges lying on the carpet. Jane’s Defence Weekly – your weekly guide to international weapons technology and military defence news – states that standing on a small plastic piano in the shape of a dog is actually 4 times more painful than being shot. And that’s a fact!

When the fighting got to hand to hand combat the babies would pull the ace from their baby gro sleeves and start pulling the hair of the enemy. Babies can accurately target the fine hairs on the back of your neck, the back of your arms and on your chest to cause maximum injury. Before you know it they have a handul of your growth and you have a pretty painful rash.

So beware enemies of the state, think twice before plotting to invade this dear green island. We have babies and we are not afraid to use them.

soldier baby

This weekend we flew to Scotland to visit the grandparents. And this is the strange thing…. Each night I put my son to bed oh so carefully. I then creep on tip toes from his room, across the hallway and pick my way down the wooden stairway like I am traversing a minefield. The slightest misstep and the small boy is awake and screaming blue murder.

If I manage to get downstairs without waking him, shut the living room door and turn the TV on – volume level 1, I consider this a victory. However, should I need to leave the living room to go to the kitchen, get something from the bedroom or, heaven forbid, go to the toilet and then dare to flush it, unless I have the skills of a cat burglar the boy will immediately awaken and in his own way accuse me of wrecking his night’s sleep.

So, here is what I do not understand. This weekend we get on a British Airways 757 packed to the rafters (if planes had rafters) with people chatting, laughing and generally making noise.  We taxied on to the runway and then the pilot put the plane into gear or turned the throttle (or whatever it is you do to make planes fly) and 60 million pounds of thrust echoed through the Rolls Royce engines rattling my teeth and making conversation inaudible. We then sit through the general hubbub of an hours flight and finally land at Glasgow airport with all the finesse of someone just dropping us out the sky on to hard tarmac.

My son slept through the bloody lot!