Author Archives: Neil Walker

About Neil Walker

A forty something Local Government accountant who belatedly stumbled into fatherhood and blogging and who has found it a whole lot more interesting than spreadsheets...

Everything is Harder Nowadays

Yes, yes….it’s been too long.  I was trying to work out why my blog posts…which had started at an admittedly optimistically paced twice a week, before slowing to once, then trickling to monthly, before drying up completely around 8 weeks ago…had become so much harder to complete.  And as I thought about it, I was rudely interrupted by a crying baby who wanted my undivided attention. Until given it of course, when what she actually wanted to do, was to chew on the end of an old bit of newspaper she’d uncovered from some neglected area of reachability. But there was the answer nevertheless. Everything is harder now that Grace nears one, and my free time (ha!!) has dwindled to dust.

Something they don’t tell you up front when you have a baby, is that actually, the first few months are a piece of cake.  A walk in the park. A breeze.  Probably because it’s not exactly true.  Except that relatively…relative to the later months….it bloomin’ well is! In my opinion of course…I sense this may not be the universally held view in the house, let alone in the wider community.



In those first few, idyllic months, your baby will basically be doing one of just four things: Sleeping. Eating. Pooing. Crying. Albeit, it may be doing more than one of these at any one time. Indeed, more than likely it is.  And these four activities will be taking place in one place…specifically the last place you left the baby. Or of course, the place you happen to be standing, holding the baby. Introduce a new activity, such as bathing…and the baby will just do as it is told.  Approximately.

This is all good you think. Probably best of all is the sleeping.  They may not sleep throughout the night (some of them…and I’m thinking here of one very close to me as I type this….may never achieve this), but for the first few months they will be sleeping a lot, giving ample opportunities to do the dishes, laundry dusting…blogging…although after uploading the latest batch of photos up to Facebook you may not have quite as much time as you think.  Or as your wife may expect.

Lulled into the security of being on top of this daddy daycare malarkey, you selflessly sign up for another 6 months of it, sending your wife back to the grindstone full time, as you plan to swan around, leisurely taking in the next song and rhyme time, or mums’ picnic.  Then it hits….You are no longer the master of this tiny little innocent and helpless life.  You are now the slave to this tiny little demanding and mischievous life.


Believe me, this is normal. This is the end of every meal. When it’s really messy, the gadgets stay out of harms way.

Then:- Grace would eat everything put in front of her and drink everything stuck in her mouth unquestioningly, gratefully and without pause to consider the digestive consequences.
Now:- Everything needs to be variously squashed, dropped repeatedly on the floor, placed on the head, rubbed in the face, thrown at daddy. The food can be loved and wolfed down one day, the next, completely ignored, cried over, shouted at or spat out.





If we’re lucky, sleeping can be caught up on at some points during the day, on any handy mattress like object…

Then:- Long sleeps throughout the day, and even when waking in the night, Grace would get the hint and fall asleep again reasonably quickly.



Of course, by 11am she’s a little sleeping angel. Daddy is a walking zombie.



Now:- I read that most babies by this age sleep through the night.  Grace is not most babies. You can probably expect at least two awakenings between midnight and 6am.  If you’re lucky, these will result in around half an hour of calming to return to sleep.  Often you are unlucky.  Unlucky will mean spending up to two hours in the depths of the earliest of morning trying to convince an alternating crying, wriggling, manic baby that actually, it is still legally time for sleeping.



Nostalgia – fun time, bath time… If only it was still like this!

Then:- The one thing Grace loved most in the world was lying in the bath splashing around, having her hair washed.

Now:- The one thing Grace hates most in the world is lying in the bath splashing around, and in particular, having her hair washed.  It is now a daily battle of wills between daddy and daughter to ensure that the days foodstuffs are adequately washed out of an increasingly thick mop of hair. Sometimes daddy loses this battle.  Often. The battle is usually ended by Grace standing up, crying and trying to get her little leg over the edge of the bath, whilst at the same time pushing daddy away. One line of thought has it, that me tipping a jug of water over her head a few weeks ago, has permanently damaged my bathing credentials.

