Zoe checking out some tunes ;-)
PS - don;t worry health and safety people, there wasn’t any music on.
Well, time is on my side, yes it is
Time is on my side, yes it is
'Cause I got the real love
The kind that you need
I’ve been pretty lucky with a lot of things in my life and I’ve certainly been very fortunate with a lot of things following the birth of Zoe, mainly that I have got to spend a lot of time with her.
The good luck started by being at home when Lynn’s waters broke. Imagine being at work and hearing that news. The journey back home would be a nightmare!
My work (at the time) were very good and allowed me to take 2-weeks unpaid leave on top of my 2-weeks paternity leave, so I had a full month to spend with Lynn and Zoe. Regular readers will know that this was lucky as it sure wasn’t an easy time.
I returned to work and promptly handed my notice in, however I had 4.5 days holiday left to take in the remaining 4-weeks notice I worked plus a TOIL day, so it was more time with the family.
I then took a week off in between jobs and I’m starting my new job tomorrow. That all adds up to 6-weeks out of the first 9-weeks of Zoe’s life that I have been with her and Lynn - pretty impressive and I’m so thankful that I have had that time to watch her develop before my very eyes.
You can’t turn back time, you can’t buy time - make the most of it.
The last few days have reminded me of one of my favourite songs, one I used to play a lot when Lynn and i went travelling between June 07 and June 08, the northern soul classic, Time Will Pass You By by Tobi Legend.
Time Will Pass You By if you are not careful. Make the most of it.This big old world is spinning like a top
Zoe checking out some tunes ;-)
PS - don;t worry health and safety people, there wasn’t any music on.
When friends and family come round to visit, the scene they often walk in on is like a normal family; we’re hanging out, making bottles, feeding, playing with Zoe or she is sleeping.
Regular comments will include; ‘Aw isn’t she just gorgeous?’ and ‘What a good baby.’
Now when Zoe is all smiles, quiet, sleeping or feeding and gazing into your eyes, being a Dad is amazing.
What most people don’t see, is the flip side of the coin. I think the picture below may demonstrate what I am about to get at.
That picture captures Zoe in full tantrum/scream mode, suffering from wind/colic. There are times when she will cry in pain for up to an hour, usually in the late evening.
It hurts me every time she does it, no amount of comforting or change of position can help. It is a phase that she and we have to get through. It saps my energy and strength.
Being a Dad has it rewards, as the first picture indicates. When Zoe is all smiles and I am singing made up songs, it is like we are living in our own little bubble.
When Zoe is screaming in pain, threatening to leave me deaf in one ear as I hold her over my shoulder and there is nothing I can do; being a Dad is really, really tough work.
I don’t think anything can prepare you for it. It’s a side so many people don’t see; the tantrums, then you become tired, you have petty arguments, you sleep in different rooms so one of you can get a good nights sleep, your sex life is a distant memory…..
I think the point that I am trying to make is that there are two sides to every story. Tonight Lynn is going into Glasgow for a night with her work-mates and I will be alone with Zoe. What side of the story will I get?!
In my bloggers profile I mention a few things that I wondered if I would be able to continue with following the birth of my daughter.
So far, the sacrifice’s have been minimal, largely thanks to an extremely understanding and supportive wife.
I tend to play football twice a week, five-a-sides on a Monday and sevens on a Wednesday. I missed the week prior to the birth and the week after, but following that I have been fortunate to play every game.
On the music front I have had to miss one gig, however I have still been to one and I got to spend a day and night at the Wickerman festival - all good.
I read my profile for the first time in ages today and although Zoe and Lynn are the most important things in my life, I thought I should maybe explain why football and music are also so important to me.
I’ve been playing and watching football since as long as I can remember. I enjoy it, it can frustrate me at times, at others a pass, movement, tackle or goal can lift any gloom; you get caught in the moment, it can be for a split second, the memories can last forever.
There is a social side to it though. You meet with mates, you have a laugh, you get to meet new people and make new friends.
Yet it is the escapism that does it for me, you can just forget about everything else and focus on the game that you are either playing or watching, especially if it is a good game.
As bad as it sounds, it is good to switch off from tears, tantrums and dirty nappies at times!
I have always loved music but it was in my teens that I really started to develop my musical tastes. Bands like the Stone Roses, Teenage Fanclub, Lemonheads, Nirvana and Primal Scream led to New Order, The Beatles, The Byrds, Happy Mondays and much, much more.
