Yesterday, I made my son cry.
My beautiful, perfect, delicate little boy. I scared him, and I made him cry.
“So what?” you may be thinking. “Big deal? Kids cry all the time.”
Yes. They do. My son is no exception to this rule. He cries when I try to clean his face after a meal. He cries when I put him down for a nap. He cries when I get him up from a nap. He cries when I stop him chewing on the business end of a can of athletes foot spray (how dare I?) He cries for seemingly no reason at all.
He is very good at crying when he hurts himself. His mouth goes from its usual wide crescent smile into a downturned trapezium as he emits a primal sound which leaves no doubt as to its meaning: “that thing I just did really, REALLY hurt”.
It was in the process of trying to prevent one of those cries that I managed to make him cry myself. My vicarious fear for him causing himself pain transferred into real fear for him.
I feel lucky, and fortunate, to be able to say that in Cam’s year and a bit on Earth I’ve rarely had to shout at him. Actually, I’ve never HAD to shout at him. I’ve chosen to a couple of times. The times when the dark cloud of frustration comes over me and I wish with all my heart that he would stop doing whatever it is he’s doing. Just for a moment. Please. Stop winding me up.
But those occasions are few. And mercifully so. How easy it is for me to forget that my boy is tiny, and I am large? That he can be loud, but that I can be so much louder? That his actions may frustrate and irritate me, but that mine may terrify him?
Whoever designed folding doors clearly did not have children. Or hated children. Tiny gaps between wooden panels are seemingly irresistible to tiny fingers which are exploring the world for the first time. Cam has recently discovered the tiny gap, which can be peered through for “peepo” purposes. Soon, the peering gives way to pushing a tiny index finger through. At the same time, a barely perceptible shift in his position means the door begins to close.
The tiny gap gets tinier.
The finger remains.
The finger remains.
I move my foot into the path of the closing door, stopping the immediate danger. But I am trapped. Sat on the opposite side of the door to him and unable to move to his side without removing my foot and allowing the door to close completely.
I push his finger from the gap.
He immediately replaces it.
I push it away again.
He laughs. It’s a game now.
I wish he could talk. Wish he could understand EVERYTHING I say to him, not just “what noise does a pig make?” He can’t though.
He is in a giggling, ecstatic state. He bounces in excitement. This game is fun!
All I can think of is a tiny, crushed index finger and a frantic drive to hospital. This game is not fun.
I shout, because it is the only weapon I have left: “Cameron! No! DO NOT PUT YOUR FINGER IN THE GAP!”
The laughing stops. The finger remains. The smile is uncertain.
The finger is withdrawn. The bottom lip curls and trembles. The eyes well up. The noise begins its journey from his vocal cords to the atmosphere. His eyes question me: “who are you?”
I leap up and remove him from the vicinity of the door. The bastard, bastard door. I hold him tight and stroke his hair. I whisper comfort into his ear. Tell him I love him. Tell him I am sorry. Tell him I never want to scare him.
Ten minutes later we are playing happily together again. I hope he has forgotten all about it. That I am back to being the person who hugs him, tickles him, reads him bedtime stories in the softest tones I can muster. I hope that he is not afraid of me.
I consider smashing the door from its hinges.
I hope I never make my son cry again.
Friday, June 28, 2013
Yesterday, I made my son cry.
Monday, June 24, 2013
I went to that there London on the weekend, to that there The Brewery, for that there Britmums Live! blogging conference ting!
Five hundred odd people, including about fifteen men, descending on Londontown to spend a day and a half talking about blogging stuff. And other stuff. Also drinking. Oh yes. Drinking.
I met fellow dad blogger Ben from Mutterings of a Fool on the train (strength in numbers, see) and we chatted away the journey into the Smoke. Ben knew exactly where he was going, because he is a proper man who can navigate London. I just followed him, feeling exceptionally glad I hadn't had to brave much of the public transport on my own.
