Today we took Felix with us to the waterfront for a day of craft stalls and watching people launch BMX bikes into the ocean. It was okay, I guess, if you like disappointment and whales made of driftwood.

Felix got a little fidgety near the end of the outing, so I had taken him out of the stroller and was carrying him along in front of me. An older lady (you can’t say old anymore) stopped us and said “Your baby looks cold. Is he alright?”

By which she obviously meant “Your baby looks cold. He isn’t alright.”

Now I might be a little oversensitive, but it’s hard to interpret that as anything but “you are a terrible parent, total stranger, so here is some advice you didn’t ask for”. It didn’t bother me that much, and I quickly told her that he was perfectly fine. I avoided telling her to go soak her head in a bucket of Shut The Fuck Up, for which I should win a medal. Her husband clearly realised the unsolicited nagging could be taken the right way and hurried her along down the boardwalk.

What are people expecting to happen in these situations? Surely after a random person in the street tells me my baby is too cold I should strip naked and swaddle the child in my own clothing, rubbing him vigourously until he catches fire.

The only thing I will learn from getting bombarded with unwanted parenting advice from strangers is that people are assholes who should get their own damn babies.

Trauma, sleep deprivation and back injuries.

On Friday, the wee Felix got his second round of immunisations. Just like last time I had the twinge of guilt when the needles went into his tiny thighs and he screamed, but just like last time he was perfectly happy afterwards and had a long conversation with the nurse about stock prices and flowers.

Sadly, it didn’t last. About four hours afterwards – when I was home with him alone – he started to pitch a fit, crying and generally looking uncomfortable. By the time six hours had passed, he was screaming at the top of his lungs, shiny tears pouring out of his face. It was a level of distress he had not previously reached, and none of the normal tactics were calming him down.

I picked him up and he cried, I faced him forward and he cried, I put him in his chair and rocked him and he cried, I made silly faces and he cried. I changed him, put soothing cream on, swaddled the fuck out of him, put him to bed, unswaddled him, sang to him, carried him around, put him on his front, on his side, sitting up, lying down, on the couch, on a blanket, on the bed. Having a baby constantly screaming is bad enough for your state of mind, when it’s you’re own child and you (forgive the sap) actually care about him being happy it’s like needles of sadness under your fingernails.

Eventually I managed to get him to a kind of limbo between tranquility and bellowing anguish, but only by constantly carrying him around and rocking him for about three straight hours. At the end I think I could see through time.

It’s been a few days and he’s slowly recovering from the side effects. All of that rubbish is actually part of the normal and expected reaction to the shots, but it hardly stops you worrying.

When he gets his first injury or serious disease I will probably develop stress cancer.

To make myself and everyone else feel better, here is a picture of Felix hiding from today’s sudden rainstorm:

Me: "Holy moley Felix! We're going out for a fun walk! SO AWESOME!" Felix: "I just pooped on your shirt."

This robot is delicious.

"You put me in a TIGGER costume? In summer?! I will climb into your bed tonight with a tiny knife and push it into your eye."

The winner of 2012's inaugural "Babies That Look Like Drunk Old Men With Rabies" contest.

Today a woman came up to me in the street and touched my baby. I didn’t provoke the attack, and neither did Felix – unless you say he was asking for it by dressing so provocatively.

Foolishly, I assumed that old cliché  about women being drawn to a man holding a baby was just that – a cliché. But it turns out to be both true and slightly terrifying. I went out to do some grocery shopping, strapping the tiny tot to my chest because trying to manoeuvre a giant buggy through the fruit aisle is like trying  to catch ball bearings in a crystal wine glass.

Here we were, minding our own business as we stood on the corner, pretending to look at shop windows, when suddenly I hear a high pitched yelp of excitement.

“Oh so cute!”

Now I’d already heard the mutterings of several female women in the preceding 10 minutes. I had tried very hard not to notice when people would walk past, look at the baby and tell their friend how adorable it was. I made my best totally-not-uncomfortable face. But this was a new level. A young woman holding a toddler had come right up to me and was making goo-goo eyes at Felix. She was poking him and tickling his sides and telling him he had a lovely face. She asked how old he was and his name, commented that he looked very healthy for his age and made it VERY clear that the toddler wasn’t hers, it was her friend’s. It seemed legit, there was another woman standing nearby with a stroller.

Felix’s new admirer gushed about how she really wanted one (I assume she meant a baby) and asked a bunch of questions about my situation (where was my partner, did I look after the baby, etc), all the while wiggling the child and planting kisses on his innocent cheeks. This went on for a good five to ten minutes. She didn’t ask permission at all, either, which is surely a weird thing. Right? You’re giving lip service to a baby strapped to my chest and you don’t ask?

Not that either of us complained.

Behaviour like that towards an adult would get you arrested. Or get you a date. Hopefully this power to make beautiful women run screaming towards him and molest his face will follow Felix into his adult life.

There’s no part of feeding a baby that isn’t weird.

First of all, breastfeeding is obviously something someone came up with while they were drunk. What if babies had to suck on a piece of their own mother until white liquid came gushing out, and then they ate it? Brilliant.

Rachel had no problem with breastfeeding, which was a great relief given all the horror stories we’d heard about women struggling. I can’t even imagine the emotional turmoil associated with not being able to provide for your baby in the so-called “normal” way. And the madness of that before easy alternatives existed. But yes, my wife produces ample amounts from her more than ample bosom, but is still very sexy.

