Parenthood for Dummies
Being a father is a wild ride. My name is Christopher & these are my observations, theories & comments on life as the dad of my two boys Ripley & Jayden. I write this to air my thoughts & update my friends & family with photos, videos and such like. For everyone else I offer hints and tips on parenting as I learn them. For legal reasons I make no direct reference to my employer or any of my colleagues.
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on with the show...
most recent posts appear first in the list, then proceeding back in time, check "archives" section on left-hand sidebar for earlier posts
Tuesday, November 30, 2004
Dummies are great. Here is why; At 8:30pm yesterday evening the clouds darkened thunder clapped and his eyes turned red (dramatisation), he was however; hungry, tired, bored, a touch colicy & very damp. Nappy changes during this time are always a little traumatic for all involved. Bring out the secret weapon. Popped the dummy in his mouth and he calmed down. Did the entire change without a peep from the little chap. Removed the dummy and gave him his food, he was great.
.o0(I wonder if I will ever curse the day I gave him a dummy - hmmmm)
My job has destablised. When the earthquake stops I will either be standing tall or dead under a pile of rumble. Sod's law - just when you need stablity, something starts the boat rocking. Anyway - it could end up being good news in the long run, no point being pessimist, but it is hard when you are tired.
In other news, CENSORED
Monday, November 29, 2004
Back 2 Work
Sunday, November 28, 2004
Saturday, November 27, 2004
Thursday, November 25, 2004
The "Things They Don't Tell You" List
Here are a list of things I have come across that people really should have warned us about. I will update this list whenever we notice something that we really didn't see coming:
1) Waters - are not always clear, in fact "waters" can look an awful lot like blood.
2) The Birth - BLOOD ! Horror! Gore! Why don't they tell you to expect it?
3) Sleepless Nights - These two words can never really properly express what a sleepless night really means. Tired! Hahaha! Tired is just a word too. Let's see - how about; Mind Numbing, Insanity forming, physically destructive, brain destablising torture or the simple acronym - MNIFPDBDT.
4) Crying - Not just an annoying noise - A sound that drills through to your soul, makes your heart leap up out of your mouth and generally makes you feel panicky. Oh yes - it happens a lot too.
5) Baby Moods - This is how it goes - Crying (Hungry), Crying (Windy), Crying (Wet), Crying (Nappy filled with something from a horror film), Crying (Tired), Crying (Because he is sensing your mood), Sleeping, Sleep Crying, Wide awake and smiling (3am - 5am).
6) Colic - Ripley looks like he is starting to develop mild Colic, this is bad news if sleep is something you like doing. He looks in so much pain, curled up - shaking - crying - rubbing his face with sharp baby nails. It is upsetting in the extreme.
7) Breast Feeding Fascists - "You are breast feeding arn't you?" - NHS Midwifes are fantastic, but all this breast feeding stuff really gets on my nerves. If the kid isn't into it then there is NOTHING you can do about it, that is the way it is. YES we know "Breast is best"! But come on! The most important person in this whole situation is the mother, it is she who must get used to the whole "parent" thing, having the stress of a baby who simply will not breast feed and people milling around telling her to persist can be just too much. For the sake of the mental health of the parents & the happiness of the baby, midwifes should be a little more realistic. Mind you - one midwife was very helpful, she was a parent of 3, some breast fed some didn't, she knew the score. I remember her looking left then right and leaning to Penny whispering - "Don't write this in your notes, but don't worry if breast feeding doesn't work, just give it your best shot". I can tell you this was a real breath of fresh air for us both.
1) Happy Baby - For the moments during the day that your kid is happy smiling and laughing it REALLY gives you a big lift, you almost totally forget the 2 hours of screaming.
2) Ear Plugs - Just worked this out this morning, if you wear ear plugs when the kid is screaming at you - for example; the nappy change before a feed is quite noisy, then the sound is less painful on the eardrums, you can still hear them, it just allows you to keep your concentration.
3) Gadgets - Buy every gadget in the world for the kid - it WILL make your life easier. Already broke from all the prams, cots, clothing, etc - no problem, but it on ebay, sell it when finished, the chances are you will make a few quid along the way. Digital thermometers, movement / sound sensors, video monitors, steam sterilisers, bottle warmers, etc, etc, BUY THEM.
