Saturday, 21 November 2009

More things you learn when you're a new Dad

We're heading towards the four week mark. What have I learnt?

1. It's worth becoming a Dad if only to have someone who enjoys your singing

2. You'd think that when you become a Dad, you'd start enjoying the BBC's annual charity event Children In Need. Apparently this is not the case. You still don't enjoy watching newsreaders dance.

3. Never ever get too cocky about how good you are at changing nappies. Sure you may have a system now: all nappy sacks, clean nappies, cotton wool, water, wipes, tissues, nappy cream, kitchen towel will be in their optimum position for you to work away at speed, your arms working overtime in a whirl of hygiene like suddenly you're a very maternal octopus. That's fine.. but don't then say either in your head or out loud as you go to put on the clean wrap.. "Oh yes, I am the Nappy Ninja!". For at this point your son will somehow turn his body towards yours in a way he's not managed before and will pee all over your cardigan.

4. 'Night Feeds' are meant to be for the baby to feed not you. Don't get caught with that big box of chocolates on your lap when your wife pops down to see if you're okay.

5. Don't get upset when you realise your singing isn't enough to soothe your child anymore. This is what household appliances are for. No really.. My son will always fall asleep if held near a working washing machine, tumble dryer or dishwasher. And no, that doesn't mean he prefers the sound of a dishwasher to the sound of your voice. How could it?

6. If you had to pick one of the dancing news readers to remotely fancy it'd probably be Weekend Breakfast's Susannah Reid.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Being Manly

One thing about being a Dad is that it makes you feel very manly and you feel a sudden urge to be manly in other ways.

I feel I should know how to change that tyre/fit that washing machine/fix the uneven floorboard.

I give up at boilers however and get a man in. I still want to sound wise though so I spend the morning on various websites swotting up on my central heating system.

The man arrives. Late. (But that's another story, since when oh people at NPower has 13.20 been part of 'AM'?!)

I welcome him in with his boxes of tools and he asks a few questions.. One of which is:

'How long have you had the Litlun?'
Oh, about four or five years perhaps, we inherited it from the people who lived here before.
About four years, I was wondering whether we should replace it
'He looks very small for a four year old'
You're talking about my son aren't you?
I thought you were talking about the boiler. I thought Litlun was the.. anyway...
He's two weeks old
'Ah, lovely. Still not getting much sleep then?'
Apparently not
Cup of tea?

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Night feeds for a child with a cat

Ah, the serenity of a night feed.

Sneaking down stairs with a slightly whimpering baby to prepare the bottle. Talking away to him about everything you're doing like a softly spoken, high pitched commentator on The Great Milk Race.

It's a beautiful moment in many ways between parent and child.

Ooh and who's that at the window? It's Atticus the Catticus! Shall we let him in and say hello?! Shall we?! ShallweshallwesayhellotoAtticusssss?!

And so I found myself at 2 in the morning with a hungry wriggling baby under one arm and a wriggling cat with a mouse in his mouth under the other.
I'm not sure which of the three of us was crying the loudest.

If only that cat could hunt milk bottles. Yes.. Ifonlythatcatcouldhuntbottlesofmilkywilky..

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Baby Poo Experience

I've had a few lovely experiences so far:

There's been the obligatory peeing whilst lying down naked incident of course.

Sorry, I should have said I'm talking about nappy changing, this isn't some strange forum to confess my dirty mishaps of years gone by. And anyway, they were very understanding about it. Could happen to anyone apparently. Just not perhaps in a library.

Anyway, yes.. you know the story: baby's nappy off, being changed and suddenly he pees this jet of urine up into the sky. I dealt with this the first time by putting my hand over it but of course this had the immediate effect of spraying it in other places, much like putting your finger over the end of the hose whilst washing the car. It was only later when everything was all tidy and we were ready to go down stairs that I saw that my boy must have been silently crying. Two perfect tear drops on his cheek.. Hang on.. Oh. He's pee'd on his own face. Or rather Daddy had forced him to pee on his own face. Thanks Dad.

