Week 11 – To sleep: perchance to dream: aye, there’s the rub

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Date night!!!
With grandma and grandad staying this week we managed to get out for a red hot date without Captain Poo Pants on Wednesday. Well, I say hot date….it was a morning trip to Ikea to buy a bin but still…

…it’s a really, really good bin.

Teeth
Conversations in our house this week:

“A much better night last night wasn’t it?”

“Yep just the 300 wake ups”

*sound of straws being clutched at*

A single tooth eruption of around a millimetre has resulted in about ten nights of not just broken sleep but sleep that someone’s driven a car over, frozen in liquid nitrogen then bashed with a giant toffee hammer. All this for one millimetre of tooth and there are 28 of the bastards to come through (I think. Is that right?)

What the hell is the tooth fairy playing at rewarding children for losing teeth? With the amount of effort to get them through the gums she should be rewarding them for keeping them as long as possible. Stupid idiot.

As control freak parents unable to hold back the force of millions of years of evolution we’ve instead slightly rearranged his bedroom in the hope of making it easier for him to sleep without distraction. Like feng shui-ing the chairs on the deck of the Titanic.

Movement
Following on from his first double rollover last week CPP’s preparations for next year’s Gloucestershire downhill cheese rolling is going well. His attempts to crawl are continuing apace having moved on from humping the floor to a 3 second plank to clear and intentional linear movement albeit in the opposite direction to that which was intended.

Pull a funny face
Captain poo pants has long enjoyed putting his hand in my mouth (possibly to find out what the white pointy things are that I’ve got in there).  He’s really taken this to the next level recently. He’ll pretend to just be giving my teeth a feeling but then grab my lip and yank it as hard as he can.  If he’s in bed with us and I’m dozing he’ll think nothing of trying to pull off my nose or an eye lid like a fleshy Mr Potato Head. I can only assume he thinks I’m some sort of Scooby Doo villain and is doing the world a favour by foiling my plans to haunt the abandoned fair.

First curry
I was really picky about food when I was younger and CPP has tried foods I genuinely didn’t taste until I was in my 20s (i.e. all fruit and vegetables). I was really happy this week to have made and given him his first curry (tailored for babies, obviously).  If you were wondering, the outcome was less explosive than expected.

I’ve been literally sleeping like a baby this week – waking up 8 times a night then really irritable in the morning.

Week 10 – Fifteen minutes

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Well we had our fifteen minutes of fame this week with appearances on the Victoria Derbyshire Show, on 5 live and in Grazia magazine promoting Shared Parental Leave. As the great Bradley Walsh said “fame is a mask that eats away at the face” (Actually this might have been John Updike thinking about it) but it’s been an interesting week nevertheless.

The Green Room
Hitherto my only TV appearance had been as a 16 year old vox pop on BBC Midlands Today when I ineloquently suggested that crime was generally a bad thing. It was our first ever trip to New Broadcasting House and I was hoping for some great celebrity spots at Broadcasting House (e.g. Sir David Attenborough, Ed the Duck) and I wasn’t disappointed when I spied former Attorney General Dominic Grieve in the lobby!!!! What a day!

We were led to a green room prior to the show which despite not being green could definitely be called a room. There was on offer the sort of luxury you’d expect from the bloated and wasteful BBC (choice of Kenco or PG Tips). There was then a period of around an hour and a half where we milled around with the other people due to feature on the show; some other dads, a handful of people addicted to (or formerly addicted to or related to people addicted to or formerly addicted to) fixed odds betting machines, an American lawyer who had come to talk about rhino horn smuggling and the WBO middleweight champion of the world. It was a situation that you would only find yourself in if a) you were all appearing on a magazine type mid-morning current affairs show or b) there were a nuclear holocaust and you were the only ones to make it to the bunker in time. We all perked up when we heard that the Rolling Stones were due to feature on the show before perking right down again when we heard it was a pre-record. The show went well although we were only on for a short time. Captain Poo Pants managed not to loudly soil himself on live TV (well we all did technically but more of an achievement for him) which was great and he only dropped his teething ring 8 times in the 5 minutes we were on set.