Then: There was no moving. Grace stayed put. You could leave the room, make a cup of tea, check Twitter…and there would Grace stay, happily sucking a toe, sleeping … or presumably just twiddling her little thumbs wondering where daddy has gone.


The stair gate’s shut. I’m sure of it…. COME BACK GRACE!

Now: Yes, Grace is moving on all fours, rapidly around the house…or more accurately 3 and a halves, with this odd little crawl she has.  Leave the room and Grace behind, and before you know it…often with no audible signal…Grace will be there behind you, at your feet, ready to cause some major trippage.  This is not the worst of it.


Grace goes for the dictionary to look up the word “naughty” that daddy keeps using



The worst is that Grace can also scale objects…chairs, tables…ovens…  Try as you might to take all items out of her reach, and ensure full child safety compliance, there will always be one thing…several things…that she is found playing with that she shouldn’t be when you are more than a short distance away.  Cue much running around, picking her up, and depositing her somewhere safer. For as long as it takes her to catch breath and set off again after the wifi router; ornamental flowers; television ….her three current favourite targets.


Then: I’d always regarded myself as a bit of a dab hand at nappies.  My nappy pit stops were of Red Bull-like speed and efficiency. What helped was Grace’s docile nature on the changing mat, paying no heed to being picked up one legged after another to have her bottom cleaned and changed in record time.

Now: I am coming to dread nappy changes. I can barely even begin to write about the wriggling, the twisting, the turning of half changed babies, poo still hanging off them, on their little feet….on your carpet as you hold one handed onto whatever bit you can find (usually the pooiest bit) as the other hand attempts to reach something…anything that will be able to help clean the mess up. Or maybe just distract the baby long enough to trap it in a corner and reset it back on the mat.  For the fifteenth time.

Notwithstanding any of the above, of course, I wouldn’t change a thing and the greater challenges are simply a sign that my little girl is gaining her independence, character and growing up (albeit all too soon).  And I’m sure as you’ll all tell me…it gets no easier as they get older.

On a more serious point, Grace is not difficult in any way, shape or form. There are many families who really do have a difficult time looking after their kids, for many, many reasons and I don’t know how they cope or understand the sacrifices they must make.  Friends within our NCT group have a little boy who suffers from Dravet Syndrome, a devastating form of epilepsy – if you’re short of a charity to support, please consider this:


All good fun!




The mundanity of a long distance blogger

So I’ve been a bit quiet for the last month, but that doesn’t mean nothing is happening and so have nothing to update you with. Nor does it mean so much is happening I just haven’t had the time to furnish you with the latest humorous pictures of Grace. What it does mean is that I was just waiting for something of interest to happen, that would be worth everybody dropping what they were doing to come over to my blog to be amazed and awed at tales of derring-do and living on the edge of daddy daycare. When I first started I thought that this would happen like every day I took charge of my little bundle of joy. Now, four months in, I have come to the conclusion that actually, as with all other aspects of my life, child care consists of significantly and materially large chunks of mundanity.

Swings are so last week now...

Swings are so last week now…

This is not necessarily a bad thing. There is only so much of the opposite to mundanity I can take at my age, without needing to sit in a darkened room, and then go to bed early with a nice cup of tea. And actually I’m quite a mundane person truth be told, who likes to do things that maybe others would consider mundane, but to me they are things I could happily spend all day doing with Grace. Walking to the park to play on the swings.  Packing a picnic and wandering down to the steam to eat it. Strolling through town with Grace in my backpack, and seeing everyone smile as they see Grace enjoying the ride.  None of that really makes for an interesting read though. I don’t want Grace to think there was some suspicious, unaccounted hole in the first few months of her life however, so I thought I’d better get on and relate a few things anyway. If you want to just look at the cute Grace pictures instead (assuming you haven’t had your absolute fill of these by now), please be my guest.


Grace contemplates the profound nature of her formal entry into the house of God…and which arm of Rabbit she’s going to chew on next

First we had Grace’s Christening. But that’s something of interest, I hear you say. And you’d be correct of course. However, I took very few photos as I had a lot of other duties to do, and nowadays if you haven’t got photos the thing never happened! I seem to remember saying I would avoid politics in these posts. Well, the same goes for religion.  I’m probably more Richard Dawkins than Richard Coles say, but I do appreciate the tradition and history and am sympathetic to many of the values of christianity. And besides, I was told we were having a Christening. Despite a small initial administrative glitch in proceedings…we turned up en masse and the church weren’t aware that a Christening was taking place…the service was lovely and it was great having close friends and family share in a special day for Grace.