My other favourite moment was yesterday when cleaning his bum. Sometimes whilst you clean, more keeps coming out. It's oddly fascinating watching a poo come out. No, really! Don't judge me, I've simply spent all my life having never seen it. It reminds me of squeezing yellow plasticine through one of those shaped mill things so that it looks like spaghetti. But a lot thicker. And smellier.

Anyway, he was all clean and then out comes some nice runny mustard yellow poo and it dribbles down his back; so I lifted his legs, bent over and wiped but got really close up so that I could check there wasn't anymore down his back.. At which point he farted. Big time. An explosion of liquid poo burst up like one of those bubbling sulphur puddles in some volcanic region. Rancid yellow flying faeces projected from the belly of hell skywards. Or rather Dadwards. It landed spectacularly on my face.

See, Daddy.. if you let me pee on my own face.. I will have my revenge.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Sienna Miller naked but I didn't see a thing

So, the Folland Family have been on their first family outing! It only took 3 hours to leave the house, but it was a flawless escapade.

I was the proudest man alive that afternoon. Not just because because I got the buggy up in one smooth motion (this time, I fully rehearsed it at home first so as to look like a Pro-Dad) but because.. well.. because this is my family. I couldn't stop smiling and I couldn't stop looking at him asleep below me. Which is why I tripped over the kerb twice and knocked over a stack of shortbread in M&S.

Really I was so blinkered, Sienna Miller could have run naked through the shopping centre handing out free doughnuts and I wouldn't have noticed. It was great. Going around Sainsburys has never been such an adventure. Although, in a way I was quite jealous - if only I could sleep whilst in the supermarket each week.. bliss.

Nothing could burst my proud parental bubble. No manner of terrible customer service that afternoon could spoil my day. And believe me, they tried in Sainsburys. Hard.

In other thoughts.. Sting was on Later with Jools Holland last night and he's just popped up on The Alan Titchmarsh Show too (what?!) - anyway, have you seen his new beard? It's so big, that if he'd only shave off his upper lip he'd have the most perfect 'both ways up' face.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

One week of discovery

It's been just a week since my son was born and 5 days of that have been at home. What have I learnt?

1. Learn how to use the car seat before you drive to the hospital to pick up your newborn. You don't want to be wrestling it in a dark car park for 15 minutes while a mini bus full of care patients watch you for entertainment.

2. Learn how to put your child in the car seat before you go into the hospital. Midwives have a certain look that you don't want to see when a new father is pulling and pushing various buttons and cords like they've been asked to check the chains on an illusionist before throwing him in a pool of water.

3. If you're watching Lorraine Kelly of a morning on GMTV then you're wasting precious time. Have a shower. You don't need to know how Victoria Beckham got her new look.

4. Don't bother watching Midsommer Murders of an afternoon on ITV. They split each episode over two afternoons and the chance of you having free time of an afternoon two days on the trot are very slim. (By the way, if anyone knows who killed the man who was being tested on by his mad brother Max in a village where everyone could predict the future - well everything apart from the fact that one of them was about to be murdered it seems - I'd love to know.)

5. John Nettles has the face of a baby who may have just dirtied his nappy.

6. Don't move to Badger's Drift or Midsommer. People die there. A lot. And whilst their local detective might be nice, he takes a long time to catch the killer and by that point inevitably a couple of other people will have been murdered as well. However, it may be worth visiting as Richard Briers is now a vicar at the local church! Although, he may or may not be a killer - sadly the episode finished half way through and I didn't see it the next day.

7. If your son is sick in your lap whilst you're wearing your dressing gown, clean it up. Don't answer the door to the postman having run down stairs so you're breathless. People talk.

8. Get used to drinking cold tea. Something will always get in the way of a hot one.

9. Don't moan about having a tummy ache to a woman who has had a c-section. Especially if you've just eaten too many Percy Pigs.

