Week 18: The Final Countdown. Dudu du du. Dudu du du du

Well that’s it – almost 5 months of shared parental leave is over and I have to go back to work. Can you believe the injustice? I am very much Peter Shilton in this scenario and Maradona is played by the notion of full time employment.

For our last week it rained, we both had colds and we had a tonne of baby related admin to complete. Cosmic.


Nursery drop ins
You might have got used to the low level moan of your own baby but the low level moan of 15 babies at once is something else. Getting louder as we approached the door to the baby room it brought to mind the original issue of DOOM and being a child of the 90s that put me on edge slightly. After holstering my imaginary plasma rifle we left CPP with some strangers for an hour, then two hours the next day. We had to PAY the strangers for preventing us spending time with our own child. What sort of madness is this?

We had to fill in a form with CPP’s likes and dislikes which was surprisingly tricky.

Likes: Sneezing, putting his hand in other people’s mouths.

Dislikes: Not being fed quickly enough.

Obviously leaving him was the worst thing that’s ever happened (for us, not him).

Health visitor
Our exciting last week was infinitely improved by a visit to the health visitor (the title sort of implies that the effort to visit should be made on their part rather than ours doesn’t it?) for a developmental check. In yet another example of the UK’s testing culture we had to set CPP a series of challenges and fill in a form before going.

1) Can he pull himself up from standing?
2) Does he babble using different syllables?
3) Can he pick up a piece of string?
4) Can he stroke a pigeon in the right direction?
5) Can he identify the Princess Royal from a group shot of Europe’s remaining Royal families?

If the situation requires it babies can produce a limitless amount of snot. Most of my remaining time this week was spent trying to get the snot off his face. His sole aim has been to keep hold of it resulting in a sort of mucusy tug of war.


Cleaning teeth
It is extremely important to clean your baby’s teeth. It’s also impossible. We’ve tried really hard at it this week and can confidently say that CPP has the cleanest lips and chin in town.

And with a whimper my shared parental leave came to an end. We spent our last weekend at the beach with some friends and then went for a walk in the sunshine as a family on the Sunday. It has been the best, most rewarding and toughest thing I’ve ever done and I wouldn’t have changed it for the world. We’ve been really lucky to have been able to split our leave, for both of us to have been able to spend long periods with Captain Poo Pants and to have had plenty of days to spend as a family.

On the downside, the extra meal a day I’ve been having for the last 5 months has taken its toll and I now look like Russell Grant.

I’m planning a post or two on shared parental leave and returning to work but let me know whether you think I should carry on the blog as a more general parenting type blog or just pack it in right now before someone gets hurt.

Week 17: Of shoes and ships and sealing wax

I’m all ears. I’m f*cking Andrew Marr over here
To the untrained ear CPP might sound like he’s simply added a couple of syllables to his stream of babble (ma and ba mainly) but I’ve been listening carefully and it turns out he actually said his first words this week!!

Marmara – As well as being a region of Turkey the Marmara sea joins the Black and Aegean seas splitting European and Asian Turkey.

Abada – a mythical unicorn type animal in the Kongo language. Its horn is said to be an antidote to poison.

What an advanced little sausage we have!

Either way it doesn’t look like spending the last 4 months together will result in him saying dada first confounding the pundits.

Cot cat nap nope
This week’s wildly optimistic challenge was leaving CPP to get himself to sleep in the cot during the day. He’s fine doing this at night but during the day it goes;

1) Settle him down lovingly with tenderness.
2) Look away for 3 seconds.
3) Sat up in cot playing face xylophone on the cot bars.

Talking of cot bars….as he’s now progressed to pulling himself up on things awkwardly and dangerously I’ve had to lower the cot to its lowest setting. Putting him down at night is now like putting the neopolitan back in your nan’s chest freezer. Careful you don’t fall in now!

Actually it’s pronounced ‘frazzles’
I’ve become one of those parents. Captain Poo Pants has some healthy snacks that look remarkably like popular maize based fried crisp treats so to avoid the judgement of bystanders I’ve taken to loudly asking;


All to avoid strangers thinking I’m feeding my baby cheesy wotsits.

