Friday, 5 May 2017


Maybe it’s the lack of sleep making me delirious, the sheer exhaustion of the last few weeks now baby Niamh is at home and Susan and I are trying our best to actually ‘be’ parents and figure out what the living fuck we should be doing, or maybe it’s the added pressure we find ourselves under as we try to ‘establish’ Niamh into at least one of the routines screaming out at us from The Regimental Baby Book, knowing full well Professor Jane will be analysing our attempts in a week or so (and to be perfectly honest, we’re both a little frightened of her), but at the minute it seems our lives are nothing more than some kind of sick game show, a messed up Baby-fied version of The Crystal Maze where we move from one ridiculous task to the next.  All we need is a Maze Master to direct us and I swear to God, this is our life at the moment…

Zone One – The Hands On Zone

The Maze Master – Welcome to the show.  Conner and Susan please confirm for the viewers at home that you are both exhausted and haven’t slept for a number of weeks; in essence, you’re…..

Audience – ON YOUR ARSES!

The Maze Master (MM) – That’s right.  You’re on your arses.  Tell us a little about yourselves.

Me – We’re fucked.

MM – Super.  Ok, Conner, you’re going to start.  Mental, Physical, Skill, or a Mystery challenge?

Me – I once did two bits of a Sudoku puzzle so it has to be Mental.  I’m good at Mental. 

MM – Right then, in you go.  Tell us what you see.

Me - I see Niamh.  She’s on a change matt and there’s a vest and baby grow next to her.  Ok, I get it.  I have to dress her.  How long do I have before I’m locked in?

MM - We’ve set the clock at two hours.

Me – The vest is done.  This won’t take long at ….oh…what….that’s not right.  The Baby grow, the poppers go off at an angle around one leg?  What the fuck?  The poppers should be in a line down the middle so you can lie the baby down onto the baby grow and then just wrap, everyone knows that, but you can’t fucking do that with this thing, it doesn’t lay flat.  Susan, can you hear me?  It doesn’t lay flat!

Susan – Shit.  He’s no good with this kind of stuff.  He’s used to the baby grow being symmetrical when he lays it flat.

Me – Ok, ok.  Think.  Think.  Do I do one side first, or the arms, and then the legs?  Jesus, it’s just not symmetrical!  Susan, it’s not symmetrical!  I can’t wrap her!   I don’t understand how I’m supposed to…I…I can’t get her arms in, she won’t let me. 


Me – Fuck sake!  What kind of sick mind designs a baby grow with poppers that don’t go in a straight line?  How long have I been in here?

MM – One hour twenty.

Me – My thumbs are too God Damn fat for these little poppers!  And now I’ve got two buttons spare?  How can I have two buttons spare?  One leg is up around one of her arms… oh Christ!  I’ve lined it up all wrong!  What a fucking twat!  I’ll have to start it all over again…oh no, now she’s having a shit and it’s gone up her back!  I can see it seeping through the baby grow between her shoulder blades!  How long?  How long?

MM – You’ve been an hour and fifty.

Me – It’s no good, get me out.  Get me out of here.

MM – Close but no points for that one, I’m afraid.  Where do you want to go next?

Susan – My turn.  I’ll go for a Skill challenge, please.

MM - Sure thing.  In you go.  I don’t need to ask how exhausted you are, seeing as you’ve just missed the doorway and walked into the wall.  Now tell us what you see in there.

Susan – well, it’s dark.  Niamh’s in her Moses basket and she’s awake.  It looks like I have to settle her to sleep and make it back out of the room. Ok, I think she’s settled herself, the clever little girl, so I’m going to try and leave…


Susan – Its ok, I’ve got this.  I’m going to try the ‘pick up, put down’ method…

MM – Bringing out the big guns, huh?  Let’s see how that goes.


Susan – I think I’ve broken my fucking spine!  ‘Pick up, put down’ is a pile of horse shit!

Me - The book says ‘pat n’shush’. 

Susan – You come in here and ‘pat n’shush’, you fucking idiot!  Oh, I think she’s going.  I’ll try and get out.

Me – Be careful, Susan.  Please, just be careful.


