Thursday, 15 September 2011

What's in a name?

For about four years now my wife has been pestering me about children's names.  I no longer have a reason not to enter these discussions.  With those magic pee sticks telling me that I'm going to be a father it is time to enter the world of picking a name for our future child.  God help me.

My wife has very clear ideas about names.  Unfortunately, our ideas differ.  Even worse, for me, is that she's got a good four years headstart on me, so I am going to be forever playing catch up.  Until this stage I have been able to say "no, I don't like it" to most any name she presented that she had heard and liked.  I no longer have that opt out, it's time to step up, be a man and play my part.

Names are so important.  I'm of the belief that they should mean something; they should be more than a verbal tag that you identify your child with.  My wife likes ones that 'sound right'.  Her favourites basically match the top names list.  She wants to make sure they have something that ends in, or can be abbreviated to end in, an 'ee' sound.  I think we should ensure they cannot be abbreviated into something that will lead to my child being mocked growing up.  I get the distinct impression that this might be a futile undertaking, however, as nobody can match the twisted brilliance of children for warping names into something that can inflict damage on a person.  How can I protect my child from the hundreds of devilishly fiendish minds they will face in their path to adulthood?

The simple answer is, of course, I cannot.  So from the offset it is about damage limitation.  Part of me would like to wait until the child arrives, in the hope that it will arrive with a name tag sewn in somewhere.  However, the other part of me is terrified that nothing will be immediately obvious, and our child won't have an identity for the first few days of his or her life.

Anyway, I've probably spent enough time writing this - I've got over 120 000 000 websites to trawl through to find the perfect name.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Diets and detritus

We had our first midwife appointment this week.  This, unfortunately, was not quite exciting as I hoped.  Not entirely sure what I was expecting, but it consisted of:

1)  Paperwork - with some homework as each page needs a sticky label attached to it.  Somehow I feel we should have moved beyond this by now.
2)  My wife peeing in a pot.  Again.  Why does peeing into or onto things seem to be such a key part of the pregnancy process?  It is like doctors and evolution have conspired to take this beautiful, magical moment that arises from a sexual encounter and attempt to ensure it never happens again - sore boobs, spousal wind, peeing on anything that doesn't move and nausea.  I foolishly asked "why's that then?" when my wife was asked for a 'mid-stream' urine sample.  The simple answer was to wash out the (and I quote) "detritus" that might be in the initial drops.  That sound is another nail being banged into the coffin of our sex lives.
3)  And the latest fairground attraction - weigh the wife!

What happens next?  There is a blood test after ten weeks (we are now eight), the first scan at twelve, then a full anatomy scan at twenty.  I have come to a growing realisation that the first twelve weeks are a rather frustrating time.  All we have so far to confirm this miracle of developing life is two faint lines.  Everything else is side effects, and none reveal what is actually happening.  We're going to be a third of the way to bringing a child into the world before anyone in the medical professions actually confirms there is one there!

Things could be worse though.  Our midwife seems lovely, my wife's in-the-loop colleagues are being incredibly understanding and I haven't had to hold her hair back.  Yet.  Although any plans I have for healthy eating are out of the window.  She can stomach: sweets, McDonalds, potatoes, cheese, flavoured milk and crisps.  I have the breaking strain of a KitKat, so with those lying around salads are looking a lot less inviting.

Tips from me at this stage:
1)  Sort out some light exercise you can do together - you will need something to burn off the sweet-encrusted Big Macs.
2)  Go to bed early - there are a number of toilet trips that are likely to disturb the both of you.
3)  Cook things that you are going to want to eat - this might sound selfish, but if your wife is off her food, nothing you cook will be palatable and a good dinner will help you avoid the artery clogging foods your wife is enjoying.
4)  Invest in some good books - you will be spending a lot of time with a very tired wife curled up on you, needing strokes, and a good book can help the time pass enjoyably for the both of you.

I cannot wait for our first scan so we will have evidence to show people who exactly is making mummy so uncomfortable (and daddy fatter)!

Monday, 5 September 2011

Letter to a blueberry

To my child,

School started today.  Across the country thousands of children walked through the school gates for the first time.  I cannot wait to hold your hand on your way to school for the first time.  Hopefully you will enjoy it and be excited - I imagine it will be me that gets upset as you run in to face the exciting new challenges of the day, and I am left to walk home, wondering why it is you have grown up so quick.

Until then, though, you have a lot of growing to do!  That day is five years away.  You are (apparently - I haven't got the equipment to check) the size of a blueberry at the moment - a long way away from the 3.5' you're likely to be when you start school.  Although I am excited about that day, I am excited about every one of the 1825 days between now and then.  Each day you are growing at a rate you will never match once outside the womb.  In the last fortnight you have gone from being the size of a sesame seed to that of a blueberry.  Miraculous!

And in those 1825 days there are so many amazing events I want to see.  Your first breath, feed, smile, Christmas, birthday, words, tooth, tantrum, steps, words, and so on.  Each day will bring new and exciting experiences for you and I plan on being there to share them with you.

I hope one day that you will be able to look back upon these words - there isn't a day goes by now that I don't think about you.  These next eight months, before I can meet you properly, are going to go very slowly - but you take your time.  Just because mummy and daddy might get impatient to meet you, we don't want you to come until you feel ready.  We've got the rest of our lives to get to know you better.  If I could want anything for you, my child, it would be for you to know yourself.

Sleep well, grow strong and I will see you in April.