We had a pre-conference beer with a few fellow bloggers (three men, about forty women at this point). The third member of our Y-chromosome triumvirate was Tom Briggs, who I've wanted to meet ever since he was kind enough to give me my FIRST EVER comment on this blog. Anyway, he's a thoroughly nice chap. You'd like him. Katy Hill liked him enough to sit next to him at the Friday night award ceremony, and if he's good enough for her, I dare say he's good enough for you.
Anyway, prior to the awards there was some conference gubbins in the afternoon. Prior to that I had my photo taken to appear in a national newspaper. Y'know. As you do. No big thing. Also in the photo were Darren from One Dad Three Girls (also lovely) and the BEAUTIFUL daughter of Me and the Tiny Three. She was lovely. So was her mum. Sensing a theme yet?
Our little group expanded to include the frankly awesome Lizzie (@eliza_do_lots), who has many websites, including this one, the absolutely delightful Lara Golden (@APluckyHeroine) who blogs over here, and the equally delightful, totally hilarious in person and on her blog Hannah Smith from www.mamabearwithme.co.uk.
I didn't feel I took all that much away from the sessions on the first day, the exception being Pippa from Story of Mum, who gave a great talk on storytelling. It was really good stuff. Also, guess what? She was lovely!
We bunked off the last session, like naughty school kids. Naughty school kids who wanted to check into their budget accommodation and try to quickly eat some food. We only managed the first of those things. Oops.
Awards happened, some extremely talented bloggers stood up and accepted some shiny things, lots of clapping, several glasses of prosecco, white wine, and red wine. Katy Hill was badgered into following me on Twitter six minutes after I tweeted that I didn't actually know who she was. AWKWARD.
We fleetingly met lots of other people (who aren't getting hyperlinks, because I'm tired now) and then decamped to the pub, where we met Andy Harris (a man who trusted me enough to take my advice on what bike seat to purchase, which was nice) of Always Time for Biscuits and the vision of beauty that is Ella Shaw from Trying My Patients. Fucking. Hot. Saynomore.
We were soon joined by EXCELLENT dad blogger Sam Coleman (@DustandLove) who made the effort to come and see us even though he hadn't been to the conference itself. I'm truly glad he did. Great chat. Great beard. Great blog.
There were more people than I've listed there, and they were all just totally great. It was like meeting up with old friends, yet aside from one person I had never met any of them before. There were laughs, there were hugs, there were surprises, there was even some drooling.
No dinner until I managed to order in pizza at about 12:20am. More bloggers in the hotel bar. More great chat. More. More. More.
It. Was. Fantastic.
The following morning, with its five am wake up call from some bastard in a tower crane, wasn't quite as fantastic. But it was okay. Cooked breakfast. Lots of water. Lots of tea. Reconvening at the conference venue. Better sessions on the second day (still not all brilliant though). Meeting more online friends in real life (special mention for @SonyaCisco and @glosswitch, two of my absolute favourite bloggers).
A bit of a blub over some of the blogger keynotes, and the conference was done.
I went and got some proper barbecue at Bodean's then met up with the few remaining delegates in a bar for more booze. Among them, ace new blogger Ruth who writes A Pencil Skirt and is just as funny in person. I spent much of the evening catching up with Annie (www.mammasaurus.co.uk). She also squeezed my bum and told me about hitting seagulls in her car. Good times!
Fate brought me and Her Royal Hotness Ella Shaw back together to finish the evening, as well as gorgeous Julie from www.mamaowl.co.uk. More excellent chat and more tasty drinks. A general sense of all round winning.
So, yeah, in summary: Britmums Live, really good, especially the bits that weren't really anything to do with Britmums Live.
I hope I won't have to wait until next year to see everyone again.
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Monday, June 17, 2013
|Love is... a household appliance?|
Thursday, June 6, 2013
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
You know that thing people always say if they haven’t seen your baby for a while? “Oh my god, he’s changed soooo much”?
