SuperNanny UK – now with added paternal scruff!

Howdy, y’all!

Quiet, quiet times at Scruffy Towers while my non-existent organisational skills have been pushed to the limit by the need to tend to our extended family (up 33% on 2015 levels) while scrabbling after self-employed coin and trying to maintain a human relationship with my wife, Dr L, which largely involves spending the evening staring wordlessly at various glowing screens. 


But, but… some news. The online treasure hoard of parental advice SuperNanny UK has started to include tales of red-eyed derring do by actual parents, which has got to be a good thing, right? It still contains the sworn testimony of various child experts, but that bit of local colour keeps things grounded, doesn’t it?

So, if you’re interested to know a little about how we transferred J-Machine from his faithful travel cot into the brave new terrain of the ‘grown-up’ bed, then turn your eyes and minds to this.

Hopefully, I’ll get into a routine more conducive to posting again soon, but it wouldn’t be Scruffy Dad if I had any firm plan of what was going to happen next.

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How my kids will survive the zombie apocalypse … I’ve no idea

Permit me a tiny ramble.

I still haven’t arranged enough time to write a proper post, but my nearly-three-month-old daughter is currently asleep on me, so I’ll take that as an excuse to sit still and type a couple of thoughts.


I’ve just read this article on resilience and self-confidence in young ones and how best to foster them. This is a tough one – especially as it’s set within the context of the apparently insurmountable social and geopolitical problems we look to be leaving them. 

It makes the point that we as parents have to try and patch together now-outdated survival tips from our own childhood to then instruct our tiny charges in how best to negotiate their own lives. I feel this particularly acutely as someone who grew up in suburban, marginal north Wales in the late 70s and 80s now expected to come up with an instruction manual for a couple of kids in a 21st-century northern-city existence. My own record of  engagement with the world as both child and adult is spectacularly grim: I had to try and work out sex and relationships for myself; had no idea of how to deal with bullies other than try and make myself invisible; my experience of people from other ethnic and cultural backgrounds is very limited and my expectations feel shaped by some very unhelpful stereotypes; and I feel almost completely unable to fend for myself, physically or emotionally. So, I feel uniquely placed to deliver a first-class course in humanity to my descendants.

Still, I can take photos and post blogs (occasionally), so when the zombie apocalypse drops or the economy evaporates, I’ll be able to hew a life from the land and help defend my people with no worries, eh? Perhaps using an articulate post about potty-training I knock together using some vellum and a blow torch. Or I could foster social inclusion by drawing up a sweepstake based on who will die first of radiation sickness.

I hope illogically that J-Boy will somehow develop a practical, resilient mindset by default, as long as I stay patient with him and encourage him to get back on his scooter when he comes off. I do try and congratulate him on what he has learned and taught himself, how much effort he has made, rather than tell him how clever he is. (I’ve posted on this idea before.) But then I shout when he empties a whole toilet roll into the lav and I hear my poor frustrated dyslexic dad shouting at my poor frustrated dyslexic little brother while they struggled through his homework together. Miserable.

We encourage J-Chef to cook, and will insist on it once he’s old enough: likewise with his sister when she’s older. I’d love to say we go hiking and camping and teach them how to wrestle hedgehogs and fashion a bivouac out of discarded riot shields, but that would be a lie, a really plausible lie.

Who decided humans were best qualified to rear other humans anyway? Bring on the Matrix!

J-Bone’s tribute to the works of DH Lawrence

J-Bow is a performer – dancing, singing, acting and pretending, telling stories, all flavours of performative business.

But LEGO architecture aside, he isn’t really one for painting or drawing – or at least, nothing recognisable, nothing figurative. So it feels a bit of a milestone that he has drawn a picture of something that actually has a structure.


This could quite easily be because I stress waaaayyyy too much about mess. He is in fact perfectly eager to work away with paints, pens or crayons. He did some lovely designs (heavily supervised) for various Christmas and Thank You cards we’ve sent out. So, naturally, I worry that I am curbing his sketching and painting bent, choking his creativity by hovering over him with a cloth and a wide range of nervous noises.

However, his fine motor skills are coming along nicely, so the other day we bought him a few colouring pencils. He’s delighted with them – wanting to draw every time we approach the kitchen table. His grandpa’s birthday approaches and so we used the excuse for him to unleash his graphite-based creativity.


I’m still fairly impatient for heads and eyes and distinguishable shapes to emerge, but I’m trying to keep that in check. After a few scribbles in the card, he drew a wide, spiralling red line that filled the front of the envelope and announced it was a rainbow.

