Dear Bump 18/1/10: You have ears, so listen to your mum huh?

Dear Bump, there’s not a lot left to know about you. We know your sex and now, according to your mum, you have ears. To which, all I can say is: could you listen to your mum and stop knocking lumps out of her at all hours of the day. I’m starting to think you’ve got RockBand: The Uterus Version with the amount of thrashing about you’re doing in there. I mean play fair, your mum stopped using the home ultrasound kit listening to you after I pointed out that you were a baby and not an internal iPod (not that she had the headphones on a lot or anything) so return the kindness.

Having said that, I wonder if you’re doing morse code and asking your mum to change the channel on TV because – even though you’ve only existed for five or so months – you’re hearing all the same jokes from the constant reruns of Friends on E4 that your mum has on as background noise kinda constantly. (Not that the show is on much but the six characters are pretty much screenburnt into the TV now. Kinda strange watching Troy and wondering why the ghosts of Chandler and Joey are flanking Brad Pitt into battle.)

I swear if your first words are “he was on a break” there’s going to be issues…

Dear Daughter 18/1/10: Dad trumps Disney

Dear Daughter, you are a little sook but I love you dearly for it.

After writing about your love of your inflatable Disney High School Musical bed your mum and I were concerned about you sleeping in it every night – and you certainly didn’t like me reminding you that it was for travel or guests. But at bedtime you pulled out a classic line that guarantees you a trip to the bear-making shop soon (or perhaps even a trying to arrange at least one of the holidays you want this year*): “Can’t get cuddles off Dadda in Disney bed. Go into big bed to get cuddles from Dadda as Dadda cuddles best.”

You even managed to sound sincere.

Sleep tight.

* Madam’s 2010 holiday requests: Back to Florida to DisneyWorld and Universal (if I could squeeze in the last NASA Space Shuttle launch I wonder if this could count as educational?), Portaventura again too and weekends at Alton Towers and Blackpool. Not asking much…

Dear Daughter 14/1/10: If Disney made cardboard boxes you would say they were the best

Sometimes you really surprise me. There you are, with a ridiculous amount of toys from Xmas – there’s stuff you’re still opening (though I never thought Guess Who would have been an early favourite present) and what’s your current favourite? A High School Musical blow-up bed. A bed. You would think you slept on the floor every night or something.

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Kids and the apocalypse: a cheerful post

It’s one of those things that I keep trying to put out of my head, but posts like this don’t help (for those too lazy to click: Dan worries about looking after his kids if civilisation broke down) and I must be more of a doom-and-gloomer than him because I worry about the next step: what happens if some bad stuff goes down and junior is left on her own?

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Dear Daughter 16/12/09: In which Jesus is placed on the naughty cross

Religion’s giving you major issues (and that’s before you start asking your parents/grandparents about their different beliefs) and you had avoided the whole issue of Jesus until starting school, but now that you know about him, you’ve been a tad curiosity in how he can be born every year but is also dead.

Of course, being five, you are also totally obsessed with death (what is it with five year olds and death? Does the Scottish teaching curriculum have lessons on gothery or something?).

Anyway, there was some mirth the other day when you told me that you thought you had worked out what had happened to Jesus.

“Daaaaaad, you know you said that Jesus was killed on the cross because he annoyed some people? Was he put on the naughty cross? And they forgot to bring him down so he could say sorry so he dead?”*

(*if you aren’t a parent, you won’t get this. It’s a play on the naughty step concept devised by Supernanny)

And I tell you, if nothing else, it’s given me some thoughts for how to do a new take on a kid’s version of the bible…

Dear Daughter 15/12/09: in which you’d rather be a reindeer than a Jesus

(Here’s where we lose the religious and decent of mind)

So, as I mention in the cult podcast (with a very liberal dash of swearing) that you recently had a school play for Christmas and you were a tad dejected about being a reindeer (Cupid) and not part of the nativity.

Until you pulled together the words to the popular tune of “I’d rather be a XXXX than a XXXX” except your version was “Oh, I’d rather be a reindeer than a Jesus, Oh, I’d rather be a reindeer than a Jesus, yes I’d rather be a reindeer, rather be a reindeer, rather be a reindeer than a Jesus.” And then you went off into a second verse with different words but I couldn’t hear you as I was on the floor howling with laughter.

You’ll have all sorts of issues with religion as you grow up (the joys of living in the West Coast of Scotland) but if you keep your sense of humour about you, I think you might just do OK. Of course what you said the next day, was almost as blasphemous.

ps – sorry Jesus

3 reasons why being a dad hasn’t made me a better person

I’m riffing this off of Tara Cain’s blog post 3 reasons why being a mum hasn’t made me a better person as it struck a chord. As Tara says, there’s a lot of highlights to being a parent but there are downsides. And as this cold/cough won’t let me sleep, it seemed like a decent idea for a blog post…

Becoming More Emotional

Boy, no kidding on that one – and this totally took me by surprise. At first, for guys, when a baby comes along, it’s pretty much business as usual. There’s a wee person about the house that you have to get up at all hours to feed but that’s really it. They cry a lot when you pick them up and they are just… there. And you know you have to look after them.