Susan – Christ on a fucking bike!  She must have bloody radar or something!  I’m going combo, ‘pat n’shush’ with a bit of ‘pick up, put down’, whilst singing a nursery rhyme and playing that whale CD we bought, the one where the whale does the fucking hoovering to create a bit of white noise….how long I’ve I been in here?

MM – Seven hours.

Susan – Oh my God, would you look at that.  It’s working.  It’s bloody working!  Ok, I’ll have to commando roll out of the room.


Susan (crying now) – For fuck sake, Niamh!  Please!  Please let me out of here, I just want a slice of toast.  Get me out, please, just get me out!

Zone Two – The Baby Stuff Zone

MM – Bad luck.  So no joy in Zone One, let’s see if you can do any better in Zone Two.  This one is a Mystery Challenge so, Conner, in you go.

Me – It’s a baby car seat and our car.  No way!  Fuck Off!  I have to fix the car seat into the car without Isofix.  No chance.  Get me out of here!

MM – Ok, seeing as that was a non-starter, try this one.  

Me – Oh come on!  This is worse than the last one!  I have to collapse the push chair and load it into the boot of our car without losing a finger.  How long do I have?

MM – Three hours for this one.

Me – No.  Can’t be done.  Get me out. 

MM – Come on, Conner.  We can’t leave the Zone without at least an attempt.  Try this last Mystery one.

Me – Right, there’s a steriliser and the thousand or so pieces that make up each individual bottle.  I think I have to make up a bottle without scalding myself.  Ok, here goes……aaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh!  Fuckitfuckitfuckit!  I’ve just burnt the skin off both my bloody hands!  Get me out! Get me the fuck out!

Zone Three – The Other Part of Your Life That Exists in Parallel with Your Lives as Parents Zone

MM – Well, Zone Two was a tough one.  Susan is still recovering from her hellish seven hour Skill challenge so you’re up again, Conner.  This time it’s a Mental challenge. 

Me – Right, I seem to be at work.  There’re lots of people talking to me.  I think they’re asking me to do stuff but all I can hear is ‘blah blah blah’ and now they’re getting angry with me.   My brain is just too frazzled with exhaustion to cope with this.  I can’t even remember where my desk is.  I keep falling asleep when I try to read my emails, my eyes just won’t stay open.  And now I’ve trodden in a bin.  How long I’ve I been in here?

MM – You’ve been at work for an hour.

Me - It’s too much.  I can’t do it.  I can’t last the day.  Get me out!

Zone Four – The Other Mums Zone

MM – The final zone.  Susan, you’re back with us although you do smell of wine.  It’s down to you. 

Susan – Physical.  My head is too foggy with tiredness, or maybe Pinot Grigio, for anything Mental like getting dressed or making myself food or showering and stuff.  It’s got to be Physical.

MM – Ok, good luck.

Susan – I’m in a room with some other mums and their babies.  I think I’m at…oh holy mother of fuck…I’m at a playgroup!  They’re coming for me!  Quick!  Get out of my way!  Karate kick to the head - take that, Miss My Baby Sleeps Through; Whack! - have that Miss My Baby Already Knows How to Hang Glide; Whallop! - in your face Miss I Do Thirty Minutes of Tummy Time Every Fucking Day; Roundhouse to the throat! - up yours Miss My Baby Is Learning Chinese!  I made it!  I did it!  I escaped without any….without…erm…it’s just…it’s just that I suddenly feel so guilty.  Those other mums can do all these amazing things and I can’t.  Maybe I should be taking Niamh Hang Gliding.  I’m such a shit mum.  I can’t even reach the door because the guilt is too heavy.  Help me!

MM – Ah, so close again.  If it wasn’t for that episode of ridiculous guilt you’d have had your first points.

Susan – Well now I feel even more guilty.

Me – Nice one Maze Master, you dickhead!

MM - Well, all is not lost. You still have a chance at our final challenge, a chance to win back a little self-esteem.  What do you say?

Susan - What’s the challenge?

MM - All you need to do is get the three of you out of the house in under 
four hours.

Susan and Me - Fuck off!

Susan – We may be exhausted and incapable of coherent thought, and our minds maybe on the verge of becoming nothing more than mush, but even we know that getting everything packed up and in the car, getting Niamh ready, and then leaving in anything under a day and a half is virtually impossible.  We’re not fucking stupid!