Straight to my blog I rushed.

Parenting evils we have wrought #335: the dummy

So we’re doing the combination feed with Beef already – evil! We let J-Box watch at least an hour of TV every day and often use it just to get him out of Beef’s grill for a while – double evil! And now we find ourselves giving the otherwise-inconsolable Beef a dummy – triple axle of evil!!!


In our parental defence, it is a very cute and amusing dummy. Unless – wait! Does that make it more evil? Dressing up our fresh little Beef like some kind of SuperMario circus freak in order to harvest a ROFLquake of cheap Instagram lols and Facebook smilies with hearts for eyes?! I knew I should worn my hair pyjamas and barbed wire night socks yesterday. But I’ve got to keep on racking up parenting points in the great gamification of life that Charlie Brooker told me about, and if that means posting cute little pictures of my Pokemon’s future orthodontic nightmare, then so be it. 

Seriously though, it is something that we weren’t that keen on doing, giving Beef a dummy. J-Gob showed virtually no interest in dummies at all, spitting them out within moments, but then he wasn’t too great at suckling* either. Beef is a more dedicated feeder, so there was always a chance once it went in, it would stay in. But it still felt like Bad Parenting: one of those things lazy parents do, the ones that don’t truly love their children and are happy for their nipples to be ground into a neuralgic paste.

However, since we broke out a dummy for Beef yesterday, she has been much happier. In the last few days, despite being well fed, she was beginning to spend more and more of her awake time being stressed, especially in the afternoons and evenings. At first, we figured it was simply that she was hungry, and so we fed her boob and bottle until she seemed happy; the only problem was that she would then sick up huge spools of undigested milk. It didn’t distress her too much, but we became paranoid about how much we could give her and a bit confused about whether she was hungry or not. Was it colic? Was she just stressed at the end of the day? Was it just a growth spurt or the six-week stress peak as they get overstimulated by all the exciting things they start to notice? 


As J-Sprog had never bothered with his dummy, we didn’t even think of it at first. We still had one he was given as a present all wrapped up stuffed away in a cupboard. It’s funny how questions that are huge burning issues for one family barely occur to another. Once it was popped in, though, she became so much more relaxed.

I’m not sure why it is sucking is supposed to help babies feel better; I’d find it easier to understand if she was hungry or in pain. The nearest I can get to an answer at the moment is that they simply panic when they are doing anything and sucking is the most instinctive thing (other than crying, maybe) they can do. There is an increased risk of ear infections as a result of sucking dummies – all that lovely bacterial juice sluicing around the Eustachian canals – but all the teeth and speech problems seem to be problems for older kids, six months and later.

I suppose I was concerned that it was a kind of silencing, neglecting what the baby is trying to tell us. But the baby doesn’t know what it’s trying to tell us; it just wants comfort. And if they get comfort, then are we really being evil parents after all?

Perhaps… Mwah ha ha ha ha! Mwah ha ha ha ha!
* Is that a correct term ‘suckling’? Or is that what the milk-donor does? Just fancied using a colourful word.

How slugs have messed with my child’s education 

You might remember, dear reader, a post a week or two ago about my first ever middle-aged forays into gardening. Steady yourself for the unhappy update.

  
Out they began to trumpet their yellow delight a few days ago, J-Bulb* excitedly pointing out the window at their brave emergence. It was a beautiful time to be alive; Spring was flooding my senses. I was experiencing gardener satisfaction, but my naive jollity was short-lived.

Having to regularly pull dandelions and dozens of another, unknown, stinky, spidery plant out of the ground, I assumed that the daffodils would also continue to thrive. But I had reckoned without slugs.

  
The first glorious yellow star became ravaged, two slimy gastropods squatting slimy in the trumpet, eating up my limited stocks of joie de vivre. Others were chewed through before they’d even managed to open up their sunny bugles or were stuck blindly with flower-stems missing altogether. I was beginning to understand the angry logic of slug pellets and plastic pots of beer buried in the soil: the bitter middle-aged horticultural warfare that has been raging in little green patches round the backs of houses for centuries.

  

And I haven’t even managed to take J-Boy for a tour of the garden yet. He’s away at his grandparents for a couple of days and by the time we get back they could be completely chewed up. I’m so disappointed; I feel bullied by the natural order and a bit ashamed of my blithe assumptions that I’d be gazing proudly at a nodding host out the back window for a couple of weeks at least.