But somewhere along the line some gene in you flips. Now for everyone it’s different but for me, anything that involves a father and daughter now cracks me up. This first became obvious after rewatching one of my favourite fun films Armageddon and as it approached the end, I was in a flood of tears, totally uncontrollable. Fricking Armageddon! Since then, I’ve noticed it in other things – The Time Traveller’s Wife for example. God knows what The Road will do to me…

I used to joke with Graham Lindsay at the Scottish Daily Mirror about this as he told me that parenthood made him unable to read tales about child cruelty. I thought he was talking bollocks until junior came along. I can still read those stories, but dear God they get my blood boiling more.

Much amusement for the wife and friends. Much embarassment for me.

Child(ren) Come First

This is a bit of a combo of Tara’s points 2 and 3. But yeah, I’ve seen every part of my life ‘suffer’/benefit from having a kid. I don’t go out as much as I used to and if I do, I go out after the little one has had her two bedtime stories and cuddle for falling asleep. I’ve seen me walk out the door at clocking off time (knowing I’ll have chunks to do in the early hours of the morning) so I can get home and play tig or princesses or something like monster hunting down the woods with my wee best pal. I’ve gone without things I’ve really wanted because I saw a nice top or toy for junior. I’ve taken her and her pals out when someone else was equally happy to do it.

It’s also probably made me more selfish because if I get the option of anything to do, playing with junior is the first call (though I am going off the swimming lessons at 8am on a Saturday morning after two years of taking her).

(three things that have surprised me though: how little sleep I actually need at times when dealing with the wee one – though I’m sure that’s taking its toll in its own way . Also, how much I always hear madam moving about or talking in her sleep, even if I have been sleeping (again, sure that’s talking a toll) and how well I operate with a hangover and children (though the way round that one hasn’t taken a toll – less drinking or nights out!)

Made Me More Intolerant

My personal politics used to be fairly left-leaning (that’s not a statement of political party alignment but my own personal politics) and I’d like to think they still are, but having a kid does make you less tolerant of other people’s foibles – especially if they are a parent – and it’s practically a full-time job to haud one’s wheesht as they would say in Scotland.

Things like the woman who let her children die in a dirty nappy? In the past I may have moaned about the system and so on. Now? I’d kill her and sack every social worker involved in that case, making sure the world knew why they were sacked. Come in home from work tired and don’t want to play with your child? Tough. You have a child, relax later (though why you wouldn’t find playing with your child fun and relaxing I don’t know). Want to watch a TV show/surf the web/do something solo while your child is awake and not doing anything else? Get to hell. That child’s a gift to you and never asked to be born to you, so you owe it your time while it’s awake. Farmville, Smallville and Coronation Street can all wait until your child/ren are in bed.

(See what I mean about intolerant?)

What about the other parents who read this? Has parenthood made any changes to you that surprised you?

Dear Daughter 4/11/09 – Well you aren’t going blind

Well you did the eyetest and passed with 20-20 (or 6-9 as they apparently do in the UK, according to the optician), but the best hoot came from after you got the eyedrops put in and it left you with pupils that were wild! It looked as if you had taken LSD or acid with the wide-eyed pupils.

Anyway, you’re still sitting at least 5ft from the TV from now on – and watching it less too.

Anyway, I need to go and find your school socks. I never realised that the sock monster preyed on whole families (of course I beat the odds there by getting you to just buy me 21 pairs of the same black socks on a bi-annual basis), so I’m off to sock-hunting (and while I’m doing it I’ll change the lyrics of ‘Going on a Bear Hunt‘ to Sock Hunt.)

Dear Daughter 3/11/09 – Eyesight test time

As per the previous Dear Daughter posting, got you an eyesight test but if you can tell me in the morning that you can read this OK without squinting or struggling to make the words out then we’ll cancel.*

ps, sorry about crashing in beside you, but you always say you want more cuddles. And besides, blame your sidekick-to-be. Permission to bully has been granted.

* wonder if this gag will work in RSS readers…

Dear Bump 3/11/09 – you take those hormoans back right now

Dear see-you-in-May Bump, whatever one is releasing into your mother’s bloodstream just now could you stop? She’s being a tad grumpy and I’m crashing with your sister tonight because of it – if I thought the womb had room, I’d come in and annoy you.

For this, you’re getting called Zanzibar. Or couch, ‘cos that’s certainly what I associate you with mostly at the moment.

Dear Daughter 2/11/09 – Missing the point of Halloween

Dear Daughter, it’s way too early in the morning, so I’m going to introduce you to the concept of bullet points:

  • There’s concern over your eyesight after your mum spotted you squinting at reading materials. If your eyesight is throwing in the towel, expect war over how close you sit to the TV and how much of it you watch

  • And I know you think glasses and contact lenses are cool/fun. They’re not and bad eyesight can seriously screw up your life: did you see who your mum married?
  • Halloween was a hoot with you, though I stress to add that a) if you go out as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz ever again, you carry Toto. If I had to look after that mutt for one more minute I was reporting you to the RSPCA for (fake) dog neglect and b) on Halloween you can take sweets from people, it’s the one night ‘no thank you I haven’t had my dinner’ is not the appropriate response.
  • And don’t start me on you getting to wear mascara and lipstick – even if Dorothy did have them on in the film. You don’t see me dropping houses on the witches that you know “just because it happened in the film” do you?