Reporting of SPL
Don’t you think it’s awful that only 1% of dads took Shared Parental Leave this year? Although this startling statistic was reported by most major news organisations it suffers the misfortune of being completely wrong. The report on which it was based shows that in fact 1% of ALL men at the surveyed companies took Shared Parental Leave REGARDLESS OF WHETHER OR NOT THEY HAD A BABY WITHIN THE YEAR IN QUESTION. I have no idea why this stat was even reported by the authors as it shows nothing useful. The worst bit for me was the flurry of opinion columns on the back of the statistic saying ‘look I told you men were rubbish, they probably don’t even know which end the food goes in and god have you seen one trying to fold laundry’.  Incidentally 0% of cats took Shared Parental Leave in the last year as well. Stick that on your front page.

There was one in the bed and the little one said roll over repeatedly until daddy gets really annoyed
I mentioned last week that Captain Poo Pants was closer to a double rollover than his dad’s recent lotto attempts. I won’t say which of us achieved our goal this week but suffice to say I am not walking round in a gown made of rubies. From being less mobile when on his back than an elderly tortoise he’s suddenly rolling more than Snoop Dogg.

These new found abilities are making bed time more of a challenge. I glance at the monitor one minute and he’s dozing on his back, I look back 10 seconds later and he’s on all fours facing away from the camera, then back on his back doing abdominal crunches, then 10 seconds later swinging across the screen like Tarzan from a nearby vine. Every day we get closer to the time of his life I have always been most worried about – that age when children run with ever increasing momentum in a straight line with no concern for themselves or others – like a sociopathic Linford Christie.

Teeth
I just can’t believe that he hasn’t got any teeth yet. He produces more saliva than Rick Waller fantasising about a KFC bargain bucket but still not even the merest hint of a tooth.  I am genuinely starting to wonder whether he might just go through life toothless. In the middle of the night I was trying to think what he’d order at a restaurant when he’s an adult if he still doesn’t have any teeth. Soup to start, obviously. Then I thought potentially some sort of vegetable curry or a stew and then ice cream to finish. Not having any teeth doesn’t have to be the impediment it used to be but I do hope he gets some at some point.

World’s shittest changing facilities
Changing facilities in men’s toilets are either shit or not there. These in the Angel Centre, Tonbridge really take the biscuit though. I’m changing a baby, not filleting a joint of pork.

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Week 9: Poos in our time

I am now officially over halfway through my parental leave meaning my return to work is but a few months away. Although I’m now more organised and more productive earlier in the day, once I’m back in the office I will have to cut down on other things like the constant narration of my day (“daddy’s just going wee wee”).

Sleep
I’ve spoken to a few newer parents whose babies have slept through the night and I have had to bite my tongue and not mention the 3 month sleep regression, the 4 month sleep regression, the 5 month sleep regression, the 6 month sleep regression, the 7 month sleep regression and what we’re going through at the moment, the 7.65 month sleep regression.

Sleep aids
This week Captain Poo Pants has had a cold so we’ve employed a couple of sleep aids. Firstly I’ve invested in a ww1 gas mask to cope with the menthol plug in we’ve installed.  It’s powerful but does at least mask the perfumed shit smell of the nappy bin.

Secondly we’ve had to pop the cot wedge in. If you’ve never seen one it is simply a tetrahedron of foam that you might find in the bins outside an upholstery shop but because it’s sold for babies it retails at around £32,000.

It’s supposed to prop your baby up to help them breathe through a cold but Captain Poo Pants had other ideas and has just worked himself down to the bottom of the cot where he can sleep horizontally. Another great purchase.

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Baby food
Baby food is crammed with so much science that they forgot to leave any room for flavour.  After spending several thousands of pounds on baby science porridge, I have now started giving him Weetabix in the morning. Just as good but if you don’t wipe it immediately it sets like concrete and your baby will have to live the rest of his life with a mask of it like a wheaty Zorro.