  
There are still a couple of whole flowers left, so when we return from Dr L’s ancestral seat in Cheshire tomorrow there might, hopefully, be some intact for inspection. The joy of gardening I was hoping to instill – or at least a passing interest – is in danger of becoming a gloomy lesson in the grim realities of garden life. The local cat population has driven away the bird life; they also did for my attempts at growing potted herbs out the back. We are under siege. Thank God I hadn’t decided to plant lettuce! Meanwhile, the stink weed is steadily spreading again. My only hope is that the daffs come back fighting next spring.

  
Sigh. The park is full of happy yellow flowers. It’s so unfair. Sulk.
* I was excitedly pointing out with the window, but he was interested. Honest.

Five things about my new daughter that freak me out a little

It’s been a fortnight and she’s doing really well, but there are a couple of things that still give me pause.

One. Nappy time

It’s not dealing with newborn poo, obviously: never will her excrement be more of a fragrant, low-volume delight to deal with than now. It’s the whole new set of genitals. I was worried about wiping up, but that seems OK so far. Dr L and I have been considering what we should actually call her genitals as vagina sounds pretty cold and clinical, and doesn’t even describe the whole situation, but that issue is not that pressing. No, it’s the wee. With J-Cloth, any surprise urine was trumpeted to the ceiling and accompanied by the sound of soft rainfall; with Beef, it seeps out to form a (sometimes not so) tiny pool beneath her. Noiseless ninja-wee.

  
Two. Breastfeeding

Boobs are infinitesimally amazing, but still don’t seem perfectly designed for feeding new humans. And I know breastfeeding isn’t for everyone: it’s hard, hard graft; it doesn’t always work out; and renders people pretty much immobile for hours at a time. However, it’s like smoking. There are several excellent health and other reasons not to choose to do it. But it also looks really fecking cool.

Three. Her delicate fingers and toes
Jasper had feet like little wedges and fingers like baby bananas. Perhaps we now have a tiny Chopin in the family?

  
Four. Her octopus moves

This is something that was also true of her big brother, but I’d completely forgotten about it until I saw her lifted aloft in the delivery room. She moved like an octopus: blind, unconscious groping movement with floppy, undeveloped muscles, as she lay in a cot that looked a little like a tank. Maybe not the most appealing image ever conjured, but there’s something deeply, creepily cool about it.

Five. The pink!

Hang on: it’ll come to me. It’s just that five sounds way better than four, doesn’t it?

No, I’ve remembered! It was the pink. She was so pink when she was born that she earned the nickname Beef. She was a deep, roast-beef pink; her blood was right up, and for hours. The name Daffodil was relegated to the margins.

Two kids, one week (plus a few days)

So, it’s a week and a bit (almost two weeks, to be honest) since our little Yorkshire Pudding made her debut on the stage that all the world is. Things have been going OK. A routine has established itself. (Kinda.) J-Bruv has been the soul of fraternal courtesy and care. (Most of the time.) Dr L’s recovery has gone fairly well, and she’s even managing to get some sleep. (Of a sort.) And the house doesn’t look completely like a neglected tip. (Priorities straight there then.) Things seem so much easier this time. We don’t have to deal with the mind-numbing realisation that we are responsible for an entire human life this time; there haven’t been hours of staring at the little critter trying to work out what they need. Showers have been taken in the morning and the house left, cuddles enjoyed without a crippling mortal dread. The kind of situation you find yourself actually cherishing, rather than praying at 3am for it to be over.

  

I’m aware that I’m speaking very much from my perspective here, as the hard yards with our fresh little Beef are all being ground out by Dr L. And there are still significant wobbles, emotionally, but there is a normality that took weeks and weeks to settle in this time around. I’m not sure why, but I thought I’d record what the routine is at the moment for future posterity: perhaps it’s all the Spanish lessons I’ve had recently on la rutina.

About 7am, J-Bruv gets up, which means I get up, and night morphs subjectively into day. Cautiously, I check in with Dr L to see how the night has gone. At the moment, Beef is generally sleeping for a couple of hours after bedtime, then feeds for a couple of hours, then sleeps a couple of hours more. If Dr L’s lucky, she’ll receive the magical gift of sleeping-while-Baby-sleeps that we heard so much about first time around, but rarely encountered. Co-sleeping has definitely helped with this, but it’s meant that we are in different rooms and we both feel a little lonely as a result. With J-Majesty, we were at least going crazy together, embarking on a desperate team effort; this time, it’s as though Capt Scott is heading out to the South Pole on his own with the correct huskies and equipment and a map while Oates and the others sleep all night at base camp. (Or is that mountaineering? My idea of adventure is driving a different way home from Tesco.) In a sense, I’m disappointed in myself for allowing things to become so gendered, but to expect the balance of parenting to be much different in the first six weeks or so is probably a little unrealistic. Only one of us needs to recover from the birth; only one of us can attempt breastfeeding. After the first six weeks or so, I expect to take a gradually larger role until Dr L goes back to work and I’m full-time in loco parentis again.