It was my birthday this week so I got a lie in and didn’t have to deal with any of the 5 poos he did that day. Yessssssssss.

I’m slightly menaced by CPP’s bookshelf. Not sure I remember buying this book…..


I accepted delivery of the new car seat, went upstairs to change a nappy, came back down, forgetting about the car seat and almost had to change my own nappy because of this MASSIVE SMILING BABY THAT HAD INVADED OUR PLAY AREA.


Week 16 – I wish I was a little bit taller. I wish I was a crawler


Useless idiot

Well, what do you know? I mentioned last week that Captain Poo Pants had developed a brand new sleeping position; on his front, head at 90 degrees and bum in the air. It turns out that this was the key to our sleeping problems all along and he’s slept really well all week. All that crying in the night for the past several months was just him saying “AAAAARRRGH STOP PUTTING ME DOWN ON MY BACK YOU PRICKS!!!!”

One morning he slept until 8.30 which to you non-parents out there counts as two nights’ sleep back to back. We both woke with a start and glancing at the clock immediately assumed the worst; that he’d been carried away by a condor in the night…..but no! Instead he’d actually been asleep. Comfortably asleep for ages! Needless to say none of our sleep aids actually made any difference including Ewan the sheep – the battery-guzzling woolen gommo.

As a consequence of the extra sleep this week my appearance has been upgraded from ‘the undead’ to ‘off putting’.


We all crawl down
You’ll recall that like British manufacturing in recent times, CPP has only been able to move backwards (in this analogy space-time represents the increasingly competitive global market (expressed in relative terms, naturally)). That is until this week when he very clearly bounded forwards to fondle a large red ball.

His motion now resembles what I imagine a daddy long legs would look like carrying a heavy rucksack. Bumbling along, not really in control of his limbs and toppling over every couple of seconds.

The great escape
That’s it now. When he’s down on the floor now he makes a beeline (well, a daddy long legs line) for the most dangerous thing in the room (ooh look some wires to get tangled up in. Ooh look a big sign saying Acme bird seed – free!). Nappy changing has gone from a straightforward operation to a WWE grudge match where I have to get him in a submission pin before I can wrestle the poo off him. He’s getting into the spirit of things regularly braining me with a metal chair whilst the referee’s back is turned.


Another first this week – I lovingly made him three different kinds of crustless sandwich to try (cucumber, cheese and peanut butter, if you were wondering). Placing them in front of him he looked at me like I’d just asked him to play the trombone. Then one by one he picked them up, looked me in the eye and expressionlessly dropped them over the side of his high chair onto the floor. Cold, man. Cold.

Sort of standing up
He’s also sort of pulling himself up to standing. His best effort this week came using my nipples as grippage. So proud.

Double poo bin
I’m not sure what happened this week in terms of wee (this is me getting back into office speak in preparation for going back to work) but I had to empty the nappy bin twice. Double turd anaconda!!!


Week 15 – Thomaaaaaaaaaaas!


MORNING! 4 o clock in the MORNING!

The end of my parental leave is nigh. In my efforts to create an overnight fortune I’m even considering turning to some of the less well known and shitter lotteries; the health lottery, the postcode lottery, the Bolivian state lottery. If this blog and my face suddenly have a radical makeover you can guess I’ve been successful. As it stands I have to leave Captain Poo Pants with an expensive stranger in less than three weeks and then leave and get on a Southeastern train which really just adds insult to to being kicked in the cock.

Very early mornings
Some of the worst nights we’ve ever had have been followed by two really good ones this week. In technical terms this is ‘a false sense of security’. We had a couple of stupidly early mornings – waking at 4am and not really going back to sleep – so we’ve been watching some early morning cartoons. Now I’m older I definitely find myself sympathising with Tom more than Jerry. I think Jerry is a metaphor for our dreams and Tom’s persistent failure to catch him represents our own ultimately futile pursuit of happiness. Furthermore is it not Tom’s pursuit of Jerry from which he derives the pleasure? Would he be truly happy if he actually caught him? Who can say? Alternatively it might just be about Tom getting hit on the head with big hammers and I need to get some sleep.

