Dressing like a dad

I think I’ve started dressing like a dad. And by the look of it, Marley is already embarrassed by me.

He is barely three months old, but already his dad is coming home with polo shirts from M&S. Just a step or two away from slippers and a pipe. I tried on a granddad shirt this week too, thinking I was being all “current”. But it actually made me look like an extra from Star Trek. On a positive note, I didn’t actually buy it.

Despite the descent in to dad dressing, my wife still agreed to celebrate our first wedding anniversary this week by having lunch with me and Marley in a nice pub in Wandsworth. Our proper celebration was actually a lovely dinner at the place where we were married over in France, but this was a nice follow-up….and it certainly beat a day at the office. 

We had a celebratory couple of glasses of bubbly with the cat later, too.

We also caught up with some of the other mums, dads and babies from our NCT class. The NCT class, for those of you who don’t know what NCT stands for (I still have no idea), is like an antenatal class, basically designed to teach you how to try and be a parent. 

When Marley was born back in June, he was the smallest of all the babies from our NCT class. He is now comfortably the largest. To the extent that someone recently pointed out that it looks like he has rubber bands wrapped tightly around his wrists (he doesn’t, it’s just pure chub). Anyway, I heard that it’s impossible to over-feed a baby through breastfeeding , so I think of it as a good thing. Or maybe even as a challenge…..

He’ll grow in to his skin, eventually.

It was great to see all the other happy, healthy babies together for the first time, too. They were all super well behaved, and in the main they all sat very still. Not Marley, though. Well behaved, yes. Sitting still, no. He very rarely EVER stops moving, he seems to be going through a stage of bouncing, kicking and waving his arms around at all times. And he seems to be visibly getting bigger every single day! 

It feels like it won’t be long before he can actually tell his dad how shocking his new clobber is….

Testing the water

You might think a week long break in the south of France, followed by a couple of days off back home, would be the ideal recipe for some rest and relaxation for parent(s) and baby. 

We had a great break, but things were not quite that simple….

After a few initial days of grey skies, the sun came out in force on day three in France. We took the opportunity to do some sight-seeing with Marley; a walk up the hill to a chateau in a small town called Termes (worst lunch ever), a stroll in the picturesque Lagrasse (photo above) and then a bit of time chilling out by the pool. 

It was there that I had the idea that he might like to be dipped in freezing cold water. 

We had bought a mini wet suit and swimming nappy (and a cute hat) in advance, and after sitting out in 30C+ outdoor temperatures – Marley in the shade, of course – it felt like a good time to see if he liked water. I jumped in first, to see how it felt (refreshing…..for an adult). The pool thermometer read 22C. I really should have known better.

I tried just to dip his feet under at first. 

He hated it.

But you know, I thought it might just be an initial shock, maybe he’ll warm up once he is properly in. So I dipped him in again. Only this time, I plunged him deeper so the water came right up to his waist. 

He hated it. Even more than the first time.

At first, he just kind of gasped, and held his breath for a second. But then he started crying. Well, screaming really. Lots and lots of screaming. And then he went purple. 

I could hear the screaming coming from the house for about half an hour after that (yes, I’m ashamed to say I carried on swimming in the pool while my wife consoled him) but he did eventually stop. I think the guilt properly set in when someone told me later that a temperature of 32C would be more appropriate for a baby of his age. Poor little man. 

A couple of days later, once he had finally forgiven me, it was time for us to fly home. We boarded the plane without any fuss, and after take-off he was sitting on my knee really comfortably. The lady on the seat next to me, who had given birth to five (FIVE!) of her own, even commented on how well behaved he was. 

And then, without warning, something changed.

I don’t know what, or why, but it was as if someone had reminded him of being dipped in the frozen water all over again. The screaming started spontaneously, and didn’t stop until we were back in London around two hours later. 

Once we were back on British soil, he seemed to calm down again. Eventually. But his second trauma of the week was, unfortunately, not the last.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m not a big fan of injections. And it turns out Marley takes after his dad in that respect. His second round of jabs today was like another flashback to Poolgate, and once again we were treated to the wild screaming and purple face.

Thankfully, he once again managed to get over the trauma and was a lot happier on the way home. But I imagine it’ll still be a while before we attempt another swimming lesson.

Marley’s first holiday

I’ve been travelling with work lately, which has meant I missed a week of being at home with Marley and my wife. 

My job occasionally requires me to play tour guide to international visitors for a week, and this time I was responsible for taking a group of visitors from Germany, Italy, Spain, Russia, Kazakhstan, China, Japan, Korea (South…) and Thailand on a journey from London to Dublin via Cambridge, Bournemouth & Bath.

It’s always great to get an international perspective and I learned a lot from them. For example, did you know that the full Thai name for Bangkok is actually: Krungthep maha nakorn amorn rattanakosin mahin tara ayutthaya mahadilok poph nopparat ratchanthani burirom udom ratchaniwet mahasathan amorn pimarn awatarnsatid sakka tattiya vitsanu kamprasit?

Oddly, there was something of a recurring theme of nudity throughout the week. None of our visitors were actually visibly naked at any stage (or if they were, I didn’t see it) but from Day One there were several naked moments. 

We saw bare swimmers in an outdoor lido in London. We witnessed a large group of nude male bathers getting rowdy at Bournemouth beach. 

And while out for dinner in Cambridge, we were discussing the TV show Friends when we were treated to our very own Ugly Naked Guy in the window across the road. This resulted in a great deal of hilarity and laughter, at which point the waiter came through and said: “you’ve seen the naked guy then?” 

This was obviously not the first time.

After the busy week of travel, we decided to take Marley on his first overseas holiday, a week in the south of France. He has had a great time so far, going on his first flight (he was very well behaved) and speaking to French people for the first time. Which is never the easiest.

He’s even been to his first wine tasting, although he was only allowed milk. Actually, while he was feeding in the main reception of the vineyard, one large Frenchman leant over, looked down at my wife’s chest and said: “It’s better than the wine”.

It was pretty creepy. 

Anyway, perhaps the best thing about Marley’s first holiday was that we got to take him to see the place where his parents got married last year. 

Later today, I’m going to take him for his first swim, which he is almost certain to hate. But at least I should have a good photo to use for my next post!