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  • HyperHam 2:52 pm on January 31, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , baby,   

    Advice for new parents, from…a new parent 

    Alex turned 1 year old last week. We didn’t do anything major – his aunts and uncles came over and sang him Happy Birthday, and he was more interested in the fruit on his cake than the cake itself, but it was nice, and we got to have a great family moment. Since then I’ve been vacillating between calling him a baby or a big boy – he can pull himself up now, and take small steps when we hold him; he can feed himself by hand, and hold his own sippy cup to drink, and we’re working on him feeding himself with a spoon; he’s chatty and adventurous and loveable in his own special way.

    A few weeks ago we were at a cafe, and sat next to us were a couple with a 10 week old. I commented that they looked great for having only had the kid a few months, and that I couldn’t remember the last time I numbered my baby’s age in weeks (rather than months). Andrew said it gets easier, and I was just about to launch into some tired platitude like ‘cherish these moments, they grow so fast!’ when I stopped.

    It’s right around the 1 year mark when parents think they can start giving out unsolicited advice (rather than always be on the receiving end), and I always found it a bit annoying, especially since some of it was downright stupid (someone actually said to me once regarding my overtired 6 month old, “Give him some gin with a little honey, he’ll go right down”. Thank you, Drunky McStupid, but I think I won’t poison my kid with honey and booze just yet). But, as this is the Internet, where unsolicited advice rules over everything else, here is my bit of advice for new or expectant parents:

    Whatever the hell works, work it.

    If wearing your baby 24 hours a day works, do it. If your copy of Gina Ford is falling apart from you thumbing through it, do it. If £3500 worth of the fanciest baby gadgets gives you peace of mind, do it. If you have to call Crysis and your peds doc every three hours, DO IT. If making all his food by scratch works, or if buying everything off the shelf works, do it. And while I am grossly against it, if you feel like not immunizing your kid is somehow better for them, as much as it pains me to say, do it. Pretty much everything short of hitting your kid or abusing drugs and alcohol, if it gets you through the day, do it.

    It’s hard enough in this world of overinformation, where everyone seems to be an expert, to figure out how to be a good parent. It’s even harder when you feel like you have to be the ‘expert’ parent. For example, the other day I got mad at myself because I wasn’t doing my 20 minutes per day of Cantonese lessons with Alex. Let me restate that for all of you: I was mad at myself because my son, who would eat his own poop if I let him, wasn’t getting his 20 minutes of structured lesson plans per day. Ridiculous.

    Your job is to be the best parent in the world…for your kid. If that means tv time and a late bedtime, fine. If it means Suzuki piano lessons at 9 months, fine. As long as you are doing what you feel is the very best for your kid, *AND* you are honestly evaluating yourself every once in awhile to make sure it is the right thing for them (and not just for your ego/laziness/etc), then go for it. Don’t worry about the experts, your job is to get through the first year with your brain still intact.

    Good luck, and remember – it’s only 365 days. Try your best 365 times, and you will be fine.

  • Monkey 11:32 am on June 15, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: audiobook, baby, lullaby, samuelljackson   

    The greatest lullaby audiobook ever recorded. 

    Samuel L. Jackson reads from “Go the f**k to sleep”. Needless to say, not entirely safe for work.

    And for a bonus, video of Samuel L Jackson recording the audiobook

  • Monkey 12:55 pm on March 23, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: baby, flat, house, housing,   

    Middle-class problems 

    The trouble with having a baby is that your mid-term plans and thought processes for the day are shot to pieces.

    I might be in the middle of doing something while @HyperHam actually looks after the baby … then suddenly a minor emergency happens and it requires both our attentions. And then when I finally get back to doing what I was doing before, I’m totally lost. So our thoughts are totally dis-jointed – and the lack of sleep and general energy don’t help either.

    Comparatively, we’ve got a good kid. He’s at least sleeping through the night (well, 10pm to 6am) after we started a bedtime routine of bed, burps, bath, bedtime story and bed. (There’s also changing of the nappy in the mix but I can’t think of a way of describing that that begins with a ‘b’)

    So while @HyperHam has the minor task of mostly looking after the baby every single daytime hour of every single weekday, I’ve got the much more onerous task of thinking endlessly about the future, my brain revolving around the following questions:

    Living space

    At the moment, we’re all squeezed into a 48m2 one-bed flat. When Alex starts to crawl, we can ditch a big coffee table and give him some crawl/play space … but how long can three people live in a one-bed flat?

    Bearing in mind how slow the housing chain works, even when we decide to move, it’ll take a minimum of three months to sort out selling our flat and finding somewhere else … so when should we move?

    I’d say let’s move now while house prices are relatively cheap – but I am aware that for some reason, I’ve been very keen to change everything in my life in the last year or so, and@HyperHam is far more concerned with day-to-day matters, and more upheavel in our lives is the last thing she wants.

    So how long can three people live in a one-bed flat?

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