Things I’d Like my Son to Know

Lesson 10 – Friendship is priceless.

They say that you can identify the characteristics of a person by meeting the 5 people they are closest to.

I was talking to my wife some days ago, about how as we grow older, some of the friends we had as children, teenagers, young adults, seem to drift out of our lives, and we are, we hope, left with a few, strong ties, peers, family extensions we call friends.

I grew up with a few close friends.  I wasn’t particularly inundated with friends, but I had taken the decision (somewhat much to my regret) to have a few close friends, and not to cast the net out too wide, incase I became friends with someone that took me down a wild path of drugs, booze, promiscuity, for which my parents would surely whoop my ass.

No, I chose the normal path.  My closest friend in secondary school, or high school as it is known now, was a guy called Jonathan.  You may have seen Harry Potter right? Well basically this kid was the spitting image of Harry Potter, brown hair, glasses and sharp as a tack.  As we grew up, he seemed to age in much the same way as Daniel Radcliffe did in those films.

Yes JB was a good friend, perhaps the best mate a guy could ask for.  The thing I regret the most happened when we completed our GCSE’s and we were all deciding on where to go for 6th form, and much to my sadness, JB moved out of the school to a better 6th form, leaving me to, at this late stage, to start to formulate new friendships.

I really found it difficult to relate to the groups and cliques forming at school, and felt somewhat as an outcast.  It just so happened to find friends in my faith circle, and I now have, of the friends I have made during my life, kept 4 or 5 people closest to me.

Son, take each connection you make, as an opportunity to better yourself and the world around you.  Each person you meet will teach you something about yourself, and the people you keep closest to you will be your support when you need . They are your companions to share laughter and memories with.

Friends are like family that we find along the journey of life.  Family that have different parents, backgrounds, cultures, norms – but ones we see beyond because there is something we connect with within them. It might be difficult to understand what I’m saying – but remember this;  Make good friends, and make time for them.  Take time to understand them and be there for them.

Good friends are diamonds that we collect in the journey of our lives that make us all the more richer.

 

Things I’d Like my Son to Know

Lesson #2- Have Gratitude. 
Thank you.

Two simple swords carrying a complex and deep emotion. Being appreciative of an act for which one may not consider themselves worthy of. Both humility and acceptance in immense bounds. 

I sat in my car today, and listening to a hymn written by a poet from North India, “what means do I have to understand your ways” , and that was it. I was flooded with tears and finally, the strength to breakdown.

Release. 

I didn’t think I would ever get the energy or the trigger to allow me to express an emotion like that. But it happened. Finally.

Son every emotion is to be experienced, appreciated, understood and then dealt with. Don’t hold any emotion in which may harm your mindset or heart set later. 

Each time you get the opportunity to experience an emotion, be thankful. 

Be grateful that you witnessed a feeling, because not everyone gets to do so. 

Thank God for everything. 

It’s all the Lords gift. 

Remember. There are 7.2 billion people on this planet. He can choose to do anything from anyone. 

Do something great and thank the lord that you were present to do so. 

The well placed F-Bomb.

So I’m not a huge fan of foul language, (in front of children), but sometimes the little things can really annoy the sht out of you at times. One such time was a couple of nights ago when my phone decided to play silly buggers and not connect to the Wi-Fi at home. The story of what happens next will crack you up…

Its late in the evening, and I’m about to take my son for his bath.  I decide that some music is in order because, well why not, and go to get my phone from the kitchen where it was sat charging.  I had left it for about 40 minutes or so, and it had only picked up about 10% charge which was infuriating, as Sid’s bath would take at least 8% of the charge.

Anyway I realise that it is also not connected to the Wi-Fi and so I turn the Wi-Fi on on the phone, and wait.  And wait.  And wait.

By this time I’m seriously hacked off and under my breath, seeing that my son is now buzzing around me I mutter “why the fk isn’t the phone connecting to the Wi-Fi?!?!?!”. He was about a metre away from me and I immediately realised I had said those magic words a little too loudly.  He suddenly stopped what he was doing, stared me right in the eye and said “Daddy don’t say that. Don’t say fk. It’s not nice to say it. Instead say .. Hmm (looks at his book of planes) instead say helicopter.”

I was both amazed and mortified at the same time.

I wanted to swing my genius son around and at the same time cut off my tongue for using such profane language in front of my angel with horns child.

There was an itching curiosity within me as I rested that evening.

How did my son, my 2 year old, whom we never swear in front of, know that fk is such a bad swear word?  No-one told him, and certainly not me.  I wondered – did my son realise that my frustration, linked to the extremely well placed F-Bomb meant that the word I used was a naughty word?  Or has someone secretly been teaching my son things to just wind me up?

