Monthly Archives: January 2013

Shall I call him Jedi, Yoda, Spock, Dalek or something weird?

I have a very common popular surname (as does almost everybody from Wales), and an equally common popular first name. As such every time I register for anything I am one of a multitude and end up with daft user names I can’t remember instead of anything remotely like my name and the chaos caused when  I forget an account number can be impressive. I constantly get the wrong person’s post wherever I work. We needed a name that’s not too common popular but not too weird. 

Numbers, whilst cool R2D2, NC1701.. are banned in NZ  (it’s OK, little “4Real” got named “Superman” instead) so our little C3PO had to be renamed.

Much as it would amuse me immensely to have a “DeathStar Dalek Enterprise” The Wife would not be amused and poor DeathStar would probably put a hit out on me as soon as he found out what a hit was. Sci Fi names were placed firmly in the “Too Weird” pile …. dammit. Having said this some SciFi inspired names are fine like Elliot, Kirk, Luke or even Leia … at a push, none of these are particularly Welsh though.

Typically we had a girl’s name sorted. Seren. It means “Star” in Welsh but doesn’t have the hippie pot-smoking connotations. It sounds like it reads and isn’t too outlandish. We were happy with it, both really liked the name and it was all settled.  A boy’s name had so far eluded us. It was therefore inevitable that the scan would confirm that the bump was harbouring a boy.

So, Welsh Boys names, some are awesome like Cadwaladr, Llyr, Rhun, Dyfnwallon, Rhydderch and Matholwch. All well and good if you live in a family of Welsh speakers in Llandrindod. Not so good for small town New Zealand. Then we could try some Maaori names who also have some fantastically unpronounceable names for anglophones like Kerewhata, Makarika, Wikiriwhi; ironically all of which are corruptions of English names. Another problem with Maaori names is the fact that The Wife and I look about as Maaori as Prince Phillip.

Another option is to invent a name. Why not a Shaniquanza or a Qwerty? Um… because you are 10 times more likely to go to prison if you have an invented name. Mind you “Wendy” was invented by JM Barrie for Peter Pan (who called his Nannie his “Fwendy-Wendy”). There is a fantastic chapter in a book called  Freakonomics about how a name may affect a child, more than just Nominative Determinism, but economically and how it cam limit or increase opportunities. Whilst being quite clever it also is full of cheap laughs, such as the kid who’s name is pronounced Shu-TEED and spelt Shithead (If you are a true nerd and haven’t read it; STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING and start reading it. It’s like ambrosia for nerdy brains.).

After much deliberation we have a name, it’s top secret for now, mainly because if we have another argument about it nobody will know we have changed our minds … again. There is still hope for you yet little Yoda-Falcon!

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Fantastic Website

Just a quick post to put up an link to a superb blog by a UK trained midwife currently practicing in Australia.

http://midwifethinking.com/

It has an impressive amount of well written and well referenced resources. It’s well worth a look – especially for those of us not in the USA (who’s practice is quite different). An invaluable resource for expectant parents. Lots of science for us nerds too!

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He’s coming AND HE’S BRINGING POO!

Today, whilst I was sleeping off a night shift something alarming appeared in the house. I awoke, bleary eyed and ambled into the kitchen to find …….. A pack of nappies . [Dun Dun Duuuuuh]

I sort of knew they were an inevitable part of my future, but still, just like the washing line of teeny weeny clothes, it made me realise He’s coming! He’s coming and He’s bringing poo!

Yes this is a real place in Spain! India has one too!

Welcome to Poo

The number of brands on the supermarket shelves is surprising. Breeders who are a bit further down the line are often heard avidly discussing the virtues of the different brands. Hearing friends proudly proclaim “Lucy is a Huggies Girl” is also odd. Listening to people who would previously get into lengthy informed debates about Mac vs PC doing exactly the same with Huggies vs Tresures is even stranger. These Nappy brands have loyal and devoted followings! The cloth-nappy guys are so loyal and outspoken they almost seem like a cult! The cult of Clothulu!