Bum in the air
The good nights of sleep we’ve had have coincided with Captain Poo Pants getting himself into a new, ridiculous, sleeping position on his front with his bum stuck in the air. Not only that but he insists on being in the top corner of his cot so on the baby monitor you can just make out a speck on the horizon from which we’re supposed to discern whether everything’s okay or not – like being on watch the eve before the 2nd battle of El Alamein but arguably being quite a bit tireder (although less covered in sand).

We’re convinced that Captain Poo Pants is a lefty. He seems to use his left hand for all his favourite activities; sucking his fingers, grasping for snacks, playing willy banjo the second his nappy comes off.

A second way of playing with things
Until now ‘playing’ has meant grabbing things (plugs, gravel, viles of anthrax) and shoving them straight in his mouth. The last week has seen him learn a second, marginally safer, way of playing. Firstly passing an object from hand to hand and then deliberately dropping it to watch it fall before repeating over and over and over and over again. A wonderful way to spend an afternoon particularly when you haven’t slept for 72 hours.

Big choo choo
We had to get a big choo choo to take nana and gramps back to big London (I really need to start talking like a grown up again before I go back to work). This is all great preparation for when Captain Poo Pants inevitably has to commute for miles to a job he doesn’t care for.

For some reason by the time we got back he’d done the most wee he’s ever done. The nappy was heavier than a night time nappy and some of those require up to 3 people to lift into the bin.

Remember you can follow us on Twitter at @cpp_chronicles.

Gerrit down yer son – The Captain Poo Pants guide to food and nourishment



Food for babies is great. They eat regularly.  High fat foods are encouraged. They can get it all over their face and all over the floor and everyone’s full of nothing but praise. They don’t even have to lift the food to your mouth themselves.  They will never have it this good again in their lives and yet they are too young to appreciate it. Here is what we’ve learnt so far transitioning from mook to grub.

Having round the clock access since birth to a never ending supply of sweet boob nectar, Captain Poo Pants was naturally pretty cheesed off when mommy went back to work and I tried feeding him from a boring old cup.  Having no experience of drinking from a vessel, when presented with it he was as stressed as if I’d asked him to recreate it in watercolours. When he realised further down the track that I merely wanted him to drink from it things got a lot easier but the first few weeks of my parental leave were quite tough. I’d say at 5:30pm when mommy got home;

“He’s done really well – he’s drunk 8ml of milk today!”

Now he’s downing pints of it like a rugby thicko in freshers’ week. It’s still 3 months to go until we can feed him normal milk (i.e. forcibly harvested from a cow) rather than the scientifically formulated supermilk that somehow mankind managed to do fine without until relatively recently.

There’s a load of cash to be made from baby food and milk and it’s all made by the same people that make shampoo and those little useless tubs of bacteria that you buy.

“Baby porridge now with added pro-V molecules that beat the 7 signs of hunger leaving your baby with a thick, glossy coat.”

In reality – a small bag of expensive dust.

First tastes
The World Health Organisation recommends waiting until 6 months until introducing solid food (don’t rely on this – I can’t be bothered to look it up but I think that’s right).  We did it a bit earlier; actually on Christmas day. So whilst everyone was tucking into turkey with all the trimmings, he was tucking into overcooked brocolli mushed up with breast milk – yummy!!  It really makes it an enjoyable moment for the baby if the whole family can anxiously stand around shouting “oh god I think he’s choking”.

Incidentally you’ll think your baby is choking far more than it actually is. Babies have a good gag reflex which is good news for us as Captain Poo Pants has a tendency to eat, say, a rice cracker or a mango in a single go.

Increasing the range
You’ll soon realise that what you’re feeding the baby is disgusting. My rule is that if I wouldn’t eat it (non-mushed) why should he. Would I eat overcooked brocolli with a side of breast milk? Probably not (unless it was in a fancy restaurant and I could make out I was being sophisticated).

