Mr Monkey is eight months old today – and celebrated by standing up for the first time in his cot! Last weekend he’d started crawling, just in time for a visit from Granny and Grandpa who hadn’t seen him since Christmas, so the rolling (his previous method of transportation) was relegated to changing direction. He’s been trying to pull himself up on things ever since and this morning he surprised us both by standing up and looking very pleased with himself.

It’s fascinating to watch as he develops new skills and all in a seemingly short amount of time, and it seems odd how easily we forget what he used to be like. I’m trying my best to capture as much on film and sensor as I can and have created two DVDs so far; watching them as we did recently, we couldn’t believe how small and vulnerable he was in the early days – unable to co-ordinate and barely showing recognition. How things have changed. He’s like one of those copper-top battery toys on TV that just go on and on until the batteries run out. Except they don’t.

Here’s a snap from this morning – caught red-handed opening the kitchen drawer:


First solids

Yesterday, at a few days under six months old, Samuel had his first taste of solid food. Of course, I was there with camcorder in one hand and camera in the other; I managed to capture the event and still enjoy it as it was quite funny. Not sure quite what was going on at first, it didn’t take long for the spoon to be grabbed and the food guzzled down! He was certainly ready for it, that’s for sure.

The brunch menu consisted of baby rice. Samuel chose baby rice from the menu and I believe he’ll choose the same again today. The menu will soon be expanded to include things like broccoli, carrots, parsnips and such like, so there are exciting (and very messy) times ahead.

Time off

I’ve had this week off work and, of course, along comes the cold/sore throat 😦 . I’m trying my hardest not to handle or breathe too much on Snortman but it’s difficult – especially when he’s being all cute. Which is all the time he’s not crying. So, anyway, Mrs. H., the Snortmeister and I have been out every day this week and it’s been really nice to have lunches and walks and a bit of shopping, all the time getting more confident with being out and about with someone who can go from grinning to wailing in two seconds. It’s not as easy as we’d perhaps thought it might be, but as long as we’re somewhere where he can be fed and changed, we’re OK if not slightly on edge.

We decided to go to IKEA yesterday to get a cheap-and-cheerful rug to help protect the carpet in the nursery. Too little too late, perhaps, as the third, and as yet most powerful, jet-poo covered Mrs. H. before shooting around 1.5m across the room and trashing the carpet once again. It went beyond the current protective rug (which covers the previous jet-poo damage) and ruined another large section of carpet! What timing – just as we were about to leave to get a bigger rug! Well, in fact, we ended up getting two so I’m hoping that I won’t have to spend many more hours mopping up bright yellow mustard from the carpet. It’s like lumpy, fluorescent dye. Perhaps I could bottle and sell it to manufacturers of high-visibility clothing.


Yesterday I was weed on whilst changing a nappy. OK, I probably asked for it by taking too long and not being prepared. This wasn’t the first time it’s happened but it was pretty spectacular as it was all directed at my crotch, making it look as though it was I who had weed myself! Perhaps it was this careful aiming that made him a “clever boy” (according to Mrs. H.) or perhaps it was just the fact that I was getting my fair share of being covered…

Changing nappies is hard now because Samuel tends to like it on his changing table and decides to have a good snort around, play, smile, coo and generally take interest away from the task at hand. Hence taking too long and not being suitably shielded. This is the kind of innocent look following such an event:


Mr. Snorty

Well, Mr. Snorty is now four weeks and a day old and has apparently put on a pound since birth. He does snort an awful lot (hence the name) which is quite endearing if not a little worrying. He’s been very spotty, too, which is better now than it was at its worst, and we’re told it will just clear up in time. I haven’t taken any pictures for a while but I was sent this from Mrs. H. when I was at work the other day:


which did make me chuckle. He has provided some positive feedback re. his pram (by falling asleep) recently and smiled at his Grandma yesterday. Last Sunday he met his Aunty P., Uncle D. and cousin E. for the first time and was unfortunately a bit grumpy, but it was very sweet how his cousin (not yet two) offered his toys to him when he was squawking. He took no notice, of course, but the thought was there. This weekend he will be seeing his Granny, Grandpa and Aunty N. who are stopping by on their way back to the Westcountry; unfortunately he won’t see my side of the family very often so let’s hope he’s on his best behaviour!