10. Did you know, it's really easy to get the new Victoria Beckham look with just your standard heated tongs at home? Amazing.

Saturday, 31 October 2009

up all night

3 and a half days ago I became a Dad! And I thought that would be the end of sitting around watching TV/reading blogs online etc.. but no.. not when on night two of your baby boy being at home he gets incredible wind because you cooked your wife a lovely dish involving loads of roast onions and garlic and that in turn is in her milk and now in the baby and bless him he's only just been using that stomach for 2 days so of course it'll make him ill, it's like putting aeroplane fuel in a brand new scooter... and then it spluttering and farting down the road. A lot.

So, bless him, he can't sleep on his back so one of us has to stay up for hours cuddling him so he can sleep.. and it's been my turn for the last few hours and after realising I can just about hold him in one arm whilst making a cup of tea, grabbing some hob nobs, sitting down, watching Family Guy for the first time in my life on some digital channel (and not finding the farting talking baby bit funny..), after getting up, juggling baby to other side, letting the cat in, opening a pouch of Felix with my mouth because one hand is busy and spraying my face in tuna juice, feeding the cat and getting myself settled with a blanket over me and a blanket over the boy and get the laptop out.. I figure I'd catch up on one of favourite blogs: The Write Girl.

She's a brilliant writer from Hertfordshire who currently finds herself in Japan teaching children English through play and Drama (so if a load of young Japanese men and women one day visit your town and can only converse by pretending to be a cow, or a crab on a sea bed.. then you know why..)

It's been brilliant as ever.. and has kept me busy for so long that i've had to readjust our little nest whilst I plugged in the laptop - getting a face full of baby fart whilst bending over to reach the cord (hmm, onion baby fart and eau d'tuna, I.. am.. hot). What she's up to in Japan is brilliant and part of me thought.. I've never done anything like that. Am I missing out?

But I wouldn't change where I am right now for the world.. both of us then, having incredible adventures with people who can't understand us or be understood by us and finding escape through our laptops. And both of us experiencing raw fish for breakfast.

Fraser has slept through three months of her adventures but when he wakes up he's going to see Daddy pretend he's a cow and that we're in a field full of grass and that he's a cow too. He certainly farts like one. Notice that no one ever feeds cows onions...

Friday, 30 October 2009

I'm a Dad!

Tuesday afternoon my life changed forever when at 16.56 little Fraser Edmund joined the Folland clan.

It was an emergency c-section. One moment my wife was in a bed and I'd been told to 'go and get the bags' out of the car; the next moment, I'm back with the bags and the room is full of people in blue/green scrubs uniforms and my wife's in a hospital gown and in a blur of activity a nurse grabs me and says that it's all about to happen and I need to get changed into scrubs and grabs me grabs the bags, rushes me down a corridor, points me to a cupboard and tells me to get changed and join them in theatre... If that sentence lacks punctuation, so did the moment itself. It just flowed. No. Rushed from one blurry verb to another.

In amongst all the action and overwhelming 'trying to remain calm for your wife when clearly this is terrifying for her' experience... I did manage to discover that I look good in scrubs. No really. A student mid wife even said in theatre, 'is dad in here yet?'.. when I was just standing 3 feet away from her. See? I looked like a doctor! Well, that's my memory. The scrub nurse will probably tell a different tale involving me being so nervous that I put the trousers on back to front so didn't see the tie up cord, so wandered down the corridor with them falling down and my pants showing and said nurse coming to tie me up (honestly! If I can't dress myself, what hope do I have?!)

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Sorry for being rubbish

Wow. Just realised I have't written anything for the whole of October?! How lame is that?