Pooing like mad
You’ll quickly learn that literally every symptom your baby gets in its first year can be put down to teething. Dribble? Teething. Red cheeks? Teething. Growing an extra arm? Teething. This week we’ve had an opulence of dental related bum explosions. Imagine jalfrezi being fired from a supersoaker and you get the idea.

Moving about
Just like his dad’s efforts to win the lottery, CPP has this week been *really* close to a double rollover.  Next week will be our week.

Feeding
Previously mealtimes have resembled a basking shark floating open mouthed through a school of krill.  This week he has been making excellent progress at beginning to feed himself getting the food very close to his face on several occasions.

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Baby blogging awards

If you are enjoying our Captain Poo Pants exploits, please find it in your heart to nominate me for one or both of the following big parent blogging awards. It’ll only take 5 minutes – cheers.

BIB Awardsfresh voice and writer categories

Tots 100 MAD Awardsnewcomer category.

Week 8: Rolling away the stone

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Bobbins
Monday was a day of contrast with Monkey Music in the morning (click here for the full story) and a meeting with a serious man to write a will in the afternoon. I’ll leave it to you to guess which one Isaac loudly shat himself during.

As an aside, I think I Mrs Captain Poo Pants might murder me if I don’t stop singing the first couple of lines of wind the bobbin up which I learnt this week. Hopefully I’ll learn the next two at Monkey Music next week.

That London
We had to go up that big London this week on a train. I’ll leave it to you to guess whether Isaac loudly shat himself on the train or not but suffice to say the changing facilities on a southeastern train are not as sophisticated as you might hope in this day and age. In fact you have to do it right there on the seats – judging by the state of the upholstry we weren’t the first.  Luckily I had my dad bag portable cushioned luxury changing mat with me. I had a serious dad fail though – my pack of wipes only had one wipe left to deal with what can only be described as a multi-pack situation. Luckily we managed to scrounge some off a nearby, better parent.

Lie in
The good news – after some tough nights this week I had a one hour lie in on Wednesday.  The bad news – I had a nightmare about a spider and then woke up :'(.

Cousins
We had family for Easter. It was really nice to see the way Captain Poo Pants’s cousins were with him. My nephew informs us that “baby Isaac has hands as soft as banana” which I think is a powerful use of simile.

My niece and nephew have also created a 21st century version of rock, paper,  scissors with new contestants including stick, worm and Jesus’s face.

Teeth
Regular readers will know that one of Captain Poo Pants’s main skills is not having any teeth – I’d say he’s probably in the top 10 in the country at not having any teeth. Two things everyone knows about sharks: 1) they cut 9 sets of teeth over their lifetime, and 2) they never sleep. These two things are not unrelated.

Baby blogging awards

If you are enjoying our Captain Poo Pants exploits, please find it in your heart to nominate me for one or both of the following big parent blogging awards. It’ll only take 5 minutes – cheers.

BIB Awardsfresh voice and writer categories

Tots 100 MAD Awardsnewcomer category.

Week 7: Gold! Always believe in your sooooouuuulll.

We are pleased to present week 7 of our shared parental leave diaries.

OMG DKH!!
The major news this week is that we went to a cafè owned by Dame Kelly Holmes and Dame Kelly Holmes was there waiting tables in the cafè owned by herself (Dame Kelly Holmes). Captain Poo Pants actually had his lunch microwaved by double Olympic gold medallist Dame Kelly Holmes. This is how he chose to commemorate the occasion.

 

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Gold medal in ruining daddy’s jeans

 

(Incidentally if Dame Kelly Holmes had opened a housing company rather than a cafè when she retired, she could have called it Dame Kelly Homes – I should talk to her about this).

Croquet hoop
Captain poo pants has been doing a great impression of a croquet hoop this week. Whatever I try to get him to do he channels the spirit of a lower case ‘n’ – back arched and head as far back as possible, almost touching his heels. Putting him to bed? Croquet hoop. Changing his nappy? Croquet hoop. Tenderly comforting him? Croquet hoop. Ask him to pretend to be a croquet hoop? Croquet hoop (actually this one shows that he is beginning to treat me with the respect due to me as an authority figure in his life. Well done).

