Friday, 12 December 2014

Finding his hands and other wonderful milestones

I WISH someone had told me that as a parent you will share the joy of your baby's discoveries as much as they do.

Jacob is progressing really well, yes he does have baby eczema and yes he has his grumpy moments, especially when its bed time....

But on the whole he is a relaxed and broadly happy little boy who has brought so much joy into Pam and I's lives and that extends to his discoveries.

As well as making more and more sounds and appearing to want a conversation at times (it's ok to babble back at your child isn't it?) he has developed two particular traits which make me smile and at times laugh.

The first is when he is in his chair, we call it the 'standby' mode. Jacob can go from looking around to suddenly disappearing off deep in thought, moving his hands once in a while.

It's like he is learning on the go, pausing his day to reflect on the new experience and then coming back to us.

The most adorable trait though his how much he has embraced discovering his hands. Despite being part of him since his arrival, he really had no call for them.

That was until he realised they could grab, move things and most adorably, held together. Jacob can spend a good 20 minutes a day simply holding his own hands in different ways.

The look of wonder on his face though is a joy to behold, each combination is greeted with a look as if to say 'ohhh right that's pretty funky'.

Never knew grabbing your hands could be so fun. He is even attempting to hold his milk bottle when he being fed now.


His little hands won't stretch to that yet so there is still a use for daddy lol!  

Bargain Hunt!

No not the TV programme but a blog about the rather silly pleasure I took from Tesco's 'interesting' approach to deals on Pampers nappies.

Pampers New Baby Size 3 (What can I say, Jacob is a growing lad) were on sale in plentiful supply. Packs of 29 were £4 each, a pack of 50 was £10 and a box of 74 for £12.

I do love getting the boxes because they last longer and the boxes can be used for storage once empty, very important when family members keep donating clothes!

But there wasn't any, so worked down to the pack of 50....until I spotted a flaw in Tesco's pricing....

The packs of 29 were £4 each or two for £6. Keen mathematicians among you will have already spotted the bargain. Yes buy two 29 packs and get 58 nappies for £6....eight more nappies for £4 less.

However, that was not the 'highlight' of this shopping trip, get two for £6 and buy a third 29 pack and what do you get?

87 nappies for £10, 37 more nappies than the 50 pack for the SAME PRICE!

In the modern Twitter parlance this would be classed as an #epicfail but it was a very welcome 'fail' by Tesco on this one.

Hopefully they don't notice the flaw for a while, could do with saving money as apparently it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas....


I hope it's the same in Tesco stores near you, if it is then why not stock up!

Monday, 3 November 2014

If you find breastfeeding 'offensive' you're a tit

SO it 's been a normal Monday morning, going through my tweets, catching up with e-mails and the like when I stumble across this.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-health/11195373/Facebook-removes-mothers-breastfeeding-photo.html

And to say it makes me angry and spoils my Monday morning is an understatement. I know as a bloke I shouldn't get angry as much but I am fed up reading how people find breastfeeding 'offensive' and how mums are banned from shops for doing it.

For crying out loud it will soon be 2015, can we not as human beings differentiate between breasts being used to feed a hungry little human and basic public nudity. It's not like the poor mum in the story was sitting there with her breasts out with a 'come and have a go on these' look on her face!!!!!!!!.

The same goes for the mums banned/asked to stop feeding in shops, every mum I have encountered breastfeeding does it with varying degrees of privacy, from the full on shawl to a slight turn away or a lift up of a shirt. You see nothing and to be honest if you find it sexual you need your head seeing to, if you find it 'vulgar' then sorry you're a prude.

We went to an NCT reunion the other weekend and I turned round inadvertently and ended up with a full view of nipple seconds before a little person began his lunch. I was slightly embarrassed but only because I've got to know the mum and her husband really well but offended no - it's just a little person's lunch/dinner being offered!

My point being is you cannot consider something natural as offensive, mums up and down the land aren't walking around in public with their breasts hanging out. I'm no hippy, far from it but please let's grow up here.

The internet is full of offensive things, let's spend more time complaining about innocent British men being be-headed and the video being shared on Facebook and YouTube than mums doing what mums do best, looking after their babies.






Friday, 31 October 2014

The guilt of being a working dad

I don't know if any other dad feels this, I might be the only one but I want to share it in the hope I might not be the only one.

Since Jacob was born, I've been on top of the world, happy, thrilled I have been blessed with such a healthy and happy child.

I've loved every minute, even when he was screaming the place down the first time I was left alone with him!

I've learned a lot about myself and also learned a lot about how to interact with him and help him.

But throughout I have been hit by guilt, the guilt of missing out on special moments and most importantly the guilt of being a 'part-time' dad.

Working as a journalist I normally do 9am to 5.30pm and I don't mind that, but it's the after hours meetings and events I need to sometimes attend which start me off.

I fear Pam is going to feel trapped and doing everything for Jacob, that she has no break when I am out until 9/10pm at night.

Take last Monday for example, I left the house at 8.15am to get to work, did a full day, drove to a council meeting, covered that and then was wanted for some after meetings chats.

I didn't walk back through my front door until 9.10pm, by which time Pam was feeding Jacob his pre bed milk and would be going to bed herself.

So of course I felt guilty she had been with him all day and I hadn't helped at all....

But here's the thing, Pam is utterly supportive and loving about it, she emphasises she can only do that 
BECAUSE I am working and bringing the money home.

She has never once moaned I was away from home, she's been totally brilliant.

I spoke to my dad, who was fantastic and reminded me that I might not think it but I am doing a very important role, bringing the money in to keep a roof over our heads.

And I do get what they are saying, I do. But I still feel yukky and that I am not doing enough to be a hands on and supportive daddy and husband.

Dads? Did you feel like this? Can anyone help me stop feeling so guilty?


Smiling and other wonderful discoveries

THE most wonderful moment of recent weeks has been Jacob smiling away at both me and his mummy.

After the initial ones which you put down to wind, the moment he smiles lightens my world and makes it a simply wonderful place.

I haven't yet captured it on camera as I altenate between smiling and laughing back at him and simply beam with pride at yet another little development in his life.

There are so many recent examples I could share but my favourite has to be anytime he smiles and then lets out a happy laugh like sound.

Just after a milk feed last Saturday, we were in front of the television and he was switching between staring at this box, looking out the window and back at me.

He looked, he smiled and then was so delighted with his effort he let out the happiest sound.

Other developments in the last few weeks have been an increase in babbling, he's realised he can make different sounds now so we get 'ooohs' 'bahhhhhhh' 'aaaaaahhhhhhh' and all sorts of other wonderful sounds.

And I am delighted to say he now goes on his playmat and plays with the various toys in and around him and doesn't throw up as was his want in the early weeks.

I never realised the pleasure in simply listening to him as he goes about learning about his surroundings.

And of course talking to him is such a joy, especially when he looks and goes 'ooooooooooooooooooo' back!

Development is coming along a treat, and his appetite is the same – 15lb 6 oz and just 11 weeks old.

I always thought I would try and get him to be a footballer, might try rugby league instead!


Daddyhood and how it changes your life

NEXT week, Jacob would have been with us for a staggering three months and in that time, my haven't things changed!

I've tried to write this blog a number of times but got so far and realised there was another aspect to my life which had changed since I became part of the 'Daddyhood'.

It's been a mind-blowing experience for me, I have adored every second so far and hope it will continue long into the future.