Other than the earth-saving eco-warrior cloth efforts, how different can they be? They all have pseudo-scientific descriptions with pictures of various incarnations of “stay dry panels” which seem remarkably good at absorbing blue water. Presumably the blue-water-peeing babies are the same ones that grow up to bleed blue in the bodyform ads.

As one would expect of a Nerd-Dad I have spend an inappropriate amount of time reading these packets, I conclude that …. I have no idea!

No mention of nappies is complete without a forray into the weird phenomenon of the poo-one-upmanship story. You know the ones new parents tell so gleefully that go “…… and then it leaked all down my arm and I had to change my shirt because I was rushing out to …….” Then someone else will regale us of the way their darling managed to get poo on the curtains, and before you know it the lunchtime conversation has degenerated into “my child’s poo was flung further than yours” and there is poo on clothes, carpets, curtains, ceilings…… Then children actively rubbing poo in places is raised and that’s when I politely take my leave and walk back to clinic where I am paid to discuss other people’s poo.

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Even his toys will DOOM him!

The Wife decided she wanted to make something for a very small friend of ours who’s hand-me-downs constitute the bulk of The Boy’s wardrobe. So, out comes the (needlessley gadgety) sewing machine, the mahoosive “scraps of fabric box” (yes, she has one, she’s a primary school teacher remember) and decides to make something cute.

After much deliberation she sets off, tongue slightly protruding in concentration, to create this –

Take.... Me.... To.... Your.... Drooler!

Take…. Me…. To…. Your…. Drooler!

This fellow is off to New Plymouth but I am reliably informed The Boy will also have a cuddly robot soon. I think it’s awesome and reckon I should have one too!

The wife informs me that the inspiration for this pretty cool toy comes from a fellow New Zealand blogger, in fact one of the supernova stars of the NZ blog galaxy (with me being not even an asteroid in said universe in comparison) Paisley Jade, who blogs about craft, cooking, parenting and life with 4 (yes 4) children and is well worth a look.

Oddly we randomly bumped into her when we were on holiday in Whangarei. Wifey was like some starstruck groupie, it was hilarious and much teasing has been had about it since.

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Nesting (Part 1 – A New Wardrobe)

Nesting has really kicked in. As well as starting to “tidy”  the house The Wife, firmly adhering to gender roles, decided to wash all the clothes we have already accumulated for The Boy. I broke gender roles a bit and helped her hang them out (I then went firmly back into my cave of masculinity to make fire … OK, I had a cuppa).

Small clothes …. oooooh cuuuute!

 We both stood back to look at the row of tiny clothes on the line and exchanged a sightly alarmed smile.

“They are soooo small!” says Wonderbrain.

“Newborn babies are, Hun” says The Wife.

I expect you veteran, battle hardened parents out there  will laugh, I’m sure they are a lot less appealing the nine hundredth time you have washed something unmentionable off them, but we had never seen them all together! It was cuuuuuuute! 

Oooh! Suits you Sir!

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Ergonomic organic single-origin Egyptian cotton Scientifically Proven ….. junk

Have any of you noticed the evil that surrounds you in the baby shops? No, I’m not talking about the creepy assistant that follows you around, or the multitude of toddlers going apoplectic over exclusive squeaking rights to the squeaky thing in the play area (remember, cut them some slack, they will be our problem in 2 years time). I’m talking about the guilt trip, anxiety driven maketing.

I got thinking about this after chatting to another nerdy father-to-be blogger The Jedi Dad. Good name by the way…. damn you! <Quietly seethes at just being merely Nerdy when some have the confidence to be Jedi>. He has a series of ridiculous baby products on his blog and we had a quick chat about how things are sold to us.

A superb example is this advert for springless trampolines currently on TV in NZ.

“Parents who care about safety chose ….. our product” implying parents who don’t …. don’t care do they? Evil non safety-trampoline buyers! I’m not saying they aren’t safer or that it isn’t money well spent, it’s just a bit… well … evil.

They aren’t idiots, these shops know we are scared, they can see the fear as us expectant newbies walk in past the rows of “baby genius” elephants, imploringly looking at us from the shelves, “Buy me, your baby will be stupid with out my help!”. Our clueless wide eyed looks as we peruse the thirty six different incarnatioins of teething ring, with packaging all extolling the virtues of their specific patented non-toxic composite materials, and you wonder to yourself, “Which one is best,? Which one is safest?” and sometimes even forget to ask “Do I actually need it?”.