So, each weekday morning, J-Chap is fed, watered and stabled at nursery for a few hours. I get back about 9, then look after Beef for the rest of the morning to give Dr L the chance to rest. The first few days, la petite boeuf slept for virtually the whole morning: I could leave her in a Moses basket or her pram, and sort things out around the house or do some work on my laptop while she recovered from the whole birth business. She slept through a trip to the supermarket, tucked into her uterine car seat amongst the groceries. She slept in the pram as I walked through the park to pick up J-Bub, and slept patiently while we slowly wended our way home, avoiding dinosaurs, hiding in clumps of daffodils, and digging fingers into the mud. (Mostly his idea of fun rather than mine, to be honest.)

  
On our return, we have dinner, which Dr L has often made herself, thereby emphasising her awesome powers, then J-Bruv has an afternoon nap. This snooze is, frankly, pretty miraculous, starting again when he started nursery after he’d dropped it for a few months. It gives the good doctor and I the chance to hang out with Beef a bit and watch some infant-appropriate entertainment, like an episode of House of Cards

After the nap, it’s then up the long post-meridian gradient to bedtime, with Beef feeding and snoozing through the afternoon and evening until the day is over. We try and get some fresh air in order to stave off cabin fever, especially for Dr L, even if it’s just to the shops, but best if it’s somewhere green and pleasant. Then, it’s eat-nappy-sleep-repeat for the foreseeable: not the most fun for L.

  
The difference has been remarkable this time round. The first couple of days after Beef arrived actually felt great. I felt as though I was on top of things, that we could actually enjoy cuddling our new little kid. Then, by day three or four, dusk brought some gloom with it: we weren’t quite sure why, perhaps the homework effect, but by night time, things felt easier again. A week or so in, after a rather demanding weekend of full-time J-Rage, a diluted form of the old existential dread did rear up a couple of times for me, and tears were shed. L is still up and down (which can’t be a surprise), but the knowledge that these feelings will pass is an enormous comfort.

However, there is one member of the family who has no experience of welcoming a new member: the previous lodger. J-Bro has already put down a marker as a lovely big brother, even though it’s obvious that he’s feeling a bit complicated about the whole business. He was immediately fascinated by his little sister, asking as soon as he met her on day two ‘Can I give her a little cuddle? Can I give her a little kiss?’ Unfortunately, he had a nasty little cough, so we had to tell him No, or at least that he had to stay away from her face and hands. This was a little frustrating for him, but he still wanted to help with feeding her (fetching little bottles of Aptamil) and changing her nappy. He will even lift up his shirt and offer his own boobies to feed her, which is pretty fucking delightful, if in a slightly disturbing way. We made sure that Beef was apart from Dr L when J-Chops met her, so he wasn’t presented with a united front of mother and new baby, and she had bought him a couple of thoughtful gifts to buy his affections. All in all, we were really pleased by how happy and accepting he seemed.

  
At the same time, the first few bedtimes, he would ask when Beef was going to leave and stated that he wanted it back to just the three of us. Friends that have visited have made sure they play with him; other friends have sent him presents to soften the blow of no longer being the sole focus of the family. But it’s still difficult to imagine how unsteady the whole situation must be for him: nursery was a welcome platform of stability. Unfortunately, with another little body to take care of, my paternal fuse is even shorter than usual. This has meant his insecure temperamental squalls have been met and amplified by my own tantrums, which made for an ugly first weekend as a foursome. However, things calmed down again the following few days, as I tried to remember who the adult was in our relationship and what was really important. He too seemed to shift into a more mature gear, actually keeping a calmer head than me during one disagreement and telling me it wasn’t my fault. It was a joyfully humbling experience; I think he’s going to be OK.

So, almost a fortnight in and the family is still together. I was reading an article on the Observer Magazine earlier on men taking parental leave, which included the quote that genius takes 10,000 hours of practice to achieve, thereby potentially explaining the idea of ‘maternal instinct’. If I’m parenting for ten hours a day, then I should reach that milestone sometime this coming year. On that basis alone, I’m quite excited to see how our relationships are going to grow over the years to come.