The main change is in me, I am now a lot calmer person, work still infuriates me at times but for some reason I now can just take a breath and move on.

Importantly whatever has happened at work I leave it at work and once go through the front door I am a happy person again.

Sleeping as I have blogged about before is very interesting but its the tiredness which has struck me more.

Previously I could easily be found playing Football Manager or watching TV until the early hours then sleeping and be fine the next day.

Now around 10pm I can feel the tiredness setting in, the TV goes off as does the laptop and my bed calls more.

I have always been quite an emotional person but since becoming a dad a new frontier has opened up, previously didn't get upset about stories involving kids as didn't have one.

Now anything involving children and I can feel the tears and instantly think 'How would I cope?' - Why does parenting do this to you?

We went to an NCT reunion last Saturday and I realised all the mums had different experiences to talk about, natural birth, assisted deliveries and our case c-section.

Yet the dads were exactly the same! How you coping?, er it's been mental, How you finding being back at 
work? Crap Have you done the really bad nappies? Yup


I will end on the biggest mind blown I still can't adjust to, Jacob will be a toddler, a little boy, a young man – I can't picture him as a little toddler running around and talking yet can't wait at the same time!

Friday, 3 October 2014

Our Hospital Visit

TUESDAY saw us visit Birmingham Children's Hospital to look at the extra finger Jacob was born with on both hands.

It's the first time I have ever visited BCH and apart from parking it was a nice experience, a lovely child-friendly hospital which must ease the worries of the little people who sadly need to spend a lot longer than we did there.

Speaking to the specialist she explained she would not touch him until he was a year old and then x-ray his hand to see whether he was double jointed and the extra finger could just be removed or there was more bone to remove.

Strangely we weren't fearful at all because I was born with the same thing Jacob has, an extra finger on both hands! But apart from me and him I can find no other example of this in my family.

The only decision it looks like we will have to make is whether to have both done at once or one at a time, it's a two week healing process so I reckon we ought to grin and bear it for a fortnight leaving our poor Jacob with no hands!

But the specialist was lovely, Jacob of course woke up as he does love to charm ladies in the medical profession!. She spoke to us both in a language we both understood and didn't need to have spent seven years at medical school for.

To be honest the only drama occurred on the way home as the brakes on our car were awfully spongy. Halfway home they became so dangerous that when I braked at just 20mph the back wheels began to skid.

We limped to a garage who were wonderful and repaired our car quickly without hassle and at a very lovely price.

It was a frightening experience for someone who is still very much a novice driver but I was chuffed with the way I coped and didn't carry on driving!

Of course our wonderful son slept through most of it even when he was in his car seat by the side of the road!

Within an hour of being home Jacob was lying on his playmat and together with mummy kept demolishing his little building blocks!

All in all a day of two halves!


We have a 7 week old!

CAN someone help me?

It seems like only two minutes I was sitting in recovery holding my newborn son. Something has happened though and we appear to have skipped seven whole weeks.

On Thursday, Jacob will be two MONTHS old! I mean talk about time flies but this period has been like being on Concord! - Not that I would know, closest I get to Mach speed is when I shave with a particular razor....

It's been a terrific voyage of discovery for the little man and for his mum and dad, I've already blogged on the sleep issues. What is wonderful is how he appears to be cluster feeding in an evening to try and go as long as he can during the night.

But to watch him learn about the world is still a sight to behold even seven weeks on. Those wide eyes when he is taking in a black and white picture, when his bouncy giraffe is doing its thing or even when daddy makes strange noises (to amuse you understand) is enough to make you forget any crap in the 'real world'.

He already has little character traits that make you laugh, first thing after his 'breakfast' feed he adores lying in his crib looking at the morning light, transfixed!

I marvel at how he falls asleep in the loudest environments, not happy when he's put in his car seat but as soon as he is in the car and on the motorway he can be sound asleep.

I can take him for a walk in his pushchair and be by the busiest nosiest road and do I hear a peep, nope? Sound asleep

Even when he is having 'interaction time' with us, his yawns and his little facial expressions are enough to bring a smile to the grumpiest daddy after a long day at work.

He's learning so much about the world around him, sometimes we put him in his bouncy chair and watch him piece together everything he has learned during the day.

Medically he is sailing through all his tests and checks and wonderfully passed the hip scan the doctors wanted because he was pulled out bottom first.

All in all we have been blessed, here's to many more wonderful weeks!


Friday, 26 September 2014

Nappy changing

I'VE come to the conclusion Jacob hates having his nappy changed and probably would be happy lying in his own mess!

The kid is that laid back that trying to do the decent thing and cleaning him up causes much crying, whimpering and general moaning.

I thought this was normal, well that and the fact he loves weeing over whoever is unlucky enough to have the task of cleaning up.

Maybe all babies hate being naked until they hit toddler hood and then like to roam free as nature intended? I shouldn't fear, all will be well and hey, I can make him laugh after he's been changed!!

Then we visited my cousin at the weekend, who became a dad for the second time in May. His little boy needed changing, so I thought oh boy prepare for the fireworks.

Instead he lay there, had a good nose around and was stripped completely naked (it was one of those nappy changes!) and was perfectly happy, not a tear or a whimper or anything.

HOW DARE THIS CHILD BE MORE CHILLED OUT AND PERFECT THAN MY OWN!!

I guess that's another part of the journey we can share, I am kind of looking forward to the exhibitionist naked phase to see if I am a prude or just sitting there laughing!

I would like to calm him down when changing him though, nothing works so far but its a work in progress!

Babies are strange aren't they!


Sleep!

REMEMBER it? That thing you used to do of a night....no not that you dirty little so and soes.

Despite parenthood changing our whole lives, the biggest change for me personally has been sleep. Luckily we have a child whose very keen on sleeping when it's dark so that is challenge one out of the way.

However, we have both gone from seven hours continuous sleep to seven hours in installments which isn't too bad. Making my lunch at 6am while waiting for a bottle to warm does shave time off my morning routine!

I am starting to think though all the tips to get them to sleep are rubbish and your baby will do what the heck he or she likes. The only input you have is if you listen to what they want then they MAY oblige and give you some much needed rest.

In the last 10 days Jacob has increased his feeds of an evening, up until 4pm he quite happy to go three/four hours between his milk. After 4.30pm though, he becomes 'The Milk Monster' and makes it quite clear he wants milk at 7pm.

I like to think he is pleased to see me and wants to reward me for a hard day's work with some daddy time but it's probably just because he's starving!

That takes us to about 9ish when he is then after it again and up until the last two nights he guzzles away happily and then falls asleep. However the last two nights he's been so knackered from all the playtime with mummy feeding is hard work.

It's a routine of sorts because after 9pm feed he is very happy until at least 3am/3.30am which gives us some much needed snooze time!

But it's not the same for everyone and I am not showing off at all, just think its the luck of the draw!

Monday, 15 September 2014

Five things I'd like to tell myself when I was a dad to be

REFLECTING this weekend on how much life has changed since Jacob came tumbling into the world I thought to myself how great would it be to go back to your dad to be self for one day?

You could give yourself advice and tips on handling your little bundle of joy before he/she arrived and become a super dad in the process!

Oh how good would you look if you had the answers before the problem even occurred. As Pam was having a sleep and Jacob decided to have a snooze in my arms I thought I'd come up with five things I'd go back and tell myself.

