December 15, 2007

Diary Date

Milo took his first steps today.

He kind of did them by accident, and studiously avoided doing any more, but it's coming...about three months after all his friends.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 11:44 PM | Comments (0)

April 05, 2007

Yes - my name is Igglepiggle

Derek Jacobi.

Great actor. Crap Singer.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 10:55 AM | Comments (0)

July 08, 2006

One Hobby at a Time

So that was the last piano lesson for the near future.

With our impending arrival (three weeks and counting) I'm not going to have time to do much piano practice, and I'm now old enough to realise that blagging your way through piano lessons where you've not done any work since last week is embarrassing for both of you. So no lessons until the new the earliest.

However, as running through Rachmaninov preludes while a tiny person is trying to teach themselves how to sleep isn't going to be so wise, this does mean that my few spare moments might actually be spent in the coming-a-close-second hobby - pissing around on the net.

So look forward to slightly more regular updates here...

(And if any kind people can help me debug my perl blackberry email parser, that'll help too)

Posted by Tom Dolan at 09:45 PM | Comments (0)

March 09, 2005

On Lumps

When a baby is tiny, its fingers don't have the surface area to be able to accurately make judgements about objects. Hence putting everything in their mouth - the biggest concentration of nerve endings in their body at that time.

Given this, why is it that thirteen-month-old Daisy now feels the need to take any remotely solid bits in her food out of her mouth and feel them with her fingers?

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December 17, 2004

Another NooMeeja Baby

Huge congratulations to Surj and Tanya Patel on the birth of their baby daughter. (Like an arse I accidentally closed the IM window, but I think she was called Naiya).

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November 01, 2004

Neologist Wanted

There really should be a word, or phrase, for the suspense-crammed moment of time between when you enter a darkened room to check on your sick child and the point where your ears or eyes have acclimatised to the low levels and you can hear/see them breathing.

If Hitchcock could have captured the feeling of those fifteen seconds on film, I'm sure he would have done.

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October 26, 2004


Meant to post this yesterday, but it's wierd to think that nine months ago vicky and I were becoming parents. Nine months in, nine months out. A strange journey, but one that has been so worthwhile - getting to know a truly fabulous little person.

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August 25, 2004

The Critical Path of Milk

A small but important one this.

If using a microwave steriliser (and why wouldn't you? they're fab) to make sure your vast investment in Avent plasticware is germ-free, make sure you're sterilising early enough in the evening so that you can still get to a supermarket and buy a new one that night when the old one blows up.

On which note, the Sainsburys microwave/hifi/electrical goods section closes some time before 9pm, and if it's not out on the shelves you can't have it.

So you go to Tesco, and they have the same microwave for 30 quid less. So that's all right then.

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June 21, 2004


This weekend, two important things happened in the life of young Daisy.

1) She started on her first solid(ish) food.
2) We discovered she's not allergic to wasp stings.

One of these was discovered the hard way. The other is just the beginning of lots of ongoing hard - well splatty really - way...

Posted by Tom Dolan at 09:17 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 14, 2004

Vortices Through Time

On Friday, under the advice of super piano teacher Seb, we moved our 4-and-a-half-month-old daughter into her own room.

His take was that there's a huge gap in perception between the age she is now, and six months - when we'd planned to move her. If we move her now, it's just a thing that has changed, like most things change. In a month and a half, however, she'll know she's moved *away from us*.

That evening, after she'd gone to bed, I was sitting on the loo, looking across the landing at the door to her new bedroom, and realised that we'd taken the first step to giving her her own identity. She has territory in the house. Suddenly, a huge great swathe of time seemed to flash by and I felt this strange vision of the sixteen-year-old version of her, still coming out of that door, still being in our house, being an ever-bigger and realer part of our lives - through the living of her very own and particular life.

I must remember to shut the toilet door properly in future.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 12:06 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 01, 2004

Paternal Pride

Yesterday afternoon, I did a thing that is deeply and profoundly 'dad'. Not 'dad' as in 'being a father and caring for a child', but as in 'being like you remember your dad being'.

