Monday, July 31, 2006

My Paternity Achievements

I'm now in my last week of paternity leave, which makes me sad as I'm enjoying my time with Stan. His character is already becoming apparent - he's definitely got a stubborn streak and takes life very seriously. Especially when it comes to feeds. When he's awake and free of stomach gripes, he's becoming curious about the world - he has a good old look around and is especially interested in bright colours and faces.

He's spent a couple of weekends with his brother and sister now. Mila and Frankie have been lovely with Stan, wanting to hug and play with him. He's considered even more interesting than playing Sonic or looking at pokemon cards on the Internet - which is quite a compliment, believe me!

Of course, all my good intentions about redecorating or doing amazing things in the garden while on paternity have gone by the wayside. I have, however, watched the 'Band of Brothers' boxed set (which, despite ponderous American sincerity and sentimentality, was gripping drama), played lots of Mario on the Nintendo DS Lite and completed the Guardian concise crossword every day. Considerable achievements I'm sure you'll agree.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Mummy Police

You can tell that lack of sleep/clarity of thought are getting to me when the blog hasn't been updated for a week. However, we're now beginning to get into something resembling a routine. The routine is entirely dictated by young Stan, of course. He is the SUV of babies - he never stops guzzling vast quantities (admittedly, he hasn't got bull-bars or four wheel drive. Damn, another spurious analogy breaks down). When the midwife comes round there's a great deal of discussion about how breast-feeding is going. Jesus, no bloody problem there! Emily and Stan should be the mascots of the Breast-feeding Society.

On the subject of the midwife - it's like having the Witchfinder General round for a cup of tea. She turns up unannounced to catch you unawares. Everything is scrutinised and subjected to the findings of the 'latest research'. Is that a decaff coffee? No? Well, 'mummies' who are breastfeeding shouldn't drink caffeine! What? You'd like a glass of wine? Water it down, you're allowed one a week! Burn her! Burn the unclean mummy!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Overheard in ASDA

Woman (wizened by tobacco, blonde hair with roots showing, tattoos, creosote tan) standing in front of me in queue for till:

"An' I told 'im - Germaloids won't clear up them scabs!"

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Baby in Vegas Heist

We're now beginning to understand why Uncle Junior in 'The Sopranos' went gaga under house arrest. The trouble with having a baby in the hottest week of the year is that you can't really go anywhere with him during daylight hours. Stan's thermostat isn't as developed as ours, so he overheats more easily. This means my daily visits to Tescos are becoming an adventure on a par with taking my Vespa up Route 66, chased by the mafia and cops, after a failed heist in Vegas.

(Yeah, I know that I wouldn't get very far, puttering along at 45 mph.)

We did, however, go for a stroll yesterday evening and took him out in his pram for the first time. I know I'm soppy, but you have to admit this is a very cute picture...

Monday, July 17, 2006

Stan: Day Two

Everyone's now home and getting some rest after an exhausting weekend. The most comical moment of the day occurred as we left the hospital. The difficulty was trying to figure out how to use the frigging car-seat, with the elderly Pakistani taxi driver trying to help. At one point, as I desperately tried to get the seatbelt round the bloody thing, I was visualising having to walk home, carrying him in it.

Apart from Stan wanting a feed every couple of hours, he's continued to be a very peaceful child. We're learning to tell the difference between the 'I want a feed' and 'I've got wind' wakefulness. He doesn't really cry, just gets a bit agitated. All the rest of the time he just sleeps!

Soundtrack of the day: cheesy easy listening and synth-disco courtesy of Joey Negro's 'The Trip' mix.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Stan: Day One

He sleeps, he poos, he burps, he feeds, he falls asleep again. He cries very, very occasionally. Contrary to the rumours, no, that isn't a description of my usual working day.

There are two words to describe Stan so far: chilled out. He's unbelievably placid. It may just be because he's knackered after the birth experience. God knows, his mum and I certainly are.