1) Getting wee'd and poo'd on is normal - Before having a baby, the idea of being wee'd and poo'ed on is reserved for the more kinkier minded. Now it's normal, especially if you have a little boy. There's even the strange moment you enjoy it...no not because of what you are thinking you dirty minded lot....but you are happy your little pride and joy is not constipated!

2) The strangest things can settle your baby - Once winded, cleaned and fed they just cry for whatever reason. Your brain will start throwing suggestions and your little baby will suddenly respond. One such night involved me walking up and down the living room in the pitch black making endless shhhhhhhh noises.....

3) Babies trump and yes it's hillarious - winding a baby is amusing especially when they belch very VERY loudly but nothing beats a good old trump. What is even more amusing is when they do it so loud it actually wakes them up from a slumber. Juvenile humour yes but goodness they are a comedy goldmine at times.

4) You are going to feel like the ultimate stud - Dad's not going to lie to you the idea of going out on your own to give your beloved a lie in is daunting for two reasons a) Being seen with a pushchair could be seen as a bit feminine or b) They could start doing something only mummy knows how to cope with and your miles away from home! However after the first trip out a strange thing will happen, you will suddenly walk like you are totally on top of the situation and with a swagger that says 'Yes my tackle works and helped make this, I am male HEAR ME ROAR!!!!!!.....or was that just me?

5) Conversations with the wife - be warned, when you talked about serious matters of state or your day, you may find yourselves talking about how many poos your little one has done.....

Oh and one thing which is non negotiable and is therefore not a sixth point....FOR GOD'S SAKE DON'T PANIC!! THERE IS AN ANSWER YOU JUST HAVE TO WORK IT OUT!!!



Tuesday, 9 September 2014

The Great Nappy Debate

'GET Aldi' they cried, 'works for us, we tried them all and Aldi didn't leak or anything' – that was the advice before we had Jacob.

Being a bit old fashioned though we wanted to start with an established brand name and since Huggies left the building for the most part, it was Pampers for us.

And now, three weeks in I can honestly say we are happy with the results. Jacob has never been wet when changed or stained his clothes as a result of a leaky nappy.

I accept it may be down to correct fitting by mummy (certainly not daddy!) but given the force he can do his business I think a lot of credit has to go to Pampers.

We are already on size 2 of the Pampers New Baby because Jacob was so heavy and what I like is the numbered system showing you when you perhaps need the next size up.

Yes before anyone says it I am that simple!

I also like the line on the front of the nappy which changes from yellow to blue in the event of a wee related change of nappy.

Many other products do it as well but we are very comfortable with Pampers, some of the changes we have done have been very heavy and wet nappies yet Jacob's skin is remarkably dry.

I've realised in the early weeks of fatherhood that baby's mean big business and there is so much competition for your hard-earned cash.

If something works but costs a bit more then surely it's better to stick to it? I accept Pampers may not work 
for some parents but for us, first time parents, they've been great.

How has everyone else found nappies? Did anyone go through different brands before settling on the ones for them?


Thursday, 4 September 2014

Going back to work....:-(

I WOULD like to complain, no antenatal class teaches you how to cope when the day comes for you to return to work....

Monday was easily the hardest thing I have ever done, after two weeks of feeding, changing, going on walks and generally being a hands-on daddy, the need to earn money prised me away.

I did do my best toddler impression and tried to throw a tantrum (in my mind, the wife doesn't need two babies!) but the time had come.

I could have course not gone but pretty soon we'd have had no house and I don't think it's fair to put a newborn in a cardboard box.

Pam was amazing and did his night feeds so I could get some sleep ahead of going back to work but when the alarm went it was still full of dread.

I just about got dressed and made my lunch before it was time to say goodbye. Held my emotions at the bedroom door and then said goodbye to Pam and to Jacob who I swear deliberately looked even more 
adorable just to add to the moment.

But despite nearly being in tears on the way to work, they both had a wonderful day and have had a great week, me going back has given Pam a surge of confidence and I could not be prouder of her.

As a result I feel better, yes I miss them like crazy when I am at work and wondering what they are doing.

However, Jacob needs his mummy and needs his daddy to love him and care for him but also protect him and the best way I can do that is keep a roof over his head.

Should dads have longer at home? I think so yes but to be honest the levels of paternity pay from the Government are pitiful.

I lost £200 from my salary and that was only with one week's paternity leave and the other as annual leave.

But there is no better feeling than driving home from a day at work knowing you will see your loving partner 
and baby.

I adore walking in and taking over to give Pam a break, hillariously last night I walked in just before a feed so changed his nappy, started to feed and what did Jacob do? Fill his nappy.


Talk about a welcome home......parenthood eh?

Friday, 29 August 2014

In praise of the NHS - part two

I'VE put part two as I am pretty sure I have wrote good things about the NHS on this blog before....

Part of the wonderful experience of being new parents was the care we had from the midwives and surgeons at Worcestershire Royal Hospital.

From Pam Jones and her team the weekend before Jacob was born, to Ellie, Ali and Katie after his arrival, Pam was in safe hands throughout her time in hospital.

Midwives are the unsung heroes of the NHS, we were so well looked after from actual care to them just sitting and talking for a moment or two answering our newbie questions!

Ellie was wonderful on the delivery date itself, looked after Pam all the way into theatre and kept nice and calm when Jacob was born and needed just a little help to get started.

Even when she was called away to care for another lady in labour, she found the time to come back at the end of her shift and apologise - even though she was sharing her talents and helping another woman bring new life into the world.

The post natal staff were just as wonderful, they could not have done more to help Pam breastfeed but sadly Jacob was too laid back to latch on. A problem he still has now when he has his bottle!

But the care was exceptional, support and advice was forever on hand despite the ward being busier than Kings Cross at rush hour on numerous occasions.

It makes you appreciate what we have for free in this country, the NHS is an institution which needs to be modernised and nursed back to health.

To all midwives, I salute you. To all those who helped us from August 13 to August 16 I thank you on behalf of Pam and of the not so little Jacob!

Our First Days as a Mummy and Daddy

WE SURVIVED!! Well we have for the first two weeks anyway. Mission one of parenting, don’t kill it has been achieved!

It’s been an eye-opening two weeks, funny because a lot of the time Jacob kept his eyes closed!!!!

And everybody who said it would turn my world upside down was absolutely correct, life as we know it changed massively on August 14.

The biggest lesson I have learned though is to watch my son, his cues nearly always give a guide as to what he wants at that moment.

Oh and to not panic, those early days when they cry for no apparent reason can sometimes solved with more feeds, especially if they are trying to regain their birth weight as Jacob has been.

The Sunday night after we came home saw both of us have meltdowns, it’s only the next day we looked at things and realised he was just after another feed!

Hindsight is very important for new parents!

I’ve learned a lot about myself, especially if I relax and let my instinct take over I am actually quite good at taking care of him.

I have also learned that there is another level above love, I love Pam and would do anything for her but Jacob….just looking at him sleep can make me feel WOW

To any dads to be, some advice:

-          ALWAYS sleep when they sleep when you get home, you will need it and it’s amazing how the extra power gained with a lunchtime nap sustains you during the 3am feed.

-          Tackle nappies as soon as you can, they don’t smell during the first few days so it’s a good chance to hone the changing skill before the smelly ones arrive.

-          Being weed on is a badge of honour, you can learn to try and block it but the clever so and so’s work around it…

-          Try and do as much as you can for your beloved, it will be appreciated.

-          If you need to go out in first few days after you come home, walk to the shop if you can. Fresh air is wonderful and you might feel a little spaced out.