Before Felix was a real human, she was adamant that she would NOT be breastfeeding because it was an icky and inconvenient thing. Then he came and her brain released special hormones that make you think your baby is literally the best thing ever.*

Since I’m the stay-home dad and Rachel is the winner of bread and transporter of bacon, she had to start pumping. Every day she goes to work and twice carts herself off to a private place and attaches an electric pump to her body. Because that’s fucking LOVE, okay? We were originally worried that Felix wouldn’t like bottles, but he was pretty quick to make the adjustment. He did put on a face like “What the fuck is this? This isn’t a nipple. What sort of scam are you trying to pull here you sniveling sack of-OH MY GOD THERE IS FOOD IN THIS NOM NOM NOM.”

We have, on the occasion of an occasional emergent emergency, had to resort to formula feeding. I hate doing it because it’s not as good for him, it makes his butt lock tighter than a bank safe and it’s a bloody hassle. And sometimes, like yesterday, the picky little droplet decides he doesn’t WANT formula, even though he’s eaten it with no complaints a dozen times before. “No,” he says, “get this filth out of my mouth. I only seek the finest breast milk squeezed from a mother who bathed in a moonlit lake atop a mountain of frozen spring water.” And then it all comes dribbling out his mouth, as if even swallowing a drop would be like licking a ball of sweaty ass and dirt.

*NB: Felix really is the best thing ever, and I will have my baby fight your baby to prove it.

Proof of Laugh


Following up on yesterday’s post about baby laughter. This was Christmas with the family. My parents bought Felix (among other things) a fake cell phone that makes beeping noises and has a mirror inside. As far as he’s concerned, the phone is made of chocolate and sunshine and holds all the magic in the world. His head nearly popped off from pure baby joy.

Mum also got him his very first teddy bear (now named Pippy). Other presents included a brightly coloured robot with a ratcheting head, Lion King overalls, learning books, a stuffed kangaroo, one of those weird bouncing chairs, a caterpillar shaped dog and a hand-made blanket with a train track design.

I did pretty well too, mind. I got some M&Ms. Oh yeah, you’re jealous now.

Here are some guaranteed methods for making a baby laugh:

  • Pulling a funny face.
  • Saying the word “BABY” in a gruff voice.
  • Moving your hands quickly.
  • Moving your hands slowly.
  • Not pulling any face at all, or actually looking at the baby. Completely ignoring the child until you look down to see him cackling with delight at the underside of your chin.
  • Sneezing.
  • Pretending to sneeze.
  • Pretending to sneeze 26 times.
  • Making guttural noises with your mouth while bobbing your head up and down.
  • Walking across the room.
  • Letting the baby watch sitcoms about racism and prostitutes.
  • Dancing.
  • Attempting to dance, but actually just wobbling around in such a way as to remind yourself why you’re at home with a baby instead of out clubbing.
  • Faking a seizure until you feel like vomiting from the exertion, but you couldn’t stop because the baby’s happy face was releasing endorphins in your brain.
  • Talking normally.
  • Laughing.
  • Eating a sandwich.

And if none of those work, sometimes they will just giggle at a wall for half an hour. Behaviour which, in our case, led Rachel to be concerned Felix was schizophrenic, and that the wall was detailing Satanic plans to strangle us with his tiny hands. Her mother informed us that babies look away from your face because they find it too overwhelmingly exciting and happy to look at their parents. Because they love them so much. If true, that’s god damn adorable and much better than the Satan thing.

When you become a parent, you stop caring.

Not in a bad way, mind you. Since becoming a dad I’ve just found that a lot of other things don’t matter quite as much. Like making sure I catch a certain show on TV, or whether someone in the supermarket is being a douchebag, or if I’m five minutes late for an appointment. A bunch of little life things that used to drive me crazy, and suddenly I’m cool with it. It’s hard to sweat the small stuff when you just CREATED LIFE from the void of possibility.

It applies inside the bounds of fatherhood as well. For example, if a grown man walked up to me and shit in my hand I’d be livid, but a baby does it and not only do I clean it up for him, I also feel compelled to tell his mother with a big stupid grin on my face.

So begins the self-doubt. Am I insane? Is a baby showering me with slimy mustard-coloured poop really adorable? Or am I slowly transforming into one of those horrible people you meet at parties, the ones who show you pictures of their fat toddler picking his nose and expect you to give him a round of applause? Perhaps if I met a past version of myself he’d slap me in the face.

As long as I never change my Facebook photo to a picture of the baby. Those people need a punch in the face.

Surely, Mr Bond


He ate the cat.

…you didn’t think it would be that easy? You see I’ve hidden the microchip… in my PANTS.

The First Bath


When I gave Felix his first bath he was pretty chill. On the other hand, I was terrified I was going to drop him, or break his tiny noodle arm, or smash his baby-head open on the kitchen bench, or break his arm then smash his skull and drown him in the bath water. After which I’d have to jump out a window and end up living in a cardboard box eating cardboard box burgers.

But he was fine.

Our midwife (who is a lovely and extremely helpful lady) showed me how to do it. First you wrap up the baby by binding his arms and legs and forming a kind of baby torpedo. Then you tuck that under one arm and hold him over the tub to carfully wash his hair. He’ll stare at you like “What the hell are you doing, dad?” and you’ll try not to think about the fact that you’re hand washing the hair of a tiny human being that has your face.

After that he gets unwrapped and the rest of his wriggly little body gets dunked in water. It’s adorable, really, and he seems to actually enjoy baths a lot. While we were at my parent’s place for Christmas we had a bath together in the big tub and he had some sort of euphoric baby seizure.

Fun Fact: You don’t put soap in when you bathe new babies because they aren’t disgusting like us. Apart from when they poop on themselves all day.