Preparing for parental sleep-deprivation

    Buzzfeed rounds up how horrible being sleep-deprived is for you:

    When you get consistently bad sleep, your brain suffers. You can experience impaired learning ability, poor judgment, emotional problems, poor motor skills, and more, Dr. Timothy Morgenthaler, president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and professor of medicine at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, tells BuzzFeed Life.

    Yikes. That’ll be fun in a few months. It brings back memories of how uh, confused, I got back in 2012. Luckily, io9 has a guide to good napping:

    Not all naps are created equal. Some naps have been shown to rejuvenate where others boost creativity. What's more, when you nap can be as important as how you nap. Here's how to nap like a professional, nap-taking machine. Here's how to nap like you MEAN IT.

    Let them play

    If we love our children and want them to thrive, we must allow them more time and opportunity to play, not less. Yet policymakers and powerful philanthropists are continuing to push us in the opposite direction — toward more schooling, more testing, more adult direction of children, and less opportunity for free play.

    Peter Gray, psychologist, writing for aeon Magazine

    Time travel

    Right now I want to invent time travel for the sole purpose of finding my pre-fatherhood younger self and slapping him every time he claims to be “very tired”.

    Life as a new parent


    Damn you, Coke, for catching the new parent experience so very, very well. It’s the cut between the pre- and post-parenthood living room that does it, I think.

    [via CoCreate]

    When missing a train is a gift

    [caption id=“attachment_1133” align=“alignnone” width=“800”]Breakfast at Hector's Shed - a cafe in Shoreham by Sea Breakfast at Hector’s Shed[/caption]

    It comes to something when missing a train feels like a treat. Earlier on the week, I missed my train by under a minute. I hit the platform just as the train started moving. Too late. It was bad luck, sure, caught on the hop by the level crossing being shut, the parking machine being out of order, and one of the ticket collection machines being down. Too much bad luck for one journey to stand.

    I live far enough into the sticks that my next useful train was 30 minutes away, so I did what I always do when things throw me off in Shoreham - I went for a coffee and toast in a local café. As before, I picked Hector’s Shed.

    Toast. Coffee. And half an hour to sit reading. I don’t do that enough. Since I switched to a freelance consultancy career, I’ve struggled with the urge that I should be doing something to further my career at all times - and I mean doing. Reflecting, thinking and reading never seem to be active enough, and so they fall by the wayside. This has just got worse since Hazel was born, and the remainder of my free time was eaten alive by the bumdle of cuteness that is my daughter.

    But an accident, an unseen confluence of inconvenience, gave me premission to chill. And chill I did, with coffee, and toast, and some reading on my iPad. A simple pleasure, but right now life is teaching me that simple pleasures are often the best.

    The weaponised smile of a baby…

    If there’s one thing babies do well, it’s living in the moment.  

    A shy wee baby in her bed.
    No photos, Daddy!

    Sometimes my daughter is so good at being cute that I suspect she's actually working at it.  I was up this morning at 7am. I may be a gentleman freelancer/consultant these days, but that's no excuse for being a slugabed. Money needs earning, as Hazel is only going to get more expensive… 

    To get my dressing gown, I have to walk right past Hazel's crib. And she was awake. Wide awake. Big, happy eyes. A big smile on her face. She was still swaddled up, snug under her blanket, and she was awake and comfy and happy and grinning at her daddy. My heart nearly exploded with happiness. 

    She had that look you get when you wake up after a good sleep, and the bedding is just the right weight and temperature and it feels wonderful, and at that moment, you don't ever want to leave. But unlike us, she had no guilt in that feeling, no sense that she should be somewhere else doing something else. Where she was felt great, and she was happy to just be there.

    I envy her her ability to live so completely in the moment. 

    It's Fnordday, right? Yeah, I think that's it.

    My sense of time is slipping, sucked away by a baby’s obliviousness to such things. Being self-employed is great. If I was still a corporate type, I'd be back at work by now, not spending time with my daughter, while getting work done at home. But it has its issues. Like my daughter and my wife, I no longer have a clear idea of what day of the week it is. For example, yesterday I decided I really needed a haircut, and made my first baby-free expedition out of the house this week. I strolled across the footbridge, stopped off at the patisserie for a treat, and arrived at my barber.

    The door is closed…
    Oh. Wednesday. They're shut on Wednesday. Still. Can't waste the trip.

    Hector's coffee
    Coffee in Hector's Shed. They do a mean Americano in there. And the walk was good for me, right?

    First dispatch from the nappy trenches

    I’m a Dad. Here’s my first report from two weeks of nappies, feeds and broken sleep…

    Nappies: a new life staple

    So, I'm a Dad. While the rest of the world was glued to the Olympics opening ceremony, I was glued to the sight of my wife going throught quite unnerving amounts of pain, as my baby daughter entered the world. Two weeks later, I'm finally beginning to take stock. And I've discoverd two things:

    • Babies are quite extraordinarily boring
    • They're also the most fascinating little creatures on the face of the planet. 

    There's an awful lot of just sitting/standing/walking around holding the little one. My Kindle's seeing action as I sit on the bed holding her while she settles down to sleep - my, uh, broad chest and lack of a milky smell seem more condusive to settling her down than Mum's - but sometimes, while I'm walking and patting waiting for a burp to come, it's pretty dull. I have a feeling I'll be using this time for podcast and audiobook listening in a few weeks' time.

    And then, out of the blue, she'll fix her eyes on mine, and just stare at me. And I'm utterly rapt. The whole world falls away and its just me and my baby, and that's awesome. I lose chunks of time just watching her sleep, too. It's like a wierd fugue state where you just stare at her, losing all sense of time or place, and just revelling in parenthood.

    She has her hooks in my brain - and she's not letting go.