With mobility on the increase, The Cage has been Grace’s home during periods of necessity……


Grace’s first recorded unaided stand. The blurring due to the need to photo it and also to ensure the health and safety of the activity.

One interesting happening over the last month has been Grace’s continued mobility development. At every moment she gets the urge to drag herself up to her feet (holding our fingers), then walking…and even running…up and down and around whichever room she is in. This is back breaking work believe me. Even if your back wasn’t already broken like mine is. Day by day she’s getting more confident and letting go of more fingers. Positioned correctly, she will occasionally actually balance with no fingers at all. Being a statistical, nerdy sort, I have already ascertained that a seven second unaided stand is Grace’s current PB. Being a competitive, statistical, nerdy sort, I try and beat this every day. #pushyparentwarning Then we had Grace’s 8 month Health Visitor check up. Two days after her nine month birthday. Another administrative glitch;  this time form the NHS. They did send us an appointment in the correct window, but it arrived two days before said appointment. This may be fine if you have nothing better to do with your days than wait for unexpected doctors appointments to fill them with, but with both of us working that’s not the case. Anyway, Grace has moved up from the bottom of the growth centiles to somewhere about average, so all good there. Her head however, is apparently disproportionately large! This is probably nothing to worry about said the health visitor, as we immediately started worrying and googling, and then worrying even more. This is the fifth time in Grace’s short life that we have been told something probably isn’t anything to worry about, and the four preceding times, it wasn’t. I can’t help feeling that health visitors seem to err too far on the safe side on such pronouncements, and as a consequence put parents through a lot more worry than they need to be put through. I’m this case, clearly Grace requires extra headspace for the extra brainpower she’s inherited.


Grace’s clearly immense balloon-sized head getting filled with words about cats and hats and mats

Finally, I celebrated my four month anniversary of cutting my work days and becoming daddy daycare for Only Two Days a Week. With three months to go until the arrangement was due to end, I started thinking about life post September, and shipping Grace off to nursery for the majority of the week. It didn’t take long for Nicole and I to decide actually, that’s not what we want for Grace at this time, so I have put in a submission to extend my three day a week working to next April. The downside is that now with more time in charge of Grace, I’ll need to seek more things of interest to extend the life of this blog by a similar amount!


On to the next adventure…

Danger: Daddy at Play

Let it not be said that I’m a thrill seeker, or risk taker. Not for me the desire to jump off bridges with an elastic band the difference between life and death. And in my current, post Grace, non exercised state, the balance would be more to the latter end I feel. Neither am I a boy racer, laying down rubber as I screech from the lights to take on some souped up Corsa or Clio. I have an Astra after all. No, I think it’s fair to say I like to play life pretty safely.


Grace grips on for dear life in the extreme sport of swinging quite high….

This is doubly…triply…the case for Grace; after all, she is totally reliant on me to keep her safe and sound, and with my record on keeping alive house plants, I do need to be careful. From day 1 I had this irrational fear of dropping Grace…again, with my history on plates, this maybe a rational fear. I would check, check and check again satraps were in place on everything that Grace was place into. I followed to the absolute letter, every instruction around crib safety. I think three moves ahead, and remove from Grace’s reach anything which should not be reachable. On this, I think I need to up this to ten moves!!

But at the end of a week that has seen Grace sporting two marks and a mouthful of water as a result of Daddy Day “Care”, am I being careful enough? Was it just bad luck? Correction: Grace’s bad luck?


Surfing before she can walk is likely to end in tears…if daddy let’s go!

Mark 1: Grace is up on her feet every second she can be. She can’t actually walk yet, or even balance unaided but that doesn’t stop her. Woe betide you try and leave her on her back for even a minute. So I have to spend large chunks of time bent double, holding Grace’s arms as she shows off her stepping skills around the house. She is getting pretty hot at this now, and I’m sure it can only be a matter of weeks before she strikes off alone. But for now I am there to support her…or not as the case was this week. I was gently testing her limits with limited holding when she decided to suddenly execute a beautifully crafted pirouette. I was only holding one arm, but as she turned I didn’t want to break it off, so went with the move…as it spiralled down into a nose dive into the carpet…




Monkey on my back...

