Month: May 2014

What, me? Nothing much, just building EVERYTHING

 

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I’m not quite sure what’s going on this week, but I like to think my brain’s shouting ‘nest Greg, NEST. You have a baby arriving!’ while my testosterone battles on valiantly, flexing it’s biceps bellowing ‘NO. Man want to build FIRE’ or at least something along those lines. Whatever the hell’s happening I ended up spending nearly an hour in B&Q a few days ago, playing with power tools (which Suz loved) and then another two sanding and re-painting an old chest of drawers (which is now pride of place in our bedroom, housing lots of lovely pants and socks). It’s all been very productive and successful. Which, when it comes to D.I.Y, just isn’t very me. 

Last year, on what was possibly the hottest day in the history of sun, I decided to build a couple of shelves from scratch. After an hour of sweating and not doing much else, I brought that down to just one, solitary shelf and then down even lower to one, solitary shelf which looked awful and sat like a depressed, wonky see-saw in our bedroom. A blind jellyfish could have done better and it was soul destroying. My dad’s a trained carpenter and can turn his hand to anything so being completely useless at making what’s essentially a piece of wood, I was quite disappointed.

Now a little human’s on the screaming horizon though, bam! I’m suddenly a flame-haired Handy Andy! Only I’ve never been on Big Brother and don’t have a Scouse accent. Along with the chest of drawers, I’ve built a bird box from scratch (I’m aware that sounds terribly uncool but we have a lot of birds in our garden and what with having wings I’ve heard it can be a struggle for them to fashion anything themselves) and have come up with designs for a workshop I want building at the bottom of the garden.

Also this week, I heard my baby’s heartbeat for the first time which was incredible. Thanks to being away training in America and missing the first scan I’d only been going on second hand information, so hearing lots of whooshing and ba-booms for myself was really, really amazing. And I definitely didn’t well-up despite what Suz says so if she tells you otherwise just ignore her because she likes to lie a lot. Next week we get to find out if we’re expecting a mini-willy or mini-minnie so it’s safe to say I’ll probably combust with excitement.

Seeing as Suz isn’t from around these here parts in Milton Keynes, her parents are moving up to stay in our annexe when we have the baby. It’ll be lovely, except it does mean we now can’t use it as the dumping ground for my endless amounts of clothes/kit/golf clubs/PVC knee-high boots (that last one’s a joke) and I should imagine the next few months are going to be taken up with us desperately sorting through everything. We’re giving a load of stuff away to numerous charities/events, so if you see anything up for auction then you know it’s a) because I do like to think I’m quite charitable but also b) so my mother in law doesn’t have to sleep on a mound of lycra leggings. We’ve also decided to sell a few bits and pieces and put the money aside for a trust fund for our new arrival so it’s got a little nest egg for university/travelling/quest for worldwide domination. I just already have a strange, all-consuming urge to make sure the next 18 years are covered and my future son or daughter is a tiny bit prepared for life away from me once the time comes.

(I would just like to add, for the record, should they wish to spend my hard-saved cash on anything I find unsuitable then I will probably just use it to buy myself a a really awesome motorbike thank you very much).

Other fun things to happen this week; endless moments of making sure no-one’s on the horizon when Suz has her mid-exercise wee in the bushes on our runs in the woods and tryyyying to work out what theme we’d like for the nursery (seaside or safari?).

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Let It Show, Let It Show, Let It Show

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Yesterday marked the occasion of my very first baby show, and what a show it was! Turns out it’s not just a big procession of babies from you to pick from and take home, it’s stuff for your baby. And that’s nice. Because we need a lot of stuff.

Well, I say need. Me and Suz bought a metal, Easter chick-shaped table decoration because we needed it back in March but all it’s done so far is sit next to a similarly redundant wooden robot ornament and not really help round the house at all. We probably could have soldiered on without it.

Back to The Baby Show. We plodded up yesterday morning with my mum and grandma in tow, ready to really nail down a few sensible purchases (because so far we’ve spent a lot of time in John Lewis looking at LEGO) and in fairness, weren’t at all disappointed with the huge range of products on offer. There were stalls galore with items ranging from cute clothes to the latest prams and environmentally friendly nappies to high chairs shaped like supersonic boiled eggs (probably not their official description), along with some lovely soft-play areas for mums and babies. And by the looks of it, hungover dads.

We snapped up some bib-related bargains, saw a couple have a massive argument by the prams (maybe they thought you got to buy babies at baby shows as well) and then watched my very religious, very lovely 75 year old grandma squeeze a prosthetic boob for what felt like 20 seconds far too long. It was no good, my concentration level dropped quite drastically upon having that image burned firmly into my retinas and I had to go treat myself to a hefty pork sandwich as way of recovery.

Post food break we marched on to check out nursery furniture and car seats which was a bit more dad-related. The people on the stall talk you through how to put things up and down, while showing you how easy it is and then you have a go yourself and manage to cock it up. Seriously, watch any couple go through buying a pram and it’s just a sea of red-faced men trying to fathom what is essentially a Rubix cube with wheels, while the wives/girlfriends stand next to them saying ‘Yeah, you’ve nearly got it!’. It’s impossible to see how you don’t end up climbing into your own shoe with the way some of them fold away so me and Suz have discussed maybe just buying a really plush skateboard and velcro-ing baby on to that if worse comes to worst. It’ll be fine ’til the roads turn icy and even then there’s grit.