Em's stuck in hospital until tomorrow morning because Stan had pooed in his birth sac and may have swallowed some of it. This often happens with late babies apparently. This poo has a great scientific name to make it sound less like poo: 'Meconium'. This is the first plop a baby does, made up of materials ingested during the time he spends in the uterus: intestinal epithelial cells, lanugo, mucus, aminotic fluid, bile and water. Yum!

I spent the day on the ward and helped Emily to look after our little bruiser. My memories of Stan are all sensual - the smell of him, the incredible softness of his hair, the weight of him in my arms. I remember all these things with Mila and Frankie, they're memories that don't fade with time.

Em, Stan and I had plenty of visitors today - my mum, Em's mum and dad, our friends Matt and Jen. Our visitors didn't get much attention from Stan - he slept instead of holding court!

Stan has arrived!

After hours of pain, exhaustion and gore, Emily has delivered our son, who weighed in at a whopping 9.8 lbs. No wonder it was hard to push him out! Poor Em - getting Stan out looked like hell. I know that birth is a messy business, but I was alarmed by the amount of blood, cutting, injections and other visceral fun. However, the moment that little Stan was forced into the world was magical. Hey, I even got to cut the cord! There you go - I did have a useful part to play!

As you'll see Stan takes after his mum - another redhead in the family!

Stan the man after a bit of a clean-up

Em cuddles our son

Father/son bonding begins!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

No Sleep at Whipps Cross

State of play: strong, painful contractions every few minutes, waters broken, baby slowly descending.

Neither of us have slept for over 24 hours, but Emily's finally been given effective pain relief for her contractions (in the form of an epidural) and she's getting some kip. I've headed home to grab a shower and fresh clothes. I haven't seen anything outside hospital grounds since yesterday afternoon. All battered blue paint and robust, old grubby used-to-be-white equipment.

Em's been looked after by some wonderful women - a warm, caring Ghanian midwife, a chatty, ultra-professional anaesthetist from Paisley. Whatever the shortcomings of the NHS, it's impossible to fault the staff at times like this.

Right, I'm off to grab a shower...

Friday, July 14, 2006

Waiting on the ward

I've popped home after a day with Emily on the maternity ward. She went in to have labour induced last night, but after an overnight stay and hours listening to the baby on a heart monitor, the 'induction' has finally started. Everything at Whipps Cross hospital seems to take forever. You have to learn immense patience when you're in the hands of the NHS.

Irregular contractions began night, but it seems that Stan's still not keen on going anywhere. I'm beginning to suspect that he's not going to come out until he's in his late forties. I suppose that would save on nappies and childcare.

I'll keep updating the blog as things progress, not that there's much to report so far. Come on, Stan - we want to meet you!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Birthing Dance

What a waste of £45. You’ll be unsurprised to discover that reflexology didn’t prompt the birth of our son. The woman was very nice (she brought her own massage table and relaxing flute music), Emily found it to be a pleasant experience, but there wasn’t exactly a sudden gush of waters or the start of contractions. Or any other result whatso-fucking-ever. Maybe I’m being unreasonably impatient, but it seems to have been a waste of time.

Mind you, on the subject of new age birthing nonsense, my colleague Sean sent me a beautiful, inspiring birthing dance poem that he found on the web. Now that reflexology has failed us, maybe the mysterious powers of middle-eastern belly dancing could help Stan on his way?

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Desperate Measures

As the wait for Stanley to arrive continues, life goes on as normal. Of course, everything will change after he’s born, so this should be a welcome lull before life suddenly becomes frenetic. However, we’re both finding the wait stressful. Plus we’ve run out of Sopranos DVDs to watch! We’ve now finished series five and Channel 4 could take ages to get round to showing series six. Emily’s convinced that Stan responds to the theme tune of the show, as he’s heard twice a night for the last few months. It’ll be interesting to see whether he recognises it after he’s born!

In an attempt to get things moving, I've arranged for a reflexologist to come over tonight - apparently reflexology can induce labour. I know it's probably similar to using crystals or something, but it's worth a punt for £45. Let's see what happens...

Monday, July 10, 2006

Come Out Stan!

