Saturday, July 22, 2006

Lads Night In

In order to cope with the triple demands of bi-hourly feedings, earning a living and getting enough sleep on which to survive, Rach and I have fallen into a hectic diurnal rhythm where we see not nearly enough of each other. I get home from work just after seven, whereupon Rachel goes to bed and I mind Baby Fluffy throughout the evening, if I’m lucky snatching a few minutes to eat, do the laundry and pay the bills before swapping over at 11:30 for an extended nap before getting up for work again at 6:40.

The world of parenting is mired in cliché, speculation, contradictory dogma and, predominantly and consequentially, guilt. Pretty much whatever you choose to do apropos your offspring, you can be certain that there’s at least one self-styled expert / family member at hand to advocate the opposite approach and prophesise catastrophic consequences for you negligence. Particularly invidious in this regard are the touted correlations between everything that exists or might exist and SIDS or – for non-parents – Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, which hangs suspended like the sword of Damacles above the infant’s cradle. Paradoxical advice streams across the new parent’s befuddled and sleep-deprived psyche in a similar pattern to the orations of Stalin broadcasted on infinite loop in the sensory deprivation chambers reserved for downed cold war pilots. You may have thought you were starting a family but you were in fact joining the moonies.

Essentially no-one has a clue how to raise a child beyond the obvious, lower-order rungs on Maslow’s needs hierarchy; they may think they do, but they don’t; or, more reasonably, they might, but there’s no way of knowing. That’s right, it’s politics, brothers and sisters.

Let’s face it, hardly spending anytime with my wife is a bit of a downer. But, on the other hand, it will only be a few months until he’s sleeping through the night and, until then, why not take advantage of this unique opportunity for a little father-son bonding? So there we were, Saturday night, relaxing on the sofa with our tipples of choice. I opted for a chilled 30oz Becks with a Baileys chaser (a bit outre, but circumstances have forced me back onto the 'whatever's in the fridge' school of alcoholism), whilst the little fella went for a couple of 3oz bottles of what he euphemistically referred to as ‘milk’, though, by their effect, I suspect of containing a perceptibly more narcotic substance. And for the entertainment, what better than The Transporter and The Transporter 2 back-to-back? I know what you’re thinking: it wouldn’t have happened on Rachel’s watch.

Baby Fluffy at 3 weeks. Sorry Simon - no posed snaps with the proud father this time, but they're coming soon, I'm sure.

Ethan reclining. The little fella lost a bit of weight to begin with but has made up for lost time as can be observed by his new wobbly belly. What is remarkable is just how much I love this little bundle of joy.

Conker reclining. Still cuter. So hang me.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Baby fluffy arrives!

Hmmm, where to start? So much material, but so little sleep... On the other hand, reporting objectively on the recent arrival of one’s child is not dissimilar to reporting from Ireland whilst sober; an idealised state never achieved in practice.

After a day or two of anxious faffing around, waiting for a free bed in which to be induced (other mothers having selfishly contrived to deliver simultaneously), we arrived at the hospital around 11 on Thursday morning and were ushered into a room whose appointments exceeded those of many hotels in which I’ve roomed. Given the level attendant services I would certainly rate it 4 star, with the money scrimped on the minibar wisely invested on a range of twenty-first century monitoring devices, a variety of discreetly housed surgical implements taking the place of the usual Gideons Bible.


Rachel was rigged up with the pitocin around 2; around 6 she entered active labour and we started the breathing exercises; at 7 her waters broke and the contractions became incredibly painful; enter the epidural (“the best decision I’ve ever made” – Rachel Tammar). The doctor predicted delivery at 3am, but Rachel was in no mood to faff about. All proceeded very rapidly from here. There was some drama as we found the baby’s heart rate was dipping significantly when Rachel pushed. Given this the doctor turned to forceps and little Ethan arrived on the scene at 10:44. It turned out that the little fella had wrapped his umbilical cord around his arm, and this was getting trapped as he made his way out. I was feeling a little green by this stage, but Rachel and Ethan were remarkably unperturbed considering everything they’d been through. For those of you not fortunate enough to have witnessed childbirth first-hand, it’s not a million miles away from playing Resident Evil: Zero on the Gamecube, only with better graphics and fewer save-points.

...and soon after!

Rachel stayed at the hospital for the next day and a half and we came home on Saturday evening. Since this point he has been sleeping and eating regularly and we have been sleeping and eating irregularly. And I think this is pretty much spells out the plan for the next several months...

Day two

the little fella aka Ethan Benjamin Tammar takes a nap

back at home and in his rococo "swing", or alien mind probe, as I prefer to think of it.