Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Fear of the floater!

Yesterday my wife and I took Baby B for his first swim. A landmark day, the little man was introduced to the delights of our local, council-run swimming pool, complete with hordes of screaming children and, no doubt, a water-to-urine ratio that was concentrated worryingly in favour of the latter.

Nevertheless, it's safe to say, he loved it. In fact, my initial fears that this may have been the shortest swim in history (arrive, change, in, scream, out, change, home), or that a nappy/swimming trunk malfunction would lead to a mass pool evacuation and a hefty cleaning bill, proved totally unfounded.

Baby B took to the toddlers' pool like a proverbial duck to water. Indeed, his reaction was somewhat of an anticlimax for my wife and I, who had been looking forward to this moment for days. I have no idea what we had been expecting - perhaps for B to take to the diving board and perform a triple pike with tuck in to the 'deep' end of the teaching pool - but we certainly didn't expect what we got!
Upon his introduction to the pool, the little man's reaction was.....static. There was no reaction. In fact, he looked bored. While Mrs B and I were swishing him about, acting like idiots, he sat there in our arms, staring at the over-excited infants creating chaos around him, with a look of complete indifference on his little face. It was a tad disconcerting.

After a short while, however, and once he realised that he could splash a bit , the little man did relax and looked a little more animated with the experience. It was a relief for us, our first dip had not been a stressful experience, we had stayed in the pool for more than thirty seconds and, crucially, there was no poo.

As for the future, I'd like to think that Baby B was at home in the water. So, Tom Daley and Michael Phelps, watch out!

Friday, 18 March 2011

What a Comic Relief!

You can't have failed to have noticed that today is Comic Relief day. In fact, it's everywhere you turn; newspapers, radio, TV, everyone is talking about the impending TV marathon.

There's no doubt that Comic Relief is a fantastic charity that has raised millions and done so much for the people of Africa. It's just such a shame that the eight hours of TV that we are in for this evening will be eight of the unfunniest hours of telly this year.

Don't get me wrong. I will donate. I believe passionately in Comic Relief's mission and, now that I am a father myself, it breaks my heart even more to see children suffering unnecessarily, wherever they are in the world. Furthermore, I have immense admiration for all the amazing things people do to raise cash for CR.

I just can't watch the dire TV 'specials' that make up Comic Relief night on the Beeb.

Is it just me or does Comic Relief night make anyone else feel uncomfortable at the desperation of the hurriedly scripted 'comedy'?

Take That meets Fake That, for instance, will see a bunch of comics lining up with and imitating the Mancunian man band this evening. Hmmm, hysterical!

It seems that a standard Comic Relief comedy special is made up of one or more of the following:
  1. Flavour-of-the-month celebrity, comedian or Dr Who actor dressing in costume/drag
  2. Flavour-of-the-month celebrity, comedian or Dr Who actor appearing in EastEnders of Coronation Street
  3. Coronation Street or EastEnders characters appearing in 'wrong' soap
  4. News readers dancing to popular song of the moment
  5. Politician or public figure appearing in familiar sketch show sketch
  6. Politician or public figure covered in gunge
I feel it may be time to nip to Blockbuster for a DVD.

However, before I am chastised for not donning my comedy red nose or slapping a giant one on the front of my car, I must say that I did enjoy the Big Red Nose Desert Trek on BBC One last night. An inspiring show that pitted celebrities against the African heat in aid of sight clinics, it did more to convince me of the importance of donating, than Comic Relief night itself has done in 20 years!

Thursday, 10 March 2011

My son, the Jedi?!

Mrs B, being blessed with much more legible handwriting and infinitely more patience than myself, spent most of last night filling out the mammoth Census form that dropped through our letterbox earlier in the week.

Charitably penning the answers for herself, and for me, it soon became evident that she would also have to fill in the same set of questions for Baby B, our four-month old, non-working, non-English speaking co-habitee. Indeed, as the questions progressed, it was clear that BB was seriously letting the side down for us, contributing nothing to the household income and even less to wider society.

'How well do you speak English?' asked the Census.

'Bluhhhhhh, screeeeech, dribble,' retorted Baby B, showing very little interest in this important legal document, before expelling a particularly vocal burp.
As for our infant's previous addresses, it seemed a bit flipant to put 'ovary' in the answer field, so Mrs B left it subtly blank.