The sheer number of flavour combinations are limitless so you might want to try some of the classics – e.g. guava and kumquat, chia seed and almond pressings, kiwi soil and a flange of porcini shavings.

Cooking for babies
If you can cook the same thing for your baby as you’re cooking for the rest of the family then great but be sure to cut out the salt and chilli. This provides me with a bit of a challenge as salt and chilli are the main ingredients in many of my recipes.



Finger foods
It’s really important to give baby finger foods not only to improve their fine motor skills (how are his motor skills? Fine, thanks for asking) but also crucially to teach them how to mash things into their clothes.

Especially during the summer months it’s sensible to offer your baby water. Naturally as he’s been used to drinking milk for months giving him boring old life-giving water is likely to be received poorly. Every time I try to give it to CPP I get a look that says “why have you done this?” as if having offered to make a round of teas at work, I’ve returned from the kitchen with mugs of hot urine.

The transition
The transition to solids takes place at both ends. The good news is that poo-splosions stop almost completely. The bad news is that some poos are now so dry they will roll away out of the nappy and under a bureau if you don’t get a firm enough grip. Largely though nappy changes become like taking a geological sample with rings of differently aged sediment allowing you to correctly age your sample for cataloguing.

Week 14: Schrödinger’s pants

Back to the grindstone
In 4 weeks’ time I’ll be back at work. What sort of God would allow that? I don’t know how to do a work any more but society demands that I earn money to pay someone else to look after my child (and buy food etc).

“How was your weekend?”

“Yeah good, you?”

“Yeah good, you?

“Great, you?

“Yeah, great”

“Have you seen that email from Steve?”

“No I don’t know how to open emails any more. I’ve been at home with a baby for 5 months so I’m just hanging around in the kitchen asking people about their weekends.”

You can read my bringing up baby vs going to work day in the life here.

Important developmental progress
For the first time Captain Poo Pants has begun putting his arms out to be picked up which is a marked improvement on violently shoving his groin in the air which is what he did previously.

Bad Sleep


Shonkiest DIY I've ever done

My preparations for SAS selection are still going well as Captain Poo Pants wakes me up repeatedly for a forced march (to his bedroom) carrying a full pack (my own gratuitous body weight) before subjecting me to a verbal roughing up (crying in my face until I meet his non-specific needs).  There are still a few minor variables about his room we haven’t tried changing so hoping one of them holds the key. The wall colour just screams *wake up repeatedly for no reason* if you know what I mean.

I really bolloxed things up on the one night of decent sleep we were having this week when the bathroom mirror I had ‘put up’ somehow came away from the wall and smashed all over the floor waking everyone up. In the panic in the middle of the night your first thought is obviously that something has happened, the baby has shattered somehow and you’ll have to get all the King’s horses and all the King’s men round to sort it all out. In the end he was just awake and annoyed and we had to sort it out ourselves.

In an effort to improve the quality of my own sleep I have bought some new pillows which, it turns out, are about 3 feet in height. So that’s gone well.


Ridiculously sized pillows

CPP has taken to rolling over onto his front to sleep when he naps which is naturally terrifying. Front sleeping hasn’t been recommended by health professionals since the 1970s when all of the methods for testing things were rubbish and people would routinely give babies cigars instead of dummies. At the moment we’re allowing him to sleep on his front if he rolls there but under the strict condition that we check his breathing every 5 to 7 seconds.

Shröedinger’s shat
The most important decision you can take as a parent isn’t about nourishment or schooling, it’s the often knife edge decision about whether your baby has cranked one out in the middle of the night. You might be thinking that it’s easy to tell but sometimes some wee or trapped blow offs can give the impression of poo without there actually being any. Once you commence the nappy change your baby is awake and there’s no guarantee they’ll be nodding off any time soon. I’ve been caught a few times where I would have put money on there being poo (not a service Ladbroke’s currently offer) only for the nappy to be as white as the driven snow.

