Archive | June 2013

Crash

Today was the first mental crash I’ve had in some time. I didn’t really see it coming, and before I knew it me and wifey were shouting at each other because I’d not taken in some dinner instructions properly and was cooking the wrong food instead of using up thing which would go off soon.

We both seemed to catch each other on a bad day, stupid little comments were said with little thought and received with too much attention.
I didn’t know how to cope, and ended up trying to politely storm out the kitchen saying “I can’t cope with this this evening”. I went up stairs and leant by the window taking deep breaths puzzling over what had just happened and what was happening – my mind was racing but going nowhere and breathing fast and panicy. I felt I had to get out of the situation as I wasn’t able to think clearly. I put my shoes on and went to leave telling wifey I needed to go for a walk. She got upset and told me not to go and not to do anything stupid like walk out in front of a car. I tried to say don’t be stupid I wouldn’t do that, she asked if I could just walk around the living room. We were both getting teary by now and I said I needed some fresh air, and how about I just go in the garden and she said ok.

I sat on some steps outside for about 15 minutes and cried and cried. I’m not sure where it was all coming from and why things had snapped this evening, but when the tears stopped, my breathing slowed and I recognised calmer thoughts in my head I started to think about going back inside. I didn’t want to face wifey as I felt I’d really upset and frustrated her, but I knew the longer I left it the worse she’d probably be feeling. Not a fun evening.

6 toys a baby actually enjoys in their first year

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We’ve been fortunate to have been donated a lot of gifts for baby over the first year, and also picked up some great bargains at nearly new sakes and eBay. But out of everything there’s a few items which really stand out…

In age appreciation order:

  • Nursing chair – from day one this was a great help in getting through the late nights and early mornings in comfort
  • Play gym – one where you you can attach your own toys to which hang down for baby to play with / great while they’re still immobile.
  • Electric rocker chair – when baby screams and screams and you’ve been up all night, let one of these chairs provide some rocking comfort while sit on the floor on a corner rocking…
  • Door bouncer – when baby stars to try and hold her own weight on her legs, one of these will blow her mind: “I’m standing but my legs are still made of jelly.
  • Stacking cups – You stack them up she knocks them over, bangs them together and puts them inside each other. Hours if fun.
  • Popup people – I don’t quite understand the attraction of these little wooden pegs which sit on small springs in a wooden block, but they’re mesmerising for the little one.

Baby upgrade / they grow up so fast

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Our little girl has had another upgrade this week and has taken her first steps.

She’s been impressing us more and more in the past month with her walking skills while pushing a trolley around the garden, and her hands and knees crawl as been evolving into a hands and feet crawl. Unfortunately I was at work when it happened, but wifey was with her so at least one of us was there. And Wifey’s had a tough week and deserves a little reward.

She’s really not a baby anymore, and I feel a sense of relief that this really is the end of the traumatic first year of utterly helpless dependence on her parents. But it also marks the start of more movement and freedom, more independence and more worries and anxieties. There’ll be more screams and accidents as those little sausage legs learn to do what evolution has spent generations perfecting.

The more you live the adventure of parenting, the more you realise how never ending and absorbing it is.

Poo poo party

20130616-224100.jpgToday was Fathers Day, and I was greeted at 6am with screams and cries from the nursery, and on investigating found our little girl had had woken up to a serious nappy malfunction.

I got her out of her sleeping bag and there was shit everywhere. Thank god it had somehow been contained within her pyjamas, but everything below the waist was smeared with poo, and soon it had spread to my knees and legs as I kneeled in front of her.

As I cleaned up the stinking mess, a scene from the Adam and Joe show on 6music came to mind…

Adam & Joe “Pom-Pom”

Happy Father’s Day dads!

Father’s Day feels real

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This weekend will be my second Father’s Day, but it feels like my first, for two reasons.