I’ve never really mastered the guitar, so I enjoy going to gigs and listening to music; discovering new and old bands. I have a reasonable vinyl collection and like football I find I can escape into my collection, digging out old albums I forgot I had and I still get a buzz from the sound of the needle going on to the record.
A good gig or a good club night (I was never a huge clubber, but I had my moments) can be incredible, the feeling that you were part of a truly magical moment that can’t be replicated is similar to a match, moment of sheer skill or goal in football.
So there you have it, a short summary of why football and music are so important to me.
I can replay some games I have attended like it was yesterday;
Manchester United 2 v 1 Liverpool, FA Cup, 1999
Bayern Munich 1 v 2 Manchester United, CL Final in Barcelona in 1999
Or recall legendary gigs like the White Stripes at King Tuts, Primal Scream at the Barrowlands or New Order in Manchester. Or clubbing in Space in Ibiza.
And there is something I have to add……
Of course now I have a special little person that is already filling me with memories, moments I’ll never forget, moments when nothing or no-one else matters.
I’ve already shared some of them with you - mainly the birth which was just incredible. Now I’m getting smiles, responses and there is so much more to come; the first time she rolls over, the first attempt to crawl, to walk, the first wee words……
Special times all the time, not just for 90-minutes or the length of an album or gig. Every single day.
Lynn and I have been parents for a grand total of 5-weeks, we are learning every single day, growing more confident, yet still panicking at really small things.
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that feeding your baby is one of the most important things you have to do with your new born child.
He/she is completely dependent on you, whether it is breastfeeding or bottle feeding.
Now that I am back at work I am being spared the ‘night-feeds’ other than weekends. Lots of people say things like ‘Oh are you doing the night feed?’ with what can only be described as a knowing glance and a tone of ‘unlucky’.
Yet I quite like the night feeds. It is like our own special time, just the two of us. I make up lots of daft little songs, as I imagine most parents do, and my song for the middle of the night takes Iggy Pop’s ‘Nightclubbing’ and changes it to ‘Nightfeeding’. Incredibly imaginative I am sure you will agree! I do sing it in a more nursery rhyme type style than Iggy…
Nightfeeding, we’re nightfeeding,We’re gulping it down,Nightfeeding, we’re nightfeeding,We won’t make a sound,It’s just the two of us, just us two,Mum’s still in her bed,When we’re nightfeeding, we’re bright nightfeeding,Oh isn’t it wild?
I have a load of other daft little songs that I may share in a future blog.
Despite being 5-weeks into being parents, my wife and I still have the same conversations. Our top 3 conversations are probably something like.
1. M - How much has she had?
L - 3 ounces, she only had 3 ounces last time, I’m a bit worried she isn’t taking 5 ounces.
Despite the fact that we realise that Zoe feeds on demand. If she is hungry or thirsty she will gulp down 5 ounces and then demand some more. If she just needs a wee top up then that is all she will take.
2. M - She hasn’t passed wind yet.
L- When is the last time she had a dirty nappy?
M - Mmmm I think it was 2-days ago, she must need to go.
L- Should she be going every day?
Around about this time there will be a nappy explosion. We have had some crackers that the nappy couldn’t contain. I got poo all over my favourite Motown Records tshirt at the weekend.
Note - wear old tshirts when handling a baby.
3. L - Can you check how many bottle are in the fridge? (Note - you are meant to make bottles up fresh as you go, we make a batch of 6 at a time. Don’t tell anyone)
M - Just one left. (Lynn automatically asks this question when there is one left)
L - When are you going to learn to make bottles (Note - there isn’t a lot to learn, I think Lynn just likes to be in charge of making them as she still feels a little guilty about giving up breastfeeding).
Colic/wind is still an issue and Zoe has had real trouble passing wind the last couple of days. However all is well and we have a visit from the Health Visitor today, so we’ll see what she has to say.
I’ve been pretty lucky since the birth of Zoe; I’ve managed to continue playing football twice a week (other than week 1), I’ve been to a gig and I’ve been to one day of the Wickerman Festival.
What an understanding wife I have!
Previous blogs will lead you to know that the last 5-weeks have been an extremely emotional time for my wife, so on her birthday on Saturday I was determined to treat her to a lovely meal out.
