Category Archives: fatherhood

Nerd Dad’s top 10 parenting tips

I have seen so many of these and they all say nothing so they must be easy to write. Hopefully these tips will inspire and assist you in being a better parent.

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1. It is best not to eat your children. It is neither ecologically sound (the carbon footprint of a child is considerably larger than that of a cow) or very sanitary (depending on how clean your house is). Few butchers will assist you in jointing the meat so there will inevitably be excess waste without the help of a professional.

2. Moving on from point 1. Children and kitchen knives should be mutually exclusive. The contamination risk posed to your expensive kitchen implements by an unwashed toddler is high. Bone (albeit supple bendy bone) blunts knives horribly.

3. Keep strong alcohol away from young children. They are badly behaved enough when sober.

4. Keep your illegally owned handguns hidden from view. The kids shooting someone is bound to give away the fact that you own one and the penalties for this can be quite high.

5. Let children out of the house into the sunshine every so often. Vitamin D supplements can be expensive and calculating paediatric doses is a right pain.

6. Don’t let your children play video games all day, if they are on the X-Box incessantly when will you get a chance to complete all 16 hours of Modern Warfare Black Ops 6?

7. Leads are for dogs and choke chains are a definite no-no, too swift a tug is likely to result in a fall, thereby drastically and unacceptably lengthening your walking time. Reins or wrist straps are more socially acceptable and less destabilising alternatives.

8. Name your children. Without doing so differentiating between them can be challenging, you also have nothing to shout across the room when they are carjacking another kid’s Cozy Coupe in playgroup.

9. Speak to your children. If they don’t learn a language how are you going to ask them to fetch the remote or answer the phone for you?

10. Finally, the most obvious one, probably not in keeping with some of the previous subtler, debatable points above. This one is so obvious I’m not sure why I’m adding it – VACCINATE YOUR CHILDREN, it stops them and others getting horrible preventable diseases. The anti-vaxers can deny they work and claim harm all they like, they can also deny the existence of cheese for all I care and that will be total bollocks too.

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Filed under Baby, Dadbloggers, Dads, fatherhood, Nerd, Parenting, Parenting tips, top 10

Is science learnt or is it an instinct?

Every so often in the media there are reports and opinion pieces from educationalists concerned about instilling an understanding and appreciation of the scientific process in our children. As a Dad of 2 (yes we now have 2) growing nerds I am a little puzzled by these statements and what happens to our offspring.

The first time I gave my Mini Nerd a crayon he looked at it, thought about it, waved it a bit then took a big bite. This ladies and gentleman was the scientific process in action. “I have a crayon, I’m not sure what it does, I’ll perform some experiments. Does it rattle …. no….. Does it taste good ….. Yum! These must be for eating”. Science developing before creativity, or rather the scientific process is inherent to humans, it isn’t learnt, it’s an instinct!

Hypotheses develop and new techniques in the ever growing field of toddler mediated destruction are discovered and employed on a daily basis in the Nerd household

How and why do we squash the inquisitive minds of children? Sometimes it’s entirely appropriate, like when they are about to investigate a plug socket with their tongue or a carving knife with their hands but do we say “Stop, put it down, don’t do that” too much? It’s probably no coincidence that one of the first words they learn is NO …. It’s probably one of the commonest words they hear. On the other hand we can’t let them run riot in the name of learning ….. can we?

I was very pleased the other day when we went to the park with a ball and he spent longer examining daisies than kicking the ball …… which is exactly what I would do given the choice too. I once got sent off during a football match in school for making and wearing a daisy chain. Needless to say I am not training for Rio 2016.

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The results of the gravity driven Lego acceleration experiments were inconclusive so they were repeated… endlessly.

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Filed under Dadbloggers, Dads, fatherhood, science, toddler, Uncategorized

Nerds are awesome? Really?

So, Will “Wesley-Crusher” Wheaton says nerds are awesome. They are awesome because they love TV or something else and get obsessed? That’s awesome? Really? No!

Nerds are awesome, but not necessarily for the reasons he gives. There is nothing cool about being engrossed in something obscure for hours on end, often without any useful outcome. Being able to name every Star Trek Voyager character in order of appearance is impressive but useless. NOT awesome.

We will always be the inept kids in the playground who can’t kick a soccer ball straight but can count to ten in Swahili. The kid that sits on the school bus reading a book and not blowing spitwads at the girls. We will be the ones that are picked last at sports, the ones that come last in races, the ones the popular kids despise and the rest of the kids try and ignore.