This brings me onto my new invention: a device that can tell whether there is poo or no poo using sensors. I’ve still got a few details to iron out but if anyone wants to provide, say, £8 million in seed funding please, please get in touch.



Enjoying the sunshine by sleeping through it

As Mungo Jerry famously expolated, in the summertime the weather is hot. We’ve seen a little of what Mungo was talking about this week with some heavy sunshine. It seems only a matter of months since we were suffering night after night of Gro-egg CODE BLUE, CODE BLUE!!! This week has been very much a code orange situation which has meant something else for us to blame our lack of sleep on.  It has been nice to go out in the sun this week although it turns out that getting sun tan lotion on a wriggling baby isn’t the doddle I had assumed it would be. Suffice to say he won’t be getting sunburnt eyes. Not on my watch.0

Week 13: A new dawn has broken has it not?

So tired
I’ve been so tired this week that not only have I been unable to write anything I haven’t even been able to jab the wordpress symbol on my phone to get the process started. As quite a few of my friends and neighbours have remarked I resemble a used chamois leather with a face drawn on it. After a couple of tough weeks sleep wise it feels like we’re now coming through the other end and that Captain Poo Pants really just wanted to show us who is in charge (newsflash: not us).

Submit to CBeebies
It’s finally happened. We have submitted to watching CBeebies in the early mornings and honestly it’s more difficult to watch than Ken Livingstone’s sixth interview of the day.  Most of the children’s TV presenters from my childhood have moved onto bigger and better things (e.g. that toothpaste ad with Katy Hill in it) or been swept up in Operation Yewtree so I was surprised that Chris Jarvis is still there and hasn’t aged in 30 years.  What a great job he’s got.  He might have to get up early but he gets paid for just holding a kitten and saying enthusiastically “kittens have pointy ears”. A great job.

Obviously the whole thing is just the worst thing imaginable. The presenters don’t even speak in sentences. They say “Cardboard tubes. Sticky tape. Binoculars! Up high. Up high in the tree. What can Tom see up high in the tree? Puffs of white cloud. Up high. Up high in the tree”.  You don’t need binoculars to see clouds Chris Jarvis you knobhead.

Justin’s House is an inexplicably popular mainstay of the early morning schedules in which Justin – a middle aged man with pretensions of greatness and a background as an artist – whips a crowd into a frenzy before releasing them on the nation ready to do his bidding.

He keeps a sort of robot Michael Gove as a slave and cohabits with a sentient ball of weed in what I can only assume is a controversial pro-drugs message.


Legalise it

For ALMOST HALF AN HOUR there are a series of misunderstandings, soakings of both the deliberate and accidental variety and more elaborate falls than someone attempting to create the circumstances for a fraudulent personal injury claim.  All this keeps the crowd in an ecstatic frenzy screaming Justin! Justin! as they offer Justin, or ‘our leader’ their undying commitment until the end like a miniature Nuremberg.

So you can imagine that the average person would only really be able to tolerate a few seconds of this before punching the television into pieces but as a parent you have to push those feelings deep down inside along with all the other ones.  This is your life now.

Do you remember weebles? They were the round bottomed toys that, if you turned them over, would spring back upright. I’ve been finding out what it’s like to live with one of those this week at Captain Poo Pants’s bedtime. He has decided that the optimum sleeping position is on all fours and so our relaxing bedtime routine now has an extra bit added to it – namely turning him back onto his front up to 8000 times before he decides that going to sleep is an okay thing to do.

New experience
We had a massive new experience this week when Captain Poo Pants went in a swing for a bit. I was anticipating laughter and smiles as the wind swept through his (small amount of) hair. As you can tell from the photographic evidence we can add it to the long list of things he’s not really that bothered about. Despite looking like Greengrass from Heartbeat, I can confirm he hadn’t actually been drinking.


Heartbeat why do you miss when my baby kisses me?

Pre bedtime relaxation technique
There’s only one solution in our house for calming down an irritable baby in the hour before bedtime – stick Pointless on. This forms the core of my best-selling book on parenting techniques.