Family values
When I walk round Tonbridge with the pram I regularly get admiring glances from old ladies, families, innkeepers,  crossing patrol supervisors, passing troupes of lingerie models etc. As we walked around on Tuesday with a male friend the looks became of a different order. Instead of cooing at the baby or making a playful but tiresome comment about dad being in charge today, people  looked at us and either did a sort of pursed lipped nod as if to say ‘I’m thoroughly modern and in no way challenged by your non-stereotypical family set up’ OR looked daggers at us for embodying this country going to hell in a handcart. I quite enjoyed being a gay dad, even for just a day (Hi Paul!).

Helped to find a lost doggie

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We will find any dog big or small (preferably big so it’s easier to find)

As if the week hadn’t already been eventful enough, it was the first properly nice day of the year on Wednesday which meant an irresponsibly long walk (especially as I only had one canister of mook with me) during which we helped to find a lost dog. It got me thinking that a way to avoid going back to work might be if me and Isaac go full time finding dogs. Do you own a dog? Would you pay, say £800, for us to find it? Get in touch.

Big boy
We’ve had a few milestones this week as CPP moves from being a baby to being a slightly older baby. He’s now completely dropped one of his morning naps which is good but it means he’s in a foul mood by breakfast time. He’s screamed at more porridge this week than a lunatic let loose in the cereal aisle.

Talking of porridge, we’re now on the 7 month+ stuff which is the same slime as before except now it has weird balls in which break down if you bash them hard enough – imagine a shit Müller crunch corner and you’re not far off.

Ewan
We’ve also gone back to using Ewan the sheep. Reminder: must buy batteries. 4000 batteries.

Finger food
We are trying to get him to hold food and gnaw at it preparing for a day around 25 years in the future when he’ll be able to feed himself. Earlier he successfully gnawed at some melon only for the smushed up flesh to drop out of his mouth several minutes later when we’d all moved onto other things. Rice cakes, after this tricky start, seem to be a winner although we’ll obviously have to keep a close eye on the coasters if he gets a taste for them.

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Oh I notice you’ve just got it wet and then rubbed it into your trousers. Great.

Teeth?
Send your guess with a cheque or postal order to PO Box 2376!

Baby blogging awards
If you are enjoying our Captain Poo Pants exploits, please find it in your heart to nominate me for one or both of the following big parent blogging awards. It’ll only take 5 minutes – cheers.

BIB Awardsfresh voice and writer categories

Tots 100 MAD Awardsnewcomer category.

Week 6: A spectre is haunting Europe

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Well there haven’t been any posts this week not because I couldn’t think of anything to write (although that is coincidentally true) but because we’ve been an ill household. 500 years ago villagers would have bricked up our front door and left us to the mercy of the almighty. Ever since Captain Poo Pants produced a couple of ‘shirt pizzas’ last weekend we’ve all been sicklier than a curve of sharpened metal attached to a short wooden handle.

Grandparents
Luckily we had nanna and gramps staying for the week which has helped immensely when we’ve needed to take a quick 4 hour nap in the middle of the day or to just stand near a sink and retch for a bit.

Unfortunately as well as them having to do all the work, we sent them home with the same bug we’d all had so they really had a great holiday all in all.

The mook meme
There was this girl at my junior school who was, and I’m not sure this is the correct term politically and culturally speaking, a bit of a gommo (or, you might say, obstinately cretinous). She was in charge of handing out milk at break time but possessed a crucial deficiency in that she lacked the ability to say the word ‘milk’. So instead of saying ‘have you had your milk?’, she’d ask ‘asoo asoo mook?’

Milk has hitherto been known in my family as mook and it was as I was asking my mom last week whether she wanted mook in her tea that I realised that in all the times Captain Poo Pants has been fed milk (so probably 2000 times) we’ve called it mook. This is the first time that it struck me that he will pick up on the things I say and assume they’re correct and that I might need to cut down on the stupid shit I say (and stop swearing). Not sure what happened to the girl but there’s a strong possibility she’s still milk monitor.