MM – Ok, well that’s it for another episode of The Baby Maze.  Join us next week where our young, practically broken couple try our biggest challenge yet, trying to get Baby Niamh into some sort of bedtime routine before she turns twelve.  And don’t forget…we’re not tired….…

Audience – …WE’RE ON OUR ARSES!

Friday, 24 March 2017


Now, just to reiterate, I’m not going to be giving away any of Professor Jane’s tips or anything as helpful as that on this blog, primarily because I’m still trying to understand some of the advice and tips she’s given us so wouldn’t even know where to begin with passing it all on, but also because we’ve signed a confidentiality agreement preventing us from breathing a word of any of this, and as new parents we certainly don’t have the time to be sued - we barely have the time to blink.  But let me give you a small insight to what we’re facing here. 

Check this lot out:

1) There are 37 steps to our bedtime routine.  37.  We have to start the bloody thing at lunchtime otherwise by the time we’ve finished its morning!

2) The only fucker going to sleep when I ‘pat n’shush’ is me.

3) In the last week or so Susan and I have said the words ‘where are the wipes?’ more times than we’ve said the words ‘I love you’ in all of the fifteen amazing years we’ve been together.

4) It is extremely hard not to lose your shit on camera in the middle of the night when you attempt to change your baby’s nappy and they piss all over their vest, baby suit, baby bag and sheets.

5) I do not know how / if / when we will ever make it out of the house again.

6) We are nothing but a formula one pit (shit) team, working in short bursts of frenzied activity from which there is no let up, apart from stealing a few minutes in the bathroom to wipe shit off your face, or baby sick off your neck.

7) Baby Niamh doesn’t seem to give two fucks about the schedule.

8) There are so many rules, so many do’s and don’ts, so many chapters of the Regimental Baby to read and learn and understand that I’m beginning to look upon Niamh as a series of tasks rather than the beautiful little baby she is.

9) It is also extremely hard to read through the above mentioned chapters of the Regimental Baby when you constantly fall asleep on every third word.  At this rate I’ve estimated we’ll be finished reading the book by the time Niamh is seventeen years old.

10) And finally, you don’t ‘get used’ to the cameras, you don’t ‘forget all about them’, despite what Professor Jane says.  You are very aware that they’re there the whole time, 24/7, monitoring your every move, picking up every grimace, logging every swear word, judging you on how well you’re coping, or how good a parent you are.     

I’m starting to see lists of rules in my dreams at night (ok, this is a lie, but I probably would see lists in my dreams if we were ever permitted any bloody sleep).  But even at night the rules are in their multitudes ranging from the frequency of feeds to how best to actually feed, or wind, or settle, which makes those dark, lonely hours of the late night/early morning variety even more soul destroying.  

And please don’t think just because of a technicality (no breasts) that I just let Susan get on with the night feeds whilst I grab myself some sleep.  I do my bit, although it is clear that the position of Head of Nappy Changes, (Full Time position, unsocial hours - mainly before and after night time feeds, no overtime paid, overtime compulsory), would be under threat if Susan wasn’t so ‘God Damn fucking tired after feeding for seven hours straight’, to coin a phrase (to coin Susan’s phrase).  

Only last night, in feedback from what I’m calling my spontaneous 360° Appraisal, where for my part I told Susan that perhaps she didn’t need to kick me so hard, or shout words like ‘wake up, you inconsiderate wanker!’ in order to wake me when she’d finished feeding, Susan had actually informed me that she felt my own swearing and moaning was in no way conducive to a calming environment in which to settle Niamh back to sleep after her feeds.  She quite rightly pointed out that she was more than capable of growling ‘fuckitfuckitfuckit!’ under her breath every time Niamh pissed like a horse and flooded the room, which brought into question exactly what it was that I was bringing to the piss and shit fest that is night time changes. 

So, clearly there are some areas for me to work on then.  We’ve also decided (Susan has decided) that I’m to do the early morning feed as well, due to a conversation we’ve recently had with Professor Jane on the subject: 

Professor Jane - ‘It is fundamental to the development of the bond between father and baby.  I’ve known cases where entire families fall apart in later years because Dad never got involved in the feeding process at these early stages.  Teenagers would resent and voice a dislike of their fathers, more often than not under the guise of being grounded for their behaviour or some such disagreement, but it all points back to these early years.’