Adventures on wheels

Today we had a major adventure. To celebrate Samuel being two weeks old today (and it also may have had something to do with the fact that we’d run out of bread and milk) we decided to walk him into town. Now, where we live, “town” consists mainly of funeral directors, mobility outlets and pound shops but there is a bank, a supermarket (not so super, really, especially as Pringles are never on offer there) and a Post Office, too. We’d previously had two outings in the pram; just around the block and both ending in tears but, nevertheless, we decided to brave it for the longer journey into town. So, cowards that we are, we waited for Sam to fall asleep before bundling him in and heading off, both quietly terrified that he may start wailing at any time. Unfortunately, Sam’s inherited my appetite which means a constant need to feed during waking hours; this is fairly easy for me to deal with but for him, well, let’s just say the town isn’t exactly equipped and we could end up temporarily increasing business for said funeral directors.

As it turned out, it was all fine. He slept pretty much all the way through and it gave us new confidence that he doesn’t hate his pram, after all. We were able to get our supplies and post back the TENS machine Mrs. H. hired but never had the chance to use. Next outing: seafront, I reckon.

It’s a boy!

Well, it’s all happened and I have a few minutes to breathe, so here’s a quick update.

We went in last Monday and were finally kick-started at about 11:30 am. Basically this meant the insertion of the necessary magic compound and the instruction to “walk around the hospital grounds until something happens.” They also warned that nothing may happen, so it was good to be prepared, and that it could take up to 24 hours if it works.

Over the next seven hours we walked, sat, had a drink, walked again… (the hospital grounds aren’t very expansive nor especially interesting, so this was fairly tedious) and waited. And waited. Nothing.

We returned at about 6 pm to find a girl opposite us, who’d had the induction treatment at about the same time as we did, in the full throes of labour. Which was nice. We sat on the bed, shrugged our shoulders and prepared for an uneventful night and further treatment the next day. We went to the canteen, had some food and wandered back. The girl opposite was probably going to give birth within the hour, we thought, and then something happened. Small, but fairly regular, pains every five to ten minutes quickly turned into much more intense pains with increasing frequency. We noticed the girl opposite seemed to have eased off a bit as we rapidly overtook, with Mrs. H. now gripping the bed bars and grimacing – mostly silently but there was the odd expletive – every three minutes on the dot.

At 11 pm we were both thinking that it was full-on. The midwives and nurses came around to check on progress but only said that it may perhaps be starting and that we should get a good sleep in to conserve energy for the morning. Sleeping tablets were dispensed and we wondered how on earth we’d sleep through this, but by midnight it was very clear that we wouldn’t. Fast forward through a very unpleasant experience to 2:29 am and our baby had arrived! He was born naturally with just gas & air as pain relief; the only option, as it turned out, since it all happened so quickly in the end. Incidentally, the poor girl referred to above finally gave birth 27 hours after our new arrival!

Very soon after the baby was given to us the midwife suggested I put a nappy on him and clothe him. Until that point it hadn’t crossed my mind that I’d be doing this, so soon, and whilst being watched by an expert. It’s strange how something so simple can instill a feeling of total incompetence but I eventually managed it in the end. An there we were: a family. It hadn’t sunk in then and I’m still not sure it has, but I do know that being a father is both a strange and wonderful feeling.


Hmmm. So, it looks as though we’ll be calling the hospital early tomorrow morning to see whether we’re supposed to go in. I guess we’re both a bit edgy but at least we know everything is OK, since the midwife came today to have a rummage around and measure the heartbeat. Following that we went for a walk along the coastal pathway near home and discussed our “last supper” which was going to be a hot curry. Mrs. H. has had second thoughts about that, though – sensibly, perhaps – and so I’ll either cook up my signature dish* or we may have fish and chips from the chippy on the seafront.

Unbelievably, when I was packing my hospital bag (yes, I’m supposed to have a bag, too, you know!) I had left out a camera. Sacrilege! Thankfully, a general camera-fondle (this happens often) set off an alarm and now there’s one in place. There would have been SUCH a rumpus if I’d neglected to bring the one thing that I feel truly naked without** and I’d have never forgiven myself. Other items include a change of underwear and t-shirt, toothbrush, PSP (yes, really), lots of snacks and my swimming trunks (don’t ask).

* Boil wholemeal pasta (fusilli, penne or shells) in a pan. Drain and add a tin of tuna, half a jar of green pesto and some grated cheese. Mix in the pan. Eat from the pan after offloading some to wife, as necessary.

** This is not strictly true.


Mrs. H. Junior is now five days overdue with no obvious signs of emergence. Poor Mrs. H. is feeling very uncomfortable but vast supplies of chocolate and gossip mags seem to help here. It’s almost embarrassing to keep telling people that no, there’s no sign yet, but we’re not especially worried as junior is obviously not ready yet. There may be an induction on Monday but we’ll see what happens between now and then…

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