I did a very crude experiment with him the next morning.  I pretended to get really angry and shouted out “What the chin!?!?!” – and lo and behold – he stopped what he was doing (eating) and said – “Daddy – don’t say Chin.  It’s not nice”.

Could it be that children are that more sensitive to the way we say things compared to what we say?

If it is so, then it is both sentiment, emotion, AND language that has an impact on a child.

This relates quite nicely to what we hear about communication and arguments – most of the time arguments occur not be cause of what we say – but because of how we say it.

It seems like this is not a learned construct – It’s almost innate and we know what this “feeling” of negativity is, from a very young age.

If there’s anything I have learnt from this experience, that is to never underestimate 2 things.

  1. The value of a well placed F-Bomb
  2. The ability of your child at such a young age to pick up on emotion, more than the words.

Swearing infront of your child- how to get away with it.

From the day Sid was born, I’ve been telling him, on a daily basis, that I love him. Verbally about 20-30 times without fail. 

 At 3 months old he repeated me saying “hello” to him, which was beautiful and we managed to capture it in this video 

http://youtu.be/DVp5N3_f3iY

It didn’t take much for him to mimic me saying hello to him, but saying “I love you” seemed to be his kryptonite. 

He randomly now repeats words that we use and throws them back at us.. I get him calling his mum “Shangeeee” or “dhaaaliin” which is really sweet. 

So how do I get away with the occasional profanity? 

So I was getting changed in Sangs dressing room and dropped the moisturiser on the floor. I was already rushed and a little stressed and accidentally used the S word. 

Not realising Sid was say behind me on the floor he repeated me and said “oh sit”…

Sangs expression and my amazement were to be captured. 

I couldn’t get the little monkey to say I love you despite the thousands of times I’ve said it to him, but the one time I swear infront of him and that’s what he repeats?!?!

So how do I get away with expressing myself without him using he same words in public?

You could say to me “Vish it’s not polite to swear anyway- try stopping.. ” 

Well bollox to that. 

How do we get away with it…!??

I figured that the best way to do it, is to find an alternative. 

For example “Oh Duck!” For the obvious, or “come on mate!” instead of “learn how to drive you jackass”

I ask you all, parents and non parents- what are good alternative swear words ?

10 things only sleep deprived parents will feel

Sleep deprivation is torture on every level. I understand why it is used as a torture mechanism by governments. It hurts physically and mentally. 

  Being a parent is an awesome job and I wouldn’t give it up for the world. I love my son and I love how my wife has evolved into a mum, and seeing her transition into this role has been beautiful. 

I mean, she’s still my drop dead smoking hot wife, but she’s an awesome mum to our son too. 

It wasn’t all plain sailing though. 

As we chose to breast feed Sid, getting rest was one thing that was a real struggle. Sid had a huge appetite and was hungrier at night.

We didn’t plan for this, nor the effect (obscenely detrimental effect) this would have on us. 

We went through 10 months of Sid being a rough sleeper of which the first 5 he was up about 10-20 times a night. That eased off to about 8times a night and then by 8 months he was up 4 times a night. You can see where I’m going with this. 

By month 1 I looked like this. 

 
And felt 10 times worse. 

So without going into details of what we did to manage this … I thought I’d list a few things that we experienced during this time and things to warn future parents of.

  1. Slurred speech. Ever remember trying to get out a sentence in a coherent manner to your work colleagues to sound vaguely intelligent after having a glass or two of wine? Well this is the first phase of delerium. Only it doesn’t wear off. You only know shit’s got wierd when you ask your work colleague to hold you up in case you fall over a desk you didn’t know you were standing on, wearing trousers that don’t match your suit jacket. 
  2. Waking up in the middle of a conference call you started at work and wondered where everyone was, then realising you weren’t on a conference call, you’re not at work, your phone is just stuck to the side of your face. 
  3. Desi parents will always try and bring food over just to play with the baby and when you explicitly say “don’t wake the baby” you shout at them for waking the baby with their overly loud questioning at the front door “Sid asleep!!??” 
  4. Getting random bruises from walking into things that you knew perfectly well were there but on this drunken state, may as well be invisible. 
  5. Walking into the the microwave door whilst it was wide open head first forgetting that 10 seconds ago you left it open yourself 
  6. Sleeping together no longer means “getting lucky” it literally means falling asleep together. Sex is no longer on the menu. Sleep is the dish of the day. Any day. 
  7. Having one partner that is responsible for putting the baby to sleep means we’re literally ducked if that partner is away for a night. 
  8. Slapping yourself in the face just to get through drinking your first cup of coffee. After the first one you’re not so bad. 
  9. Regretting not using protection. Having suffered with sleep deprivation for months it was always a niggle in the back of my mind. What if?  I would be sound asleep and happy. Instead, I have the antichrist as a child at night. 
  10. You’ve used shaving gel for toothpaste. Only happens 4 or 5 times 
  11. You fall asleep taking a number 2 which started as a number 1 only it moved in that direction. 
  12. Stubbing your toes on anything while picking up/putting the baby to sleep and then cursing the baby. 
  13. Getting to 13 points in this list and while forgetting that you only wanted 10

Yes people sleep deprivation from having kids is real and it will f you up hard. But honestly it is worth it. 