Gardening time!

I’ve never been much of a gardener, the occasional rub across the lawn with a mower being the limit of my horticultural attentions. I’ve watched my brother’s orchard (an orchard!!) of rare plum, apple and other fruit trees gradually grow with disbelieving envy. But then, two things have happened that have touched my sense of mortality, and therefore stirred some interest in plant life: my stealthy creep into middle-age, and having kids.


The good news is that kids supply plenty of cheap gardening labour, even if they have to heavily supervised. And the constant pressure to do something with kids, to show them that life is a fulsome cavalcade of exciting activities and opportunity, eventfully drove J-Bud and I out to our scruffy back yard.

The plant that seemed to supply the best work:joy ratio is the daffodil: bulbs are fairly straightforward to plant; they trumpet out of the soil early enough in the spring to be a stirring event in themselves; and they are fantastic to behold in their yellow glory. Their Cymric connections is an added bonus. And their botanical name is narcissus: what more could the self-absorbed gardener require?

So, in early November, J-Digga and I picked up the trowel and put on our gloves and began our botanic adventure.

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He really enjoyed the planting, and I managed to keep my desire to maintain absolute order in order, so I had fun too. He helped drop the bulbs in the little holes I dug, and had a corner of the bed himself to insert them as he wished. And then, we had to wait.

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It was January before there was much happening. One particular plantling outstripped the others and struck very quickly, but closer inspection revealed there were plenty on the way. Our back-patch doesn’t get a huge amount of sunlight, so it was likely they’d be slow to emerge, but emerging they were. J-Patch was interested and quite focused by his three-year-old standards and I fostered an inordinate amount of pride and delight. My one regret (which is a very low number by my forlorn standards) is that I followed the instructions on the bag and spaced the bulbs out, as I later noticed all the cherubs waving about in clumps in the park. Although, that could be down to the fact they propagate by division, so the advice was probably sound. It’s just that impatience again.


Every time I look down out of the kitchen, I feel a child-like mixture of pleasure and impatience: a tiny version of parenthood with immediate returns. (Maybe this is what hamster fathers feel like.) The daffs in the park are beginning to trumpet out, flashing yellow and cheerful, but ours are still stubborn and sun-starved. It’s a little unfair of me to expect them to share their sunny delights when they get so little light themselves, but no one said the relationship between humanity and nature was a fair one. In the last few days, the chlorocitric parts have developed, so it can’t be long until the petals push their way out.


I’ll send an update when there’s some more petal action. My impatience aside, it’s been great to watch J-Bulb’s interest grow alongside the plants. The hope is that he’ll be more interested, that working in the garden will be more normalised for him, just as he enjoys joining in with cooking, but even if that doesn’t come off, the reserve hope is some dancing, custardy delights will be making their presence felt the next few springs. Maybe they’ll even arrive for St David’s Day next year, or for our own Daffodil’s first birthday.

That would be joy upon joy.

Quick post on co-sleeping 

Hi-ho!

So here I am at Leeds General Infirmary with my wife gently snoring to my right and our beef-pink,  19-and-a-half-hour old daughter snuffling as she sleeps on my chest. So far, so blissful.

  

The big meeting between J-Bruv and Daffodil will be later this afternoon, with Grandpa thrown in for good measure. First time around, due to the number of friends we had working near (and indeed in) St Mary’s hospital in Manchester, J-Bud had already seen a dozen visitors by now, but so far, it’s just been the three of us.

One day on, after a longer delivery process than we would have liked, everything is going smoothly. Combined with the fact that Mabli is ticking all the boxes so far and no one has been stabbing at her tiny heels trying to get a cannula in, the previous knowledge of what it is to have a baby has made the whole experience so much easier.

However, one thing has meant the post-partum process has been a bit more exhausting and sleep-deprived than it needed to be: the NHS policies on co-sleeping. 

Nothing is as guaranteed to fire up the hackles and twitchforks or raise the portcullis than ideas about keeping tiny children safe. However, I completely understand that an institution the size of the NHS has to play the numbers game and draft policies along the lines of what research suggests. If research suggests co-sleeping has a greater chance, statistically, of harming newborn and tiny babies, then it makes to officially dissuade people from doing it.

On the other hand, the fact that haven’t worried about giving Daffodil some formula in addition to boob to stop her getting hungry has definitely eased the beginning of our family life together. Babies howling with hunger do in the heads of sleep-deprived parents who are already suffering from wobbly judgment. Likewise, a snooze with your baby helps with all kinds of bonding and allows parents to rest and recover at the same time.

