Monday, 5 December 2016

WE ARE (HOPEFULLY) HAVING A BABY!

A pregnancy announcement should be something of immense joy, a declaration of love that cements a relationship, grows a family and brings more love into that family and the wider world.

Our announcement contains all of those things.

But it also contains plenty of anxiety, and a little reluctance to look too far ahead.

WHY I HATE PREGNANCY


Earlier this year my wife suffered a miscarriage. 

Miscarriage is horrific, not just in the physical sense, but also in what it can do to a person.  Feelings of uselessness, blame, hopelessness, envy, anger and sadness are all very common, and emotionally exhausting.

Miscarriage is something I’ve experienced twice, a decade or so apart, and it doesn’t get any easier to deal with. In fact, despite my experience and years of *coughs* emotional growth, it was even harder this time around.

There are more of us invested now.

INVOLVING THE OLDER CHILD


Extending our family is something we’ve thought about for a good while, and only because we decided it would be a positive for all of us, did we start trying to get pregnant.

After Max’s mother died, he and I were alone for six or so years, and the big fear I had when Helen came along was that he would feel left out and pushed away, perhaps not as important as he was before.

A new child coming along could increase those fears in an older child, and bring about feelings of isolation and perhaps even resentment towards a sibling, step-mom or myself.

I wouldn’t want that, and none of those things would be true, but kids have insecurities and I think as parents we have to work hard to reassure them even if their fears aren’t apparent or obvious to us.

For those reasons we decided to involve Max as soon as we could.  He’d be the first we’d share any pregnancy news with and we’d try to make him feel part of it every step of the way.

A great principle we thought, but as he’d share the joy and anticipation of getting pregnant and playing a big brother role, he sadly had to share in the devastation that is miscarriage.

He’s been brilliant, getting upset, but being incredibly loving and supportive to us as we – hopefully – have been to him.

His understanding has grown, and as positive consequences I think we are all a little closer, and more certain that a healthy happy baby could only be a positive for us all.

Which is what we all want now.

Baby Newbold, or a satellite weather pattern


THE SUPPOSED JOY OF PREGNANCY


There were early pregnancy scans this time.  A heartbeat was found, we passed the statistical common early miscarriage point, so we started to share the news again, starting with Max.

Then just a couple of weeks later, enjoying a Friday night family movie, Helen had a sudden bright red bleed, and a little panic set in again.

There was no pain this time, so at least things were different, but it was incredibly difficult not to assume the worst.

We had a terrible weekend of A & E departments and awaiting another emergency scan.

Fears were raised, sleep was lost, worry didn’t go away despite us being told by various health professionals not to entertain it.

All ended up being okay with baby.

It took a little while to settle down, what felt like a couple of very long weeks, Helen eventually being diagnosed as having a small blood vessel in the placenta burst.

Breath again.

Still, our nerves were shot a little more.  And we still live a little edgy, not really enjoying the type of pregnancy bliss you see in Amazon adverts and in cartoons.

Our reluctance to get excited and spread the news is hopefully understandable.

However we are at the halfway point now - 20 weeks - we’ve had the abnormality scan, various screens and tests.  We are allowing ourselves to assume that all will proceed normally and gracefully from here, there aren’t any indications why it shouldn’t.

But like we were told at an emergency scan, all is okay today, but I can’t tell you what will happen tomorrow.

Wish us luck, and also keep your eyes peeled for pleas for advice and wisdom.  I have to keep up the pretence that I know what I’m doing when it comes to child rearing.


I’d also like plenty of free stuff.

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Thursday, 8 September 2016

Winning at Wedding Anniversary Gifts

First of all, you’re winning if you can remember.

Luckily this year we booked a family holiday - I was reminded with mild frequency - that was to commence on our wedding anniversary.

How could I forget?

I made a note on our airport-parking voucher to be sure.

Well that was the first part done, now the second and infinitely more difficult part, to procure the correct amount of gift and romance.

Surprise!


My wonderful wife has an infinite amount of desirable qualities, but is an absolute pig to get presents for.

She doesn’t like waste, and major waste is a present she isn’t going to use, and while pretending she likes surprises the only real surprise she likes is the one she gets when I’ve actually listened to what she said and have followed instructions.