I booked a table for two at 7pm at the Butchershop Bar and Grill in Glasgow. It opened to great acclaim towards the end of of 2010, becoming known as ‘the’ place to go for a good steak in Glasgow. Unfortunately, when you are pregnant, you are advised against eating steak - certainly if it is rare. Well we like our steak medium rare, so we have been building up to a visit for some time!
My Mum agreed to come over to look after Zoe and also to stay the night, so we were under no pressure to rush back and we could have a drink or two.
During the day we went to our second first birthday party in a matter of weeks; that of young Cameron Byers. He managed to sleep most of the time we were there while Zoe was content to be held and cuddled by our friends as I jumped about on a bouncey castle with Noah (50 and Corey (4).
We picked my Mum up afterwards and headed home to spruce up, getting ready to go for the 6pm train.
As we went to leave my Mum said to Lynn ‘don’t worry, you go out and enjoy yourself.’
Then….Lynn burst out crying. Silly me, I really didn’t think ahead. This was the first time Lynn was going to be truly apart from Zoe, other than when the Gran’s or myself have taken her a walk and let Lynn sleep.
I actually thought we were going to have to cancel dinner. And I was looking forward to my steak!
I did say; ’ Look we can cancel and get a takeaway’ but Lynn composed herself and we headed out, laughing about it as I thought Lynn was kidding when she started crying.
We got the train into the SECC and walked up a sun-kissed West End to the restaurant, arriving early to get a beer outside on the terrace. This was Lynn’s first beer in a long, long time and she enjoyed the ice cold bottle of Peroni and we started to relax.
We went inside and the service was amazing, we opted for the Chateaubriand - steak for two. It was glorious, cooked to perfection. The choice of wine was Argentinian Red to remind us of travelling and it helped us to relax. We chilled out and left shortly before 9pm.
We could have made the 9.10pm train home but instead opted togo for a beer at the Brass Monkey and get the 9.40pm train back.
We had had a couple of text updates and we knew all was well. Lynn’s Mum had come over to help, so Zoe was well looked after.
So, a message for all Dad’s out there. Don’t underestimate how hard it is for your partner to leave her baby!
In our case it worked out well and it really helped Lynn to relax after 4-weeks of emotion and hard work. I would certainly recommend a break. The 4-hours out we had felt like a date!
I follow Pampers on twitter and they have been annoying me with a load of tweets about baby showers, the American phenomenon that has slowly but surely crept into the UK.
I don’t get baby showers - at all.
Call it old fashioned, traditional, or whatever, but I just think that buying stuff ahead of the birth is a little bad luck. A lot of things can go wrong.
Sure the Mum is about to do an incredible thing and it is good to get support from family, friends and colleagues, but come on family, friends and colleagues…can’t you be a little bit more tasteful?
OK I’m a guy, I don’t get it clearly.
However my wife feels the same. The Supergran’s asked Lynn if she was having a baby shower and she was genuinely shocked by the idea.
If you have a baby shower do you get gifts pre and post baby? Isn’t that a little greedy?
What if you don’t know what you are having?
How do people feel if they have a baby shower and something goes wrong?
How do people feel if they have bought something for someone and something goes wrong?
Those thoughts alone and the fact that I think they are a little tacky, needy and greedy are reasons why I don’t get baby showers.
This is probably not a cool Dad post, but hey, it is honest.
One of my very best friends, Colin (Wigs), told me a cracking story when we were out in the pib for a few beers last year about how his wife Nicola wanted him to socialise with a guy whose wife Nicola had befriended.
Wigs was refusing and when pushed he said; ‘Look, I have enough friends, some really good friends and I don’t see enough of them. I don’t need any new friends.’
At the time I found this extremely amusing and there is also a fair degree of truth in it. Wigs and i do enjoy a good circle of very good friends that we have known for years. Looking at it now though, you can never have enough friends. If you are fortunate to meet people of a similar mind you should embrace them.
So when we went to Parenting Classes, we weren’t too bothered about meeting new friends. After all, our best friends Lyndsey and Allan had not long given birth to baby Christopher, Pheona and Stephen were expecting, as were Dave and Shona and plenty of our other friends have young kids.
We did meet some lovely people at the parenting class and swapped contact details with Joe and Emma, Stephen and Emma and Gavin and Michelle.
I think I have written about going for a beer with Joe to wet the head.