-          Be prepared your normally sharp brain may be a little fuzzy,  for example you might go to the bank to pay a cheque in and forget to take your wallet……
But most importantly, enjoy it! It’s a wonderful voyage of discovery and one I am so glad I brought a ticket for!

Welcome Jacob Edward James George

THURSDAY, August 14 was quite simply the best day of my life as it saw the birth of Jacob via c-section.

I have tried to sit down many times to record the day with a blog but don’t feel I ever had the words until now, two weeks on.

After an overnight stay, I got to Worcestershire Royal for just after 8am, Pam had already been seen by the anaesthetist who was friendly and very calming influence.

The surgeons who would perform the c-section arrived soon after and were again very professional and personable.

They asked us if we knew the sex as apparently they had done a c-section before and announced the arrival of a baby girl, to blank faces from mum and dad who did not know what they were having!

A quick scan confirmed Jacob was indeed breech still and then it was a slow walk to the theatre, Pam went for her spinal block while I changed into some delightful scrubs. Don’t worry, no pictures exist of how I looked!
Pretty soon it was time for me to go in, I thought I would go a bit weak seeing all the equipment but a very calm state descended over me.

The lovely midwife popped me on a chair next to Pam’s head and once the anaesthetic did its thing it was time to bring Jacob into the world.

Apart from a bit of pulling, you wouldn’t have known what was taking place and then came the moment that will live with me forever.

Jacob was born and held above the partition for us to see, our gorgeous little boy melted both our hearts by looking straight at his mummy!

He was checked over and didn’t go pink as quickly as they would have liked, of course as soon as the paediatric nurse was paged he soon responded.

But I was soon asked to go over and say hello and cut the remainder of the cord, a nice touch by the hospital to ensure the dad can experience the sensation.

I did think it would be very spongy but it’s actually really gristly and tough, comforting in a way to know something so hard-wearing fed him for nine months!

After a short while in recovery, including plenty of male bonding, we were back in delivery (no rooms in the antenatal inn) and I got to speak to family and friends and let them know the good news.

Dads, give yourself a minute before you call people to let them know, I spent a good minute just rambling with excitement!

We ended the first day on antenatal, I handled the first two nappies which any new dad MUST do, as you get the badge of honour of being weed on then!

All in all it was a momentous day which Pam and I won’t forget in a hurry, 10.31am on 14/08/14  is a moment I will treasure forever


Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Dear Jacob

WELL son, today's the day.

Thursday, August 14 will be your birthday and while me and your mum didn't expect things to happen like this we can't wait to meet you.

We've had a wonderful journey since your mum came bounding into the bedroom in January to say you were on the way.

From the first scan where you had everything you should have and were healthy to the 20 week scan where we found you were a Jacob, it's a been a voyage of discovery.

You have entertained us with your movements, your obliging nature every time a midwife needed to listen to your heartbeat and your kicks whenever I seemingly spoke.

But you have grown healthy and seemingly happy despite mummy's diabetes (I'll fill you in on it all when you are a little older).

And now it's time to come join us on the outside. Sorry about that but you have to admit there is hardly any room where you are now!

You'll see a light tomorrow little man and some hands, don't be afraid. He is there to help you out into the world and see me and your mum.

She'll be the one lying down, she not being lazy just staying still because of reasons you don't need to know yet. Let's just say if you like sunroofs it won't be a surprise.....

As for me, I will be the one looking and asking questions. Not because I'm a journalist but because I'm nosey.

I won't lie to you mate, I will probably be blubbing but hey I guess you will as well so anything to make you feel at home.

There's plenty to discover little man, I can't wait to share the journey with you.

Oh and in case I forget to say it, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

And then there was Sunday...

OUR mad weekend continued with a trip into hospital on Sunday for some steroid injections to get J's lungs up to speed for the c-section on Thursday.

After driving through a monsoon, we were settled in by Pam Jones and her wonderful team at Worcestershire Royal Hospital's delivery suite and the day was mapped out.

Two steroid injections 12 hours apart and should she be OK then discharge on Monday, apart from being on a insulin drip to regulate her diabetes as steroids can make her blood sugars go funny.

Early blood sugar readings were good and while rather painful, the steroid injection passed without incident so after some lunch I was dispatched to Walsall to see my mum and spend time with my dad on his actual birthday.

I came back for the second injection, blood sugars were all good and the second injection passed without alarm. I left on Sunday night full of hope Pam would be back with me at home on Monday afternoon at latest.

HOWEVER, after going into work to get my mind off things on Monday morning I had a call. Jacob was showing to be rather disgruntled on the CTG and I should get over there.

Redditch to Worcester has never gone so quick....of course when I got there the scene was complete calm, his disgruntled state had once again returned to complete calm, the opposite of daddy!

Long story short, he wasn't distressed as babies don't return to calm once distressed but he was unhappy with something and may have tugged his cord or clasped it between his legs or even got tangled up briefly.

Suffice to say a Monday discharge looked unlikely but J seemed to sense mummy was a little upset and when the CTG was repeated at 1pm he was very happy, plenty of gymnastics and content heartbeat.

So we were evicted at 3pm! Mummy Smurf came back to her castle with instructions to return to the hospital at 8pm on Wednesday.

Jacob, you will be evicted on Thursday, no sooner please! We have a CTG again at 12.30pm today, please behave for it!


One mad weekend

FORGIVE me for being quiet but blimey what a weird and at times wonderful weekend.

Firstly I put together J's crib and changing table which just look lovely, would certainly recommend Cosatto Easi Peasi changer.

Very 'Easi Peasi' to set up and it looks very colorful and bold in the corner of Jacob's room. Looking forward to getting to use it next weekend all being well.

We then had the mental situation of a magpie in the chimney breast....yes a magpie. I should explain that on Wednesday night we thought we heard a bird in the chimney which turned out to be a large amount of soot which came crashing down the chimney.

Anyway on Saturday we heard a scratching noise which got louder and louder. On my hands and knees under the fire I then saw a beak....bricking it doesn't do justice to how I felt!

I phone the emergency gas engineers to no avail until Pam shouted up to me he had wriggled his way out and was walking round the front room!

An open door and our house guest soon took his leave! After we calmed down we travelled to Perry Barr to see my dad for his 70th birthday and take him, my aunt and uncle and my godparents to the greyhounds.

I had hoped to win enough to give up work and stay home with Jacob and his mummy forever but sadly doubt I will get by on £23 profit on the night.

A wonderful time was had by all though and was the perfect way to bring to an end our time as a two, the next social occasion will be a three!

And then there was Sunday...but that can come on the next blog.....

Friday, 8 August 2014

I'm going to be a dad......IN SIX DAYS!

SO off we went to the consultant this morning for another scan, full of confidence that we had the next two weeks before baby's arrival....

Just over an hour later, we walked out having been told we would meet the not so little Jacob in just SIX DAYS.

The scan went well and everything is healthy with the boy but he has had a bit of a growth spurt and maybe even as much as 8lb 13oz now.

Still we thought we might be ok but in with the consultant obstetrician everything became clear. J is breech still despite his clear wander down into her pelvis the other day he's gone back to his comfy position.

The wonderful Mrs Duckett at Worcestershire Royal explained the risks very well, she is concerned about the weight he could put on between now and August 22. But also a normal delivery could cause shoulder dystocia. So she suggested a c-section and next Thursday (August 14).