After the first 12 months, unless you decide to have another one. Then you only have yourself to blame. 

Crap that people say to pregnant women (and their husbands)

You know when parents say that they fell in love with their child the moment they saw him/her? They’re like “aww it was love at first sight” or “it was magical” and so on …  
Not usWell not immediately. 

You see when Sid was born, I mean like the 10 seconds after he was lifted above the operating covers for me and sang to see, and for me to reveal the sex of my child to my wife (cos that was too much to do for the surgeon), I think our immediate response was “WHAT IN GODS NAME IS THAT!!???”

Followed by a silent ..”PUT THAT BACK AND BRING ME OUT MY CHILD!!!”

 He was long, covered in dark brown muck (muconium apparently) and almost alien like. 

It wasn’t until he was cleaned up by the nurse did I really see how beautiful, pure and gorgeous he was. He was a little angel. A little beige angel.

I fell in love with him when i could smell that ‘new baby smell’ that they should bottle up and sell.. And that love lasts to this day..

See we went through a mad journey filled with hyperemesis, SPD, house build, decoration, 2 trips abroad (Canada at 14 weeks and india at 20) and we got a lot of advice, mostly unsolicited from all angles. 
We had 9 months of listening to some rather interesting guidance from people (listened to – not acted upon) who put rationalised their arguments in an almost scientific manner. 

We got everything from “how best to get pregnant” to “how to make sure your child is fair skinned”. Basically from the ridiculous, to the just down right stupid.

Most of the superstitions and commentary that I came across were to do with “how to make sure your baby is white and fair”. Honestly if we had a white baby there would be some serious chuffing questions to be answered in my household!!!

The irony of it all, is that its Asians that project these superstitions to other Asians… like it wasn’t enough to have an India free of Empirical Rule, but we now demand to have white babies now too? 

I’m not sure where this fascination with fair skin has come from, and this obsession that the world (and by world, I mean Indian desi mothers) has with fair skin = beautiful. What is the cultural bias that Indians have towards fair skin? (see number 1 and 2 below). 

India is a country full of brown skinned people, who have varying degrees of skin tone from very fair, to really dark skin, basically 50 shades of brown. So when someone said to my wife, “keep a picture of a white baby in your bedroom and your baby will turn out white” I had to give them the ‘WTF’ glare and then share the comment with the whole world.

Here are some of the nonsense comments perpetuated by seemingly intelligent and educated people from the Indian subcontinent (and some from around the world in general).

  1. Drink milk and your baby will be fair skinned.- unless you’re lactose intolerant. Like you need to have more gas seriously!Keep a photo of picture of a fair skinned baby and look at it everyday and you will have a white baby. – Makes ZERO sense to me (or anyone else ive met) We didn’t, and Sid was born very fair skinned… mainly due to the amniotic fluid leftover on his skin.
  2. Eat greasy food will help you push the baby out – Now this one was just crap.. Eating greasy food would just give you heartburn, and high cholesterol, which is the last thing a pregnant woman would need!
  3. When the baby is born, put a little black mark on the baby’s forehead to ward off the “evil eye” – NO! All you do is dirty a baby’s head and expose it to germs. 
  4. My personal favourite – and I witnessed it a little so im surprised it’s a superstition – A baby will be more restless during a full moon, and not sleep properly until he is a little older. I felt Sid was more active during the full moon nights – which tbh were just like any other night – just Sid waking up 8 times and crying his head off..
  5. Wait until the baby is born before making the nursery – LIKE I’LL HAVE THE TIME!!! It look 3 of us 1 whole day without distractions to make all the furniture, and decorate the room. Nah ha. No way. Take the appropriate opportunity and get it out of theway. Baby needs to be in his own bed as soon as he can!!
  6. At an antenatal appt, a friend asked the midwife when her genetic results would be back.. The midwife turned around and said “don’t you worry about the results hun, just blossom and bloom!” Nice and clear … 

The whole obsession with unsolicited advice for during pregnancy wasn’t anywhere as frustrating as the advice we got given when Sid was born.. But I’ll share that another time…