How would you describe yourself before having kids? Happy How would you describe yourself now? Even happier. It gives you the licence to be a kid again. You can play with trains, jump on the bed, make funny noises, make up words, watch kids tv all day All things my wife would never let me do before we had Baby. What books did you read pre-wife’s birth onwards? I didn’t want to read wifey’s pregnancy books so I escaped into fiction. The Omen in retrospect wasn’t the best choice. What’s in your daddy bag? Some nappies, some baby wipes and a small bottle of whisky. What advice did your mother /father give you that you found very useful?Dad advised me to buy myself a shed. I know what he means but we don’t have a garden. So I make do by locking myself in the loo and pretending I have constipation. How does your parenting style differ from your own parents? They seemed to know what they were doing. How has your relationship with your wife changed since having kids? No sex. Have you found your usual blokeish repartee being replaced with things like mummy chatter? Our poker school used to be about drugs and women.Now its about nappies and the best school to send your kids. What’s the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you as a dad?Running through the park chasing little one shouting “Here comes the tickle-monster” can be liberating. But when caught doing it by a gang of hoodies it can be a bit embarrassing. How has fatherhood changed you? I never used to cry before I became a dad. Now I’m in floods watching wifey’s chick flicks. I’ve found a love for Peppa Pig which I didn’t know I had. And I’ve never knew I could find such a thrill in someone having a dump in a toilet.
In the last few weeks baby has morphed from a sweet happy baby into a screaming attention seeking little miss drama queen.
Next week we are going on holiday to Italy for a week and I’m nervous. Unlike my parents who never really had a child free holiday, being the wrong side of 40 I have had over 20 years of childless holidays. To me a holiday means lie ins. Relaxing by the pool. Doing nothing all day. And sex. I fear that none of these will be on the agenda.
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.
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.
“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.
The good times I have come to pass. For in the last week the devil has entered baby’s body and she has become a toddler with tantrums.
Her favourite word is no longer a delightfully slightly sureal ‘duck’ it is now “No”
Do you want to eat your breakfast.
Do you want to have a bath?
Come and give daddy a kiss
Can you go and get your coat please
Lets puts on some clothes its cold.
Kicking and screaming she is lying on the floor. Rebellious and defiant.My little girl has turned into a monster.
I was expecting that to happen when she turned into a teen. Not when she is 18 months.
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.‘
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.
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.’