Anyway, on Tuesday (26th July) Joe and Emma invited us round for pizza at their house, less than 2-miles from ours. Sounds great? Well it does, only we were a little worried as we were asked round at 7pm, otherwise known in our house as Zoe’s ‘girny’ and awake time.
I got back from work to find that Lynn was preparing a bottle and Zoe was indeed a little ‘girny’. However she soon calmed down and after her bottle we placed her in the car seat for only the third time.
The last time Zoe had been in the car she had fallen asleep for ages, almost right the way through Ailsa’s first birthday party. She fell asleep again, almost instantly!
'This is brilliant' we exclaimed 'we should take Zoe a drive every night!'
Emma was looking fantastic and full of beans. We were a little surprised as we knew she was breast feeding and that she had had a rather complicated birth, in hospital from Thursday, delivering a 10lbs 2 oz baby on the Sunday!
Everyone takes to breastfeeding differently and Emma was adapting and embracing it.
We laughed at Emma’s stories about sudden burst of energy in the night when she returned from hospital when she would get up and tidy and iron! Emma also told us about walking two miles to the station and getting on the train to Glasgow with Orla and the pram.
WOW! Emma was doing fantastically well indeed.
Orla woke for a feed and Zoe stirred a little, so we all munched on pizza in between holds.
It was great to see Emma, Joe and Orla and to hear how well they were doing. We are sometimes a little too hard on ourselves I think. We are doing well after a tough start.
Maybe not quite ready for the train to Glasgow yet though!
It’s great to swap stories with fellow parents about feeding, nappies, lack of sleep, little daft things….some things that others might not appreciate, but people going through the same kind of experience at the same time really do.
On Wednesday 27th July our friends Stephen and Pheona had their second baby girl; Maria. So on the Thursday Lynn and our friend Agnes decided to go and visit them in hospital.
Leaving me and Zoe to spend some quality time alone.
I was quite looking forward to it, not nervous in the least. I had never been in the house alone with her before. We had spent time on our own, usually at around 3am or 4am when I was on a night-time feed. This would be a little different.
Lynn got picked up at 6.40pm to go for the 7pm visit. Shortly afterwards Zoe got a little ‘girny’ as we call it. I’m not sure if that is a strictly Scottish expression, basically it means a little grumpy.
I changed a very sodden nappy and that helped. I then gave her some Infacol and prepared a bottle as she was due a feed. Things were going well.
Zoe downed a couple of ounces and then napped, allowing me to stretch out on the sofa and watch some TV. This was ideal, Lynn would come back and see me like this and think that I had the magic touch.
It didn’t last too long and at 7.45pm Zoe woke and needed to finish her bottle. That all went well, the winding didn’t. So as Lynn was pulling up in Agne’s car she caught sight of me holding a crying Zoe on my knee through the window.
And I had told Zoe that she would get a present if she was well behaved and quiet when her Mum came back! Hmmmm maybe the next time.
It took a while to calm Zoe down. I always feel exhausted when she gets bad wind and cries like she is in pain. I wonder how I would cope with a full day alone with Zoe.
However, I enjoyed spending time alone with my daughter and look forward to doing so again in the future. Hopefully next time she will be nice and chilled for Lynn returning and I’ll have my feet up on the sofa making it all look easy.
On Monday 25th June, exactly four weeks after Zoe was born, I went back to work after 2-weeks paternity and 2-weeks unpaid leave.
I’m so glad I took the additional 2-weeks, especially considering the fact that we spent most of the first week in hospital. Also because the second week was one of the most emotional of my life as I had to watch Lynn beat herself up about switching from breastfeeding to bottle feeding.
Thankfully things have been getting easier week-on-week.
My return to work was pretty emotional too, as I handed in my notice. Nothing like doing loads of stressful things at once; get pregnant, have a baby, get a new job….we also moved house last year!
I was a total zombie on my first day back. Lynn had very kindly got up through the night to do the 3am feed to allow me to sleep, however I think my day at the Wickerman Festival had caught up with me.
I had breakfast with Lynn and Zoe and headed off to work on one of the sunniest days of the year. I wanted to stay with my family and sit in the garden, take the pram a walk and generally chill out. Instead I went back to work to sit at a desk and stare at a computer screen.
To be fair my work is usually a lot more varied than that, however that is all I was capable of the first day. My colleagues were lovely though, asking loads of questions and making me feel welcome.