Grace seeking out the handles for a safer ride…

Mark 2: Grace loves being up on my back now I’ve got the new back pack carrier. I think she enjoys being at a height above everyone else, looking down on them – a position I worry she already seems very comfortable with. This had already led to a couple of brushes with various parts of the house and it’s low lying ceilings and beams. But I think my…both of our…automatic reflexes have now mastered this. The problem came surprisingly perhaps, not indoors but in the wide open outdoors. I thought I’d try putting Grace on my shoulders and run around the garden (not mine). She loved this, and was giggling and laughing at the bumpy ride. Until she wasn’t. Not being my garden, and not being 7 foot tall, I hadn’t even noticed, let alone appreciated, the risk posed by the overhead washing line. Grace was now explaining this too me I  screams and sobs of one syllable. Needless to say I felt very guilty about this at the time, 24 hours later, and still do as I, writing this five days on.


Bathing in happier times…

Water: being the careful and risk averse sort as I explained above, the daily baths are always carried out strictly by the book. Not very deep, 37 degrees exactly, and fully supervised throughout. Most of the time Grace is content just to sit in the middle of the bath, playing with eating her plastic duck, as she is soaped up and sponged down. Indeed, try and lie her down and she lets you know in no uncertain terms, that this is not what is wanted. At one point she lost the duck behind her and was reaching around for it. Despite the non slip mat (careful, see), soapy Grace had slipped my hands, turned herself over and got her face immersed before either of us knew what had happened. No damage done, and with a quick splutter, a spectrum of looks spanning confusion,shock and despair, and sobs that suggested she had just found out the world was five minutes from ending, Grace had been helped up and was quickly chewing the duck once more, and giggling as she did it.

So there you have it. My confessional for all to see, and possibly get me reported to Child Line I don’t doubt. However, thinking about it with hindsight, all of these things happened as Grace starts to want to experience the world for herself. I can’t carry her gingerly around forever like some swaddled, unexploded bomb like I did I the first few weeks of her life. These wont be the last bumps and bruises she gets, and I need to be more relaxed about that….I would just like not to be the cause of so many of them in future! So yes to continued rough and tumble daddy play, but yes to also being a tad more careful of those who look to me to keep them safe!


Cousin Edward adds to the education in the school of hard knocks

Ten days in May

I have started typing this sentence with absolutely no idea what’s going to follow it. I take my hat off to these bloggers who can churn out multiple paragraphs on almost a daily basis, but I’m not one of them. However, if there’s one thing a blog needs to avoid withering on a URL vine,  unloved, unread, unnoticed in a dark cul de sac of t’internet, then it’s blog posts. So forgive me if I just run through my photo gallery of the last  10 days or so since my last post, and we’ll take it from there!


Grace gets stuck into the grass and studiously pretends to ignore the poor excuse for a daisy chain that daddy has placed on her head.

So at the start of the period under review we had that strange thing. Sun. Warmth. A desire to remove clothing. The top layer anyway. Straight on with the shorts, and straight out to find some green space to entertain Grace on. We don’t really have a garden to speak of at home, but being surrounded by fields, and green spaces, I’m sure Grace is not going to get too short changed on being able to get outside and enjoy the fresh air.


As someone who has a colourful (very) and painful (very) history of getting sunburnt at the slightest glimmer in the sky, I am a bit paranoid about Grace,  so the poor thing has to endure the heat slathered in sun cream, shaded in her sun hat, arms covered in long sleeves and largely hidden from the sun at all times. However, I am now also paranoid about vitamin D deficiency…



I could have saved £25 by buying a chewy toy instead…


Looking lovely, in her new wardrobe. And she knows it already!

The weekend saw another shopping trip to Milton Keynes shopping centre (our second home), after discovering Grace had a significant absence of summer clothing. Cue a white hot credit card, a new wardbrobe of dresses, tshirts and skirts and Grace’s very first shoes. And an inevitable return of the cold, wet weather that we call summer.

