Friday, 19 August 2011

Tenacious E

I am knackered.
We are knackered.

Looking after Edie isn't particularly difficult and there isn't really one part of this father routine that's hard.
Its the sum total of all the parts.
Its relentless.

The parent amongst you reading this will probably have sniggered by this point and will undoubtedly be thinking
"Yeah, and?" and those who know Karen and I will definitely be thinking "What did we tell you?"
The non-parent reading this won't know what I'm talking about.
And I don't wish that to be condescending.
I genuinely don't think you will.
I didn't until it happened to me.

This week has really been a test and I know its been hard because, for the first time ever, Edie has really got on my nerves.
I felt awful as a result, but I was lifted when Karen stated on Tuesday that she could have "thrown her out of the window today"
I have no patience at the best of times, in stark contrast to Karen's patience of a Saint.
So to hear Karen say this proved to me that it was a testing week.

I initially thought the tiredness was due to lack of sleep, owing to the fact that Edie had taken to shouting and fidgeting around in the middle of the night. We wondered what the hell she was doing, making the cot bang around like it was, but it was too dark to see. When this racket acted as our natural alarm clock on weekend mornings, I was able to covertly film what she was up to.
"Slam Dunking" Karen calls it [clicky link]. The best ones are about 2mins 30 seconds.
Please believe me when I say the audio doesn't really do it justice.
I would say "you had to be there" but having you in bed with us would just be weird.

So, the decision was made that, against the childcare recommendations, Edie would be going in her own room. Karen and I have talked about how much and how quickly shes growing but the move to her own bed seemed to reverse all that. She looks so tiny again.

 She has moved room without a bit of drama and now sleeps a lot longer through the night. So that was the sleep deprivation argument through the window.
Which naturally leaves the waking hours to blame.

There was a time where she was too small to leave on her own, then she grew and we were able to leave her in her swing or play mat for longer and longer periods.
And now shes grown again and has become more alert, which means she gets bored we are back to being unable to leave her to entertain herself.
Her new favourite (read least favourite) activity move is rolling from her back to her front.
She does this continually, repeating the same routine.
Roll. Scream cos she doesn't like being on her front. Get turned back over.
Roll. Scream cos she doesn't like being on her front. Get turned back over.
Ad infinitum.

There are rare occasions when she is happy being there and of course, I have a photo.

And this I think is where the problem occurs. Its just knackereing being on the go every waking hour.
I know I get some relief by going to work but its not as though I'm sat there doing nowt (work colleagues need not comment on this satement).
THIS is the hard work parents talk of.

And, to top it off, we have a poorly dog to care for.
Olive has a torn cruciate ligament and goes in for surgery on Tuesday.

And, to top that off. We think Edie is teething.
When will it ever end!?!

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Edie, I'm sorry.

Over the last couple of days, I've wondered what I've done.
Who in their right mind would bring a child into the society we've witnessed over the last couple of days?
It feels like we are going to the dogs and that the world, in parts, is well and truly broken.

I know that society as a whole isn't all bad, and that rioting or criminal elements are nothing new.
But to me, recent events have an altogether different feel.
Whilst not necessarily justified, at least previous unrest had cause.
Recent TV interviews show that these goons don't even know what they are rioting for.
"We're rioting because of the government, The Conservatives, or whoever it is"
"We're looting to get our taxes back"
Hearing this just makes my heart sink and my blood boil.

So, Edie.
Here's what happened over the last 4 days:

And, in contrast, here's what civilised society did in response

Economic crisis. Disenchantment. Unrest. Spending Cuts. Riots. Racial Tension.
All things I hope have been ironed out before Edie is old enough to know what they mean.
If they haven't?
Edie, I'm sorry.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Swimming through a sea of rules

Hillsborough Leisure Centre at 09:00 on a Sunday morning.
4 months ago, I would have laughed at such a thought.
But, there I was, amongst the "don't get my hair wet" Mums and the "football related tattoos" Dads.
Me and Edie.
"Splish Splash in The Beach Leisure Pool" - as much screaming kid action as you could suffer, all for £5.

I've not been to a municipal pool for ages.
I suppose it wasn't as bad as it could have been. It was packed, but then the kids are off, so I shouldn't have been surprised.
There appeared to be quite a few babies already there. As is customary in these situations, everyone is watching everyone else, in a kind of "who's the best at this parenting lark" type way.
I wasn't bothered by all that.
I was more bothered about having my shirt off in public, for the first time since I spectacularly let myself go.
There were a few weighty specimens, bobbing around in the pool, but with valid medical excuse.
Mainly that they had just given birth.
The nearest I have to a medical condition is an over active drinking arm and an out of control addiction to Pork Crunch and Galaxy Counters.
I had taken a rash vest to cover up with, but Karen assured me I looked alright.
Plus, this was no Fistral Beach. Even if the wave machine was on.

Anyway, Edie appeared to be completely indifferent to her first visit to the swimming pool.
She just spent the whole time eating her fist and looking blankly.
I suppose it was all a bit overwhelming.

Its at this point that I would normally insert a picture of Edie, having fun at her first swimming pool visit.
A picture for prosperity or to show her when she's older maybe.
But the worlds gone mad, hasn't it? It really has!
I can't take a picture of my daughter for the family album, because in doing so would render me a paedophile.
Or so you're led to believe.
But no-one knows what to believe anymore.
I blame the Daily Mail.
Councils banning Christmas, Christians cant wear crucifix's, Union flags cause offence, and a whole other load of over hyped shite, taken to heart by the average man in the street.
So, what we are left with?
A nonsense set of rules, adopted in haste, in fear of being un-pc.