Me – ‘Hang on, but isn’t that just because teenagers are arseholes and don’t like being grounded?  How can that be linked to whether I was involved with the feeding when they were babies?  There’s quite a lot of other stuff going on there, especially with teenagers, quite a lot of life events between baby and teenager that could also have an effect on things, surely?’

Professor Jane – ‘Listen, that’s what studies show, and that’s why I’m the expert because I study these things.  It is not the final destination that is important, it is the feeding you do along the way to get you there, and the stops you make along the way that take you there that add to the final resting place that matters, haha yes?’

Me (to Susan, under my breath) – ‘What the living fuck is she talking about?’              

Susan (to me, hushed tones) – Her eyebrows move a hell of a lot when’s talking.  It’s really hard to focus on what she’s actually saying, but either way you’re doing the early morning feeds else Niamh is going to prison when she’s older.

What we didn’t compute however, was that in order for me to do the early morning feeds Susan must express - in between feeds.  Some days there are no ‘in between feeds’.  Some days there are just feeds and fuck all else besides, although we do always make time for little moments of crushing guilt from Susan when she hasn’t managed to express, which of course means I can’t do the early feed, resulting in the complete collapse of our family somewhere in the near future.  

Oh, how we laugh.

But, when the moons align and everything miraculously falls into place, and Susan somehow finds the time to express and I do get the chance to do the early morning feed, I have to say I love it.  And I love it not because it’s something I should be doing for the sake of mankind, and not because of something that may or may not happen further down the line when Niamh is older, but I love it because in those moments everything else falls away and it’s just me and my baby girl.  It’s a moment between us where I can do nothing else.  I can’t be rushing around getting ready for the next thing on the list of things to do, I can only sit and feed and try and take in this wonderful little bundle of craziness I’m holding in my arms.  

In only this short time at home Susan and I are already conscious of how precious these moments are, and of how quickly they will pass us by.  We rush around so much trying to do our best for Niamh, trying to get everything ready for her nap, her feed, her ‘routine’, that sometimes we forget to enjoy the moment with her, enjoy cuddling her, enjoy having her. 

I know, I know, all this talk of enjoying our baby, how ridiculous.  We are well aware of the dangers of chilling out a bit on the rules and regulations of bringing up a baby, we have been warned many a time that that kind of thing only leads down the very rocky road of ending up with a clingy baby, a non-sleep through-er, or a needy baby (aren’t they supposed to be needy?  That’s the point, isn’t it?).  And I know we do all these things to make our lives easier in the long run, and after a few more weeks of sleepless nights I’ll most likely be desperate to try anything just so long as Niamh sleeps through, but at the same time I can already feel the pressure we’re putting on ourselves growing when it doesn’t all go according to ‘plan’.  

From our limited experience doing the Regimental Baby Routine it’s becoming apparent that some bits work, some bits not so much (can you see why I don’t work in Marketing?), but what’s really out of kilter with it is our expectations.  I think Susan and I perhaps fooled ourselves, our have even been led to believe, that you could win big a lot of the time when in fact you need to be happy with very, very small victories.  

Otherwise the pressure keeps on growing on you as an individual, on you as a couple, and on you as parents. 

We’re meeting up with Professor Jane in a couple of weeks to review the first month’s footage, I wonder if she’ll share the same view on this one?  Guess we’ll find out soon enough.         

Monday, 20 March 2017


The pile of books hitting our kitchen table nearly breaks the bloody thing in half.

“There you go.  That’s all the baby books I could find,” announces Susan, peering at me from over the peak of Baby Book Mountain.   “Megan from NCT said there’re loads of things to we need to consider before our baby comes, things like routines, and methods and stuff.  She’s doing something called the ‘I Know! Baby No!’ routine.” 

I have absolutely no idea what Susan is talking about.  I pick up one of the books.  There is a picture of a happy shiny woman holding a happy shiny baby on the front of it.  There is no picture of a dad but I can deal with that, it’s no biggie, but next to the shiny happy woman is a picture that looks a lot like this - £15.  I scan the number of books before me. 

“Talking to Megan seems very expensive.  How about we don’t do that anymore?”  