Did I say shoes? Given that Grace is not even walking yet (though she is on a one woman mission to get one foot in front of the other and to scoot off and create mischief near and far at the moment), I can’t help thinking it’s a bit early for shoes.  Given the price of something that will have been outgrown in two months time, I can’t help thinking it’s way too early for shoes.  But on this subject, as with most others, my thinking was overruled.


Grace, the little monkey on my back

The start of the week presented an opportunity to get my hands on a child back-pack carrier. Up until his point, Grace has had to suffer being strapped to my front facing outwards with arms and legs stuck out, like a big baby faced starfish stuck to my belly. No sooner as I got the new carrier home, than I had…simply had…to give it a go. Being second hand it had no instructions, but I got it…and Grace…connected up to a reasonable confidence level that they would not become disconnected, and off we went. Well, not really off. It was tipping it down outside, so off we went about the house. Anyone who has been in my house and hit their head on a low ceiling or protruding beam will be aware that this is not a risk free journey. And now Grace can also attest to this. That aside, Grace loves being up on my back, lording it over everyone else and watching me slave over the cooking or washing up.

The next but next but next but next but one,  all girl mega group.  The Bunny Girls probably not an appropriate name,  so may The Hip Hoppers?

The next but next but next but next but one, all girl mega group. The Bunny Girls probably not an appropriate name, so maybe The Hip Hoppers?

Tuesday saw the return of Grace to Ragdolly Anna’s and a reunion with several of our antenatal NCT Group friends and their bonny babies. The music and singing is a sight to behold.  And as long as you only use that sense, you’ll be fine!  Grace has still to learn that instruments are for playing, not licking, sucking or chewing, but she does like a good tune, and often when all else fails to soothe her crying a quick “Wind the Bobbin Up” or “Row, row, row the boat” or “This Old Man”, will bring order of tearful chaos.



Votes cast, we head for home with the storm clouds of democracy hanging ominously overhead…

Thursday was Election Day. For various reasons I intend to steer well clear of politics in this blog, but be assured I will definitely raise Grace with a sense of the importance of taking part in the democratic process, a curiosity to understand the issues being debated on all sides, and when the time comes to vote, making her own, informed choice as to the placement of her X.  Such an education will inevitably cover the use of dodgy statistics, hyperbole, lies, false extrapolations and all the other tricks of the trade that all sides use, at all times.  Grace will know that there are always two or more arguments to be made over any issue, and it’s only by challenging, asking questions and seeking information will she know which is the right choice for her. Of course, such an approach will stand her in good stead to hopefully deal with much of life at large, and not just the dubious world of politics!






Pretty in …. colours other than Pink


Clearly a girl…

From the 20 week scan we knew we were expecting a girl. The second 20 week scan. The nurse had packed her away her ultrasound equipment after the first when when I said “so what is it then?”. Cue a tut and some unpacking of said equipment. Apparently I was supposed to ask before they did the scan! My view is that with so much uncertainty about becoming first time parents, why not at least embrace the one bit of certainty that 21st century technology does at least allow you, and find out what’s what.

In the very early days I think I probably thought I’d quite like a boy…someone to pass on my…self proclaimed admittedly…cricketing skills to. To share my appreciation of beer with. To hand down the Walker surname for another generation. The latter was actually my dad’s request. But to be honest, I was still too much in shock at the thought of having to be responsible for another human life to worry about which species it was going to be; as long as it was healthy and could be guaranteed to support Spurs. I also lost count of the number of times I got told off for referring to an “it” . Both before and after the birth! Now I have my gorgeous daughter however, I can’t begin to imagine having anything other than a girl. And the upside is, I can still teach her cricket, still educate her in beer, and her mother can nurture Grace’s independence to retain her surname, even if she does get married. After all, she has….

Photo 04-03-2014 07 34 40 pm

Whilst pink may not be allowed, some does sneak in…

Anyway….back to finding out we were having a daughter. I immediately gave the wider family the news…together with explicit instruction that I was banning the colour pink, and so to adjust their knitting plans accordingly. Then it was all systems go…the nursery was decked out in a light mint green, the pram was ordered in Royal Blue, clothes were brought in any style, any colour…except pink.