Previously I bought things because they were shiny. I am a hopeless magpie when it comes to gadgets and I like shiny things. Extra gigabytes, fifty six fonts, a range of six million miles, small incremental benefit over the standard models, ultimately….. all just shininess upon shininess. When I bought something stupid and it was an abject failure, ah well, I felt a bit stupid, if I hurt myself with whatever daft purchase I had made I swore and felt a bit stupid. Now it all has to work. My precious little guy is coming and everything needs to be ready, and most importantly, safe. Buying for The Boy is different. I have RESPONSIBILITY now.

Am I the only one that feels this sinister undercurrent when in the baby shops? Is it my inbuilt nerdy fat bloke fear of any shop I can’t buy music, a book or a computer game in or is the smiling cutesy advertising actually quite evil?

Those helpful leaflets provided by the stores with the forty six “essential items” listed, are they truly helpful or are they propaganda leaflets written to scare us into parting with cash?

I expect (given my vast experience of raising exactly 0 children) in reality, regardless of whatever brand of rattle we buy, our Little One will still wave it around for a while then try and eat it and will have a great time doing it irrespective of cost. But how do we resist the marketing? How do you tell the essentials from the garbage? Common sense I guess, something sorely lacking between my chair and keyboard, “Thank goodness for The Wife; who has it in abundance!” I cry!

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Wheels for The Boy

Our Little Fella has wheels. After many bewildering trips to several shops all peddling seemingly identical buggies we have decided on his ride. Apparently, according to friends with kids, this is the one area where Dads in the park get to show off in a “mine is bigger than yours ….. mine has three handbrakes and alloy wheels whilst yours only has one crappy foot brake!” way. As such this was important, I am a gadget monster, The Boy’s buggy needed to be gadgety.

The whole experience was remarkably like going to a used car lot. We got greeted by a sometimes smarmy and sometimes nice saleswoman (always a woman) who made an immediate assessment of our means and took us to the appropriate part of the store. When we went in scruffy and unwashed after doing stuff around the house we got ushered to the crappy $50 disintegrate in five minute buggies. When we went in smart work clothes we got taken to the bazillion dollar iCandy thingies which cost more than we got for our last car after one of us wrote it off (Dad looks around innocently).

Another thing that amused us immensely was the advertising, especially that for Mountain Buggy. They show a “Mum” who is clearly not a carer for a 3 month old child in that she looks well, rested and has the time and the inclination to run up a mountain pushing her offspring.

You can get big ones, small ones, over-engineered “all terrain” ones that you could probably invade Afghanistan in but would struggle to get through a shopping mall. The diversity of folding mechanisms is also bewildering.

Nice wheels Bro!

Nice wheels Bro!

In the end, despite not jogging, we went for a Baby Jogger GT. Partly because I like the idea of a “Gran Turismo” buggy like a 1970s Maserati or Ferrari but mainly because I had numerous “Man-Fails” trying to fold the monster all-terrain complex ones and the baby Jogger folds easily and seemed the least likely to take a finger. With some you have to press tab A and pull lever B whilst chanting in Swahili and twisting knob D. Difficult and confusing. With The Boy’s new wheels you pull a handle and it magically goes “Whummmph” and is folded, safely, easily and with the correct flourish, dare I say it, suavely (if that is even a word – just checked – it is). Oddly, our “Baby Jogger” is “not suitable for jogging, skating, running or rollerblading”. I was gutted – I had my heart set on rollerblading through the New Zealand countryside listening to 80s power ballads with my luxuriant permed locks blowing dramatically in the wind, alas not to be.

Regarding pointless gadgetiness it has a hand operated break, “Whuummmph folding” (it has a name, less cool than whuuuumph), detachable wheels, a locking front wheel  and a state of the art satellite integrated nuclear powered antiaircraft missile system entirely made of platinum. OK, I lie about the missiles (they are titanium), but hey-ho. You can also attach a tray to catch baby stuff like um… toys, crumbs and … er….drool.

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