“Conner, this stuff is what everyone says we need to be doing.  It’s what’s best for our baby, apparently.  Plus, I don’t want to be the only one at NCT without a routine, or the only one whose baby doesn’t sleep, or the only one whose baby can’t do cartwheels on command, so we need to read these, all of them, then pick the one we think we’ll fuck up the least.”

Looking back I think that was our first real experience of the concept of other people telling us what’s best for our baby.  At that point our world was full of excitement, and fear, obviously, as we were soon to be the proud owners of a new human whom we would be responsible for keeping alive, but excitement was always the overriding emotion.  But even before we got to the happy and smug new parents stage, which is where we are now two days in to getting little Niamh home, we were well aware of a growing feeling of pressure shadowing our every move. 

And I’m not talking about the pressure that comes from looking after a new baby, or even the pressure of being filmed 24/7 as we do it either, because we expected that, we signed up for that – God knows we spent a fair bit of time pre Niamh scrambling around trying to ‘get ready’ for her in the first place, kind of like you see people doing on the news before Hurricane Tarquin hits, you know, boarding up the windows and doors, securing anything that looks like it might blow away, just before the storm comes and rips the fucking roof off (which is what Niamh has pretty much done).  No, this extra helping of pressure comes from outside our triangle of chaos, this is what I like to call ‘People Offering Opinions’, POO for short, or ‘Pressure Of Others, so ..erm… well, POO for short as well. 

And it was this steaming load of POO that came at us from all angles (Megan being Chief Poo Thrower, but she wasn’t alone, not by a long shot) that lead us straight into the arms of Professor Jane (no point Google’ing her, it’s not her real name, or is it, who knows?  Well, I do, obviously, but Google doesn’t.  Neither does Siri, Google’s slightly deaf, slightly stupid cousin).  Now I have to say at this point that the idea of pinning all our hopes of surviving parenthood on the advice and guidance of ‘baby experts’ we’d never actually met, and more importantly, ‘baby experts’ who’d never met our baby, was just plain odd.  I’m not saying what they offer and the advice they give isn’t useful, I guess my issue is more to do with the assumption that unless you are ‘doing a routine’ then you’re a bad parent, or lazy, or you’re doomed to failure. 

I also struggle with being told my baby is unique but then being handed a routine supposedly fit for mass production, which makes me wonder that when/if at any point we’re struggling with one of these routines will the emphasis be on us as parents not being up to the task, rather than the routine itself?  I’d wager that the baby experts themselves, if pushed, would admit that their routines don’t work 100% of the time, but then I suppose they’d be less likely to sell a truck load of books with the strap line, “my methods work a good 65% of the time. The rest of it, well, just wing it….or ask Megan what she’s doing.” 

And now here’s where things get a little more interesting, because we’ve actually met our ‘baby expert’.  So, does that make a difference to the whole process, I hear you ask, does that make it more personal?  I don’t know yet, is the honest answer.  It doesn’t make the whole thing seem any less odd in my eyes, but that’s primarily because our baby expert is, Susan likes the phrase 'alternative', I like the phrase 'fucking crackers'.  

Anyway, Professor Jane is where all that constant POO has led us.  How we met her is for another post, the fact is we did, and we’re now doing this.  Contradictory, given all I’ve just said on my issues with the whole ‘baby expert’ thing?  Yeah, sure it is, but regardless of how I feel about the experts I’m obviously desperate to do our best by lovely Niamh - I mean, what parent wouldn’t?  And as 'out there' as Professor Jane seems to Susan and me she is still an ‘expert’, one who has sold tonnes of books on the subject so there must be something in it, surely.  So I guess that’s the point, and it’s why we agreed to do the whole filming thing in the first place.  She seems to know her stuff, and at the minute we don’t; we’ve just had a baby for Christ sake, we seem to mostly spend our time confused about stuff, but at least now we get to be confused on camera so the world will get to watch and judge us. 

Which is nice. 

So now we’ve committed we will be 100% behind everything Professor Jane tells us.  I’m whole heartedly in, just as long as it feels right for Niamh.  And this is how it’s going to work.  There’s no camera crew living with us through our torment of trying to look in some way competent as we follow Professor Jane’s routines.    

“We want to keep everything natural and organic, haha yes?” she’d explained to us at the beginning.  “So no intrusion, we’ll just place cameras in each room and you can go about your business as normal, just be yourselves, haha yes?”  (Natural and organic?  FFS!  The only thing natural and organic about life as a new parent is fear.  We have a natural and organic fear of pretty much everything right now – check if she’s breathing; oh shit I’ve woken her; is she warm enough?; does she feel too hot?; if we give her a dummy now will she still be using it when she’s sixteen?; Professor Jane’s gonna go ape-shit if you keep cuddling her to sleep; do new parents usually drink this much wine?)

Anyway, like I was saying, there’s no camera crews, just fixed cameras filming us, we have regular calls with Professor Jane to see how we’re getting on, and then once a month we go in and review the footage with her.  Simple. 



Yeah, hmmmm.  You see, there is something else.  It’s just one last thing I’ve picked up on in only this short time of doing this.  Niamh, our baby girl, is magical (not in a Harry Potter sort of way you understand, that’s not why we’re being filmed – she’s magical to us, just thought I’d clarify that), and when we give ourselves a couple of minutes to think about it we go all warm and fuzzy and proud – look what we did, aren’t we amazing, aren’t we lucky, isn’t she just the best, do her hands seem awfully big for a baby, and her feet, Jesus she’ll not fall over in a hurry - you know, that sort of thing, but even at this early stage I’m noticing a difference between where we are right now and where we should be according to Professor Jane’s guidance, even this soon into it all.  I know, I know, early days, but there does seem to be a lot of rules and routines that we’re expected to squeeze our little girl into, and at the minute none of the rules or routines seem particularly baby shaped.

But then, like I said earlier, we’re no experts and so we’re going to give this our best shot. 

After all, you grab on to anything you can in the midst of a hurricane don’t you, and we’ve grabbed on to Professor Jane and The Regimental Baby. 

So, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Oh, and remember, this is just between us, right?             


Wednesday, 8 March 2017


Kind of shot myself in the foot here a bit, haven’t I?  

An about me page when, technically, I can tell you bugger all About Me due to a certain confidentiality agreement.  I guess you’ll just have to bear with me on this, sorry. 

OK, here goes….my name is Conner…ish.  I’m married to a woman who may or may not be called Susan, and we have a brand new baby daughter (or boy) called Niamh…ish.  Still with me?  

So, the reason this is all a bit secretive, a bit James Bondish, is because we’ve been selected by a world famous ‘baby expert’ to film a documentary based on her latest revolutionary new baby book, guide, whatever, called the Regimental Baby (or not, shit, this is harder than I thought).  We, as brand new parents, have agreed to be filmed 24/7 as we follow her guidance along our ‘journey’, as she calls it.  She’s then going to sell this DVD for a shit load of money to you alongside her baby book.  That’s the plan, anyway. 

Now, Professor Jane (or not – good save, huh?) wants everything to be as ‘natural and organic’ as possible (her words, not mine – because I’m not a wanker, or a yoghurt) when it comes to the filming, and not even our own families know we’re doing this.  It’s supposed to add to the authenticity of the footage, eliminating the possibility of playing up to the camera, she says, and so we’ve been sworn to secrecy about the whole thing.

Which is why I’ve started a blog about it.



I gather from looking at other blogs a great source of income is to do product reviews or post sponsored posts etc, which is all well and good if that's what you want to do but please be aware that's not something you'll find on this site.  

It's not that I have anything against these reviews, it's more to do with the fact that I can do without the pressure of another deadline to meet.  Our days are so structured at the minute, our world so chocked full of feeding, nap, and tummy time deadlines and timings that to add the pressure of knocking out reviews for various crap that we and other people could well do without in our lives is not something I feel much enthusiasm for.  

Also, we've eaten toast for dinner for the last week, does that sound like people who have time to sit around for four hours and build a Lego Fire Station just to review it?  If the little Lego men then stuck around and took care of the night time feeds and changes then maybe, but I can't see them managing the poppers on a baby grow with their claw like hands even if they showed willing.  So no, we'll not be reviewing anything on this site.  

Oh, Susan says unless you want us to review 1-2 years worth of nappies and wipes cos' the cost of those bastards is ruining us.

Disclaimer Number 2

Ok, so as we're doing the whole disclaimer thing I figure its only fair to point out that all characters, names and stuff etc etc in this blog are fictional. 

There.  Think we're covered.