Basically I've been just too busy waiting to become a Dad. We're now a week overdue and it's like someone keeps shifting what day Christmas Day is. You know it's going to be soon, you put up all the decorations and get yourself excited and then it turns out it isn't the 25th at all, nor the 26th, 27th etc.. You just know that eventually the present you'll get will be amazing and you have to be patient, even though you know what it is and you know where it's hidden, you're not allowed to open it. Be patient.

I've tried to tell my wife that this is a great excuse to start eating Quality Street, but she's not buying into the Christmas metaphor in the same way. She's also sick of finding a half drunk glass of sherry and mince pie crumbs each morning.

Anyway, if it doesn't pop out on its own accord (or umbilical cord) soon they'll tempt it out by the end of this week. If it's any child of mine they should just waft a bag of fresh doughnuts under there and it'll soon poke its head out. So yes, we're just sit tight and wait for our delivery whenever that might be. Anybody would think it was the Royal Mail in charge of its birth.

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Gordon Brown's Generation Game

I tried to be grown up and listen to Gordon Brown's party conference speech yesterday in a sensible manner. But his list of achievements started to sound like those people trying to remember what they'd seen on The Generation Game didn't you think? There was just something about it...

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Could this be my child?

So.. I'm about to become a Dad in a matter of weeks!
And it's at this point you can't help but think... what will my child be like?
Will it take after me? Will it look like me? Will it behave like me?
If you remember what happened to me back in April (and by the way it's still touring with Beyonce now on her World Tour don't forget!) then maybe this is glimpse of the future...

Monday, 28 September 2009

Falling over themselves to get on X-Factor

My favourite moment from the X Factor this year so far..
When reaching for fame..
It's good to stay grounded.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

New Video Podcast

Ah, it's another Weird Week from Newslite.TV - including a woman who will carve a statue of your head as a present... out of cheese. Just imagine..

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Scarlett Johansson Singing

If you're annoyed with Derren Brown this morning (or annoyed with yourself for having stayed up late when you knew you had to get up early, just to watch his stupid wizard ways)(or annoyed because your wife says he's quite hot.. when you know that he's just managed to somehow brainwash her..) then let this be your antedote.

It's singer Pete Yorn with that nice girl in the pants in that film with the bloke from Ghostbusters. Anyway it's a great song (there's a whole album to come) and a great video and I can't decide whether that's her real singing voice or if she's just trying to be Bridgette Bardot and I don't know whether those looks she gives are for real or not, because after all and she's an actress and therefore untrustworthy and thus much the same as Derren Brown, except I don't want to see him in his pants in a Tokyo hotel window. Unless he's about to jump from it.

If for some reason the video doesn't seem to be working (probably Derren's fault), click here to see the Scarlett Johnansson and Pete Yorn singing video.

Monday, 31 August 2009

Precious Little Error

So, you know when a newspaper prints something in error and they have to make an apology in a later edition... Well, this is from The Sun.

"In an article published under the headline 'Golum joker killed in live rail horror', we incorrectly stated that Julian Brooker, 23, of Brighton, was blown 15ft into the air after accidentally touching a live railway line. His parents have asked us to make clear that he was not turned into a fireball and was not obsessed with the number 23. Julian's mother did not say, during or after the inquest, that her son often got on all fours creeping round the house pretending to be Gollum."


Sunday, 30 August 2009

Cat Litter

We've just bought our cat a new litter box.

I hope he enjoys it more than the cat in the picture on the box itself.

Look at it. That face says "WHAT? NEVER SEEN A CAT POO BEFORE?! Honestly! Leave me alone! Go on! How would you like it if I hung around outside the bathroom door waiting to take post-dump photos of your face?! You're worse than the Paparazzi. You're the Pooparazzi! Honestly, I wouldn't sleep well tonight if I were you, you might wake up with a dead mouse in your ear. Besides, I wouldn't go in there for a while if I were you..."

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Finished Book!

I've done it!! It's finally done!!

The final layouts of the children's book I've been working on are done and dusted and uploading to Badger Publishing as I speak.

