Somebody is up before dawn yelling “Snow, snow, snow. Let’s play.”
That somebody is me.

Wifey pulls the duvet over her head. ‘Let’s sleep.’ she moans.
But I can’t.

A layer of whiteness covers the streets. A sprinkling of magic that hides the dog sh*t and the McDonalds wrappers. I pace the house waiting for baby to wake up and looking longingly at the whiteness outside.

This is the first snow my daughter will have ever seen. It will be one of those memorable moments like her first walk or when she first saw Iggle Piggle in In the Night Garden. As soon as she is awake I point out the snow to Baby M. She looks at it like a weary teenager. And walks over to the table picks up the remote control and tries to switch on the TV.

Despite this lack of enthusiasm I persevere. I wrap her up and take her outside into the snow covered garden. Our winter wonderland. I want to capture her reaction. I want to see the look of amazement as she crunches the snow under foot. And looks at a world transformed. Her reaction is – screams. Screams, tears and more tears.

We go back inside.That’s kids for you. They never fail to surprise you. She is now playing with her doll. I am off again outside to throw snowballs and make a snowman.

Dogs Are Smarter Than My Toddler

Baby M is growing up quickly but she is still not as as smart as the average dog. According to new research the average dog can understand about 165 words, including signs, signals and gestures. They can also count to about 5.

Stanley Coren, a professor at the University of British Columbia and leading researcher on dog behaviour is so smart he has letters before and after his name. He has been doing doggy tests, and says the average dog can count, reason and recognise words and gestures on par with a human 2 -year-old.

Dogs can certainly drool like a teenage boy on heat.

“They may not be Einsteins, but are sure closer to humans than we thought,” he says.\r\n\r\nThe smartest dogs, he calls them the “super breeds,” are on par with a 2½-year-old, recognizing up to 250 words.\r\n\r\nWhile dogs ranked with the 2-year-olds in language Coren found that in terms of social inteeligence, our furry friends fare even better.\r\n\r\n”The social life of dogs is much more complex, much more like human teenagers at that stage, interested in who is moving up in the pack and who is sleeping with who and that sort of thing,” Coren told LiveScience.

And, no, not all breeds are created equally.\r\n\r\nThe smartest dogs? The borzoi, chow chow, bulldog, basenji and — finishing dead last — the Afghan hound.

Daddy Goes Clubbing

My body aches from all the dancing. The tunes are still rattling around my brain. My ears are ringing. My body is full of nasty chemicals. But despite that I have a big smile still on my face.

I have been out. I have been partying.Partying at a children’s party organised by the lovely Perform Party people.

The theme was Under The Sea. It was led by a pretty smiling Rochelle who in her in a blue and green silk mermaid style dress wouldn’t have looked out of place in an Ibiza nightclub. With patience and a real joi de vivre she took us parents and kids on a musical journey.\r\nWe played with a coloured parachute (the last time I did that I was at The Big Chill at Shoreditch Town Hall in 1995). And we did a fish dance which wifey and I managed to turn into a nostalgic “big fish, little fish cardboard box” rave dance of yesteryear. It was great fun. Me and the missus dancing round the gym. Her banging a tambourine and me twisting my melons man as I shook maracas like an insane Bez.

I even think baby enjoyed it although most of the time she was looking at herself in the full length mirror or hiding behind a curtain or watching mum and dad dancing insanely with a “are these really my parents?” quizzical look on her face.We don’t allow baby to eat sugary things so afterwards me and the wife ate too much cake and crisps, and drank fizzy drinks as baby tucked into her organic lasagne. It was a lovely way to spend Sunday morning. We really must go clubbing more often.

Perform put on parties for kids ranging from 1 to 12 they also do performance based classes. For more info visit their website.

Rocking Horse

ut together a flat pack rocking horse for baby today. Spent 2 hours fiddling with alum keys,screws and misaligned pre drilled holes. She loved it. Seeing her big smile as she sat on it was great.

But after 5 minutes she got bored and spent the rest of the afternoon playing with the big cardboard box the horse came in.

London Riots – A Dad’s View

It’s easy to condemn. It’s harder to try and understand. It’s easy, when we have money and jobs and people who love us, to label others as scum. But it’s more complicated than that.

I made a documentary series on riots a few years ago with James Brown (founder of Loaded magazine) called I Predict A Riot. We spoke to many people who had been in riots and they all spoke of the exhilaration of the mob. How exciting it was to be part of something bigger. If you are lost and unloved, the mob and rioting can be a beautiful thing. It can give you power. People notice you. They cower in your wake. You are no longer alone, you belong. We spoke to a lot of football hooligans and many started out like this. Looking for a family. Where you all had a common aim and looked out for each other.

Imagine if your heart has never experienced love; If you have never been hugged by your mother; If you have no father and no father figures or male role models in your life; If your overriding emotion is anger, an anger and frustration so powerful that you can’t articulate it; A life so devoid of education that you don’t possess the words. We don’t like to admit it but there are kids like that all over London, some growing up in council estates just yards from our nice middle class houses.\r\n\r\nI feel part of society. I feel I have an investment in it. I don’t want to smash up my local shops. I don’t want my neighbourhood to be destroyed. These people don’t think like that. They don’t have that concept. They have never been taught the rules of society. My baby drops things on the floor and laughs. Breaking things is fun. You need someone to tell you that it’s wrong. You need to learn it.\r\n\r\nI haven’t spoken personally to any of the rioters of this week but I bet there are some who come from broken lives and would describe the last few days as they best they have ever had.\r\n\r\nOf course there will also be professional criminals who are taking advantage of the chaos. And there will also be little fuckers who do know the difference between right and wrong, do have a loving mum and dad, and just are enjoying the thrill of the riot and smashing windows and looting. But if we are honest, wouldn’t many of us, when we were kids, have been tempted to join in? I know I would. It would have only been the disappointment in my mother’s eyes and the fear of what my dad would do to me that would have held me back.