4) Burping - It is amazing how a little burp and cheer you up so much. It takes ages to burp a baby, they are often squirming about and looking mad, when you hear that burp you know that is a little less air making him feel uncomfortable.
5) Google - "Shit is his face suppose to be peeling like that?" Ask Google - "Ah ha! www.peelingbaby.com has an article on this, I can now relax". Babycenter.co.uk is also excellent.
Tuesday, November 23, 2004
Ripley's 1st Smile
It is 10am & Dad has just left, I miss him already, it was really nice to see him and he adores Ripley (though still not the name :) ).
So what has been happening since my last post. His sleep pattern hasn't been improving, once he wakes up at 3am that's it until 9am. Don't get me wrong, he isn't wailing the house down, he is just awake. He is actually quite a calm kid only crying if excessively; hungry, cold, tired, damp, soiled. I get the best end of the deal, I feed him at midnight and 3am, then Pen takes over for the next shift, unfortunately as I just mentioned the next shift can start straight away :S
My main concern is that Penny won't get used to the lack of sleep, early signs are that she is coping fine - which makes me happy. She naps during the afternoon and that does her the world of good. On average mothers with newborns get 5 hours sleep in a 24 hour period, I am sure Pen is getting much more than that.
Anyway, Pen came back from the doctors, hip check for Rip (no problems found). The doctor made an interesting comment, she said that he is exceptionally strong. She found it difficult to check his hips because he was pushing back with such force. She said that she would expect that from a 3 or 6 month baby, but not a 10 day old newborn. Judging by the weight, length and strength of Ripley, she thinks he will be very big and strong. This is excellent news.
Anyway, the main reason I posted, he passed a milestone last night. During a nappy change, which can be and usually is a traumatic experience for all, he started to smile. It came from the baby massage I was doing to calm him down. You basically get them undressed and gently run your hands over their arms, legs, etc. He just made a happy squeal and started smiling. Usually this is just wind so I ignored it, but he just kept doing it for about 30 minutes. I even woke up Penny. He was smiling, laughing and playing as we tickled him. I even videod it as I was sure we had hit our first milestone. These markers along the road make it all worth while.
Saturday, November 20, 2004
Ripley, why Ripley?
Where it did NOT come from:
1) Alien - No. As much as I love the alien killing antics of Lt. Ripley (I even own the ltd ed DVD box set and am a bit of a geek about the films) this is not the reason I like the name. Anyway Ripley is a girl I hear you cry! Well for your info, the first draft of the script for Alien had Ripley as a male character, as Ripley is a male name. Later drafts cast the role as female, the name remained but was changed to the surname instead - Lt. Ripley.
2) The Talented Mr Ripley - No. Didn't really like this film, at the end of the day who is going to name their kid after a homosexual psychopath. Again, the characters name was Tom Ripley - Ripley being the surname again.
3) Blackpool (BBC Drama) - No. That was a bit weird, as soon as we decide on a name along comes a BBC drama (very odd one) where the main character is called Ripley Holden. Well, we thought of it first :)
4) Ripley's Believe it or Not - No. Nobody in England really knows about this guy, it is an American phenomenon. For the benefit of UK audience, this Ripley's work is a cross between - The Guiness Book of Records, a comic and a freakshow.
We wanted above most things for the name to
1) Be a little unusual without being daft
2) Be "old English" in origin.
3) Shorten down to a cool nickname.
Long Story Short:
We were watching a film (not a great one) called Dodgeball starring Rip Torn, I remember saying that is a cool nickname to Pen. So we got out the book to try and find what Rip might be short for. We saw Ripley, we saw it was English in origin & in a second our minds were made up. So I guess the slightly sad fact is Rip Torn gave us the idea - his real name is not Ripley though, it is Elmore Raul Torn - Rip is his obvious nickname.
So who likes it and who hates it?
Let me say - I truely don't give a crap. But here is what I have noticed;
1) My friends & work colleagues were always quick to take the piss out of all my name suggestions, Ripley was the only one that everyone really thought was unique and cool.
