Saturday, 31 August 2013

Stranger Danger

As my wife discovered some months ago, strangers are more than willing to make comments about most things related to pregnancy and not all of them are positive (see The Perfect Package).  Pushing my daughter around in her buggy, I have discovered that strangers are also willing to make comments towards new parents about their children and the 'joys' or parenting.  Most of the comments I have received have been about how beautiful my daughter is.  I couldn't agree more.  It fills me with pride and I have to admit that I do, unreasonably, find myself getting annoyed when people don't make comments about Daisy.  However, some comments I have received haven't been so positive.  Funny, maybe, but not the gushing comments I have become accustomed to.

One such comment got me very worried recently.  On my way back from picking up the Sunday paper from the local shop, a gentleman, who had been in the shop too, caught up with Daisy and I to give me a pearl of wisdom.  After the usual small talk about Daisy's gender (as if the pink blanket didn't give it away) and age, this man, whom I'd never met before, imparted the following words of wisdom: 'The first word you need to teach her is 'elope'!'

Here was a man who had clearly spent a lot of money on his daughter's wedding.  Maybe there was more than one daughter and more than one wedding.  Looking at the slightly manic look in his eyes as he bitterly exclaimed the word 'elope', this is entirely possible.  I laughed nervously and the conversation was soon over.  When I'd returned to the house, the reality of this stranger's comments hit me.  We have already set Daisy up with a cash ISA and bank account.  We will regularly save money for her so that when she turns 18 she will have some funds to help with university fees or for travelling (I'm pretending the latter is an option, but it won't really be!)  I started to panic.  Do I need to start saving for her wedding already?  Having paid for our own wedding last year, my wife and I have a good understanding of the excessive amounts of cash that can be spent on one day.

Fortunately, the panic and worry didn't last long.  I suddenly remembered what I have consistently reminded my daughter since her birth.  There will be no boys.  Ever.  Therefore, no wedding.  Ever.  I am sure this is what every new dad thinks about his little girl.  Of course, it rarely works out like this.  But, I can dream, can't I?

The reality is that my daughter already has me wrapped around her little finger.  Although, as my wife pointed out recently, there are worse things to be wrapped around (I'm not sure if this was a subtle personal insult or not!)  So, it is entirely possible that Daisy will be able to persuade me some time before her thirty-fifth birthday that she should be allowed out on dates with boys.  Therefore, my only other way of ensuring that boys stay away is to be an intimidating father-figure.  I can imagine most of you who know me are sniggering, and the rest of you outright guffawing, at this suggestion.  You are right.  I am not at all intimidating. 

I guess I'll have to start saving for that wedding after all then. 

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Daddy and Daisy's Book Reviews

As some of you have noted, Daisy is a very advanced writer for her young age (see A Few of My Favourite Things).  However, we are struggling on the reading front. She doesn't really enjoy reading time with daddy even though I've chosen some of my favourite picture books to read to her.  I started reading to her when she was in the womb.  Her mother seemed to think that she enjoyed me reading to her because she would always move around and give a few kicks during and just after.  It turns out that this was probably her protesting at my reading rather than enjoying it!

I have decided to share with you five of the best books I have read with Daisy.  As well as a brief description of the contents and plots and my opinion on each one, Daisy has decided to share her rather critical opinions with you as well.

1. The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Sheffler

Julia Donaldson books are brilliant.  They are great, imaginative stories for everyone to enjoy.  The Gruffalo is about a cunning mouse who, whilst taking a stroll through the woods, encounters several predators along the way.  He invents a scary creature, the Gruffalo, to intimidate them.  He then meets the very creature he has made up and has to think quickly in order to survive.  The story is told in rhyme, as are all of other Donaldson's stories, which makes it a great book to read aloud.

Daisy's Opinion: 'What a silly story for my daddy to read to me.  Why would he read to me about a big horrible monster with terrible teeth, claws and tusks?  If I stay up all night crying because I'm too scared to sleep then he can only blame himself!  Wally!'

2. A Diary of a Wombat by Jackie French and illustrated by Bruce Whatley

A funny and charming account of the life of a wombat.  The story is told from the wombat's perspective and chronicles his persistent pursuit of food, scratching posts and suitable places to sleep.  In the course of his pursuit of these essentials, he manages to annoy a family and make life difficult for them by destroying their front door, rubbish bin and flower beds, as well as eating all of their carrots!

Daisy's Opinion: 'I didn't hear a word of this book.  I was too busy screaming.  Surely daddy realises that I can't hear him if I'm screaming.  Sometimes he is very silly.  He should just feed me instead of reading books to me whilst I'm crying.'

3. We Love Bunk Beds by Paula Metcalf

A very cute story about a little sister who wants to do everything her big sister does.  She follows her big sister everywhere and makes her life quite awkward at times.  Their mum buys them bunk beds to try to stop the little sister from climbing into bed with her big sister every night.  However, mum's solution doesn't quite work and the sisters end up in the same bed regardless.

Daisy's Opinion: 'Little sisters seem very annoying.  I hope mummy and daddy don't have any plans to get me a little sister anytime soon.  I think if I had to choose then I'd prefer a little brother.  Or maybe a puppy instead!'

4. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

A classic.  A colourful book about how the
hungry caterpillar makes his way through endless amounts of food without satisfying his hunger until he finally becomes a big, fat caterpillar builds a house and inevitably turns into a beautiful butterfly.

Daisy's Opinion: 'I like eating too.  I want to eat all of the time as well.  Or at least all of the time when I'm not sleeping.  I like sleeping too.  I wonder if I'll get big and fat and then turn into a butterfly too if I keep on eating.'