Ugly fathers produce fitter babies

Good news. Ugly fathers produce fitter babies.\r\n\r\nWomen, take note – that Adonis you\’re eyeing up as the father of your unborn child is the wrong choice. Instead, pick an ugly man – as he will produce healthier babies than an attractive one, research suggests. The theory centres on females knowing they may not have another chance to procreate, so they decide to make the best of what they have – an unattractive male. Offspring from ‘low-quality’ males need extra resources to flourish so females compensate by investing more in the reproduction, scientists claim.

The discovery came after monogamous female zebra finches which paired with the least attractive males laid larger eggs with more orange yolks – a sign of good health.\r\n\r\n\’Females also deposited more testosterone into eggs when paired to a low-quality male,\’ said German bird ­expert Elisabeth Bolund, whose findings were published by the Royal Society.’

Father’s Day

It is father’s day soon and I have started thinking about presents. Not just for my dad but this year for the for the first time in my life, what my daughter might buy for me.

Being only  11 months old she is a bit too young to go shopping on her own so I have been debating whether it is ok to raid baby’s bank account, where we put her child benefit, to buy myself a new pair of jeans. After all what is better –  her future education or for her not be embarrassed by her father looking like a tramp when he picks her up from nursery? I am sure you will agree that it is the latter.

Just in case the above proposal is rejected by wifey I have also been looking for father days gifts. In doing so  I came across adverts for fathers day flowers. It had never crossed my mind to buy flowers for my father. I always buy flowers online for my mum  but not my dad. I think he’d think there was something wrong with me if I turned up with a bouquet. My dad prefers being taken for a beer and being given a set of spanners or some other metal manly thing.?“Flowers are for women, son” he’d say. ?But now that I’m a daddy I quite like the idea. In future years if my daughter sends me flowers I’d be delighted. Just because they are pretty and smell nice, why should flowers be the preserve of the feminine?\r\n\r\nI’m a man and I like flowers. There I’ve said it.\r\n\r\nAlthough I draw the line at pot pourri.\r\n\r\n If you are looking for florists in london why not try Interflora.‘, ‘Fathers Day Flowers’

Why Thomas the Tank Engine rocks

thomas the tank engine

Thomas The Tank Engine is better than everything else in the world, says Joshua Danton Boyd in this funny article at Sabotage Times. Here are three of his reasons why Thomas Rules.

He’s Got Style Have you seen that paint job? Geez, he pulls that off perfect. The thing is, no one else could. He’s speeding down those tracks arresting gazes wherever he goes. Past council houses and posh estates, everyone’s got respect for the way he carries himself. Mick Jagger couldn’t pull that colour scheme off, no way. EvenBowie would baulk at that shit. Thomas doesn’t even care. His look is effortless. He was given that paint job and he owns it without breaking a sweat. You dress yourself and you look like arse.

Ringo Starr Works For Him That’s right. That goggle-eyed, ring-wearing, smiley Beatle has been forced into submission by The Tank. A man incredibly rich and famous is bent to Thomas’ will, narrating every action of his life. Whatever you think of Starr, making a Beatle spend his time concentrating and talking about you is no easy feat

He’s Got His Own Theme Tune Everyone wants their own theme tune. That’s why MP3 players are so popular as they make us feel like whatever shit we’re listening to is sound-tracking our lives. As we walk to work, we imagine ourselves in a film in a desperate ten minutes of escapism where we try to avoid the crushing reality that all we are are tools for our superiors to make money. Thomas gets one done for him for no other reason than he deserves one. A song solely written for him, just like Marilyn Monroe and Princess Di got, except The Tank’s one is a ton better.

Useless Baby

I don’t want to knock my gorgeous baby daughter but it has to be said she is pretty useless.

She is uncoordinated, sleepy, inattentive, forgetful and has no idea how to get her own food and no idea how to protect herself.

Leave her on her own for a day and shed starve and if there was a predator nearby (such as a fox or an eagle) she’d be snatched and eaten.Compared to many animals she is hopeless.

Baby rabbits are weaned off their mums when they are just three weeks old and can fend for themselves.Wildebeest calves, and many other grazing animals, are up and running from the word go, to avoid becoming dinner for nearby predators. Newborn dolphins are able to swim immediately.There is even a name for it – precocial – which describes animals that are active form birth, species that are physically mobile and able from the moment of birth or hatching.

Precocial birds, like ducks and chickens, can often feed themselves as soon as mum shows them what is edible.There are even superprecocial birds such as the bush turkey, and scrub fowl that don’t need their parents at all and emerging from the nest fully feathered and able to fly, run, and claw.

Secrets of Parenting #216

All my life I have watched parents pick up crying children and put their child’s head on their shoulders . Before I became a father I always used to think that this was something you read about in a baby manual something that said this is comforting for the child. Now I realise there is another reason.

Sticking your child’s head over your shoulder makes the ear piercing screams goes behind you, over your shoulder, and not right into your ear. It’s the only way to hold them and not have your eardrums in pain.

Whether its actually comforting for the child I am not sure but its certainly more comforting for the parent.