Mystery poo
There has been a small amount of poo somewhere for a couple of days. We’ve scrubbed the changing mat and checked everywhere CPP sits but still every so often, a tiny amount of pooey residue will find its way onto a sock or his tunic. WHERE IS THIS MYSTERY SUPPLY OF POO?

Bib renewal
Major excitement this weekend as we got in a new stash of bibs. I’m not completely sure what happened to the 400 bibs we had a few months ago but they all now resemble bits of old chamois leather that you might find on your grandad’s shelf. I wonder whether it would be as well to tape a sponge round his chin and just wring it out a couple of times a day.

Toys

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One of the things I had been looking forward to most about fatherhood had been being able to play with toys again. Social norms artificially curtail your enjoyment of toys and our broken society pushes you into things like ‘getting a job’. So far CPP’s primary interest in toys has been in seeing how far he can get them into his mouth; poor Elephant has lost his innocence forever.  I’m not really sure at what age the games will change from sucking the face off things to creating villages with Sylvanian Families like his dad (it’s a unisex toy, piss off).

Teeth
Nope.

Hair
We might not have any teeth but for the first time Captain Poo Pants has a bit of hair on the top of his head. I’m not sure what has triggered it but clearly some lazy ass hormone has thought ‘shiiit we better get the chimp shit kicking in about now’. So he’s gone from Richard O’Brien to Fozzy Bear in a couple of days. If cutting his hair is anything like as difficult as cutting his nails, I had better learn how to tie a pony tail.

Week 5: It was the best of times, it was the blurst of times

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Mother’s day
Mums eh? Isn’t it? Jumpers for goalposts. Didn’t they? Our first mother’s day was a chance to reflect on how brilliant a mum Captain Poo Pants has. She was rewarded by a lie in until 0745 and by being covered in dribble (the baby’s, not mine).

As a special Mother’s day treat, I cooked breakfast in bed.  Getting the cooker up the stairs was a bit tricky but I managed it.

It was also a day to  properly appreciate my own mum whose nights I disturbed, whose carpets I soiled and whose patience I wore thin. Now I’ve got a little poo machine of my own I know how hard and important all the stuff was before my brain was capable of forming long term conscious memory and before I had control over my bum, so a big thank you to both mums.

Captain Ill Pants
We’ve had an ill boy for a couple of days including Mother’s Day. On Saturday night he did a great impression of his dad circa 10 years ago and chucked his dinner up down his nice clean shirt. You’ll remember we were getting a new sofa this week (won’t you?). Don’t think that my decision to save a few quid by not getting the stain guard coating didn’t come back to haunt me.

The day of 5 poos and no naps
Tuesday was probably the most tiring day of parenting I’ve experienced.  I settled him down for a morning nap, lay back on our new, sick soaked sofa, and 90 seconds later he was awake again ready to play.  That was all the napping he did all day. Add to this FIVE POOS separated by about 20 minutes each and five hours of boinging, him putting his hand in my mouth and scratching my gums and grabbing my thumb and biting it and it all adds up to a pretty tiring day. By tea time I looked like a bad scarecrow with a hangover.

Swimming again
“Has he just woken up from a nap” asked the swimming teacher. “Yes” I lied knowing that in fact he was just completely non-plussed by everything that had happened in the lesson to that point. He perked up considerably though when we got to chase a floaty ball for a bit. Once caught, obviously it went straight in his mouth.

I’ve got over the fact that I’m the only dad at the class. In any case it was made easier this week because another dad was watching from the side, clearly uncomfortable. Hopefully I’ll get to see him in his trunks next week!

New noises
Captain Poo Pants has been making further solid progress towards full speech by adding some new sounds to his repertoire. So committed is he to mastering this skill that he is practicising round the clock, even at 3 o clock in the morning. This week we’ve had ‘Tom cat defending its territory’ and ‘irate pigeon trapped in a cupboard’. SO advanced.

Online shopping

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Even though we go to the supermarket almost every day, I still do online food shopping. Think I must have been sleep deprived when I ordered this surprisingly inexpensive carton of orange juice.

Teeth
HE STILL DOESN’T HAVE ANY BASTARDING TEETH.