Quantum Parenting. Part 1 - Facial hair confuses babies

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Part 1 - Facial hair confuses babies.

Well, it does!

You find a kid whose dad or other family members (normally male) are normally clean shaven and present it with some hairy dude instead. Once they've overcome the initial "Shit the bed, what the hell is that!" reaction, they generally either stare at you in disbelief for a while or sit on your lap for an hour or two prodding your face and trying to either work out what the hell is going on, or work out whether the fuzzy stuff can be pulled off.

Depending on the strength of the child, sometimes it can: this is painful. Oh, and don't wear an eyebrow piercing when you meet a new baby for the first time, that's very painful indeed.

Now, where was I? Oh yes, I've no idea. Why have I started writing this? Damned if I know, but it beats writing that report I'm meant to be doing.

I am a Dad.

There, is that a good place to start? Possibly: although it sounds a lot like a confession. It's like joining Dad's Anonymous: lots of strange men in a room confessing to having an uncontrollable urge to play with kids toys.

"Hi, my name's Gav and I like to play with my son's Thomas the tank engine train set and I can name all the characters in Kung Fu Panda." (which is possibly one of the best films ever, and certainly not something I'm ashamed of).

I'm certainly not ashamed of having kids either. Kids are cool. See the world through a child's eyes and try and be jaded or unhappy, not normally possible. For example, there are few places outside Jurassic Park where a car can be halted in its tracks by a dinosaur, or where Peppa Pig can whoop Spiderman's arse. How cool it is to live in a world where virtually anything is possible given the bounds of an imagination unlimited by peer pressure, or the influences of the grown up world.

Virtually everything to a young child is interesting, sometimes even their parents.

I'm really not sure how to describe this thing really, as, as I write this, I'm really not entirely sure where it's going. Perhaps it's quantum writing, capable of going in many directions simultaneously, a bit like my thought processes. I suspect it's going to be a little random though. I've certainly been accused many times of having a bit of a butterfly brain, and occasionally the memory of a stunned goldfish. Both of these are I suspect true, but since the advent of children, those particular observations seem to have become even more accurate and the combination of butterfly and goldfish is not a good one. Particularly on a Monday morning. This phenomenon is apparently known as Baby Brain, most parents are carriers.

Children have a marked impression on you; your alertness, and by extension probably your sanity, whether you like it or not, a term often applied is Baby Brain.

I've been a parent for nine years now, and what follows (I've cheated and looked ahead) is a list of observations / notes / rules / thingies based on my own slightly skewed and sleep deprived grumpy status. These whateveryouwanttocallthems are not absolutes by any means, and are based mainly on my own experiences as a parent of four kids aged nine and under (two of each sex), uncle to five more aged eighteen down, godfather to a couple more, and random visiting friend / honorary uncle to a few others. A few friends / colleagues / family have also had input into this due to various stories that have been swapped over the years, usually with a glass of something alcoholic in hand in a sort of mutual "Oh smeg, what have they done now?" session.

I like kids, they're fun. If nothing else, they provide a good excuse to get out the Lego and build all the stuff you didn't know how to construct when you were five. As a middle aged man, you suddenly develop the skills to build a Millennium Falcon, or a bridge over the cat. I couldn't do that when I was six! (Our cat was a grumpy bastard too and didn't like the idea of the Golden Gate bridge in Lego.) Who needs the instruction manual when you've got a child's imagination and adult hands?

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