For the first time in my life, I went down to the bottom of the garden, and burnt loads of stuff. For two hours. I came back into the house smelling of smoke and had a big cup of workman tea.

My pillow still smelt of the smoke this morning. It felt, well, comfy.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 05:49 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 28, 2004

For those of you who are still dazed after a bank holiday sunday all-nighter...

My Uncle's very very very cute animation peppa pig starts on uk channel five at 7.30 on monday morning.

There's also a lovely trailer to watch on the main site.

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May 14, 2004

The cutest SMS ever

Daisy has survived
her jabs. She was
immensely brave. The
nurse was so
impressed she gave
her a sticker. We
chose a dinosaur.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 11:06 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 10, 2004

Welcome Rose Locke

Huge congratulations to Matt and Holly Locke on the birth of their daughter Rose Esme yesterday.

Matt's taken the opportunity to use his last bits of adrenalin-fuelled boy-time to post a list of what the web predicts for her over the next seven years. By which time, apparently the de-beaking of hens will be prohibited.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 11:08 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 05, 2004

Flicking Vs isn't technically Language

Fascinating Metafilter discussion about the pros and cons of teaching your baby sign language. The thread has an interesting hiccup into whether it really counts as 'language' at that point - for example:

It seems to me that if you're keen on helping a child aquire language at the earliest possible age, they should be exposed to speech by native speakers of that language. For whatever reasons, children can learn Sign earlier than they can a spoken language.

If you just want to provide a mechanism for clearly communicating some basic needs, then it doesn't really matter what you choose, as long as it is within the child's capability.

In no case, excepting in the case of something a linguist might do, would what the parents make up be a "language".

But it also contains this little bubble-puncturing gem:

I want to teach my baby to IM. That way it can reach me when I'm at work.

Thanks to Katy for finding that when she should have been working.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 11:46 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 01, 2004

More Things The World Should Know About Early Parenting

Following up on my earlier post about things that weren't in any books to prepare you for parenting I thought I'd add a couple of other things to the list:

1) Cots are large. Deciding you're going to change your mind about which room the baby will sleep in *will* involve taking it to pieces because it won't go through the bedroom door, so don't leave it till you're about to go and pick up your other half and the baby. Also, this will give you a chance to leisurely revel in man-chores involving screwdrivers for the last time in a month or so.

2) Eco-nappies. These are really expensive. This isn't a problem, but the manufacturers of the 'systems' don't draw any attention to *just* how quickly small bottoms grow. When Daisy grew out of her starter nappies after two weeks it was a suprise. When she grew out of the next size up four weeks after that we were kind of ready. If I'd paid 75 quid for each of those eco-packs I'd have been livid. [Having said that, she now seems to be pretty stable in 'midi' nappies now, so we're considering it again.]

3) Dads - paternity leave is warfare. Plan another week of holiday for about six weeks later when the hell has been replaced by pleasure.

4) If someone offers to take your child off your hands for an evening, or even for two hours, take it and go to the pub. That first bit of time where you are a couple again is sheer joy - like falling in love all over again.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 09:17 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

16 hours in.

We are told that it only takes 3 days for a baby to lose a bad habit.

"How did you spend your bank holiday Tom?"

"Being cried at because I wouldn't give Daisy her dummy".

It's going to be a long long weekend...

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April 22, 2004

A Parent's Song of Joy

She slept through the night,
She slept through the night,
la la lalala
I don't feel crap in the morning
She's still lying still in her cot
And not because she's de--aad
But because she slept,
and I don't care if it was a fluke,
or early,
Cos she slept, slept through the night.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 07:42 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

February 23, 2004

Things the world should know about pregnancy. #1

Okay, roundup of useful thoughts from the whole of the last nine months.

1) There are two sorts of books you will need to read if you are a lady.

- There is the getting-pregnant/during pregnancy book - of varying levels of hectoring. The best of these we found was 'What to expect when you're expecting'. Sheila Kitzinger's index didn't line up, and the pictures of 'how to have sex while pregnant' could put you off the whole idea.