2) When ever I met people I had not met before and would never meet again, I introduced myself as Ripley (just to get a feel for it). The reaction was always positive. I tried this technique on various names we were considering, but Ripley felt right. While on a stag night with a good Friend called Dan Gilbert, some ladies at a Gentlemen's club we were frequenting liked it the best - good or bad - not sure.
3) Penny's parents like it alot, although they never really said as they didn't want to influence us either way, they enthused about it after we had made up our own minds, considerate as usual.
1) My Mum & Dad both Hate it. Dad is threatening to refuse to call him it. I love my Dad and respect his opinion, but even his dislike for the name hasn't put me off it, so from his perspective his actions have had a negative effect as I feel stronger about the name. Mum thinks it sounds like Rippley, as in, the sea is a bit rippley :) Ahh well (Her name is Elva which ain't exactly mainstream :) )
2) People too polite to say otherwise :)
One final thing...
He looks like a Ripley! Obvious really, should have said that at the beginning.
Friday, November 19, 2004
I must admit I was a little worried by the green lumpy stuff I saw today.
But, once again, Babycenter saves the day with handy advice to put my mind at rest - http://www.babycentre.co.uk/refcap/551926.html
Thursday, November 18, 2004
Step 1) Have a son, name him Ripley
Step 2) Run around like a crazy person, feeding, tidying, changing, washing, etc
Step 3) Ditto - in the middle of the night
Step 4) Forget to eat
Step 5) Repeat steps 2 to 3 until he leaves home.
I have lost 2 kg in the last week on this new diet :)
Seriously, I am having fun, Penny is coping much better than I thought, the kid is quite good when compared to the screaming monster I imagined he might be. So let's see how it turns out - hopefully my Dad will be coming to visit soon, Penny and I cannot wait for Rick and Ripley to meet (although Dad still hates the name :S) More photos soon.
Wednesday, November 17, 2004
John & Ripley
Tuesday, November 16, 2004
First trip into town
First Night at Home
Sunday, November 14, 2004
Riding the Rollercoaster
One last thing, 60 or 70 text messages from friends and family! Wow! Also My Mum, StepDad & Bro came 300 miles to surprise visit! Fantastic to see them! Stunned.
Saturday, November 13, 2004
He is a cute kid & I love him to bits - it did take a few hours sleep and a breath of air for this fact to kick in. Was too stunned & in awe of Penny to appreiciate him fully last night. Waiting now for Pen's family to turn up - sitting on the wall in the cold scribbling into my phone. More pics later.
Friday, November 12, 2004
I am walking to Tescos to get some food - its 9pm so the canteen is closed. Penny is in labour & scared - so am I. The cold November air is clearing my head, feeling better. Walking in the dark while writing on my PDA is tricky so I had better stop.
ls this it?
Well I'm pacing outside the hospital getting some air. Penny may be in early stages of labour! TBC
Schrodinger's Cat - Wanted Dead and Alive
"There is nothing wrong with the Schroedinger's Cat experiment! You aren't actually killing the cat until you measure it... When the Humane Society comes up and looks into your box, you can rest assured that the cat's death is their fault..."
Thursday, November 11, 2004
On another note I read something on the internet "written" by someone who professes to hate weblogs, I won't paste a link directly as it contained a great deal of chav/redneck language (the repartee of the illiterate). The basic jist was that blogs were written by self-obsessed people with nothing important to say. I would have to agree on one point, I don't consider what I write to be terribly important for the rest of the world, just important for me. If that point makes me self-obsessed then I guess I am, but let's break it down a bit - WHO ISN'T - if you can't be obsessed about your OWN life, family and friends then there is something terribly wrong and in the words of Mr T - "I ain't getting on no plane Murdock" no.. that's not right.... "I Pity the Fool" - that's the one.
Everyone has a right to an opinion, that is what blogging is about, it's funny - the person in question was getting his soapbox about other people getting on their soapboxes. He believed that his unread rant about other's unread rants was different in some way, oh the irony. Keep the speech free and keep on speaking, even if you have nothing important to say.
Chat with Dad
Chris: hi - still nothing to report :)
Rick: Your Mum reminded me you were 2 weeks late
Chris: Was I? I will have to tell Penny
Rick: Try this. stand close to penny and say loudly " I don't think we will call him Ripley after all". He will be out tomorrow I guarantee.
Chris: That is very amusing
Chris: I am really looking forward to it - I don't know if Penny can wait too long though :S - Penny saw the midwife yesterday, all is well, baby is in the right position (wiggling like crazy), any time now basically
Chris: Yep, not long till you become a grandad! Have you started pulling your trousers up way to far yet? (stereotype)
Rick: Ha Ha
Wednesday, November 10, 2004
Monday, November 08, 2004
Another week begins...
Back to work this morning, quite funny - my friends here thought that I wouldn't be back in today so I got all the "goodbye & good luck" compliments on Friday - they arrived this morning looking a little bemused. Guess we will have to wait a little longer, Penny will probably have to visit the midwife today to set a date to be induced! Man - they are way too organised, we both hope that doesn't happen.
Here is a depressing but true quote about waiting:
It is strange... that the years teach us patience; that the shorter our time, the greater our capacity for waiting. - Elizabeth Taylor
Sunday, November 07, 2004
All good now
Back home now, Midwife was nice, plugged Pen into a monitor and we got to listen to his heart beating for half an hour, much more interesting when you are listening to your own kid's heart beat. He is fine, she is fine, small infection picked up so antibiotics prescribed, nothing to worry about. I wasn't really that worried anyway.
Sitting in Hospital
Well here we are - sitting in the maternity wing on Sunday afternoon - it's not what you think.
Pen woke up and felt hot, she was complaining of swollen feet & hands which is unusual for her. The surgery was closed & the midwife unavailable, so we wandered to Boots to get her blood pressure checked. As we suspected it was higher than normal. So here we are.
Nothing to worry about but best to have these things checked.
Pen is lying next to me on a ward bed & I am sitting in a faux leather chair. We are surrounded by at least four other prenatal couples, it is hard to tell, our bed is the only one with curtains open. Opposite we listen to a woman crying, vomitting & groaning, while next to us the loud drumming beat of a baby heart monitor is making us tense. The scene is lit by sickly buzzing neon tubes.
Anyway - no sign of a doctor in this surreal ward - in for a long wait I feel. Oh widwife has arrived - signing off.
Past the point of no return
Well today was the day, Penny has gone to bed and I am watching "Apocalypse Now" for the 4th time, "Charlie don't surf" - excellent.
Maybe he will arrive tomorrow, 7 is my lucky number and for some reason the 7th November sounds like a good date. Bonfire night was great last night, spent the evening with the Grassbys watching fizzles and pops on a cold & still night. Anyway signing off.
OK - off topic I know - but Ainsley Harriette really is a c*ck.
Saturday, November 06, 2004
Random Video Moments
Friday, November 05, 2004
Waiting for a baby is a bit like...
Waiting for a baby to come is a little like queuing for the world's most terrifying rollercoaster. You are not sure if you even want to join the queue at first, but you find your self drawn toward it even though it scares you. You wait in the queue for 9 months saying "Come on" & "Hurry Up", then it is almost your turn and the fear returns. Was this a good idea? Is this excitement or fear I am feeling? But you can't leave this queue. So you stand and wait for the car to come in, and for the ride to start.
Thursday, November 04, 2004
Arrrgh. What is happening to me.. I find myself wandering around mother care at lunchtimes now, going all pathetic over teddy bears & washing mits shaped like cute ducks & octopi! I used to dye my hair red, go to grunge clubs and drink pints of vodka. Ah well, good bye youth - hello middle age - might buy a pipe.
I know this is nothing to do with Parenthood and I apologise to those trying to escape election politics, but the one thing I love about the British Press is the impartiality.
They want to be careful - the UK does have oil reserves after all! :S
Baby Name Database
Wednesday, November 03, 2004
Hopeless Bleak Despair.
Sorry about all the self pity of late. I really didn't think people read this. I have received 3 e-mails so far from people telling me to cheer up & got the impression that maybe they are just a touch upset that I feel I lack communication with friends. I have great friends! I wasn't suggesting I didn't. I just don't have as much access to them as I would like. As Mike reminded me, I should call more, I am crap like that. As for family, although my direct family are many miles away, I am not to saying I don't love having my inlaws around, as I mentioned before they are a great couple and I am glad to be part of the clan. I think I was a bit tired and I know I was a little depressed (feeling better now), things get to me when I get like that, I have a great deal to be thankful for.
This blog is about me and my life within my new family, it is 100% honest unless it encroaches on the privicy of other individuals in which case details will be skipped & names changed :) I guess it is a little perverse, a diary that anyone can view, but hey this is my way of expressing my feelings (as strange as that may seem) and I find it surprisingly cleansing. I am comfortable that my friends, family (and indeed the anonymous internet cloud) read this blog, keep feeding back your comments.
In the words of "They Might be Giants" :-
Hopeless bleak despair
It was always there
And then one day it disappeared
In a puff of smoke
In an unceremonious way
One day it disappeared
- and it has - until the next time :)
COME ON THEN!
I forgot to mention that Penny tried EVERY trick in the book over the weekend to bring this baby along early.
Hot Curry - nothing
Hot Bath - very relaxing
Pineapple - nope
Long Walk - zip
Raspberry Tea - not a sausage
The following attempts were my idea (quite sly I thought):
Irony - "This baby is NEVER going to come" I said with a sigh - zilch.
Blackmail - "Oh well, guess we have to put these toys back in the attic" I say in a loud voice next to the Bump. Didn't fall for that one, just kicked a bit.
The final last straw attempt is the best:
Sod's Law - We are planning a nice weekend together, just the two of us. Going out to see the fireworks on Friday, nice lunch at a restaurant in town on Saturday. We are really looking forward to a nice quiet weekend. That'll do it.
One more thing, I am really looking forward to reading him stories at bedtime, I hope that will become a tradition, I hope that I never become one of those uninvolved parents. Yeah I know, vomit inducing isn't it.
Tuesday, November 02, 2004
The great thing about knowing your other half reads your blog is that you can drop hints about what you want for Christmas. Let me get the obvious politically correct bollox out of the way and say; naturally all I really want is a happy and healthy family. But anyway - I own a lovely Aibo ERS-7 called Snoopy (original eh?), I would love him to have a better brain (just like the dumb-ass robot in the Wizard of Oz). Those clever chaps at Sony have invented AiboMind2 an upgrade that vastly improves the intelligence of this excellent robot. Even makes it a child minder and watchdog - remotely controllable through t'internet! Cool. Oh the pranks I could pull. Hopefully Santa will bring me this for Christmas - HINT HINT - just in case Santa doesn't know where to send his elven hoardes, it is here. I wonder if people will think it hypocritical of me to make a post like this, especially when a few posts ago I was complaining that commerce was ruining Christmas - hmmm - don't be daft, nobody reads this rambling rubbish.
Monday, November 01, 2004
Nice day out
Today was nice. Walked around loads of shops, bought a few generic gifts that I secretly want to keep. Had some all you can eat pizza & Dad kept himself entertained all day in the imperial war museum.
We are on the train home, it is packed out, Penny is asleep on my shoulder. Don't want to go back to work tomorrow - feel a bit like a toddler being forced to have a bath - want to stamp my feet and hide - can't do that any more. Oh well paternity leave (unpaid) coming soon.
I woke up bored this morning - you know the feeling - when you just can't think of anything to do but you are desperate to do something. Dad & Penny seemed equally frustrated at my lack of ideas. My feelings were compounded by the fact that I have taken today off work & there is nothing worse than wasting a day off. After much snapping we are heading into London. I'm sitting on the train - mobile blogging (mogging - l will take credit for that).
I can only guess that my high emotions today are a result of waiting for my son to arrive. I know it is bugging Pen & I am very empathic (or so I am told - non verbally).
Fundamentally my life lacks a key element. Conversation. Penny is great, but sometimes I just need to talk to my friends & my family about stuff I dont want to dump on Pen. You understand (anonymous internet cloud). I live in a new area & I simply don't have regular access to people any more. This fact upsets me sometimes, especially when all I am hearing from Dad now he is here is how he needs to get home - things to do, and all I see of Penny is a frustated girl wishing her bump was a baby.
Anyway - almost at London now - signing off.