What these popular cool kids don’t understand is that us nerdy-geeky-losers with spots, glasses and unfashionable hair will grow up and will also be the ones that treat their cancer, that make their cars safer, plan their towns, the ones that keep their power stations and water running and possibly even the ones that design the computer they use at their till in Mc Donalds. They will need us. They will need us far more than we need them.

Being a nerd IS awesome. But not because I have an unhealthy interest in Firefly or that I get engrossed in making idiotically complex cups of tea. It’s awesome because through being nerdy I am now treating peoples diseases and changing lives. As a doctor I am nothing special, but being a doctor IS special. I will never need the validation of others to tell me I am worthwhile. I don’t give two hoots about how “fashionable” my hair is or how “on trend” my shoes are. My hair is the same mess it was when I was 15. My shoes are the same boring black ones they were in school. Nobody cares. The cool kids are still trying to be cool, now competing with the cooler younger people emerging behind them. Their “Glory Days” of being the popular kid are gone, it’s downhill from here Mr/Ms Former Sports Captain, your sun is setting. The nerds have plodded on and have transcended the nonsense.

Nerds will always overcome, we will always be there and it’s no longer a case of us jokingly saying “Nerds will inherit the earth”, WE HAVE ALREADY GOT IT!

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For God’s sake Dad! “Monkey Doodle”? REALLY?

Stupid baby cutesy talk used to make me hurl. Hearing Mums ask their mewling offspring “Has babywaby gottta soggy bumbum?” in the street use to have me reaching fot the nearest fire axe. “I will never talk to my children like that!” the young Nerd thought (just “Nerd” at the time and not Nerd Dad as children were merely hypothetical, in fact The Wife was not only hypothetical but improbable given hygiene and Games Worksop obsession issues).

Hmmmm. What a difference a sprog makes. The other day we realised that our baby babble had taken hold. Bigtime. There is something about chatting away and not expecting any response that seems to absolve you of having to make any sense. These nonsense phrases and babblings, much like the silly songs I previously mentioned, appear without warning. He has now started to respond, mainly in squeals and squeaks.

I started calling our little guy “Monkey Boy” partly because of his excess of hair but mainly because it mildy annoyed The Wife. The Wife took to calling him Little Dude; I suppose because …well… he’s little … and a dude? Little Dude became Dudlelet, then Doodle, Monkey Boy became Monkey ….. and “Monkey Doodle” was coined.

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Unsurprisingly all cultures babble at their babies and your babble is dictated by your language and baby noises are dependant on the type and frequency of your babbling. Apparently we all start off the same an then babble becomes language specific so eventually Chinese learning babies babble is totally different to English learning babies. Babbling apparently also teaches babies how conversation works, the structure of speech and how to take turns.

So, as well as making all those around us puke with our cutesy baby talk we are unconsciously teaching them the sounds, structure and timbre of our language. In summary Baba baba boo boo who’ my wuvvwy wuvvwy wickle Monkey Doodle den?

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Filed under Baby, Dadbloggers, Dads, fatherhood, Nerd

Stats, Breaking the Game and Superman.

As is plainly obvious I am a nerd. Nerds LOVE stats. We really do. I have watched whole cricket matches via cricinfo stats. [For American readers cricket is a bit like baseball in that you smack a leather ball with a big stick, it differs from baseball in that it isn’t crap.] I spend ages messing around looking graphs and pretty tables on sports websites.

I also love the stats page on WordPress. You find such strange things out. Someone from Mongolia once came to this site via yahoo.co.uk. I was surprised a Mongolian waned to read my nonsense but even more surprised that Yahoo still existed! Do you remember Yahoo? I was also very pleased to find that Superman is one of my readers, it is the only explanation of my stats. He was the only visitor to my site one day, in the space of a few hours my drivel was read in Canada, the USA, New Zealand (he should have dropped by to say hello!) and the UK but I only had one visitor. I was very pleased to have finally “broken the game”. I love doing that.

I am certain that I am not the only one who, when they get a computer game, try and break it. My routine is load the game, break the game, play the game.  By “breaking the game” I mean trying to walk somewhere the game blatantly won’t let me, putting in some cheat then walking into a fire just to see how quickly and how amusingly the whole thing crashes, and partly to see what fun noises my antiquated PC will make. I am like a moth to a light, plunging myself into glitches to see what happens, I learnt my “trade” primarily in the glitch ridden world of Doom (when I should have been revising for my physics A-Level). Sadly the current crop of games aren’t quite so glitch ridden but therein lies the challenge. The other challenge is actually getting time to play games with The Boy around. As mentioned in a previous post I also like making speakers feedback, videoing the output of my video to get those strange infinitely repeating patterns and skyping my computer with my phone then shouting to see what happens. (NOTE TO SELF – remember to add “loser” to the tags).

