Dave the Dad 7 - Survival Tips - Don'ts

Dave the Dad 7 - Survival Tips - Don'ts
During the last ten and a half months Jane and I have stumbled along a brutal learning curve.

As we wind down for a few weeks here's a far from exhaustive list of some of our more striking lessons.

Don't think that just because your child couldn't do something yesterday he still can't do it today.
Tom's been crawling for months now and every time he's approached the stairs he has peered up, measuring their sheer gradient as he gingerly places a hand here, a leg there and always retreating. Then, last Sunday, he scooted up seven without so much as a breath out of place. It seemed so natural that he didn't even have time to be pleased with himself until he neared the top. That was when he swivelled balletically and flung himself into a tailspin. With a serious turn to my eye I explained how lucky it was that I was there to catch his fall. He shook his head, stuck his hand in my mouth and squeaked.

Don't assume he's unhappy because he's screaming.
Tom's always known how to get the most out of relatively small vocal chords but now that he's a bit more thoughtful he's learnt to vary both output and range. There are as many good as bad points about living in Brighton but one unforeseen occurrence is the budding ability of our son to imitate various wildlife such as hungry seagulls, randy foxes and drunk 17 year old girls. Tom finds his vast array of howling beeps and chirruping yelps fascinating and we can enjoy them more now that we know he hasn't necessarily lodged himself in the blender.

Don't lie on the floor next to the clothes horse.Sometimes it's easier to just lie down and watch. I figured he'd be alright, wobbling a clotheshorse full of drying undies.
I was right too; there was no way he could hurt himself unless of course he slightly lifted said equipment thereby dislodging two wooden picture frames, each of which could shoot from the wall like a parallel guillotine. Still, how much harm can two medium sized frames do? Don't know as both shaved either side of my head, leaving my ears intact by about three centimetres. With a harried look in my eye I explained how necessary it was for Tom not to lift the clotheshorse. He nodded, pointed at the bed and made a popping noise with his lips.

Don't stick a sucker cup to your head.
This seemed a marvellous stunt and Tom loved it as the bath tidy flapped around my face for thirty seconds. It was probably two hours later that I first noticed the bruise. I subsequently went on noticing this for a full seven days.

Don't think that just because he could do something yesterday he can do it today.
That's right, say bye-bye! He waved himself into a hilarious delirium in the house for two hours and then when mum came home pretended that he hadn't a clue what I was talking about. 'What? You want me to clap? Like this? No? How about a high five? No? Honestly dad I haven't the foggiest what you want me to do. This afternoon? I'm sorry do I know you?'

Don't let your wife cut his hair - Unless she's qualified. Trust me.

Don't underestimate how much food a baby can fit in a neck crevice.
If you're a regular visitor then by now you'll know how gorgeous my son is. Even taking for granted that at certain times he piles the weight on ('porking up time' we lovingly mutter) he's still quite a catch down at Little Dippers. He's no Charles Laughton yet it's amazing how often I lift him from his bath, all neatly scrubbed with a flannel starfish: clean nails, pink toes, as fresh as warm bread. Take him down to meet his mum and he reaches playfully up at the light shade. It's like a Brazilian tip just under his chin.

Don't be surprised by the cat's behaviour.
Now William is a Burmese, not the most obliging animals at the best of times. I don't wish to irritate fascist Eastern juntas but suffice to say that if you type 'Myanmar; behaviour of' into Google you'll get a pretty accurate low-down on the running of the country that used to be known as Burma. Well, most of the information you glean about the ruling factions in that country can be applied to their cats it seems to me. Don't get me wrong; we love William and I would be the first to advise anyone after a cat with personality to go straight for a Burmese. It's just that at times that personality can resemble Benito Mussolini. Added to this was the fact that we took in William when he was five, confused, pushed around from pillar to post and lacking any feeling of security. He was high maintenance. So when Tom came we were expecting the worse. We bought cat nets and, just in case, a medium sized hessian sack which we filled with some larger pebbles from the beach.

Result: Tom pulls his ears, slaps his back, bodyslams his tail and today even crawled right over William's prone haunches. And William has done nothing. Bizarrely he even seems to seek Tom out in order to undergo this sort of punishment. Not a swipe, not a bite, not a hiss just the occasional flapping of his tail when things get too punishing. Of course he still attacks Jane but Hey! no-one's perfect.

I'm off now for two weeks but I'll be back later in the summer. Of course if I had a penny for every time I've said that I'd have 13 pence. That somehow doesn't sound as impressive written down.


Dave Fouracre aka "Dave the Dad" is a regular feature writer & blogger for TheBabyWebsite and is Dad to two sons and a daughter!
July 30 2006
©David Fouracre

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