10 Aug

f%&$in kids!!!

My daughter, Boann, light of my life and bringer of joy, just closed her eyes and shut her gob after a full night of kicking, screaming, pissing and vomiting – on me.

Do you know how piercing a baby’s scream is? It’s designed to make parents drop everything and attend to their immediate needs, no matter how much pain the mother is in (Bronwyn’s been lying curled up in agony for seven or eight hours for some reason) or how few hours of sleep and how few milk-producing nipples the father has.

Finally, she’s asleep. I can go to bed now.

But no! Jareth always wakes up on the dot at 6am, which is in 6 minutes.

Such is life…

I really need to bring up the subject of “the snip” with Bronwyn.

23 Aug

two photos

Just thought I’d share these. the first one is my son Jareth, being Terminator after a sloppy meal.

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The second is of a custom job I did on Bronwyn’s guitar. I painted ivy onto the guitar, then made a new scratch plate from some perspex. I gave the scratch plate a frosted look with a wire brush on a rotary tool, and engraved a pentagram into it (avoided that area while doing the frosting). The image is of me playing Flight Of The Bumblebee. Note that the scratch plate is mostly transparent. The frosting gives a tantalising glimpse of the wiring underneath.

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22 Jan

Jareth's progress

A few months ago, Jareth refused to stand up, even when holding onto anything. Then, he figured out that standing against a coffee table or box meant that he could reach all the goodies that we had so thoughtfully placed on it.

He took a few exploratory steps on his own, but never saw the point in actual walking – he’d either walk along the edge of a couch, holding on with both hands, or he’d take a step out into open space and then get down on all fours and crawl the rest of the way.

Last week, in one day, he decided that he likes walking. Now, he’s phenomenal! Unbelievable how quickly he picked it up.

He’s yet to speak. I can’t help but compare other kids born around the same time. John and Maria’s kid (they’re my bosses) Jack has been walking a while, and is also making speaking noises. He’s just a month or two older than Jareth. I heard his speaking once while getting a lift with them. It was a great experience! I couldn’t make those gurgly noises myself. It was like he was trying to speak at the same rapidity as his dad (a notorious speaker 🙂 ).

I’m looking forward to speaking with Jareth. So far, he only says “Mam!” when he’s upset, and I’m not sure if it’s an intentional word, or if he’s just vocalising.

08 Dec

Jareth's progress

The little tyke is about 15 months old now, and starting to become a menace to society.

Recently, he’s started taking steps, but usually, he plops down and speeds along on all fours. Correction: he “canters” along – similar to how a show horse canters; head held high, arms bouncing high into the air, sudden movements. When he wants to get somewhere quickly, though, he puts the head down and turns into a small train.

He still hasn’t bothered talking. I know he is capable of the sounds, but the nearest he comes to anything yet is “Mammmm…” screamed out when Bronwyn leaves the room.

He can now climb. Two or three times a day, he climbs up next to Bronwyn when she’s sitting on her couch knitting. He also has his own armchair, which he manages to climb into. As the adage says, though; “what goes up must come down” – he has fallen sometimes after his climbs. The thought of him falling backwards onto his head from a height is heart-stopping, so I’m thankful that we live in a cottage, and not a two-storey building, but he still manages to roll off the couch, railroad off the bed, fall off his armchair.

Technology-wise, he keeps bashing my keyboard, and grabbing Bronwyn’s mouse. We let him do what he wants to the TV and video, so sometimes we come across him standing in front of it watching Bear In The Big Blue House (he knows how to work the video player). Disturbingly, he woke me up on Sunday by blaring football from the box…

In general, he’s very healthy and inquisitive, and very intelligent. …Of course, I am his dad, so I may be biased!

20 Nov

some photos of Jareth

Jareth was being a little quiet, so I went into the sitting-room to see what he was up to. This is what I saw:

Jareth sleeping in his armchair

And this was him at Halloween – dressed as a witch/warlock/wizard. Not clearly visible is the cape – made from an old cloth trenchcoat that I had.

14 Aug

how to bring up your child

When Jareth was born, Bronwyn’s mother was horrified to find out that we did not want to have him christened. She truly did not understand our objections to it. To sum them up:

  • We are not christian. I am an atheist, and Bronwyn is pagan. To have Jareth baptised into christianity would be hypocrisy.
  • Part of baptism involves the parents promising to bring up the child as a good christian. I most certainly will not bring my child up to believe in one thing and discard all others – especially when it is not something I believe in – it would be like pointing at the sky every day and saying “repeat after me: the sky is purple”.
  • Baptism is an empty ritual for most people in Ireland. People do it because they are expected to. That, I believe, is stupid. For us, it would be more than empty – it would be an outright denial of our own faiths – I have faith that there is no god, so baptism would be a damning lie.

Anyway – that’s not really what I wanted to talk about.

A few days ago, we were shopping, and met a neighbour and her aunt. She must have spent some time worrying about something, because she almost-immediately asked if Jareth was still “not on the beef”.

I was surprised at the question. I have been vegetarian over half my life. Bronwyn has been vegetarian for seven years. Why would we feed Jareth murdered animals?

Her objection was that we were somehow denying him a choice.

I do not understand this. Bronwyn’s mother also used that line as an explanation as to why we should have Jareth baptised – “just in case he turns out christian”, she said.

We are not denying him any choice. If we shoved meat down his throat, would we not be denying him the choice to live as a vegetarian?

If he wants to eat meat, he is welcome to go, get a job, and buy a burger somewhere. If he wants to become a christian, or a buddhist, or hindu, or satanist for that matter, he is welcome to go through whatever rituals he needs to.

My point is that I will not push anything on him. For now, he lives like we do because that is how we live, and he is not old enough to make choices yet (he’s a baby, for fuck’s sake!).

When he is old enough to decide to eat meat, drink alcohol, smoke his lungs out, have sex with whoever, believe what the hell he wants, I will let him. I may not like it, but I will let him.

But, not in my house.

Think of it – if you were a non-smoker, wouldn’t it be reasonable to allow people to destroy their health, but ask that they do not smoke in your house? Personally, I believe that is very reasonable.

It is the same with meat. I do not eat it, and will not have anyone cook it in my house. It is a matter of politeness – when in rome, do as the romans do. When in my house, do as I do.

Of course, if she had looked a little deeper into how we live, she would have seen that we are not the crazed hippie tree-huggers that she thinks we are. I have a leather wallet, and my dogs and cat eat meat. I do not try to deny that animals die to feed “society”. I merely try to moderate what impact I have on the total amount of murder occuring in the world.

I have a choice of whether I want to be vegetarian or not. So does Jareth. So does everyone. I do not believe anyone should ram meat down my throat, or my son’s, claiming that it is in the name of “choice”.