Saturday, 17 October 2009

The silver lining

There's only so many times I can complain about not sleeping. There's only so many depths of hallucinatory, rage-inducing, reality-altering sleeplessness a man can plumb.

It's making us fairly fraught and I see no good reason why you fine people who read this blog should have to put up with it, neither of you.

So put the misery to one side and join me instead on a whistle-stop journey around the things that ARE still brilliant about having a baby son.

Last Sunday we sent mum packing to a well-deserved day of pampering at The Sanctuary in Covent Garden. She came back looking good, smelling fine, and with a aura of calm that lasted at least till Luca's 18th unscheduled wake-up in the early hours of the next morning.

I hung out with the boy, visited friends, took him to the shops, and generally swelled with pride. My only issue was the many people we passed who failed to coo over him, or even acknowledge him. Simpletons.

Yesterday I got back from work in time for bathtime. I jumped in the bath with Luca, splashed around and we generally had each other in stitches. I play a game with him called, for want of a better word, bumsplash. (I realise that this is the only time in my life where it will not be very weird to say things like that.) He stands on my belly, and then then gets quickly and vigourously dipped in the water, bum-first. He usually takes a moment to look puzzled before bursting into rapturus giggles. And he NEVER gets bored of it.

Finally, food. What he lacks in sleep, he makes up for with a gloriously indiscriminate attitude to everything we put in front of him. And the sight of him gurgling a mouthful of blended vegetables while simultaneously trying to suck his thumb, grab for the next spoonful and bury his face in the bowl is enough to reduce the hardest heart to mush. Long may it continue.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Luca battles the bomb

So Barack Obama has won the Nobel Peace Prize. What on God's green earth has this go to do with my blog, you ask? Because Luca is clearly going to win the Nobel himself one day. We've already cleared a space in the cabinet, alongside one for an Oscar, the Booker prize, the World Cup and Robert Mugabe's formaldehyde-preserved head on a stick. If you've yet to notice the obvious all-conquering genius of my son, then here it is. It's in the eyes, see?

As this blog is about being a new daddy without a clue, I'm going to venture into another area that I'm even less qualified to comment on: nuclear war. It's really not as bad as everyone thinks.

Just kidding. Nuclear weapons are evil in a pretty straightforward way. They kill people on the grandest possible scale. They were despised and feared, Frankenstein-style, by the very man who invented them.

Unless you were unlucky enough to
live in Japan towards the end of the Second World War, then they have never been a particularly immediate threat.

But if a shadow has loomed over my generation and the one before, then nuclear bombs are it.

It brings me back to a familiar theme of vague, pantomime-like threats of my pre-daddy life that I could never seem to feel
that worried about. And I don't want to be a sanctimonious old bore but these things are more important now the boy's here. Ban the bomb, make the world a better place for the kids, man.

Could he grow up without the bomb, or even with things heading gradually towards disarmament instead of proliferation?

Maybe. The last few weeks have seen unprecedented moves, led by Obama
shelving plans for a missile-defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic, getting rid of a major source of bitterness between Russia and the US - hence the Nobel Prize thing.

And others have followed, probably just to bask in Obama's reflected glory, but followed all the same.

Gordon Brown has promised to keep less nuclear submarines, and even the Russians are smoking the proverbial peace pipe.

This isn't any old news. This is big important people making seemingly genuine attempts to make the world a better place. Bring it on.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

How we learned to stop worrying and love the madness

Luca is eating! Actual food! Thanks to our meticulous planning he is now on a regular diet of breast milk, formula milk, baby rice, gooey baby fruit stuff, and the odd finger-dab of ice cream, yoghurt, strawberry or whatever else we happen to be eating. Sod the routine, sod the gradual introductions to new food, time to get messy.

Being used to bottles and breasts that keep on giving, he's struggled with the concept of solid food from a spoon. Specifically, the three seconds in between mouthfuls, when he demands to know why the hell the last spoonful wasn't immediately followed by another.

But I'm happy to say that he takes after his dad in eating anything and everything we put in front of him.

This is the way it's going. We're not ignoring the advice of books, health visitors, and breastfeeding counsellors, we're just mixing it up a little. Our latest theory, which will change at least eight times in the next 24 hours, is that instinct should win out over routine.

People are chaotic, tiny people even more so. He is nowhere near learning how to sleep through the night. But instead of listening to him cry at 4am in a vain effort to 'teach' him, we just feed him every time he seems to want it. Everyone sleeps more, everyone's happier, and Gina Ford can kiss my hairy white ass.

We are also the proud new owners of a Tiny Love Symphony in Motion Mobile. Apparently it might help him get to sleep on his own. He might yet learn to love it, but he might not.