What does colour matter you may say? It shouldn’t at all..but how many chemistry or electronics sets are packaged in pink?  Or construction kits?  Or cars? Or books of numbers or about science? If all you’ve known is that things for you come wrapped up in pink, then as you get older you could easily be excused for thinking that things in less appetising colours are maybe not for you.



That’s my girl…

I realise that there will probably come a time in Grace’s early life when pink will seem to be the only thing she wants to be kitted out in, head to toe, morning to night.  But that can be her choice. For now, I want Grace to grow up not associating pink with being a girl. Indeed I don’t want her to associate anything with being a girl …. or a boy. It shouldn’t be the toy manufacturers who determine what our children get to enjoy by packaging their wares in a gender stereotyped manner.  I realise that this may be a Canute like view, and that many will say it’s a lost cause, but I want Grace to be able to do what she wants to do, and not to feel she shouldn’t because it’s a boy thing.  Or it’s not girlie enough.



He’s called Grace and he’s 8 months old next week….

The extent that society overtly links colours to the sexes can be no surprise to anyone, but without exception everyone who has spoken to me when I’m out with Gracie in the pram has said something along the lines of “he’s very cute” or asked “how old is he?” That’s not to criticise them, it’s just an observation that we make immediate assumptions based on things as simple as the colour of a fabric and I don’t want Grace to fall into the same trap of making judgments about things that she may or may not like, simply on the colour of the box they are presented in.



 with BlogPad Pro

Seriously Out of Tune

It’s true what they say…the days can sometimes seem to drag when you have a dependent baby to care for, entertain, nurture; but by heck, the weeks and months fair fly past! And so it is now, we find ourselves a mere one week off Grace’s eighth month of existence. 36 weeks. 252 days. And as most of you will be able to testify to, 1000+ photographs.


It’s not like Grace is in public view 24/7….hmmmm…

Some people ask….not necessarily of me, but definitely of the wider social media scene; I wonder how Grace will feel when she’s older, with all her baby photos on public display? A fair question. This blog is as much for Grace than anything else, and as she gets older and I take her through her earlier life, I hope she’ll be happy for me to continue to report her progress and hopefully start contribute her own thoughts. But if she isn’t happy in any way, the pictures will come down and that wil be that.


It’s not as if Grace will have any worries about this being shown on the advent of her 18th birthday…

However, this is partly to judge perceptions of privacy on our own views of when we were young and we all pretty much kept ourselves to ourselves…or at least to a small band of close friends and relations.  Certainly, we would be unable to even comprehend sharing our activities, opinions, thoughts and views with an audience of several hundred people or more each day. Cameras with expensive film cartridges of 24 photos meant that photos of you doing stupid things were rare. At worst, the picture your mate took of you drunk with a traffic cone on your head….or worse, would be seen by a couple of your other close mates. A week or two later. Not that very evening. Not by you parents. Fiancé. Employer. Future employer.


Social media now means that an awful lot of the current generation are growing up in the full, unrelenting and unforgiving glare of the world at large. The genie is out of the bottle on that one I fear, and there’s no going back, whatever we may think or wish. Just as not being in debt was once a good thing and now not having a credit rating is viewed with suspicion, the time is surely close when not having a public profile will be regarded by people as something to be wary of. The challenge for today’s generation then must be to own and to manage their presence in this new virtual reality and our job as parents needs to be to understand this new world our children are growing up in, to protect as appropriate…to educate our children to be able to protect themselves and their identity…and to teach them that how they are seen, and how they act on social media is something that matters.


Grace is deaf…linguistically or purposefully …to her name, so that the only way to attract her attention is to sing….

Annnnnnyway….no one comes here for my rambling views and serious pontifications, so back to the task at hand. This week I departed my comfort zone to enter into the world of Rag Dolly Anna. A cult of music, song and play where the parents sing, clap, and make a din with assorted instruments in the hope that the little ones will be kept quiet for an hour. Although, of course, when I say quiet, I clearly mean over 100 decibels of anti-quiet.  Grace already recognises a number of songs, and enjoys being sung to, but she isn’t quite at the stage of joining in. For now she’s happy to eat the bells, or suck on the maracas and be shaken in time to the music by daddy every now and again, so he at least can be seen to be adding to the overall “melody” in the room.