- Then there is the your baby has turned up, what do you do sort of book. Everyone goes on about Gina Ford's 'Contented Little Baby' book, which is a great ideal, if you're a complete nazi. It felt very inhuman, but just as daft were all the bits of advice about kids-in-bed feed-on-demand etc. Our salvation came in the shape of 'Secrets of the Baby Whisperer' which, despite being written in a cod-yorkshire accent for american readers (think Daphne from Frasier) actually contains the most pragmatic advice. Like 'stop and look at your baby and work out what they're trying to tell you before you project your own fears onto them'. We can now (usually) tell the difference between tired, hungry, bored and painful crying which helps a lot.

These two types of books do completely different things, and there's not really that much overlap between them. Read the first as you go, and skim the second until just before the baby turns up. At which point hand it to your partner because...

2) There are virtually no books to read in advance that are any use if you are a man.
We like to know what we're supposed to *do*. All these books are about how women will feel about internal changes going on in them, and their worries and concerns.
I wanted a to-do list, or a diagnosis flowchart. No books had that.
We had a great Haynes Manual for 'Baby' which seemed to do the job, and was certainly an eyeopener in terms of how to look at it all - an overview that whetted your appetite.
There'a a 'ParenTalk' book that was pretty good which dispelled lots of myths, and gave me a route into the other 'mum-oriented' books, but it's sadly no longer available. Booooooo.


When the baby turns up, we have a certain amount of time on our hands and there are tangible problems to solve. That's when the second sort of mum book is great and we can really come into our own.

3) Men can get more out of NCT classes than women.
(Once we get over our embarrasment.)

4) The sleep deprivation isn't as bad as you think.
For the first week anyway. Then it gets lots lots lots worse. But after about four weeks you've got as tired as you're going to get, and you can cope more.

5) Stop drinking.
Getting up in the middle of the night is tough enough without also being a bit dopey because you're mid-hangover. At the level of tiredness two glasses of wine becomes too much. Shrink your ambitions now.

6) You won't talk about anything but your kids afterwards for a couple of weeks.
There are two reasons for this, so relax:
i) Kids are genuinely fascinating
ii) You don't have time to do anything else that you could talk about.
Avoid talking about poo though. It is very boring.

7) In hospital, make sure you read your notes
You can find out a lot about what's really going on that way. We were able to remind people to provide medicine etc as a result of what we'd read. And refuse other things we hadn't asked for.

8) Babies need to wear both a vest and a bodysuit thing
We didn' realise this and thought one was for summer, the other for winter. Nope.
The vesty thing goes on first, with the bodysuit over the top. The hospital staff looked at us like we were mad for only having bodysuits.

9) Nappy shock
No matter what ecological plans you've got, it's probably a good idea to get some own-brand disposable nappies to cover the first week or so. They get through about 5 or 6 a day - don't get fooled because they're very absorbent until they're suddenly not. Trust to the weight.
I'd also say get one out and try putting it on a teddybear or something. That way you can figure out how the strange miniature velcro works for you. A bit of a shock to do your first when someone is wriggling in it.
Oh, and it's not just boys that wee when you expose them to the air. It's just not jet propelled in ladies.

10) Breastfeeding - the big lie
I get very very angry about this.
In books like Miriam Stoppard's there are innocent phrases like 'there is no reason why any woman should not be able to breastfeed her baby'.
What lazy ill-considered bollocks.
Breastfeeding is hyped as this beautiful natural bonding thing.
It's not - it hurts, is messy and uncomfortable and stressful and guilt-ridden. And it's lazy pressure from the 'breast is best' crowd that can leave women getting to the point where initially dismissive midwives will 'just have a quick look' at the damage and visibly wince.
Virtuarlly everyone in our NCT class had huge huge huge problems with it.
Don't believe the hype. Do what's best for your family as a whole.

11) Finally, avoid listening to Kate Bush's "This Woman's Work" at all costs
Particularly in public. Give it six months or so to fade.

[Update: some more items from later here]

Posted by Tom Dolan at 03:03 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack