Shall I indoctrinate him or not? That is the question. No, I’m not talking about some extreme fringe type political view. It’s something way deeper and far more important. Should I brainwash baby Friday into becoming a red blooded, partisan, Tottenham Hotspur hating Arsenal fan like myself? Before we go any further, you may think that the term hate is a very strong and unnecessary term to use for your feelings towards another football team, and you are correct. So just to clarify the situation and calm any images you may have of me as lager swilling football lout, I only use the term hate towards Tottenham Hotspur when they do well, never do I use the term when they are playing badly! I hope that clears that up?
I think it is easy to understand that football, or indeed any other sport are far better enjoyed if you are a neutral, and do not have that stomach knotting, heart pounding desire for one team to win. Take the last game between the two great above mentioned north London rivals. It was a pulsating clash that ended in a 3-3 draw. Arsenal were leading 3-1 at one point and so the final two Tottenham goals came as devastating blow that left me with a mild depression for almost an hour or so afterwards. These two goals would have been celebrated by the neutral as the feast of football that they were, and by the Tottenham supporters as almost life saving relief. So it is clear, perhaps, that I should breed an air of impartiality into baby Friday in order for him to become an intelligent lover of the beautiful game. But how do I do this? This is going to be an incredibly tricky operation to perform. I scream when Arsenal miss, score and concede goals, and laugh and sneer at the opposition when they miss clear cut chances and have a player sent off. These are all things that he will surely pick up? There was a situation recently where I thought I would test myself and watch a televised Arsenal game with baby Friday. The aim was to remain calm and to openly appreciate any good football from either side. I am pleased to report that I remained in an almost catatonic state throughout the whole game. Arsenal lost 8-2 to Manchester United!?!!….
Didn't they do well!?!!
Is it just me or does cradle cap turn everybody into a Howard Hughes style OCD nutcase? The urge to pick the stuff off is almost unbearable. I know you are supposed to smear his head with olive oil like he’s a Greek salad, wait, then gently brush his hair through, but I’m sorry that simply is not going to happen!?! I’m going to brush, and rake, and pick until it’s all gone. In the process I will drive him insane with my constant pulling and tugging at the bits sitting loosely in his hair after being dislodged from his scalp, but refuse to be brushed out. It is almost as if these protesting flakes are making a last stand and have the ability to duck out of the way when a comb approaches. All this must look like a scene from a wildlife programme on primates preening their young, although I draw the line in my obsession at putting it in my mouth like apes do.
"I told you Vosene was no good!"...
The term cradle cap is getting me in a spot of bother as well. I have been getting it confused with skull cap, or Kippah, the name for the small cap worn on the back of the head by male members of the Jewish community. I have Jewish friends and when during one discussion I asked if the subject wore a cradle cap, It brought about some bemusement as well as the embarrassment of me having to explain the confusion. Still, they may have had cradle cap? We’ll never know for sure. Baby Friday’s cradle cap seems to have all but gone now. This is probably down to time and the above mentioned olive oil treatment rather than my OCD driven, primate like cleansing rituals, and with the cradle cap’s disappearance, also goes my OCD. It is strange how one little issue can bring something like that out in you when it clearly wasn’t there before or indeed since, hang on a minute, I just need to shut the door, now I’ll open it again, no shut it again, where’s the fridge? I need to make sure all the labels are facing the right way round…..
Picture of author at work prior to recent career change....
I am wondering if the emasculation process that I feel I’m going through is now complete. Baby Friday and myself recently met up with friends at a local indoor adventure play centre. The friends we met up with also had new born babies around the same age as Baby Friday, give or take a few weeks, and the accompanying adults were all female, mothers…..women. In fact the whole play centre was female dominated. There was a glimmer of hope though, whilst dipping Baby Friday into the ball pond, a man of similar age came and prevented his son from throwing himself, head first, off a rocking horse type thing situated nearby. Aha! Is that a fellow stranded male, battling against his own anxieties and striving to become a full time domestic and paternal god like me!?! No, he was there with his wife/partner on what was obviously a family day out. The truth of the matter, and why I’m wondering if my role of Rambo style hunter (and I was before! Honest!) has now fully morphed into Mary Poppins, is because I enjoyed this little adventure and found it to be beneficial, and the interaction between us all wasn’t always about baby stuff. Careers were discussed, and here, potentially, was another blow to my male dignity, I was the only one not going back to work anytime soon. Again I felt incredibly ok and relaxed about this (who wouldn’t thinking about it!?) in fact the last time I felt this relaxed surrounded by women talking and asking me questions, would have been at a nightclub eons ago with my confidence fuelled by alcohol. I even laughed, genuinely, when I was compared to the character Carrie Bradshaw from the TV series Sex in the City whilst discussing this blog. The future invites include a Little Baby Gym which could be interesting, but I have declined any singing, hand clapping type situations. This is nothing to do male/female gender role reversal issues, it is because I would feel a complete and utter fool doing it, and if this means that Baby Friday will never win X factor then so be it! And besides he’s going to be a footballer anyway, or a formula one driver, or a boxer, or a stockbroker, or a Special Forces commander……where am I going with this?
So we have been on our first holiday with Baby Friday, and this included his first flight. The Spanish region of Andalucia was chosen as this year’s destination which meant in our case, taking a flight from London Luton to Gibraltar. We flew with Monarch Airlines and managed to book online the front seats on the plane with extra leg room. Very good move this if you can do it, if only for the fact that you have no one in front of you as well as the extra space, making the flight slightly less stressful with a wriggly, agitated child. Baby Friday was excellent on the outward leg, even prompting a comment from the gentleman sitting next to me saying how good he was. This happened just after an incredible landing at Gibraltar which, for the first timer, I would advise you be prepared for. It’s very turbulent, caused by the fact the runway is situated alongside the famous “Rock” and you touchdown with quite a bump (the Captain does warn you of this earlier in the flight) Whilst I was (unnecessarily) clinging on to Baby Friday and the seat for dear life, the gentleman next to me just yawned. “you’ve done this before?” I asked “many times” he responded with a smug and content smile.
View of "The Rock" with both feet firmly on the ground.....
The villa was quite simply amazing. We even had staff. A house keeper called Lily and a caretaker come gamekeeper come waiter, called Juan. It took the first night to get Baby Friday to settle into his travel cot, being used for the first time, but he eventually did. Let me make this clear, holidays with six month old’s are not relaxing, fun, yes, enjoyable, yes, distracting from the humdrum of normal life, yes, but relaxing? No. If you are aware of this fact beforehand it should help ease the frustration of not being able to lie by the pool with a cocktail tucking into the latest bestseller. The new found enjoyment comes from taking your baby into a swimming pool for the first time and watching for positive reactions. Baby Friday seemed suitably unimpressed by his nautical adventures but we persisted for the week. We were very lucky on this holiday as we went with 16 close friends who all doted on Baby Friday, giving us every now and again a chance to sit and enjoy the beautiful surroundings we were in. I don’t think I would go on holiday with him at the moment on our own, especially after the flight home, he screamed all the way!!…..