And you think: “really? I hadn’t noticed.” Because you haven’t, because it’s tough trying to keep track of the continual, gradual changes occurring in your offspring. But then, because it’s been pointed out, you do notice, and you spend a little while thinking about how the baby used to be?
Last weekend I spent an evening with a person who I hadn’t seen in eight years. Eight years! That’s more than a quarter of my whole life. Ages. Too long, actually, because the person in question is a great person to spend time with. Interesting, intelligent and amusing. The downside is he lives in America, and I can’t just pop to Seattle to meet him for a pint and a chat.
*shakes fist at the Atlantic*
The one thing an eight year gap does do though is provide a good opportunity to look back over what’s happened during that time. Which, aided by a few alcoholic beverages, was exactly what me, him and a few other people I went to school with but no longer see much of did. Just like the parent who doesn’t see the changes in their child, the evening made me realise that I don’t do a great job of seeing and appreciating the scale of the changes in my own life.
When my friend was last in the UK he spent a few nights at my house. Except it wasn’t. I still lived at home. We spent evenings drinking (far too much, probably) with some mutual friends, including my wife. Only she wasn’t my wife. She wasn’t even officially my girlfriend. I probably complained to him about the job I was made redundant from over two years ago. This time I told him I don’t like the job I have now. I was still too busy acting like a child to give much thought to having one of my own, now I can barely remember what my life was like without Cam.
We talked about him, we talked about me, we talked about the other people at the table and we talked about the many people who couldn’t be there. We talked about what they were doing, where they lived, which of them had kids and how many. We reminisced about the last time he’d been with us, and we reminisced about reminiscing about the time before, a further eight years back.
He has swapped playing in bands, working as a chef and all night drinking for climbing mountains, teaching others to climb mountains and training to be a teacher for children with special needs. I have a wife and child.
No matter how much our lives might change over time, no matter that we might not always be paying a suitable amount of attention to what’s different, we stay the same person. Just like the baby who hasn’t been seen for a few weeks.
Someone even managed a bit of beer fuelled insight toward the end of the evening: “none of us have changed, really. We’ve just grown beards.”
It was great to see you Dan, I hope you’re right that it won’t be another eight years before we see you again.
Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Babies are always changing, developing, growing. Much like a Terminator, they are a learning computer, taking their experience of the world and using it to become a more efficient killer.
Wait, that doesn’t sound quite right. Killer? Sorry, wrong consonant in the middle there.
Kisser. That’s what I meant.
Cam’s been learning to express his affection, via the medium of kissing. Aww.
He may be a bit behind the curve on this one, I’m not sure. Certainly his younger cousin has been dishing out the sloppy lip smacks for a while already. Cam’s been holding back though, waiting for right moment.
Actually, that’s only half true. For a while now he’s been more than happy to engage in a bit of one way snogging action with various inanimate objects.
The squidgy bellied pig in his farmyard book? Irresistible. Naturally I assumed he had simply realised the appeal of bacon.
Big Ted, his aptly monikered soft toy? Enticing. Several times a day the fur around his mouth is left glistening with saliva.
But, until very recently, kisses for people were definitely not on the menu. Putting on a brave face, my wife and I made do with his (excellent) hugs. But our lips and hearts yearned for more, and now we get it. Satisfied that his technique has been honed, our beautiful boy has been bestowing upon us some high quality affection.
He’s not one for subtlety; once he’s decided someone is getting a kiss he accelerates toward the recipient at a full speed, thundering crawl. Upon arrival, the kissee is held tightly in a two handed grip, and treated to a full, open mouthed contact. It’s a good idea to have a tissue handy, Cam has saliva in abundance, and is keen to share it.
Which, obviously, is lovely. Really, really lovely. Cam’s becoming a really affectionate little boy, and I love that. Hugs are common these days, waving is near constant, a beaming smile whenever me or Mrs L enter a room is almost mandatory. He’s telling us he likes us, even though he can’t yet tell us in words, and that means the world to me.
It is a little disconcerting when he tries to stick his tongue in your mouth though.