Singing is clearly a skill I do not possess, and in twelve years I’m not sure I’ve heard Nicole sing once, so I’m not holding out much hope for Grace as a singer…except as maybe one of those no-hoper sorts that the X factor likes us to laugh at. It did get me wondering what traits I have succeeded in passing down however.  I got as far as an exuberant fondness for all types of food, and a desire to get our hands on electronic gadgets. Admittedly it has to be noted that Grace has actually combined these two traits into one.  To be honest, not sure I have many more things to hand down….or at least many things worth Grace having!  I am sure however that what we do have to give Grace in spades….love, care, patience, love, support, love… will enable her to pick up whatever whe wants to pick up in her own good time, and eventually be able to pass on herself one day.


For now, Grace is just happy with a bristly daddy kiss. Worrying about the genetic deficiencies she has inherited from him can wait awhile….

On The Move

All major developmental milestones of Gracie go something like this:


Grace eschewing the crawling stage and going straight to advanced tottering

Me (running into whichever room my wife is busying herself in): Wow…quick, come and see…Grace just did x for the first time!  Is that ahead of schedule??

Wife (sighing – her usual response to my utterances) : She’s been doing that for days / weeks / since birth.

Last week, I put Grace down on the changing mat on the floor and wandered back to another room to pick up something I’d left behind, secure in the knowledge that wherever I lay my Grace, that’s her home for as long as it takes me to get back to her.  I was literally out of sight for a minute, but upon coming back into the room, she’d turned from her back to her front, and was now tugging at some interesting, probably baby unsafe thing, that was now handily in reach. Cue a scenario similar to the one at the outset of this post.

In this case however, I was aware that Grace was behind schedule a little – other babies I know of a similar age have already been crawling, sliding, rolling for a while…in some cases for weeks.  But by now, despite my inner competitive nature I realise comparing baby to baby, or baby to developmental charts means nothing, as long as progress is being made.


Grace decides playing catch up with 10 week older cousin Edward is too much like hard work.

Oi you!!! Get out the way!!

Oi you!!! Get out the way!! Grace is forced to practice advanced development skills.

Grace has focussed most of her effort on balancing on her two legs since the day she realised she actually had legs.  This means she loves being held and tottering around the place. but doesn’t care at all for lying on her tummy and crawling.  She has completely ignored the Stage 1, 2 and 3 of packet and jar purees and mush, preferring instead morsels of curry, avocado, and all things whole fruit. Grace has decided that trying to make word like noises is a complete waste of time until she is able to speak properly, so for now just smiles, blows bubbles and giggles like a loon.



Untitled 2

Grace decides development is not for her, and regresses back to babyhood

All will come in good time when Grace is good and ready, so I have stopped reading about what she should and shouldn’t be doing by now, and am enjoying the sight of her doing everything for the first time at first hand.  Or maybe the fifth time, and at second hand if you listen to my wife.

Besides which, development has it’s own downsides.  I am now having to adjust to a life where I need to have five sets of eyes, and think ten move forwards in being able to anticipate what a mischevious, inquisitive……baby will try to do next!



5 Things Evolution Should Address in Babies
After millions of years of mankind, you would have thought babies would have evolved certain attributes that would make their rearing a whole lot easier, thereby encouraging more people to have more of them.  In case evolution is reading, I propose the following five minor enhancements for starters:

1) An innate understanding of the word No.

2) Until their lives are stressful enough to need to chew nails, or grown up enough to paint nails, the growth rate of babies finger and toenails should be reduced to needing attention no more than once a year.

3) The ability to point to whatever it is that is the current source of their distress.

4) Instead of crying/wailing/screaming, babies should adopt noises along the lines of those issued by birds.

5) The removal of the inner spirit level/mercury switch that currently means a babe sleeping in arms becomes a babe awake and crying in the cot in less time than it takes to say “time for bed”.

I don’t feel any of the above changes require major DNA mutation, and am a little surprised that at least one of them hasn’t taken hold in the general population by now. It’s too late for me, but if Grace should ever choose to have some bundles of joy herself, it would be good if we made an evolutionary start now.