Dear Bump 2/11/09 – No Poppy for you

Dear Bump, as it gets tedious writing about your mum heaving and your pic made the global appearance via Twitter (cute nose, big head, not at all camera shy, legs, toes and fingers all present), there’s not much to say about you just now, you crazy developing ball of cells you.

Apart from one thing – and if you knew morse code I would pass this on – you won’t be called Poppy. I quite liked it when the name popped into my head – I still do – but it’s been pointed out that it’s more of a kid’s name than an adult name. I dunno, I think it sounds quite quirky and happy, eccentric and bohemian, things I would love you to be.

But it’s not to be. One thing is for sure though: would really suck for your name if you’re a boy (and more on the bets over that issue another night).

Of course, at least we haven’t gone down the path of what we did with your big sister…not yet anyway.

Dear Daughter 28/10/2009 – What do you call a bunch of Dorothies?

Dear Daughter,

Well you’ve just no luck have you? Most girls – IIRC – get to the age of 16 before going to a bash or a party and discovering they have the same outfit as someone else.

You? Age 5. Place: School Halloween Disco.

Not one, not two, but THREE Dorothies from the Wizard of Oz (and two of you with the same outfit from the same shop). I mean what do you call the plural of a Dorothy? Dorotheees? Dorothi? Bunch of table cloth dresses? Actually what’s the collective noun as well? An Ozful of Dorothies? (next year you can all go as munchkins or the crazy monkeys – you’re all the right height for that and it doesn’t matter if you match).

Of course it wasn’t until you came back that I discovered you had mascara and lipstick on – and got a tattoo when out. I think all that was missing was you having a hangover and a boy’s phone number…That reminds me I didn’t actually check your wee Toto basket…

The double whammy was that we had a beast of a spider on the bathroom wall and you missed that as well. But I took a pic for you as I know you like these things.


Pictures as always taken with the iPhone 3GS

And another pic I noticed after you had gone to bed was what you had posted outside your mum’s room:


I know you aren’t meant to put stickers on the wall (and in fact I think this is the first time you ever have) but you can get a pass for that one. Don’t think you’re getting the iPod Touch that you’ve started asking everyone for though. You can play the games on mine.

And no, you can’t have driving lessons either.

Dear Bump: 28/10/2009 All Quiet on the Uterine Front

Dear Bump,

You’ve been quiet the last few days and your mum has even managed to keep the last few meals down (God bless pasta bakes) though the bedroom windows remain open, freezing me to death (still at least it gets me off the couch).

But I hope you’re looking your best tomorrow and you’ve combed your genes and forming veins to look good because you’re getting your second scan complete with pic and so on. I think your sis had four pics taken off her (I always said I was shocked her first words weren’t ‘”bloody papparazzi” or that along with the afterbirth there was a note for the Press Complaints Commission moaning about intrusion) so let’s see if we can beat that.

In the meantime just keep doing that cell dividing and growing thing. And hope you’re enjoying the pasta.

And yes, even though it’s way too early, I know for a fact I’ll ask “do you know what sex it is?” because Dads do that. And it’s never too early to start scaring boys away.

Dear Bump 26/10/2009

Good little developing thingy. Not only are you now, according to the little iPhone app I have, made it as far as the size of a peach, you also let your mum keep a full dinner down – and seconds.

For that have an extra gulp of amniotic fluid or whatever it is you do in there to chill when you aren’t too busy dividing cells and stuff.

(or perhaps I’m just a damn good cook. Anyway, like your big sister, mum can now expect pasta bake non-stop for months.)

Dear Daughter 26/10/2009

I’ve just realised that I never picked up your Halloween outfit from your gran. Hmmm, better get that tomorrow, especially as you have your school disco tomorrow night.

On the other hand, well done on finally eating a full meal that didn’t involve chips, sausages, beans or mashed potato. Expect pasta bake every night for the rest of your life now…

Chef McGill

Dear Daughter 25/10/2009

Dear Daughter, I don’t mind that you were ¬†away for most of the weekend having fun – at your age that’s what it’s all about – and while I’m quizzed about your sudden direct devotion to your gran (who, three months ago, you wouldn’t have given the time of day to*) but after I’ve spent an hour cleaning the kitchen, did we really have to be so messy when making cakes?

Anyway, let’s see if you can sleep through the whole night for a change.

*notwithstanding the fact that you couldn’t tell the time three months ago.

Dear Bump 25/10/2009

Dear Bump, a weekend of making your mum ill. You are most likely going to be the fittest child ever at this rate (going by the old theory of ‘the sicker the pregnancy* the healthier the child’).

Two things are also quite apparent from this: your dad certainly won’t be fit and you may get called Arthur as in arthuritis (or the more common spelling of arthritis) from the spinal damage I’m getting sleeping on spare beds, couches and your big sister’s bed because you’re playing havoc with your mum’s body temperature.

Anyway, goodnight Arthur.

* I don’t think that means watching all the Saw films.