Pam has to go to hospital this weekend for steroid injections to ensure his lungs are up to speed ready for the big arrival and sometime on Thursday he will be with us.

How do I feel? A tiny bit disappointed it has ended this way but to be honest the wonderful Mrs Duckett was simply superb in how she tackled it, she is a credit to the NHS and has offered to try and turn J on Monday if Pam want's to attempt a natural birth.

I am excited though because I will be holding my little boy on Thursday, our pregnancy journey is almost at an end and a fantastic voyage of discovery is about to begin.

The Daddy Smurf is about to welcome Baby Smurf!

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Breasts, pumps and blogger meet ups!

LAST Friday I was invited by blogger extraordinare Emma Harris aka @MeTheManAndBaby to the breastfeeding group run by the Vale of Evesham NCT.

I'm not going to lie, the offer of cake was also a factor but I have never met any of my fellow bloggers and having one on the doorstep, well it seemed rude not to.

Seriously though, I was also asked along to consider a feature for the paper and I am delighted to say Jane Watson-Davis, the organiser has already got in touch with some information.

What I found was a lovely welcoming group where mums were comfortable feeding and got the help and support they needed.

What really came over though is the potential for easing the minds of new mums when it comes to breastfeeding.

Groups like this allow mums to ask questions and not worry or have to go to the doctor with a 'concern' which turns out to be perfectly normal.

Surely that is a good thing? I was also chuffed to see a few dads on hand as well, we might not have the boobies but we can be useful hehe.

A lovely feature is the NCT also run a group next door for the older children, meaning once they are no longer baby and toddlers they can still be involved with their new little brother or sister.

And mums to be were also there to get used to the group before baby arrives, Jane recommended anyone who wants to breastfeed get along to an NCT breastfeeding group before birth to say hello.

I reckon they only do it though to have a look at the bumps!

I also got to hold little Charlotte Harris and over the moon she didn't burst out crying when handed to me, as most babies usually do when passed to the 'Childcatcher' LOL.



It was a bit worrying when she went looking for food, my man breasts are a little flabby but I have not seen milk yet!

My talents also extended to making another little boy smile, maybe the little people have accepted I will be a father so won't be crying in my presence from now on?

All in all a fabulous time, Emma even kindly invited Mummy Smurf to the next one, we might yet take her up on that offer

Hang on, I never got any cake!

I'm sure you don't need the address but do visit @MeTheManAndBaby and her blog at www.methemanandthebaby.co.uk 

Fame at last for the Daddy Smurf!

SOME of you might have seen one of my Twitter ramblings was given national exposure last Thursday night during One Born Every Minute on 4Seven, one of Channel Four's vast family of digital channels.




To say I am still rather hyper about this is an understatement, I can't believe many of you respond to my ramblings let alone a national broadcaster picking a tweet out to show during a programme!

My thanks for 4Seven for showing it during One Born Every Minute, a show which I am beginning to find really does polarise opinion.

For every mum who enjoys it there seems to be one that rolls their eyes and dismisses at as nonense or 'not representative of what really happens'.

But isn't that the case for all such programmes? Not many are going to show the calm delivery, controlled pushing and the joyous and peaceful moment the baby arrives – that isn't 'entertainment'.

No you want to see the screaming, the silly comments, the much vaunted 'back story' – that drives the emotion which leads to more viewers and more 'entertaining' TV.

I will speak up for One Born though, since beginning to watch it I have seen a good selection of birth experiences, from the screamers and the ranters and ravers to the calm serene births.

I do think they do choose entertainment over real life but the selection of births they have screened is good. Remember they can only show the women who consent and want to be involved!

From our experience, Pam drew a lot of confidence from a couple of the ladies who stood up to deliver, seeing it happen can inspire a mum to be to believe they can do it themselves.

Programmes like One Born aren't gospel, you take what you want out of it as a viewer. Whatever your opinion on it, surely that is a good thing?

Monday, 28 July 2014

Four weeks to go...

JUST one month left, one month before our lives change forever! It only seems like two minutes ago since an excited wife came bounding into the bedroom clutching a little bit of plastic with a blue cross.

Fast forward and the cause of that blue cross is now a living, breathing, wriggly little human who is exploring his house in great detail.

J has been breech for about 10 days and was on the last scan but over the weekend it appears our little boy is bored of the new position he found and is off discovering where else he can visit. Of course he never forgets to either lie on or push his feet against that lovely squishy thing next door (aka mummy's bladder)

In the last few weeks I have marvelled at how much her belly moves when he does, yes at first all you can think of is the Alien movies but after a while it's a source of wonder.

I will miss his little thumps and kicks when he is with us, my tummy time is the highlight of the day some days for me, Pam insists he often is soothed by hearing my voice although I highly doubt it - I've never soothed in my life!

Things are progressing so well on his room, we ordered the carpet on Saturday and it's being delivered and fitted TODAY (Monday) such speedy service!

We also brought a Cosatto changing table from the lovely staff at Babies R Us in Oldbury at the weekend who kindly brought the box down so I could see if it would fit in the back of our little KA.

Pictures to come, my DIY skills are to be employed this coming weekend so expect complete disaster and much swearing!

It's time the spare room became spare once again and not Baby J's warehouse of stock we have brought, been given, stole (only joking)

Because four weeks from now, the room will have a little person in it....

Friday, 25 July 2014

I'm thinking of a career change

WOO HOO 50 POSTS!!!!!!!!!!

Anyway now that is out of the way, I can start talking sense...what do you mean that would make a change???

I'VE had a strange feeling the last few days, the feeling that I want to leave my career behind and go down a different path, that of a male antenatal teacher.

This experience preparing us for J's arrival has really opened my eyes and shown me what an important role dads have for their partners through the pregnancy, birth and beyond.

But I have also seen how men can become disconnected with the process, like when you are virtually ignored at midwive appointments and the like.

And I don't know whether it's the giddyness of becoming a dad or just frustration with my current job as a local journalist but I really am thinking of retraining to become an antenatal teacher.

I have had so much help from the likes of Dean Beaumont at DaddyNatal and through the NCT course it has made me think what I can do to help other men becoming dads for the first time.

Without both courses I would be really dense about parenthood and while I appreciate there are many great dads like my good friend Craig aka @ADayInThisDadsLife who did no classes at all, some men (me) do need to learn the basics before baby's arrival.

It was interesting to talk about it at our most recent NCT class and even more so to find Isabelle our teacher was in full support and questioned why there were not more male antenatal teachers in the UK.

Pregnancy highlights the difference between the sexes in my opinion. Women are concerned about their changing body but begin to bond with their baby from a very early stage and obviously have all the attention, as they should.

Men are congratulated and have to make the connection themselves such as touching her belly and talking to the bump but experience no body changes other than the well known sympathy belly...that's my excuse anyway!

It's easy for a man to become disconnected and not involved, none of the changes actually happen to you but there is so much you can do be a great dad before your baby is even born.

I've learned that and do feel like I want to maybe pass on my knowledge to other dads to be, a brave move I know and could be a silly idea but hey, it would be a radical career change!



My biggest fear is...

NAPPIES, there I said it. I am not scared of not feeding him, killing him, exposing him to a deadly virus (ooo someone watched too much 24!) but I am frightened about changing J's bum.

The amount of nappy related dreams I have had this pregnancy has now caused  a real fear, from putting it on the wrong way to not being able to seal it up - I think I am going to be a disaster in the blast zone.

Everything looks just so fiddly and combine that with a wriggly baby, it is the recipe for disaster.