We need to get home and get Beef into a bedroom environment. Crack open our lovely bedside cot.

We’ll let you know how we get on.

Emotional roller coaster: your kid rides free!

I’ve had this title for a post in the draft folder for months, and just when I thought I might delete it and write something else this article popped up in The Guardian. 

This post will be delayed a little bit as I’m currently sitting downstairs at LGI waiting for a delivery bed and midwife to become available so Dr L can maybe move on to the next stage of delivery. It’s the wee hours of a Sunday morning*; there is a lot of aircon/refrigeration rattle, the occasional cheery/eerie tune from a kids’ Noddy car ride, and a few fish floating about. Not much else is going on and the maternity ward is closed to gawping hangers-on like myself so the mums (including Dr L, thankfully) can get some precious sleep. I should probably go home and wait, but I want to be as available as possible – and I’m too tight to spring for another taxi home and back.

J-Dawg’s grandpa is at our house, minding the little fella, who has been brilliant since the waters broke an hour ago: he helped carry his Mum’s things to the hospital (a bag of maternity pads, but still helpful), went to his friend’s house in the middle of night with no complaints and went back to sleep there before having a fun day with them while Mummy and Daddy were here, then gave me a lovely smile and cuddle when I put him to bed a few hours ago. Thank all that’s good in the world for our amazing local friends too, who didn’t pour boiling oil over the portcullis when I knocked on their door at 2am but instead took J-Burger up into their daily business and looked after him all day too. Thank all that’s hairy for Grandpa too, who had to put up with my inept attempts at making sure he was settled before I went to bed for a couple of hours.

  

But all this is by the by, just over there next to the other by, next to the cupboard. (Sorry, sleep deprivation can lead to dodgy jokes.) Suffice to say, this is a totes emosh situation: I’ve already despaired teary emails to both my kids (to read in the future, assuming Skynet doesn’t bin them first), telling them how proud I am of them. I’m wracked with morbid fantasies about what might go wrong, which I’m keeping to myself, of course, because no one wants to be *that* passenger on the plane. And I’m excitedly terrified about (potentially) meeting my pink, screaming little daffodil in the next 24 hours. Therefore, this post about not hiding ‘negative’ emotions from your kids is clanging great Notre Dame bells for me.

Narcisstically banging on about how I’m feeling is one of my tropes: no question. It feels warm and fuzzy inside to have it validated by academia. J-Boy has definitely picked up the ability to describe how he’s feeling and even begin to put it into some kind of context, and I’m sure that is related to witnessing a wide range of emotions at home. 

Making predictions about how parental behaviours can psychologically damage their offspring is like shooting babies with candy in a barrel; they’re ancient vellum manuscripts that deteriorate with every kid-gloved turn of the page, but they have to be touched. They’re vinyls that are worn down with every successive spin, but they have to be played. Just as everything we eat can be bad for us one way or another, everything we do with or show our kids can damage them. We funk them up; we don’t mean to, but it’s impossible to choose one path without allowing another one to fall away. In short, parental mistakes are easy, easy news, especially for middle-class Guardian-reading parents who are as eager to turn their parenting anxieties on themselves as to turn the Eye of Sauron on potential paedophiles in their neighbourhoods. Anxiety sells.

  All those rambling objections aside, it makes sense to me not to hide feelings of sadness and anger from children. I’m not saying we should rage at kids and just expect them somehow to magically deal with it, but tell them why we’re upset (after an appropriate cooling down period if tempers are hot) and suggest how we might help ourselves to manage it. A kid with a handle on how to handle their feelings will be a well-equipped little human. I worry hugely when I’m sad that J-Bob is a little boat thrown around in a perfect storm of his Daddy’s emotional tumult, but he seems a pretty happy (if often frustrated by the indignities of being three) little lad. I hope too that if his little sister arrives OK, she will talk about feelings with him, that they can hold hands out on the sometimes dark, choppy waters of their own emotional lives. That’s the plan.  

So, in summary, I hope they feel able to cope with all the colours of the emotional rainbow, the peppery reds and melancholy indigos along with the sunny yellows and contented greens. And the pleasurable pink, though I don’t really understand how that colour sneaks into the song.

Back to some attempted sleep. Big violet love to all. Xx
* Oh, yeah. I’m finally getting to taste some of that weekend NHS everyone has been talking about.