Saturday, April 22, 2006

Where Did That Week Go?

With no shortage of regret, we saw Ellen off this morning back to the US. The upside is that it's only a couple of months until she returns but the two downsides are that we (and Maddie) will miss her loads and WE'VE LOST A PAIR OF HANDS!!!! No. Seriously. We're not panicking. Honest. Truly. AAARRGGGGHHHHH...

The New Dad Manifesto

There's a new lefty tract doing the rounds that some may have come across - the Euston Manifesto - which has lots of well-to-do intellectuals and writers getting themselves in quite a pickle over who is the hardest, least reactionary and most ready to go to war...

Give it a read if you can as I think that apart from the obvious omission of environmental issues and the war stuff, it's not a bad read. But in response, I'm going to be attempting a 'New Dad Manifesto' here on the Dad Blog. Deep breath. Revolutionary fervour. Don the beret and here we go... First draft.

New Dads will:

1) Recognise that their world has changed
2) Believe that now, the rest of world has to change too
3) Earnestly plead that vomit CAN make an expensive jumper look bohemian
4) Love re-usable nappies with evangelical zeal
5) Try to affect a futile balance between sentimentality and rationalism
6) Make up baby songs that go well but then fall apart with the last stanza
7) Realise that their partner looks more beautiful than ever, especially at 3 a.m.
8) Be struck that hunger has a whole new meaning when it wears a babygrow
9) Look with incomprehension at a breast pump and wonder why they've never seen one before
10) Suddenly wake up to the fact that a pension IS a good idea after all
11) Hanker after more comfortable clothes with built-in baby holders AND a sealable pocket for babywipes
12) Breathe more softly
13) Drink water after getting home from the pub rather than raiding the liqueur cabinet
14) Wear more pink to 'go with the flow'
15) Wonder why they can't get through a film, novel or conversation anymore without their attention wandering irretrievably off to thoughts of the little 'un

Like I said. Draft one. Contributions welcome. In the meantime, here's a smasher of a graphic I saw on the MetroDad blog...

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Accessories for the Modern Gentleman

As any new dad will tell you, it's more than difficult to leave the small, sleep-suited one at home and shuffle off to work each day. Might you miss that all important giggle, fart or furtive look? Will she make her first grab for a furry monkey, wiggly worm or crab-shaped rattle? Will there be silence? Will there be crying?

Which is why it's important to take a little piece of your baby with you to work. For some this might be commemorative cuff links or a photo in the wallet; for the pagans of course, there's a high probability than anything that could be salvaged from the delivery room floor might be varnished and worn around the neck as a talisman; and for those of us with real panache, the accessory of choice is a small bit of poo.

Yes. I guess it's the new dad's equivalent of earning your stripes. I turned up at the office this week with small poo-coloured dots over my lovely pink Alexander shirt. There was one by the cuff, one on the sleeve and one that I missed until much later in the day, just above the waistline.

Just before leaving the house I'd done one last change and Maddie chose her moments of nappy freedom on the changing table to do one of her 'napalm death' aerial poos; I thought I'd caught most of the splatter and collateral damage, but clearly not. The new motto for new dads is this: don't change after you've changed.

Speaking of stylish accessories, I urge anyone with a little person to check out a fine purveyor of sleepsuits for parents who grew up in the 70s or 80s: Nippaz With Attitude (NWA). Sleep suits and T-Shirts can be bought for newborns up to four year olds, brandished with slogans that include 'Mama Ain't Raisin' No Fool' or the one we bought 'It'll all end in tears'. Another small epiphany was the discovery of an online home for Dad Bloggers like me - Daddy Types. Hugely entertaining although I don't think Anne will let me join in the competition to see how many hilarious shapes you can shave into your kid's hair. Hmmm. Maybe while she's asleep.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Funky Chicken

As anyone will tell you, it's not safe to fly anymore. With George Bush's finger poised over the nuclear button, itching knuckle-to-nail to send some thermo-nukes in Iran's direction, international tensions are at an all time high. Security is a distant stranger. We're on edge. Jittery.