Still no baby. Which just goes to show that old wives’ tales are bollocks, because Emily ate an extremely hot chilli last night and it had no effect whatsoever. I cooked a vat of the ever-popular Mexican dish for friends who came over to watch the World Cup Final. The football was pretty poor stuff, but the company was enjoyable. Especially as Franco, a Sicilian barrister, brought along some amazing chocolate cake and Crème brulée. The man is wasted practicing law – he should become a chef.

The pregnancy saga will be over this week. Stanley (as he’s currently called) is being turfed out on Thursday. Well, I say Thursday – the ‘induction’ starts that night, but the process could take days. Our ideals of a natural home birth have gone by the wayside. Emily just wants the pregnancy over and I can’t say I blame her.

Meanwhile my firstborn son, Frankie, has told me that his friend Henry wants to marry him. He’s considering the offer, but wants to be a father, so may have to decline. As we’re a liberal family, no one’s objecting to Henry’s overtures. I did explain to Frankie that if two men marry, they can adopt a baby, but he wants offspring that are genetically his. I didn’t go into the whole turkey-baster/willing female friend thing ­– that’s a conversation we’ll save for later in young Francis’s journey through life.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Crushing Blow to Minder Hopes

It saddens me that since my urgent appeal to help Dennis Waterman get onto iTunes, not one solitary person has lent their support. This is despite the fact that a massive total of 29 of you have visited today. It's almost as if you think the song is really shit or something!

I warn you - it's possible that Dennis, already depressed by the low ratings for 'New Tricks' may visit this blog. The sense of rejection could tip him over the edge into a psychotic rage. When he's massacred everyone in the Vauxhall dealership in Leyton and blown his own brains out, you'll be responsible! Yes, you!

Get Minder onto iTunes!

Call me nostalgic, call me tasteless, call me a twat (actually, no, don’t - I’m feeling rather sensitive today), but I searched on iTunes for a classic song yesterday and was aghast to find it wasn’t there. ‘What was this dusty classic?’ I hear you ask. And I answer ‘I Could Be So Good for You’, the theme from ‘Minder’ as sung by ginger tough-guy Dennis Waterman.

I was shocked and appalled by the song’s exclusion, considering that it was a Top 10 hit in 1980 and I keep getting an album by Johnnie Morris (of Animal Magic fame) thrown at me every time I search for Tortoise.

Now, as Dennis sings in his rock opus, ‘I’ve got a good idea’ and it’s to start a campaign to get Dennis onto iTunes. Maybe if my massive audience of 10 visitors on this blog can add their voice, Apple will give the British public what they want!

Add your comment below to support Dennis!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Codpiece Memories

I’m listening to Candy by Cameo at the moment. I’ll never forget the first time I saw Cameo on Top of the Pops. I think it was the red patent leather codpieces that made the video so memorable. Despite having lived through the punk and new romantic eras, I couldn’t quite believe that a band could wear such a stupid outfit without it being some kind of absurd joke. For once, I was in full agreement with my mum when she scoffed.

I’d usually argue in defence of the sartorial kinks of the bands on TOTP, feeling a teenage tribal loyalty to whatever the 80s produced. For instance, I remember defending Annie Lennox vigorously when my mum said she looked like a lesbian. As a fully paid-up member of the politically correct leftie club, I’m sure she didn’t mean anything offensive by it, but that wasn’t the point. She was massively uncool and didn’t get what was going on in MY era. The irony is, of course, that my mum was younger than I am now when we had those arguments and I don’t consider myself to be past it and out of touch. But then I’m sure my 8 year old daughter would disagree – I already have her rolling her eyes at me when I don’t pick up on some nuance in the world of Pokemon.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Feeble Cries from the Hotbox

The suspense has continued to taqntalise at Fitzport towers as the boy’s due date passed without his arrival. As you know, I’d kind of hoped that he’d leave his entrance until after England’s listless, depressing World Cup campaign was over, so if he can get a move on that'd be grand.

It’s far too hot to have anything of interest to say. I will attempt to scrape together some wit tomorrow.