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Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Secret Diary of a Baby - The Universal Truths of Having an Older Sibling

Imagine if babies could talk, or write savage diaries about how hard it is being a second rate citizen subject to the torture of their older siblings. Well wonder no longer, because I found my baby's diary and it made for horrific reading..




Dear diary. At 9 months of age, I have a select vocabulary of “mama” “dada” and a peculiar “get the fuck away from me” grunt that I reserve for my older sibling.

I literally can’t WAIT until I can walk. It means I’m one step closer to being able to slam a door like he does. It looks (and sounds) so god damn satisfying.

I barely got anything for my first Christmas from my parents. A £1 toy lizard from Poundsavers and a few clothes from the H&M sale that I watched you buy me? REALLY DAD? And HE gets a Scalextric? What the fuck?!

Worst of all, on Christmas Day, that idiot brother of mine decided he liked my lizard more than anything else he got, and proceeded to tail-slap and taunt me with it while I crawled after him. Talk about a 101 lesson in how to enrage and distress a baby, I’VE GOT MENTAL SCARS HERE PEOPLE. 

And what’s with baby toys? No interest, pal. Instead, when he leaves it lying around I get a god damn SWORD, motherfucker! And the giant Bruder crane lorry for 3 year olds and above is siiick!
Hold up, what the fuck, I was clearly playing with that. Alone. And you came in here and took it away from me for no reason because you are an arsehole. And now you’re damn near strangling me with the rope whoa whoa whoa this is not cool. Abort abort ABORT. 

(No idea why I keep saying fuck, but I can’t stress to you how stressful it is having an older sibling.)

Parents keep talking to him about his “reward chart” but meanwhile I’m sat here wondering why don’t I get a chart? I need a mini break in the Algarve for the shit I have to put up with.

And what’s this LEGO stuff with all the little pieces, why does dad keep having kittens whenever I go near it? I’m fucking teething here man, throw me a bone!

Bathtime is just plain nasssty. I’m sat here trying not to drown while this hippopotamus oaf keeps grabbing me like I’m a girl at a gypsy wedding.

You know what also pisses my bottle? Mother and father carry my nappies around in a rucksack and not a proper baby changing bag. I’m not a second rate citizen you know! Stop acting like you’ve got parenting nailed. I deserve a change bag FFS.

And why does HE get all the new clothes? This is bullshit!

Don’t even get me started on the dirty ass Maclaren stroller you carted me around in. Grubby as fuck. Did you even bother to clean it? Such a huge relief when my dear grandparents bought me a swanky new one, out of shame. No question, it was the best day of my life. Love you, Nana and Grandpa. Can’t fake this shit, I cried real tears of joy. 

When you change my nappy it’s bad enough, but when that boy loses his shit because he hasn’t seen my poo it’s the final humiliation. I AM BETTER THAN THIS. I AM NOT A SCIENTIFIC EXPERIMENT.

Good news though. I’ve just learned how to climb the stairs. Up there is where all the good shit is! And my bed. Dear God how I need my bed. 

OK. Gotta go “play the game” for a bit. They keep telling me about this “See Boobies” thing on the big window and how my brother used to “love” this freak called Mr Tumble. Clearly the man is deeply unhinged but whatevs, I’ll smile and nod.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Newsflash: Having a Second Child is HARD!

People have been asking me recently, why haven't I posted any blogs lately? My last one was in March 2017.

The truth is, what can I possibly write that accurately portrays how fucking weird the last year has been.

Nothing prepares you for two kids.

Nothing...

...Especially if your eldest owns a pair of handcuffs!

Don't get me wrong, I actively support the notion of having more than one kid, I am overjoyed to be a dad again.

He's absolutely delightful! I'm totally smitten with the boy.

But it's hard.

It's RELENTLESS.

At times you can question your own mental health.

And, when I drop the eldest off at school I sometimes look around and wonder why the same people smile like they're not finding this difficult at all. They warmly greet other people, as they trundle their ready made five-a-side team of angelic oompa loompas through the gates.

But I'm just there thinking, "Mate, are you OK? How the fuck are you OK? How can you smile like this?!"

What I've learnt from the last 9 months:

I know it's easy for some families, and having another child can be a breeze.

I respect that, I really do.

But also I know first hand that people can't compute how you could possibly be finding parenting hard. And I consider myself quite an open person. If I don't know you that well and you ask me how I am, I'll give you an honest answer.

In those first months of parenting, I remember confiding once in someone that I was finding it tough. I was worried by how Charlie was reacting to the new arrival, that he was a bit rough, and I was scared he might hurt the baby. Their face dropped like I'd just said the worst thing in the world.

How could I possibly think that my boy was finding it hard that he wasn't the centre of attention, and might have a little bit of ill feeling towards his brother?

What an insane thing to say. How unkind! How shocking!

Yep. It deeply pisses me off when someone is judgmental like that.

You have to be careful who you confide in, especially if they're a gossip.

The truth is, if you have another kid, the chances are your eldest is not going to react well to it. Shit is about to get real.

It's like being the Marketing Director of Kronenbourg 1664, and telling Eric Cantona you don't think he is the face of Kronenbourg any more, while Zinedine Zidane laughs in his face.

That sort of conversation is going to end BADLY.

It's like being a collective of Moroccan couscous farmers who've invited Ainslie Harriott on an all expenses paid vacation to Marrakech, only to tell him you're not comfortable with his face being used so extensively in British supermarkets on packets of your little steaming balls of crushed wheat. And then Jamie Oliver walks out, smirking, from behind a curtain.

Ainslie's ever present smile is going to drop and he is going to go absolutely mental.



Words of warning:

There's a chance when you have a second kid that your experience is going to be a tough one. Introducing a baby into your home is potentially going take a long time, especially while balancing other things like work, lack of sleep, moving house, settling your eldest (let's call him Ainslie) into his first year of school.

That in itself is big, no one prepares you for that, for the tiredness when little Ainslie gets home and is god damn beside himself with hunger, fatigue and quite often indescribable rage from feeling so tired.

But the good news is it gets better.

After weeks and months of pulling your hair out with stress, and fatigue, everyone including Ainslie will adapt.

9 months in, my eldest accepts that when baby goes to bed it's a chance to binge watch Cbeebies while waiting for his turn, and he loves that.

Now he's obsessed with his baby brother and tells us he loves him!

Watching them interact and laugh with each other is heart-melting, it reminds you that even in the most difficult day-from-hell moments, having two kids is the best thing ever.

I know I've been negative in this post but let me just set the record straight. It is totally worth it!

I think we've all come a long way as a family during this time and we've all learnt something about ourselves, and if you're doing it too, or are about to have another baby, I hope you find these words reassuring in some way!