But of course that's not what makes air travel dangerous. It's actually the grandmothers. With over-stuffed cases that cause ground-staff hernias on sight alone, it's astounding those big metal tubes can even make it off the ground. From Newark to Manchester. Three tonnes of elasticated pink fabric, books featuring caterpillars with eating disorders, memorabilia, cute notes, marshmallow peeps, more clothes, socks, hats, toys and knitted quilt from Great Aunt Albertine.

So the good news today is that Ellen arrived for a week with us and at long, long last got to hold Maddie. Grandmother and Grand Daughter are getting on famously and but for the interruption of a nap and a mammoth two hour unpacking session (we need how much new hanging space honey?) they've been hanging out together on a sunny, smiley afternoon in Manchester.

The only other highlight of the day was my first formal bit of physio for the shoulder. Now, Jenny is a trained physio but also our masseuse at work. I should have been very, very concerned when she turned up in a 'Sports Rehabilitation' outfit (all black, severe) rather than her usual massage gear. There were release papers to sign too. Ouch. Anyway - she's already working miracles and I can now dream once again of doing the Funky Chicken at bad discos and being able to describe flying with aid of arm movements should I happen to be trying to communicate with Martians.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Five Weeks and Almost Sleeping

We're into Maddie's sixth week and it looks like the nights might be getting a little calmer, either that or being in half-sleeping/half-waking is becoming our modus operandi.

Given that I was, by all accounts, a little hard to handle as a newborn non-sleeper, I think Mum and Dad have been hugely understanding, leaving gloating to an almost imperceptable minimum. Speaking of grandparents, we're counting the days until Anne's mum Ellen is with us. I may take Maddie for the first day so that she and Anne can have a sleep-off: jetlag versus nursing. There's a tricky one.

Anyway. Try hard enough and you can learn to love being up at three a.m. without it being the end of a big night out or the half-way point of a long haul flight.

Two Wheels Good

Another non Maddie moment! I thought I'd share the ad campaign we just launched. It's called Love Your Bike, which given my recent topple and subsequent surgery is more than a little ironic! If you want to see the whole campaign, it's at

Underpass, Fairfield St

Don't fall over - it's not a picture of the lovely Miss Maddie - this is the underside of the trainlines running out of Manchester Piccadilly. Liked the shot.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

All Hail, Maddie

After a night that could be best described as fitful, but would be better termed as Dante-esque, I rashly decided to take beautiful Miss Maddie for a stroll in the park in our swanky new, Baby Bjorn, 'mini-me' carrier. The sun was shining. The birds were heralding the spring. We needed to stop crying. Off we went.

Other parents nodded approvingly. A jogger stopped to guess Maddie's age. The Saturday morning footballers and chronically bored youth didn't pay much attention. On we trotted... Until a VAST black cloud loaded with the hardest, toughest hailstones the Manchester sky could muster sprinted over the horizon. There was a clap of thunder and there I was, in a downpour, with Maddie in the carrier in her little cotton hat.

Not good. Trainee parent in hailstorm. Baby in carrier, exposed to elements. Panic.

The rest of the journey was made up of a Quasimodo jog that only a man with 8lbs of baby strapped to his chest and a recently broken shoulder could pull off. It was frenzied, and it wasn't pretty.

Of course Maddie was fine as I soggily turned up back at PooNappy HQ.

My penance for the above was a four-nappy changing session. Nappy one was changed without mishap. Nappy two bought it as the press-studs clicked back into place. Nappy three was taken out of play by a 10-inch jet of projectile baby sludge that also hit the dresser, daddy and a small pile of cotton balls. After a major clean-up operation, Nappy four was on safely. Serves me right for the walk in the hail.

An eventful couple of days, this weekend. A block in one of Anne's Nutrition Dispensing Units has been really painful for her, and Maddie has definitely lost the trail of crumbs that usually leads her back to the Land of Nod. Apparently at six weeks it all gets a bit better. We can only wait.