Thursday, July 31, 2008

Tuesday was George’s swimming day – which he always loves. This week he was top of the class. We’re in the 2nd level now which means dipping the babies underwater pretty regularly… We’re told they have some kind of flap of skin that automatically stops them breathing underwater – but I think it may just be one of those things they tell fretful parents to stop them worrying..

Either way, under they go, and George has always been pretty good. This week, we had to do successive dips – where I dip him underwater, tell him to breath when he comes up, and then dip him again taking a step across the pool as I do it. George managed to get all the way across the pool and all the way back – about 6 dips in a row - without showing any signs of being upset. The other babies started crying after about three tips.

It’s a dog-eat-dog world, this baby thing –mothers will fight tooth and nail to make sure you know their baby’s ahead of yours. George won this round, but you always have to watch your back – somebody will be walking, or talking, or waving before you and you need to be there to fight your corner.

It’s more competitive than working at the stock exchange. I think I’m a little insulated against it though –being a father. Mothers don’t see you as such a threat I think.

This week, the hospital authorities (the pool is in Guys hospital at London Bridge) decided that we couldn’t use the changing rooms behind reception. Up to now, the mothers have used the proper changing cubicles, and any dads that showed up used the kitchen area behind reception – not ideal if you’re trying to change a baby and yourself into swimming trunks. Now, we can’t use that area (probably for health and safety reasons – who knows?) so George and I have to wait until everyone else has finished and use the women’s changing rooms. In the end, I got bored with dripping on the woman behind reception (who doesn’t need to be any more drippy than she already is) and got changed in the disabled toilets.

As a father looking after a baby on a weekday, you’re not that unusual anymore but you do occasionally find things aren’t quite set up to accommodate you.

It reminds me of when years ago I tried to find temping work. I went into countless agencies and told them my typing speed. They all said “more and more men can do secretarial work – it’s not as unusual as you’d think, you know” then they patiently took my details and called me a few days later to send me to work on building sites.

Anyway, Lisa went Power Pramming yesterday.

If you don’t know what Power Pramming is, it’s the new form of keep fit for yummy mummies… a gang of mothers basically run around a park taking it in turns to run, walk and probably juggle with their prams.

Apparently, it’s quite fun, but I don’t think they have dads doing it… after all, they don’t want it to become competitive…

I think I’ll stick to running anyway.

The lion
On our visit to The Three Lions at the weekend, the bedroom had a cuddly lion toy sitting on the bed waiting for us. It wasn’t for George (I remember from our last trip that all the rooms have a cuddly lion) but he absolutely loved it.

Being a bit of a softy myself, I took the name of the manufacturers and ordered one for him online. It arrived yesterday and it’s already become a firm favourite…

Yesterday, Andrew made a surprise visit – parking his lorry at the end of the road. He’s just got his international driving licence and passport, so he’s going to start doing trips to the continent. Good to see him…

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