Family Affair Archive

There are times when I wonder if it is more hassle than it is worth trying to impose some kind of order to this blog (drunken, late night posts accepted). Such a time came last Saturday night, as, sat in Pinche Pinche in Chapel Allerton, Leeds – I sank my teeth in to the softest, most tender, lamb burrito I had ever eaten. With every glorious bite of lamb, cheese and salsa, my thoughts turned, not to plate but to this place – to how I was going to have to write, not just a plethora of complimentary phrases, but something slightly more critical. For across the table sat Lauren; and her near untouched plate. Food reviews, at least restaurant reviews have been given over

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As any parent of child under five will no doubt tell you, there really is more than one kind of tear shed. There are the tears that aren’t quite tears. They are eyes wide open, dramatic facial gestures; body posture says “No!” Those tears say I want, I don’t want – I’m doing this whether you like it or not. They don’t flow naturally; in fact they don’t really flow at all. They just form noise. Lauren cries such tears when she doesn’t want to go to bed. Harry cries them when he really, really wants to go to sleep. The other tears are wet. They are juddering, shuddering – heaving chest tears. They form a howl, a yowl – an agonising moment of uncertainty.

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I’m a city boy. Well, technically I am, bar a brief interlude during my time in Glasgow, a suburban townie. I don’t do the country. Not for want of trying; not for want of being asked to try. I don’t do walking shoes, or rucksacks. I definitely do not do ruddy faced happiness in the face of nature. Though, I do still keep trying. I will always keep trying for want of something different to do with the kids – kids who like animals, dirt and breaking the rules of the countryside. A jaunt in to the country yesterday reminded me that, whilst I “don’t do”, it’s clear others do. We went to Farndale, North Yorkshire for a daffodil walk. I’ve never been a massive

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“She’s a staffie. Staffie cross actually.” “Oh!” Oh is a fairly familiar response. What Oh! really means is “I’ve seen in the news that they are horrible, killer dogs. What kind of parent would have one of those in their house?” Oh is usually followed by “how is she with the children?” She’s really good with the children; really, very good. You never quite know if that bit sinks in when they consider the” killer” dog you have in your house; but then, there’s a massive difference between having them in your house – and leaving them alone with your children. Hooch came to us from a kennel. Her previous owners had moved abroad and months, months later, we stumbled across a site where they

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  There’s a game we play at home. Or at least I think it’s a game. I may also need to consider whether “we” play it at all? Bin Buckaroo takes its name from the now, no doubt redundant game from my youth – Buckaroo. If you are not familiar with Buckaroo, it was a coiled, plastic horse that you had to place items of a cowboy’s pack on to; before it sprung in to life. Much like Mr Pop, another game lost to technology and online participation, the element of fun came from the panic induced, surprise “explosion” of toy and associated parts. Eyes were nearly lost to the game; actual parts more so. The loser was the last person in contact before it

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I am often (never) asked, now that we have both a girl and a boy if there are any clear noticeable differences between the sexes? Do they have different sleeping patterns? Do boys eat more than girls? Do girls cry more than boys? Memory can be a deceptive thing. You are often driven to remember the positives, over the negatives, but I can say with confidence that for the first five weeks – they appear to be very much alike. Both latched on to the boob from day one and tried, as hard as they might, to stay there for as long as possible. Sleep, unless in motion, is a fairly alien concept to both. But surely, they (who?) ask, there must be some differences?

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“Eureka” she said, as the pulley-controlled statue of Archimedes hit the water for the third time. “When does he go again?” She said. “In thirty minutes time” I said. I’m not sure what it says about Eureka! The National Children’s Museum in Halifax that a child was more interested in a working model of Archimedes’ screw, or a statue of him plunging in to a bath – not when there are so many other things to do. One of the key problems we found is that the museum is positioned to provide something for everyone; of all ages. There are spaces for under fives and harder tasks/interactive spaces for bigger children. This meant that in a lot of cases, something that looked interesting – through

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It’s the liquid. The amount of liquid involved, that flows out, that covers the space, that shocks you, me; the most. Forget tidal waves of emotions – this was a tidal wave of a birth. Delivering your own child is a strange, never to be matched experience. The experience is further heighted when you, sometime after, try to piece it all back together again. There are the obvious whys – as in, why were we there? Why did it happen that way? Then there are the hows – how did someone not respond in time? How did we ever get through that together? We got through it with help. With a reassuring voice on the end of the phone; from a midwife trained to deal

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I’m not really sure why I am here any more. Once upon a time, as Lauren’s stories might begin, I started this blog to fill the space between the words I was being asked to write – and the ones I wanted to find time to write. That position has somewhat changed now. People aren’t exactly knocking down my door with commissions these days. There has also been a massive change of focus at work. No longer am I frustratingly writing in an attempt to add more creativity; more control to my life. I get that at work – with the ability to write, business writing, but it is still the skill of using words to convince. So why am I still here? Well, because of

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