But none of that stops me going ‘off list’ and getting her something I think she’ll like.  Or at least not return.

What is romance?


Apparently I’m not romantic.  And I agree, I’ve not taken a test but I may actually be anti-romantic.  Shove your flowers and chocolates as far as up your SPA experience as you can.

I’m more a ‘sarcastic post-it note in the cream cracker tub’ kinda guy.

However I have my moments.

It was our second wedding anniversary this year and tradition dictates that the theme for making two orbits of the sun married is cotton.

There’s a list of wedding anniversary themes right up to 100.

So with the theme set, in one of the rare moments I switch from transmit to receive mode, I also managed to recall the wife has been vocalising a desire for a new posh jumper or hoodie.

I made four from two and two.

Bingo.

Airport car parking bus stops are where the real romance happens.

She absolutely loves her Wifey sweatshirt from Malcolm & Gerald.  It’s top quality, and 100% cotton, which fitted the bill for our wedding theme.

But I think they may be even more popular as wedding gifts.

There’s the added quirk that you can personalise yours with a wedding date printed under the rear collar of the jumper.



Cute, but also a great regular subtle reminder for me.  As she’ll be wearing it lots.

And I basically spend my life following her around.

Rocking Malcolm & Gerald on the beach

I will take all the credit for this, though I should really send some to the hard-working Al Ferguson of The Dad Network.  As basically a picture of his lovely wife in the same jumper prompted me to add it to memory.

So I win this year on the wedding anniversary gift front.  Mind, it is only scoring an equaliser.  Wifey bought tickets (paper) to an open-air screening of Stand by Me last July.  I got to drink beer, eat burgers and posh popcorn whilst watching one of my favourite films.  I was trailing badly on the anniversary gift front.

Its honours even, 1 – 1, going into 2017, with all to play for.  However my odds of eventual victory may be higher than of Leicester City celebrating their next Premier League title win on Mars.

However I will be basking in this victory for a few orbits of the sun yet.

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Monday, 18 July 2016

Major Daddy Blogger Influence

Never let it be typed, or muttered at a blogging marketing convention for that matter, that Daddy Bloggers have no relevance.

On Friday night, at precisely 11pm (BST Time), the unthinkable happened.

My watch broke.

A video posted by Ian Newbold (@newbyian) on


Having shared the news I was instantly inundated with several, not several hundred, not several thousand, not even several millions of views, comments and re-wotsits.  I literally had several interactions with the world-at-large via Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.

Mindful that I'd advised the world that I was going to be in the market for a brand new Casio F-91W - the watch of champions - I quickly set about reserving one for collection the following day.

Argos indeed took note.


And my reservation.



So on Saturday, after notifying our home insurer of the temporary need to use my posh watch away from the house, I set off to get my brand new everyday timepiece.

A photo posted by Ian Newbold (@newbyian) on


All was going swimmingly, reservation number was effortlessly entered into the Argos pay & collect system, and I'd got my payment card handy.

But I'd massively underestimated my influence as a half-arsed Daddy Blogger.


The price had shot up to £8.99! That's nearly 30% to those of you working at the expected standard in Key Stage 2 mathematics.

A few daft tweets and the machine had taken note, going all Bobby Axlerod on my ass.

I wasn't having it though, so I prepared my full 'don't-you-know-who-I-am?' mode, and caught the attention of a human being in the employment of Argos.

As it happens she recognised my mental health issues me straight away.

She came up with some ruse that Argos had just re-launched its catalogue and thus had revised some of its prices.  But we all obviously know the real reason for this price hike, blatant opportunism of a social media powerhouse.

However as she was happy with the evidence contained in my reservation email obviously a fan, she happily overrode the system and I'm now the proud owner of my 9th Casio F-91W.


A photo posted by Ian Newbold (@newbyian) on


The only confusion now is how much to insure it for?

But the more important point to stress, and I will be stressing this at an annoying frequency, is the power of Daddy Bloggers.  Just imagine if I was actually any good at it?



P.S. I wish I could say that no Casios were harmed in the making of this blog post, but the evidence above is damning.  Sorry for any distress caused by the moving video footage.  A helpline is under consideration.





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