It was at this point, as the Census approached the question of religion, that I was glad my wife was in the driving seat. I seem to recall a student-led campaign at the time of the last Census to ensure that Jedi became a recognised religion in the UK. I did, I must admit, list myself as a master of 'the force' in support of this particular religious movement.

Surely, therefore, Baby B is destined to follow in his father's footsteps,  in the same way as Luke inherited his Jedi skills from, um, Darth Vader...which would make me fundamentally evil and destined for a lifetime dressed in black and speaking like I smoke 50 a day! Hmmm.

Perhaps, in hindsight, the C of E will serve Baby B better.

Afterall, I haven't even got a lightsabre!

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Who's the dummy?

From the moment Tom Cruise leapt dementedly around on Oprah's sofa, and ever since we discovered that scientology forbade Katie Holmes from making any noise during childbirth, it was clear that poor little Suri was in for an odd upbringing.

And so it was with little surprise that I stumbled across a link via Twitter to images of Miss Cruise sucking on a pacifier, aged 5! Yes, not only do Mr & Mrs Top Gun let their daughter toddle in high heels and strut around LA in the latest designer chic (what's wrong with Mothercare Tom?), it seems the A-listers also let the rapidly growing Suri suck on her dummy.
I am assuming that Suri has gone beyond the breastfeeding stage and that Katie isn't aiming to continue nursing until she leaves for university! I'm also guessing that her teething days are behind her too, or do Hollywood celebrities simply get more sets (at least Simon Cowell certainly seems to!)?

For me, five years old just seems ludicrously old to be relying on a pacifier - or binky as I believe they are called across the pond (!).

Mrs B and I are refusing to give a dummy to our little man, aged four months, as we don't want him to get used to, or dependent upon an artificial way of calming himself. Furthermore, Mrs B worries that it may affect his willingness to clamp on to the real thing, if he is essentially spending hours chomping on a fake nipple.

Or are we just being over sensitive? Is it actually fine to be using a pacifier aged five? Should we all be seeking comfort from our daily troubles by reaching for a dummy?

What's more, if dummies are ok, why don't we all forget the hassle of using toilets and opt for nappies instead?

Come on Pampers, time to launch a size 33!

Monday, 7 March 2011

Space, time and baby sick

As I stood on the station platform this morning, my train - once again delayed as a result of a signalling problem in the Epsom area - seemed to take an age to arrive. It was cold, I was tired and time was ticking...slowly.

What's more, having watched Wonders of The Universe on BBC2 last night, I felt even more like I was wasting valubale minutes of my life. As Professor Brian Cox eloquently explained, we only have "10,000 trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion years" left before the end of the universe! So, how can South Western trains be allowed to get away with another 16 minute holdup for the 0841 to London Victoria?! I'm demanding compensation.

In all seriousness, however, I have always had an interest in space and the universe. I can remember lying in the garden with my brother as a boy, staring up at the stars, wondering which ones are home to aliens and searching for the only constellation I have ever been able to identify; the trusty plough. I can remember watching the televsion in shock when the space shuttle Challenger exploded on take off, and I can recall advanced lectures from my grandfather on the intricacies of interstellar physics, aged seven.
So hats off to Aunty Beeb, and Prof Cox, for a fantastic exploration and explanation of time in the context of the universe. I will not pretend I understood it all - Brian lost me a little when discussing entropy and the second law of somethingorother - but it did give me an appreciation of the inevitability of time and how, slowly, we are edging towards oblivion. Brian's almost boyish enthusiasm for the subject matter, meanwhile, couldn't help but make me think how good a job my science teachers made of making such a fascinating topic so turgidly dull.

The task that faces me now, however, is how I will one day explain all this to Baby B who was, as I sat transfixed to the telly, sucking the life out of his toy monkey. Indeed, as Brian once again explained our fate while staring into space atop a lofty mountain perch, Baby B exhibited his own understanding of the cosmos and the journey from order to chaos, by puking over my Levis.

Thank God the universe's D-Day is still a fair way away,  I might just have enough time to wash my jeans and help the little man to spot The Plough!