Q How do you confuse a Daily Mail reader?  
A Tell them that asylum seekers are the natural predator of paedophiles.

And what am I left with?
Having to resort to capturing this moment in my daughters life with a picture inside a changing cubicle.
(which in my mind, appears far more "seedy" than stood in a packed public building, pointing a camera at my daughter, for all to see)
I've finished ranting now. So here's the picture

Cut to 5 minutes after getting out of the pool:

Those 40 lengths were really tiring.
And here's a couple of pics taken in a watery environment, where we don't have to hide away the camera!

Get your glasses, this ones taken in 3D

I hope she grows into a girl who loves swimming, just like her Dad (who loves swimming, not who's grown into a girl - though some would argue!!) 

Until next time x

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Do you remember the first time?

Hopefully, this is the last of the major "catch up" blogs and now that things have settled into more of a routine, I can put fingers to keyboard on a more regular basis.
I was going to put something along the lines of "No more, we all cry" but it appears that for quite a few of you, reading my ramblings is quite enjoyable.
I would like to thank you all for your very kind comments, though self depreciating as I am, I can't quite see why!!
Karen tells me that amongst the mothers at the health centre, I have become somewhat of a celebrity, with Karen being referred to as "the woman whose husband does the blog".
One parent was even kind enough to assume I was a writer by profession. I mean, come on?! Really?!
Others have asked when the book is out! Well, all I can say is that if you are a publisher, or know a publisher, then please get in touch!! It would be great to be paid for this rubbish! (There I go again).

Anyway, back to the blog in hand.

Since Edie's birth, everything has appeared to revolve around firsts.
We appear to be wishing her life away, constantly wanting her to do the next progressive action. 
We should just enjoy it, I know, but its hard not to want to see her develop.

Some of these firsts I am documenting for our sake (or Edie, when she is old enough to read this blog).
Some are worthy of elaboration.
All are important to me.

So, here they are.

First time she made me cry.
Week commencing 25th April 2011

Breastfeeding is brilliant but for the bloke in a relationship, its a divisive activity.
Whilst I had happily joked that Karen's breastfeeding would leave me free to lounge around or get a full nights sleep, the reality was quite different.
Breast feeding afforded the Karen the ability to soothe, calm and comfort Edie in the early weeks, where I had nothing to offer.
I found this very tough, especially when I was trying to give Karen a well needed break.
On several occasions, I would tell Karen to go to bed whilst I would look after Edie, only to have to go and wake her as only feeding could stop her crying.
This did get to me after a while as It really made me feel that I was failing as a Dad. I mean, I couldn't look after my daughter without having to constantly rely on Karen.
Thankfully, this feeling of helplessness passed (thanks in part to a breast pump and some feeding bottles!) and now I only feel useless most of the time.

First time Edie smiled at me.
3rd June 2011

Just heartwarming. I literally cant find any more words to say.

First time I was left alone with Edie.
11th June 2011

Having already been told off by Fliss France, for referring to this as "Babysitting" (apparently, its not babysitting if its your own child, its just parenting!), I was quite scared at the prospect of having to look after Edie on my own. Scared, particularly in relation to feeding her as she had only fed from a bottle once before.
This worry was to be unnecessary as my first foray into lone parenting consisted of me sitting on the sofa, watching telly (with one eye on the baby monitor), eating crisps and drinking lager whilst the little 'un was fast on upstairs.
Nowt to it, I thought (but didn't say, in case this prompted further instances, therefore increasing the risk of me having to actually look after her unaided)

First time we both left Edie.
24th June 2011

Edie was left in the very good care of my Mum and Dad.
Karen worried her self daft and couldn't wait to get home.
I got pissed and didn't want to leave the bar.
Old habits die hard.

First time I left Edie for longer than a working day.
18th - 22nd June 2011

I had to work away for a week.
This was unbelievably difficult. I experienced a feeling that I cant say I have ever experienced before.
Truly missing someone.
I can't say I've felt this way before. I think its due to the fact that whilst I've been away from loved ones in the past, I've always been able to communicate with them. I go away with work and I phone Karen every night.
Obviously, I couldn't do this with Edie and it upset me that she didn't really know where I'd gone.
I suppose the saving grace is that she isn't really capable of missing me, so at least it didn't bother her in any way.

The first roll.
23rd July 2011

After a great deal of effort, Edie rolled from her back to her front.
She then proceeded to scream the place down.
This is a recurring process!

Edie's first library card.
25th July 2011

Eager for Edie to be one of the next generation of library users, and keep these public services open as they should be, we made Edie a member of our local library.
This held special significance for Karen, as this was the library within whose walls she spent many happy hours as a child.
Edie's favourite book; That's Not My Monster by Fiona Watt.

Edie's First laugh.
5th August 2011

Only a small amount of noise but a definite chuckle.
Surprisingly, its was not to me whistling Last of The Summer Wine theme [click here for the video]
The new favourite appears to be a "beep beep" on her nose.
It would appear that she has a very simple sense of humour. Just like her Dad.

First time I was left on my own, with Edie, during the day.

Karen has left me for real this time, in the day!
Bloody hell!

As I don't spend every waking hour with her, as Karen does, I can't really read her as well as her Mum.
I don't really know what tired looks like.
I don't know what hungry looks like.
I don't know what to do if she starts crying and the milk in the fridge doesn't work.
Thankfully, this has been my view whilst I type this blog.

It appears that, yet again, I have "looked after" her on my own without too much drama.
That said, Karen isn't back yet and I'm watching the clock go round with interest!

So, that's about it I think.
This takes us up to now.

The only other first is a visit to the swimming pool tomorrow, but I'll leave that for next time.

As always, thanks for reading x