I think it’s the same instinct that drives small boys to poke gross and weird things like dead birds and poo with sticks. I hope The Boy grows up to be the curious but not stupid one (i.e. the one that pokes gross stuff with a stick rather than picking it up or tasting it).

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Zombies and babies

It is clear when a child is to young to see violent/disturbing films but when is a baby too old to see them?

I was contemplating this as I was cuddling The Boy one evening whilst watching a particularly graphic dismemberment during an episode of The Walking Dead. If he was 3 there is no way in hell it’d be on TV. Once I thought he understood any of it it would be instantly banned during waking hours, but my little fella is only 6 weeks old. He can see 30 – 60cm and reacts to light and pretty colours, admittedly mainly red during this episode.

I quite like The Walking Dead, I feel a definite kinship with the brainless shells of people bumbling around mindlessly because something had destroyed their ability to function, I do wonder if the protagonists accidentally take out the odd ante-natal class meet up in the erroneous impression that the groaning haggard new mums are infact zombies.

(From Apocalypse Cometh)

The Wife hates horror films and so anything about zombies and she’s outta there, much to my discredit it has to be pretty graphic and awful for me to even register it, I usually only register it when a severed limb squirts with the wrong number of arteries or arteries blatantly in the wrong place. Then I get irritated and not disgusted or scared. Medicine ruins horror.

In fact, the last time I saw something really disturbing that made me feel sick on TV (other than Jersey Shore) it was the reality show “One Born Every Minute” which had a baby with shoulder dystocia getting into trouble and I almost had to leave the room because it was making me anxious. I KNEW that they’d never show it if either Mum or Baby carked it but nevertheless… I felt sick ….. and bloody glad I didn’t choose obstetrics!

But when should we start being careful about what’s on TV? I suppose we should be circumspect about what we watch right from the beginning but it seems a bit excessive. The Boy doesn’t even have a concept of self yet, let alone being able to recognise and understand death, violence or, most importantly in this particular situation,  hoards of half decomposed exploding bloodthirsty zombies. We are surrounded by sex and violence and we are desensitised to it all, not batting an eyelid when an “unsub” is said to have “raped all 12 murder victims” or something equally hideous, much like me any my occupationally induced inability to register gore. Think back to the last five things you watched on telly, I bet at least three of them had something you wouldn’t want your little ‘un to see. For me this was Wallander, Criminal Minds, The Walking Dead, the NZ News and a documentary about shark finning, a pretty nasty collection of real and imagined violence and gore.

I fully anticipate this issue to become more and more complex once The Boy grows up enough to browse the internet. Do an experiment for me – type something innocuous that we probably say to our babies on a daily basis like “bum” or “poo”  and see if you would want your 5 year old looking at those images. Then think what they will find once they type in more interesting words that they learn. The first thing I did when I learnt a new rude word, as a growing nerd, was head to the nearest dictionary to giggle and marvel at the enormous variety of ways genitals can be described. It disturbs me that the equivalent of sniggering in the dictionary corner for my son will be staring wide eyed at google images. I sincerely doubt every computer he accesses will have safe search turned on.

I expect I’ll just play it by ear knowing that if at any point he takes out the neighbours with a pump action shotgun or I find dismembered hitch hikers strewn all over the garden again, I have probably been too lax in supervising his viewing.

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Filed under Baby, Dads, doctor, fatherhood, Nerd, television, violence

Eduerfnedahcs?

Everywhere I look online there are pictures of smiling perfect babies. Yummy Mummy bloggers giving sage advice on how to corral their perfect smiling offspring, whilst baking award winning cakes and keeping the house as clean as an operating theatre. I sit in my uncleaned swamp, trying to remember what day of the week it is and how long it is since  cleaned my teeth whilst rocking a grizzly baby. These wholesome mega-mums do nothing to elevate my mood.

Is there a term for experiencing misery at other’s good fortune (other than “being an ass hole”), the inverse of schadenfreude?  Eduerfnedahcs?

I thought I ought to redress the balance for other grumpy bastards like me online. Here is my photographic contribution to combat the angel-baby invasion. The Boy went for a passport photo, he was not amused.

The Boy - NOT AMUSED

The Boy – NOT AMUSED

I seem to have an ally in this endeavuour to spread a little baby-misery around the web. Reasons my son is crying is a Tumblr feed of someone else’s child being a complete toe rag. It made me feel better.

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April 18, 2013 · 11:13 am