(All joking aside, the women at Stokke were mega helpful so a big thank you to them).

As closing time arrived, we’d managed to just about get round everything and finished off by grabbing ourselves an inflatable penguin balloon (as all good parents-to-be should), ready to say adios and head home. My favourite part of the day? Not all the advice, smiles, couples in love, couples arguing, freebies. Nope.

The shell of a man who sat silently rocking in a nursing chair for FOUR. HOURS.

Seriously, every time we walked past. There he was. I’m placing bets on the fact his Mrs wouldn’t let him get a balloon animal or that he trapped a nut while trying to dismantle a Bugaboo. I guess I’ll never know.

Anyway, until next time! Check out my top 3 buys at The Baby Show below. Rest assured, I haven’t been asked to give any of these guys a shout-out, they’re just some of the purchases we’re really happy with and it’s always nice to mention good customer service.

1) Natures Purest. A couple of rattles, blanket and pack of babygrows. Eco-friendly and cool all at the same time.

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2) Gro-swaddle. Lots of different patters and really soft material. The Gro Store seem to have it spot on with pretty much everything on their website so we’ll be checking them out again no doubt.

 

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3) The Baby Dam. This doesn’t in any way mean we expect our child to become a beaver. More that this means you can clean your child in a normal sized bath, with water you’ve already used. Great money-saving idea but probably won’t use this any day Suz has been in there. She’s partial to a fake tan and I’m not keen on my child emerging from water as a mini David Dickinson.

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It All Starts Here

We’d been happily settled in our new house for oh, all of three days when we decided to take a pregnancy test. I say we, my girlfriend Susie essentially took care of that, (although if we’re showing off excellent urination skills then I’d like it known I have pissed on demand after many a competition and my aim’s now near-on impeccable).

It turned out the littlest room we’d jokingly mentioned being made into a nursery at some point in the near future, was about to become the nursery in approximately eight and a half months, and in the midst of telling my dog Gus off for chasing after a family of rabbits for the 18th time that hour, Suz and I stared at wee covered plastic for the next 20 minutes while trying to take selfies which weren’t blurry from us laughing.

About a week later, the laughter kind of stopped because Suz had developed some really fun morning sickness and resembled the girl from The Exorcist. It’s an odd stage, full of pukes, the sweats and yet endless need for grazing. I’d wake up at 2am having rolled on to a particularly spiky cracker crumb only to come downstairs to find Susie wide-mouth crying because the local fish and chip shop didn’t open for another 7 hours and she really needed a saveloy. She said she’d rather be forced to watch Mrs. Brown’s Boys on repeat for a week than go through another month of morning sickness so I can only presume it was diabolical. Things I’ve learned from this stage of pregnancy? Knock-knock jokes don’t help. Saying ‘at least you’re poorly for a nice reason’ gets you a look that could strike a giraffe down dead. And motion-sickness bands will become the best purchase since your first titty mag.

Around the time the voms were coming to an end, I was heading off to the U.S for training. I’d debated changing the dates of my flight because leaving meant I missed the first scan by one week and believe me I was gutted, but we made the decision to keep them as they were and agreed Suz would just let me know if anything terrifying showed up, like the fact we expecting quintuplets or a fire-breathing dragon. Luckily, we got the brilliant news all was well; the baby was healthy, balancing a treat on Suz’s bladder and most importantly, wasn’t chilling out in there with five brothers and sisters.

I got home six weeks later and arrived back to a blooming tummy at the airport (Suz’s obviously. Some fat bloke hadn’t surprised me at the arrivals gate) and since then we’ve been practising putting prams up and down at various department stores, bought more animal-related clothes than you can wave a zoo at and read up on which breast pump beats the other. (I’ve offered to grab my bucket and just milk her but she’s not buzzed at the idea). We’ve been asked repeatedly when we’re getting married. Answer; when we feel like it. Will it be a long jumper? Possibly, but it might also be a magician or Cliff Richard impersonator. Aaaand the obvious, will it be ginger? It might very well be ginger. It wouldn’t be a shock if it came out ginger. It would be a shock if it came out black.

I’ve looked forward to having a little family of my own for a long time so I couldn’t be more overjoyed and it’ll undoubtedly take a lot of strength not to transform into a net-mum with balls over the next few years. Suz comes from quite a large family and having children together was something we discussed pretty early on in to us dating, so we’re really enjoying waiting for our little arrival to turn up. Over the next few months I’m going to try and blog about what it’s like planning for fatherhood and becoming a dad without hopefully turning into that weird guy you avoid in the pub, and it’d be great to hear stories from other dads and dads-to-be. Once baby’s born I’m sure this will turn into a bit of a sanctuary, where I can just headbutt the keyboard after two hours of sleep and complain about stinking of baby dung and talcum powder, but until then… I’m off to go bake a chickenpie like a real man, GRRR.