I had the chance to tackle one (on a doll but they all count) at the NCT class and was so fingers and thumbs I swear the plastic child on the changing met did another wee while I was fiddling about!

I need to practice before J's arrival and have contemplating asking my Twitter friends if I can pop round when it's bum change time but realised that would be a jolly good way to lose said friends....

I am stuck, I am throwing myself on the blogging fraternity here to ask for tips and advice but please can someone tell me they felt exactly the same when their partners were pregnant.

I think it's because the feeding will probably be taken care of by Pam herself, I am viewing tackling the end zone as my role in this parental comedy.

The worse thing is I am not actually bothered or even thought about what smells await yet or getting weed on, not that I have fetish for that sort of thing you understand! More that these 'worries' have taken so much of my time up I haven't yet contemplated what delights J has stored up for me.

Any help or support would be greatly appreciated and if anyone has the number for Nappy Changers Anonymous that would be great....

I did find this thanks to Tesco Baby Club so anyone with the same fear, here's a stress reliever of sorts! http://www.tesco.com/babyclub/baby/changing/how_to_change_a_disposable_nappy.page

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Pam's last day at work

ANOTHER landmark reached today as my dear wife is currently halfway through her last shift at work before maternity leave.

To say she is both excited to be stopping - no more early mornings for a few weeks and no standing on her feet all day - is an understatement.

But also she is rather sad and a little nervous about going off into the great unknown, you see Pam always has to be at her work, she enjoys holidays yes but she is a worker.

I think it is the fear of the unknown as well, she has never been in this position and perhaps early nerves about becoming a mum?

We are both very excited about welcoming J into the world but nervous as well, understandable for first time parents or just us being silly?

She has made so many wonderful friends, to say they are not colleagues but friends now shows what lovely people they are and I thank them for being the people they are and for being so supportive during her pregnancy.

It's wonderful to think they will be friends beyond Pam's days in the shop, even if she does not go back.

The issue of whether she does or doesn't is totally down to Pam, I have little say in it because call me old fashioned, I think a mum should decide whether to go back to work or not.

She has carried and given birth to J, if she wants to be a SAHM then great, if she wants to go and do a few hours then great too.

It's nothing to do with me! All I hope is she has a rest and does the things she wants to do while on maternity leave

Monday, 21 July 2014

NCT Session 3 - Caring for Baby

SO THAT'S it, we are ready to be parents!

Three NCT sessions done and dusted with all the skills we may need for labour, birth and the early days.

Am I ready? Nope! But that is not the fault of Isabelle who hosted a fabulous course.

Saturday's session began with taking a look at bathing a baby, changing nappies, sleeping, swaddling and baby wearing.

It was great to finally get my hands on a nappy, albeit around a doll and not a wriggly baby and whose contents were artificial not real!.

I wasn't as fingers and thumbs as I expected but more practice on the old co-ordination is needed, as expected the mums to be were all experts first time...

What was pleasing was Isabelle did go into more detail about bottle feeding and the session really did show
that whatever way you feed your baby, you will do a good job.

After a very lovely pizza lunch, we split up and discussed how the arrival of our babies would impact on us.

Suffice to say sleep, cheeky nights with DVD and wine are now probably out unless J is a heavy sleeper who loves a routine!

What I found really useful was a session with my fellow dads to be to discuss impending fatherhood and how we really can be involved in a major way.

That is the pleasing thing about these sessions, yes they are very female focused but with the right tutor dads are made to feel very important.

The highlight though was a visit from three new mums and dads and their little babies! A huge thanks to all three for sharing their first time experiences and answering a load of questions!

Mother Nature nearly brought on a few labours though with an amazing thunder and lightening blast very close to the venue which sounded like an explosion.

No waters were broken though and the babies on the outside didn't flinch at all, I guess they really do have no fear.

The honesty with which the new parents spoke about labour, birth, breastfeeding and the early days was amazing and really topped off a lovely course.

Dads, sometimes it's a little mum focused but if you are a first timer, book a place on a course near you, you won't regret what you learn and the friends you make.

We both have made some really good friends as a result, next stop BABY!

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

The generosity of others

THIS past weekend has just brought home how loved Pam and I are and to be honest how lucky we are.

My dad has brought us Jacob's cot and the Joie travel system (for all you who love a bit of pram porn there is a picture on this blog) while her parents brought us Jacob's crib, his first bed in the big world.

Added to that the oodles of clothes my cousin has sent us after they had their second boy, the fact they are going to buy the baby monitor and that our families are all giving so generously.

Its blown my mind to be honest, I wanted my dad to rein himself in and took me a while before I understood this is his first grandchild, he's entitled to have a splurge.

Firstly the cot is lovely, as you can see from the pictures it's easy to see why we fell in love with it and a cot bed as well so J is sorted.




Whether it still looks so nice when we get it from flat pack to built in his room is down to my limited DIY skills. Incidentally we had a massive boost as it was a four week wait because it was out of stock when we went to Kiddisave in Walsall on Saturday/

However on Monday I had a phone call....it was in stock and they are holding it for us! A huge weight off my mind!

As for the Joie (no I can't pronounce it either) Chrome travel system, we fell in love with it at the Baby Show and thanks to the lovely staff at Mothercare in Walsall we learned more about it.

Got a cot, car seat and front and rear facing pushchair as a result, it's so easy to operate even Mr Dense here can fold it up in no time!

Just got to get them home now and start assembling them. I know you pram lovers love a good picture or two so yes there will be a blog and maybe ongoing tweets about putting it together.

Man, anyone would think we were having a baby!

Jacob's new friends

I THOUGHT IT was about time to introduce J's new friends, both of whom hope to be his lifelong companion.

On the left is Rosie, who we brought in Bournemouth not long after we told everyone we were expecting a baby, a very fluffy rabbit and cute.

On the right is Buttons the Elephant, who we have inherited and he is just lovely, once the cot is up they are both going to live there.

Daddy is being really daft!! But I promise there will be a picture later in this journey of ours of J with one of them mwah ha ha!

Monday, 14 July 2014

NCT Session 2 - Breastfeeding

BOOBS, nipples and poo filled my Saturday morning yet it's still almost six weeks until J graces us with his presence.

Yes, it was time for the breastfeeding session of the NCT antenatal classes and yet again what an eye opener for this rather dense dad to be.

I started the sessions thinking I knew a fair bit, well ok just enough education to perform my duties, but turns I am a complete newbie.

Again the teacher was lovely, breastfeeding consultant Alison Needham was a delight, very passionate about her subject but not one-eyed enough to suggest the mums to be would be murdering their child slowly if they didn't breastfeed!

She breastfed her three sons and is very knowledgeable about the subject but has a great way in walking mums to be through the process, breaking down what clearly is an emotional rollercoaster for mums desperate to breastfeed and also desperate not to 'fail'.

We learned a lot about the stages of breast milk from the colostrum to the proper milk and she walked us through a typical day, using cue cards at relevant times.

One of the cards mentioned unexpected visitors who want to be waited on hand and foot - let me tell you now any visitor in the first month who expects that will be pointed to the kitchen themselves!

Now, I am going to get dirty...not in the way you are all thinking you mucky pups!

See one of the cards also said 'Matthew' (the imaginary baby used in this day) had done a poo and it had gone 'all up his back'.

This was quite a shock, I know the brown stuff is going to be catastrophically smelly but did think from the adverts for nappies any explosion would be contained, clearly not!