Reason one: This time round I’m not such a bubbling, confused, sleep depraved, anxious, cluster of flesh and bone. Last year baby was barely a month old and I was a wreck. And I didn’t feel like a dad at all, which leads me to…

Reason two: This time I actually feel like a dad, I can announce that title with pride and have some level of confidence in my ability to look after our little one and entertain her. That might sound obvious but for me, and the journey I’ve been on the last 15 months, it’s an in imaginative leap from where I was in my dark times. I sometimes wondered if I’d ever get to this point, and I’m relieved and happy that I have. I know the work has barely begun, but I at least feel my fatherhood foundations are built on much strong rock.

Last year’s Father’s Day lead to some horrible and upsetting arguments, we’re both in a much better place now, and I can’t wait until Sunday.

Your baby has just been upgraded.

“Your baby has just been upgraded with a new skill:
Feeding herself”

For some unknown reason, we gave baby a spoon of yogurt to feed herself with.

She loved it.

She demanded more, and rammed spoon after spoon into her face, covering her hands and mouth in the process, coating almost all her fave in yogurt – it was over her cheeks, nose and eye lashes.

Finally she had had enough, and we begun the clean up process.

It’s her first proper step to independence, next there’ll be potty training, getting dressed and before long moving out and getting married. Am I over thinking and getting carried away again…?!?

Equal footing

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One unexpected benefit of wifey now being back at work and me being more involved in the daily childcare has been a renewed sense of equality and solidarity in our relationship.

We’ve always tried to balance the roles and responsibilities, but in the past year this hasn’t been practically possible – I’ve had to devote more efforts into work and securing more income, and she has adjusted into a full time childminder. This imbalance often caused many arguments, with both of us feeling as if our efforts weren’t being appreciated because we were operating in such different worlds, and the stresses and exhaustion of the situation often meant we could communicate with each other properly.

We now have more in common in our everyday lives, and although it shouldn’t make a difference, it has lead to better empathy between us and is bringing us closer together.

The need to climb

Our baby isn’t quite yet a toddler, but is still quite adventurous and doesn’t shy away from taking the difficult path to get to where she wants to go. She’ll climb over anything and everything in her way, which has lead to a few instances of her ending up with face down with her nose pressed against the floor in tear.

She loves the stairs, and with some supervision, we’ve let her scale the full flight which she does in one go with only a few looks over her shoulder to check we were OK with it (that’s what i liked to think anyway) before climbing on. Most impressively, when she reaches the top, she turns around, sits down and closes the stair gate behind her!

I have thought that it’s odd that many babies have this instinct to climb, but don’t have the first clue about how to get down safely! She still hasn’t learnt that head first isn’t usually the best option…

What have you been up to?

I saw this cartoon this week which rang a bell with the health problems I’ve had the past year…

Good thing we’re too smart to spend all day being uselessly frustrated with ourselves. I mean, that’d be a hell of a waste, right?

When worlds collide

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One thing that has helped me through the last year, particularly when I’ve been struggling with my mental health, is the separation of work and home.

I could try and forget about all my personal insecurities and anxiety at work and be Professional Dad, putting on a show and acting how I imagined someone who didn’t feel like crying at the bottom of a dark well would act.

As part of this weeks changes with the little one going to nursery, I now work from home one day a week. This means I can use the time usually spent commuting getting an extra hour in on work to let me leave early another day, and picking the little one up from nursery.

I hadn’t anticipated how different I am “at work” even when I’m at home. I was meant to call the nursery at 10:30 to check how things were but had completely switched off that part of my brain and it felt a bit weird when I realised I’d forgotten / ignored it.

What I’ve learnt about working from home.

  • I wish I was a cat. Our litterly does nothing all day except rearrange himself into comfy positions (some of which really don’t look comfortable).
  • Coffee you make yourself at home is soon much better
  • Not being constantly disturbed and interrupted is fantastic.
  • My home IT and broadband is much better than what is used at work.
  • Finishing your days work and being already home is awesome.
  • There are a lot of potential distractions. Everywhere.
  • Carrying a crap laptop bag of work stuff on the train is a pain in the arse.
  • It can get a bit quiet and lonely. I think I’ll have a radio on or something next time.
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