Things l’d like my Son to know 

Things I want my son to know. Lesson #12 – Have Courage, But don’t be afraid to cry.

“Big Boys Dont Cry”is something I used to hear a lot when I was growing up.

When I was 22, my granddad died peacefully in his sleep. He was someone I loved so much, someone who taught me the art of DIY, allowed me to drive his cars all the time, sit with him and play with him.

I remember getting the news at about 3am when I heard the house phone ring, and I immediately sensed he was gone, and it was confirmed by my mum’s crying. I jumped up in bed and burst into tears. My dad walked past, knocked on the door and saw me crying and said “Let it out now, but be strong when you get to the house” but there was no time. Granddad lived 3 doors from us, so I quickly got changed and had to dry my eyes and “be strong” for my family. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

Things I’d Like my Son to Know

Lesson 9 – Sometimes you just need “Me-Time”

After a tiring evening putting my son to bed I realised that in the past 3 months, i’ve not taken time out to go for a walk.  It was a bout 8pm and I was getting to that agitated point in my day where I felt as though I needed to expend some energy before I rest my head.

As I grabbed by jacket, keys and phone (for emergency) and exited the door and down the street, I realised I had left my prized partner at home – my wife.  For once, in a very long time, I was doing something that wanted to do, that was just about me and fresh air (as much as can be had in the suburbs of the UK) and I was actually glad for the time to myself. Continue reading

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.

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…