Badger then collects them all overnight (he's nocturnal) and checks through them and fingers crossed he'll pass them on to his printer! He's lovely. Thank you Badger for not getting grumpy with me for taking so long in finishing this. I can't wait to see it!

In other news, I've finished being Sir Steve and The Hertbeat Apprentice has been picked. Apprentice Carl starts his show next Monday but is doing a blog of his apprenticeship and all the behind scenes build up at the moment. He's gonna be great, it's a real pleasure working with him.

Oh and I got a message today from a listener, it was quite long so I'll paraphrase but it went "Sir Steve (brilliant by the way, I don't want to let it go), you know that Badger you have that's publishing your book, do you think he'd be able to do mine? Is he busy?".

Monday, 29 June 2009

Tupperware Warning

Life Lesson 3781
Never pick a fight with the tupperware in your tupperware cupboard.

Nothing good can ever come from it.

Instead why not install huge glass shelves right across your kitchen on which to display your collection in all their glory? It will look so lovely you'll soon even forget your family are in the room. However, you'll also have a scary look on your face forever as you gingerly watch that stack of tubs daring them to fall (which they will, it's what tupperware does best), whilst wishing you'd not agreed to have your right arm surgically replaced with two giant white plastic containers when that tupperware party got a little bit crazy last Tuesday - no matter how handy they are for leftovers and no matter how 'stay fresh' you elbow now is. Deal with it. With tupperware, you will always lose.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Beyonce's Single Ladies World Tour

So the insanity continues.

Little did we know when we donned our leotards for our Beyonce tribute video back in February that it'd still be showing its ugly head (and lets face it, showing an awful lot more too) six months later.

Last week I got e-mails from quite a few listeners giving me the news: our video was being featured in Beyonce's world tour.


Our video. On her world tour. That's at least 22 European dates (with more just booked for November!) along with a cross States visit next month. Each concert has about 20,000 spectators. 20,000 pairs of eyes who stare up at the biggest screen you've ever seen as a montage of Single Ladies tribute videos begins. And about 40 seconds through they will see... us.

Myself, Chris and Dawn in our studio (the Hertbeat logo has never been seen by so many people!) and then posing in our leotards.

So it's official. Our's is the only breakfast show in the world hosted by Beyonce's backing dancers. We are on a World Tour. You hear our voices. On a World Tour!

Don't believe me? Here's some evidence. Sadly you don't see that part in the video where we're punching down or for that matter the bit where I crouch down staring at the camera and it looks like I've done a little poo on the floor - but then there's probably health and safety aspects to inflicting that on too many people.

How did this happen? Well, we did submit it to a Beyonce competition for tribute videos so it's not great surprise as such. But the really incredible thing here is: our jiffy bag was opened in an office on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. Someone took our DVD out of the packet and put it in to their PC. They watched it. They called someone else over, they watched it. They ticked a sheet. More people watched it. Ultimately even Beyonce watched it. Now... hundreds of thousands if not millions of people will see it. I like to think it's like a diplomatic dancing mission. Our posing in leotards is bringing all of these nations together. I wouldn't be surprised if this time next year we've won the Nobel Peace Prize. Nothing surprises me anymore.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Loving the Library - Loving this Book

I love the library.

I'd love to say it's because it's an almost communist vision of a literary utopia; a place where we can all go as one to harvest the fruits that others have grown; a land where we are all in harmony united by information in a hushed reverance to words.

But I've got a feeling it's just because they give me stuff for free.

Really though, why buy a book when you can get them for free?!

And nowadays they have free wireless (free!), magazines, DVDs, CDs... The only thing that niggles slightly is that they always have that little bet with you as to how good a reader you are.

You know what I mean: they look at you, get the measure of your mind and then stamp the book with a date as if to say 'go on then, bet you can't read this by then...' That smug little flourish of the wrist as they thrust down the date and the gauntlet. And you know what..? For the first time in years I finally beat them at their game. Beat them by a full whole week!

