Sunday, November 19, 2006

You're wearing what???

Last night I went to see the new Bond film, Casino Royale, with my chums Alex, Kenny and Gerry. Marvellous stuff and Daniel Craig may well unseat Piers as my second-favourite Bond (could he one day challenge the ├╝ber-bond and former milkman Connery? I'm on the edge of my seat with anticipation.). I digress. Well the AMC cinema, which had never seen such queues, by the way, disgorged us into the late evening streets of city centre Manchester.

This was Saturday night and it's been a while since I ventured forth from the People's Republic of Chorlton on a Saturday. There were pissed up boys dressed like Pete Docherty swaying over girls in doorways, there was complete meltdown at most of the taxi ranks, but the sight that requires some musing over, was the state of undress of a host of barely-legal young girls.

Now I'll come clean here. I've been to raves, got bladdered on everything from Crucial Brew to the year's new Beaujolais, I've read William Burroughs, watched Tarrentino, joined the Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign and flirted with communism: I am NOT you're average Daily Mail reader; but here's the thing, parenthood has changed me at a very, very fundamental level.

Faced with a lengthy row of girls in see-through frocks, thongs, and bits of masking tape queueing in the freezing cold to get into 'Mutz Nutz', my first thought was a long, long away from a lascivious leer and some impure urge; I didn't even think "Poor love, where's her coat?"; actually, me first thought started with the words: "If that were Maddie..."

It's a sobering moment. You're in town on Saturday at 11.10. You're looking for a cab and you're feeling like a Dad. Like I said, something's changed... for the better, methinks.

Giant steps for babykind

Forgive me Blogfather, for I have sinned: it's been almost a month since my last blog entry. I can faithfully put the silence down to crazy work, the return of DIY (and B&Q) to the Limley Grove HQ and to the fact that sleep is in short supply in our house.

On that last point I'm pleased to report that even when tired beyond belief Anne and I are doing some sterling negotiations about who gets up when, and why. Even though the clock is saying 5:09 and we can only manage sentences that would make a Tellytubby feel ashamed, we can still gurgle 'My Turn' and at some deep, half-slumbering level rationalise that early morning's require a strategy. Maybe I'm off to London, maybe Anne's teaching, perhaps one of us is having a great dream about lying in until 11.00... who knows?

Anyway, back to the Madster. Great news from baby central, we're doing some bloody marvellous wobbly stands with the help of stable ledges and rails (which sounds like the nights out I remember through the fog of my early 30s...). There's also some interesting finger-pointing going on and we also think that their may be a wave developing... eat your heart out Lord Winston, this is people-watching as it ought to be.

It's tricky even for a wordy bugger like me to try and explain how it feels to watch Maddie developing. Take the mirror for example. It used to reveal a cute wee baby just like her that could be chuckled and gurgled at in equal measure. Then one day Maddie held up her hand and twirled it before the onlooking baby. She looked at the hand. Looked at the baby. Looked at me.

Pennies dropping. Amazing.

Pagan Rituals

My question is a simple one: is it acceptable to dress your child as a large vegetable (or gourd) in the name of Halloween? I'll be honest, I'm pretty torn over this one, but the Maddie Madster did indeed step forth done out like a giant pumpkin to celebrate All Hallow Even; Maddie, when you're older, we'll probably relish revealing this shot and I hope you forgive us.

On that note though, at least we didn't call you Arsenal, as 36 sets of parents in the UK have, apparently, or Gandalf, Britney or Dido (shudder...).

It could be far, far worse. Which gets me thinking to next year's Hallowe'en. Crikey, the mind boggles.