5. Monkey Puzzle by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler

Another excellent story from Donaldson and Scheffler.  The humorous tale of a lost monkey who enlists the help of a butterfly to find his mum.  The only problem being that the butterfly keeps misunderstanding information the monkey gives him about his mother.  The butterfly takes the lost monkey to lots of different animals in the jungle.  Without giving too much away, I can reassure you that the little lost monkey is okay at the end of the story.

Daisy's Opinion: 'I'll be honest.  Whilst daddy was reading this story to me, I wasn't really listening.  I was too busy staring at the wall.  I like staring at the blank cream wall.  Mummy and daddy must be pleased that I do this instead of looking at the all the pretty pictures on my wall or the colourful books and toys they have bought for me.'

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

A Few of My Favourite Things

My daddy has taken a break from worrying (or at least boring you all about his worries) and now that I am over a month old, he has said I can take over his blog for the day.

So, I thought I'd share with you some of the things I am really enjoying about being on the outside, as well as some of the things I'm not enjoying so much.

1. Sleeping

I don't enjoy sleeping at night, obviously!  But, I do love sleeping on the big people during the day.  They are really warm and comfy, which means I can sleep easily on them.  I'm not enjoying sleeping in the bed mummy and daddy have bought for me.  It's too dark and quiet in the room and because of my funny breechy legs, I often kick off my blanket.  It doesn't matter though, because instead of sleeping in there, I cry a lot so that they will pick me up and then I can sleep on them.  And, if they do make me sleep in the cot, then I imitate the noises of a small woodland creature to keep them awake.  Suckers!

2. Feeding

I love milk.  I don't like it when mummy and daddy give me some milk and then keep taking it away when I'm not finished.  Ok, I might guzzle the lovely white stuff and, yes, it has made me a quite sick at times (daddy mentioned something about the Exorcist), but is that really a reason for them to keep taking it away whilst I'm clearly in the middle of drinking and then repeatedly tapping my back until I burp?  There's no dignity in being a baby sometimes!  If I can, then I try to burp in their faces for a bit of revenge.  When I'm hungry and wanting to be fed, daddy often puts me close to his face and lets me suck his nose.  He thinks it's funny and says I'm being really cute.  The truth is, and please don't tell him this because it might hurt his feelings, that I just think he looks a bit like a boob, so I have been trying to get milk out of him.

3. Bath Time

I wasn't sure about this at first.  I didn't know what was happening during my first bath time, so I let everyone know I didn't like it by screaming (I like screaming, especially when mummy and daddy look really tired).  But, I've grown to enjoy them.  I like waving my legs and arms around in the warm water.  I think I'm going to enjoy swimming.  However, the problem with baths is that I have to eventually get out.  I hate that part.  It is simply cruel to take me from somewhere so warm and comfy.  They've done that before (well, not them but some other big people in masks and funny hats).  It was just over a month ago and I wasn't very impressed then!  I get really cold between the bath and the changing mat, so I scream some more.  Then they treat me like I'm a Formula One car having a pit stop at Silverstone.  One of them takes the head end and one takes the other end.  I get dried in 10 seconds flat and have a nappy put on in a flash.  I'm not sure if they are timing themselves or whether they are trying to break some kind of record, but it isn't much fun.

4. Nappy Changes

Apart from having a bath, I'm not keen on being naked.  I really don't enjoy it when mummy and daddy decide that I need a new nappy.  But, we've already established that I am cunning and keen to extract revenge when the opportunity arises, so I wait until the new nappy is on and then I do a wee, or if I'm feeling especially annoyed about having my peace and quiet disturbed by having a nappy change, then I wait until I'm fully changed again and I do something a lot more sinister in there.  Okay, I know it means I need to have another nappy change, but, believe me, it's easier being cleaned than having to do the cleaning, so I'm the winner every time!  Another thing that I don't enjoy about nappy changes is that mummy and daddy sing to me.  Don't get me wrong, mummy's singing is pretty good (daddy, on the other hand, is tone deaf), but they sing such a silly little song.  They think they are being funny by adapting the MC Hammer classic to "Stop.  It's nappy time'.  I think they are being wallies.

5. Presents

I've been a very lucky girl and I've received lots and lots of lovely presents.  I have had so many clothes, cuddly toys, blankets and toys from lots of people I haven't even met yet.  I love wearing all of my new clothes.  I love it so much in fact that I have devised a new strategy to make sure I get through as many different clothes in a day as possible.  I store up my nappy bound substances until there is so much that I know the nappy I'm wearing can't contain them and then I release.  This way, I get an extra bath, which is fun, and some different clothes.  There is only one present that I have been sent that I didn't like.  Daddy has a Geordie friend who clearly has very poor taste in football teams, because he sent me a lovely t-shirt which has been ruined with the addition of the Newcastle United badge.  Daddy says I have to wear it when we see them in November, so I'm planning one of my nappy explosions as soon as they put it on me!

6. My Family

I have the best family.  They are all so generous, happy and cuddly.  They make such a fuss of me whenever I see any of them.  I love being around them and they love me.  My nana hadn't seen me for about a week recently and she phoned my daddy to say that she was worried I would be in school by the time she next saw me.  She is funny!  I have especially enjoyed meeting my big cousins.  I saw them properly for the first time last week.  I'd met them before but I was sleeping then so I didn't remember them.  This time, I woke up to see three big faces staring at me.  I was a little confused at first, but they were all smiling and I had lots of kisses from them.  I liked that a lot.  I can't wait until I am old enough to play with them properly.  I was not so impressed with my grampy.  I met him properly last week too and I now know who I need to blame for my double chin.

I hope daddy will let me write again soon.

Daisy. X