I clearly need more preparation in that area! After a short break us dads got together to discuss certain situations which all just need a little common sense approach but it's good to hear we are all pretty much in the same boat.

We were then treated to a video about breastfeeding, again I never quite knew how a baby actually did it but I do now!

I would say it was far more useful for Pam than for me but certainly opened my eyes and that is never a bad thing, thanks to Alison for her time and expertise.

One more session to go then apparently we will be 'ready' for parenthood, eeek!

A DaddyNatal class to remember




ONE of the highlights of the Baby Show for me was a class by Dean Beaumont, founder of DaddyNatal, classes about pregnancy and birth for dads, by a dad.

Dean has three children and it's clear from the taster session we enjoyed at the Baby Show the full class is geared for blokes and how we can be the very best we can be during labour, birth and beyond.

One of the biggest messages I took away is I cannot fix what might happen, no matter how heavy my desire to do so as a man.

I have to be her advocate and her protector.

ADVOCATE - ensure her 'preferences' are listened to and adhered to (don't do a birth plan fellas, you can't plan childbirth, come up with preferences instead)

PROTECTOR - once the action gets going, protect that carefully crafted environment to ensure oxytocin and endorphins flow naturally while the biggest source of naughty adrenaline (me) basically doesn't exude any!.

It was a fascinating 45 minutes and at the conclusion I spoke to Dean for an article I wrote for the paper I edit which you can read here - http://www.eveshamobserver.co.uk/2014/07/14/news-Picking-up-all-you-need---and-a-lot-of-advice-111619.html

Newspaper articles are forever constained by word limits so I have reproduced the quotes from the interview here

"With the birth of my first, I had done traditional antenatal classes and we went through the birth. It wasn’t a particularly traumatic birth but I came out of it feeling guilty," he told me.

“That then affected the bonding with my son, I then looked at what I had I missed, what had I done wrong and came to the conclusion I hadn’t done anything wrong.

“There was nothing out there to prepare me, from there I went off, did my diploma, did my research and then we started and formed DaddyNatal.”
"It’s all about understanding on how we can best support our families so within the full class we look at the pregnancy, what is happening during the pregnancy, what mum is going through in the pregnancy.
"We look at what us men worry about, what the mums worry about so we get an understanding about that. It’s then on to our role during labour and birth and the post-natally as well we look at the things we have to be aware of and the changes for us and the mum.
“We also do the practical thing like learning how to swaddle, lean about baby wearing. Its all about how all of us make it work together as a family.

“I felt most of the classes I went to was about mum with a little bit thrown in for dad.
“Society has changed and because of this dads have been thrust into the birthing environment but without anyone supporting us to be there.

"Michel Odent came out four years ago and said dads have no place in the delivery room because we can be detrimental and we can be because the adrenillin we can create.
"Therefore if we going to propely support mum we are going to need to properly support dad so he does have a positive effect on the birth and not a negative one.

"We are not there yet, we obviously have different experiences across the country, but it is improving it is getting better but there is still a lot that more that can be done.

"I take it one stage further, I still think brands have a lot to answer for because still within the baby industry brands are very much focused on mums.
"If we had more positive images of dad roles within products it would be more generally accepted that we are talking about a family rather than mum and dad as separate units."

To try and help dads to be like me, I asked Dean for his three top tips to help us get through the biggest change we have ever experienced.
"Firstly, its about preparation, make sure you are prepared, make sure you understand, make sure you have your birth preferences sorted out.

“Secondly, its always about being honest, sometimes as dads if we are criticised we can withdraw, there is no room for withdrawing, we have got to step up, not in a manly way but be prepared to admit if we are unsure or uncertain and look for help.
“Thirdly, at the end of the day just remember we are all on a learning curve but its about our family, forget other people lets focus on what is right for you as a family and make your decisions based n that but always make an informed decision.

I would strongly recommend you buy 'The Expectant Dads Handbook' by the man himself (pic below) because fellas, everything you want to know but afraid to ask is in there in a language we understand!



Fantastic experience and a wonderful opportunity for me to learn from a dad who is clearly passionate about ensuring dads know as much as mums.

Visit www.daddynatal.co.uk for more information

Bumps, babies and bargains at The Baby Show

BUMPS, babies and bargains were all on show as The Baby Show came to Birmingham.

'The best baby products and brands, a fabulous line-up of guest speakers and heaps of family fun all in one place' screams the introduction to the official show guide for the popular Baby Show.

False advertising? Nope. No matter if it's your first or fifth baby, any expectant parent should visit the Baby Show.

When you first find out you are going to be parent, one of the many things which will daunt you is the sheer amount you have to buy for your new bundle of joy.

So what do the organisers of the Baby Show do? Try and get every baby product manufacturer under roof to make the shopping just a little easier.

There was even a race-track in the centre of the hall for you to 'road test' a particular range of pushchairs and travel systems.

All of the big names were in attendance from Tommee Tipee, Cosatto, Britax and Fisher Price to baby care giants Mothercare and Babies R'Us.

There were offers aplenty on all of the stands at prices to suit all pockets - it would not have surprised me if some parents got everything they needed on the day.

For those who truly shopped until they dropped there was even a shop and drop and collect by car service for those bigger purchases.

Guest speakers including Professor Robert Winston, Jo Tantum and Clare Byam-Cook were among those taking to the stage to share their wisdom during the weekend.

A particular highlight though were the classes run by The Natal Family, a family run company helping both mums and dads to be on the journey to parenthood.

Pam enjoyed a relaxing MummyNatal class which focuses on empowering mums-to-be to have the labour and birth they want.

Meanwhile I experienced a DaddyNatal class in the safe hands of Dean Beaumont, father of three and the first male antenatal teacher in the UK.

It was refreshing to be in a room full of dads to be, all of us nervous but instantly reassured by both Dean's own experience and his relaxed style which involves his audience immediately.

I have a whole other blog devoted to a chat with Dean, the original copy of this article was in the Evesham Observer today, therein is the disclaimer as I went to the show on a press ticket.

Visit www.thenatalfamily.co.uk for more information about MummyNatal and DaddyNatal.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Why is 'the belly' public property?

SINCE Pam's home for J has become more round, obvious and beautiful our journeys home have been increasingly dominated by the nice comments customers have made to her.

Now don't get me wrong, I am glad so many are noticing and making the lovely comments they are doing as it's great other people are praising the way she looks.

But it's got me thinking, just why is it so acceptable to comment on pregnant bellies? They are such a conversation starter wherever you are.

Pam works in a clothes shop, so comes into contact with plenty of mothers and women who have all said how nice she looks, 'how long you got left' etc.

And luckily no one (except me) has felt it yet, although I am waiting for someone to try and see how Pam reacts to it...and me come to it, think the alpha male might come out and thump whoever asks!!!!

But no one ever comments on a strangers hair-do, people who are losing weight (how much more you got to lose lol) or someone with a tattoo.

Yet the belly gets comments, I am happy as long as Pam is and I think it's a great source of encouragement for mums to be for complete strangers to say how well they look.

But there is an element of 'why do you care, you don't know my wife' - I guess it's nice to be nice hey?

Saturday, 5 July 2014

NCT Session 1 - Labour and Birth

SO we are through to the other side of our first NCT antenatal session and it was rather an eye opener to say the least.

Teacher Isabelle Karimov is welcoming and warm as were the other six couples joining Pam and I for the experience.