The book in question was recommended to me by friends so I shall in turn suggest it to you in our own little Book Club. It's your turn to bring the biscuits by the way, did nobody tell you?!

It's Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and it's brilliant. Okay, it's an intelligent but fairly graphic thriller shall we say, so it's not for the Mr Men reading fans, but it's just so un-put-downable: one of those rare moments when any free moment of the day you find yourself picking it up and jumping right back in to its world to find out what happens. And the best bit? (Other than that I got it for free?) It's the first book in a trilogy. So hopefully there's two more to enjoy!

It turns out the Swedish author wrote his 3 books, handed them in and then not long after died... So he had no idea how popular his novels have become, which is sad. Also, my letter I sent to him bragging about finishing his book in just 2 weeks, a full week less than the Hertfordshire Library Service predicted, will go unread. If you want to find out more, google him. Even better to do it at the library. It's free!

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Gay Fishermen

On my way home I found myself stuck behind a white van.
It was one of those ones that's so in need of a wash that someone's written something amusing in it.
Except it wasn't anything amusing. It wasn't about wishing any female relation or acquaintance was as dirty as said vehicle but rather it had just two words:

Yeah. What?! Why would you write that? It was an EDF van, so it's unlikely that as well as fixing people's meters the driver and his faux fisherman's friend liked to don leather waders and catch a cod.

Why would you write that on someone's van?
I came home and googled it. A bit dangerous I know, but there's not many gay fishermen it turns out (God, I hope my wife doesn't check out internet history)... One site for Gay Fly Fishermen was set up last year and they were hoping to arrange an outing (so to speak) for a group of men but it looks like perhaps it didn't go down too well (so to spea.. yeah, sorry). I felt quite sad for that Gay Fisherman, he'd never even posted on his blog. He had a lovely logo and everything. Type Gay Fisermen into Amazon and there was nothing although in 1971 a band called the Liverpool Fishermen did release an album called Swallow The Anchor - on which subject my mouth remains closed. In every way. Also (what?! don't judge me) I did find an American couple called Mr & Mrs Gay who do indeed like to indulge in sea fishing but it seems unlikely they decided to scrawl on a van on the A120.

So, I'm still none the wiser. But it did make me realise that being a gay fisherman could probably be a lonely existence and maybe one had tried to advertise on the back of this van but that it pulled away before he/she could finish their plug. It reminded me of a song by Corky & The Juice Pigs called The Only Gay Eskimo, who let's face it do fish. So, here's someone's interpretation of that video. Trust me it's safer than the other youtube effort claiming to be a gay fisherman: that really didn't look like fish he was reeling in and frankly he's more likely to catch something else with that kind of behaviour. Anyway...

Thursday, 12 February 2009

La ragazza è nella scatola

I've got my Italian lesson at the local college in an hour.

It's my second term and I'm struggling. I decided to learn because when we got married in Tuscany last year: it was beautiful but I didn't even know how to say 'Yes, I do' in Italian. So, I've decided for our next trip there I'd like to be able to chat to the locals, rather than be rude. And maybe get an extra towel.. rather than use the bed sheet. There's another story. 

I was really good at languages at school but it just doesn't seem to go in nowadays. After 12 weeks there are just two phrases I confidently know from my Italian language night classes:

1) Io non sono Italiano
(I am not Italian.. just in case you needed further confirmation other than the fact I can't speak Italian)

2) La ragazza è nella scattola
(The girl is in the box)

I'm a bit concerned about that last one. What kind of people put this course together? Still, if I one day happen to be in Rome and find a girl trapped in a box, they will be vindicated. As I explain to the police that, yes, she's in there, but no, I'm not Italian - suggesting I would have thought that the UK consulate and a good lawyer wouldn't go a miss, my £10 a week will seem worth while.
Steve is available as a tranlastor at a reasonable fee should you find yourself in Napoli with a young female within a cardboard container