After the initial ‘how do you do’s’ we were asked to split into mums and dads for what we wanted to get out of the course.

Being blokes we were a) practical and b) worried about asking the wrong question for fear of incurring the wrath of our heavily pregnant beloveds so came up with five points.

Of course the mums to be did more, they split it into categories and everything – the only thing missing was some sort of colour coding!

Anyway discussions were had, we went first to a relatively positive reception and some amusement was had one of the mums to be said they feared about ‘losing their figures’. The mum to be expressed her opinion she was surprised we hadn’t mentioned anything about it.

I became alpha male for the first time EVER and gently explained we felt it was more than our life’s worth to have said such a thing!

Discussions on the build up to labour and birth itself were again informative and led us to discover more about the placenta.

Now don’t get me wrong I adore the placenta, it’s feeding J, sorting out all the good stuff for him to enjoy and yes it’s a play thing for my son if he gets bored of growing, eating and sleeping.

But hearing people actually eat it, mmmm that’s one step too far for me and hearing from one couple their friend FROZE theirs after the birth of their baby was also rather ‘interesting’.

By the way, their baby is now four….

After an enjoyable lunch of chatting and nice food, we went on to look at various pain reliefs and positions for birth and I even got to roll a tennis ball up and down Pam’s back…

Given my skill with it I am apparently Britain’s number two tennis player but I digress…..

Pictures of labour and birth (don’t worry fellas, nothing too graphic) concluded a rather fun day for daddy, mummy and hopefully J although he slept throughout.

Overall is it worth it, yes I think it is, you meet nice people, all of whom are in the same situation as you and crucially due around the same time as you.

The Bumps and Babies magazine (below) is very useful as is the antenatal pack (below) and certainly worth a read.

Bring on the breast……feeding session next week!


Thursday, 3 July 2014

So you're going to be a dad?

THIS is kind of similar to a blog I wrote last week about the ten things I have learned about pregnancy but after Neil Lyndon's article I thought I would share some dad to be specifics!

Finding out you are going to be a dad is wonderful, emotional, exciting but scary, frightening and sometimes plain boring when you feel like a spare part!

But go with the journey, there is actually plenty for you to do but for once in your life you are not the driver, you are a passenger.

1) It's OK to be scared - After the elation of finding out and congratulating your tackle for it's hard work reality can come and bite pretty hard. It's fine! You are just adjusting, talk it through if you feel the need but assess the situation with your partner. If she's had a grotty day don't start saying how you are worried, it will not be appreciated! If she keen to hear how you are feeling then  maybe share it, you'll find a load of your doubts aren't really that major.

2) Ride the wave of emotions - She will be angry at you for no reason, but pretty soon she'll be cuddling you and saying sorry. Be aware pregnancy brain can render your beloved completely incapable of some things, try and assist if you can.

3) Let her dictate what she does and when, like I said on the previous post, pregnant women are like iPhones, great fun with a full battery, next to useless when empty. Support and help with anything she is doing. When she has no energy, doing some chores to help also earns brownie points.

4) Educate yourself - don't be afraid to read up on what she is going through. The Expectant Dads Handbook by Dean Bennett of DaddyNatal is fantastic for blokes as it's written by a dad. If you understand what is happening you are likely to be calmer which is just better for your health let's be honest.

5) You are a spare part, it's fine - you will be ignored in the early stages, our midwife is lovely but frankly I didn't exist until recently! But to be honest, do you want any attention or do you want your pregnant partner to get 100 per cent of health professionals focus? A no brainer!

6) The 'Horn' - Not all dads will get this, I accept that. But yes, from the moment you find out you can feel even more horny than a bloke normally is, yes it's possible. A cuddle with your beloved, no real dirty thoughts or any touching and you are 'excited'. It's normal, for some reason your body has delivered a truck load of testosterone to reward you for your part in the conception. She probably won't want to help you relieve the situation (especially those first 12 weeks) so you may need some alone time. Things could change in the third trimester though but let her set the boundaries of what she wants to do. No point asking for sex if she is tired and plainly can't be bothered - you've both earned the right to enjoy it!

7) Establish what you will do in labour and birth - if you don't want to be down there having a good look, don't! I haven't heard yet of a mum to be mad with her partner for not wanting to have a look when baby begins his/her entrance. But if you want to cut the cord, decide early on and tell her you would like to.

8) And finally, GET INVOLVED - It's your baby too, feel him/her kick, talk to her belly, your baby can hear you after a certain time. Your partner will be delighted, she hasn't got to worry about you being distant.

Good luck!

Why is it still 'acceptable' for the dads to moan about birth?

BE warned, this could be a very angry blog. I have just read the biggest load of rubbish I have ever seen from a gentleman called Neil Lyndon called 'Why dads should keep their distance from the delivery room'.

I won't provide a link as I only do so for things that make sense, are informative or at least provide a service. This does neither.

Basically in summary, it was yet another 'how agonising it was for me as a dad to be to see all that going on'.

Oh poor you, it must have been so dreadful after suffering for the whole nine months with all sorts of things.

Oh wait no, she was the one that grew, your contribution to the first nine months was to ejaculate!

The muppet reveals he has had a 'multitude of marriages', not a surprise given how 'supportive' he is to the mothers of this children.

On the afterbirth he commented: “Dear God there's another one arriving”. Yes because a human looks exactly like a bag of blood and veins and it's not like you have a scan or anything to check the contents of her womb...

I know as a first time dad it may be unpleasant, I will see things I have never prepared for and yes it could make me feel a tad unwell.

But blimey, compared to what Pam will be undergoing my role will be a breeze – something Neil Lyndon will not understand.

Again it seems acceptable to say 'hey chaps, going to be a bit unpleasant so why should you have to be in there.'

No concept of responsibility, you put the child in there, you ought to step up and be a man and be there when it comes out.

Too many kids grow up without a father, sometimes because it's the best thing I accept that entirely, but sometimes its because the little boys that fertilise women can't step up.

Articles like this only help reinforce that: if it's OK to miss the birth then it's ok to leave the parrenting to the women.

I won't be any hero at the birth, I am not claiming it's heroic, noble or brave for a bloke to be there.

I would have just been witness to a wonderful moment and maybe yes become a man at long last.

Anyway rant over...

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Ten things I have learned so far...

TO celebrate 30 weeks of pregnancy, I thought I'd share the 10 lessons learned so far...

1) Never predict how you will react when your beloved tells you she is pregnant, my reaction to her peeing on a stick was to be mute for the first time in years!

2) If you are keeping it secret, learn to lie - A LOT

3) Do try and ensure the scans go as close to time as possible, she has full bladder which won't get any lighter

4) Do NOT joke about: running water, taps or peeing while waiting. It will not be appreciated 

5) Be prepared, her food taste will change without warning. That meal you used to love? Yeah she might not like it anymore

6) Do not, I repeat NOT overdo the 'you should be resting comments' - pregnant woman are like iPhones, fantastic and do loads with a full charge but next to hopeless when the battery is on red.

7) Fellas, she looks amazing and you have so many dirty thoughts in your head you could write a porno. She doesn't...supportive and massages might be all you get to do...

8) Don't rule anything further than 7) out though but try and think with brain and not the old fella

9) When she feels huge, don't state the obvious! Again you might not like the response!

10) Fellas, it's ok to panic - it's normal but it soon passes. Oh and you will have a moment when you are with your own dad where you will think:

"Christ, I am going to be father!"

Enjoy, it's a marvellous trip!