Archive for July, 2011

The War-and-Peace-O-Meter: Week Six

Previous weeks: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

After a hiatus of three weeks, during which I found that newborn babies and immense works of Russian literature do not really complement each other, I’ve been making good progress with the absorbing drama of the first part of volume two. I’m congenitally unable to not have a book on the go, however, so sought out some more light-hearted reading material for the Little Monkey’s first few weeks. (Not that War and Peace lacks for (wry) humour, but it does demand the reader’s attention.)

East of Ealing, by Robert Rankin, was the best so far of the Brentford Trilogy – it’s third in a series of five – although still not a match for his Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse. And a chance encounter with a Kurt Vonnegut quote impelled me to read God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, which was every bit as splendid as I hoped it would be. I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to read something by Vonnegut, he’s exactly the sort of writer that appeals to my tastes; I shall have a couple of his other works cued up for when I’ve finished War and Peace

The Little Monkey at One Month

"How about you put that camera down and actually play with me?"

We’ve only had him a month, but it seems entirely normal that Mrs. Monkeyshines and I share our home and lives with a Little Monkey. He was a wriggly fellow in utero, and that remains the case now. He thrashes around with such abandon that I’m sure he could hold his own in a moshpit. He’s getting more alert and interested in his surroundings by the day; I don’t know who’s more fascinated, him with his baby books, or us with him.

Indeed you are, young man, indeed you are.

“Chillin’ with my homies”

Spot the Little Monkey and win a prize! *

(*Prize is esoteric and consists wholly of the satisfaction of being correct.)

Dance Little Monkey, Dance!

The Little Monkey is channelling the spirit of the mid-90s-era internet this week, fusing two early memes into one painfully ironic and knowing super-meme: a dancing baby in a Hampster Dance style. Marvellous. It’s also pleasing to know that those hamsters are still dancing their socks off, all these years later.

An Officially Named Baby

We went to register our Little Monkey last week. For a bureaucratic process, it was strangely lacking in bureaucracy. We just turned up with a baby, told the registrar everyone’s name and date of birth, and that was more-or-less it; he didn’t need to see any documentation or anything. The birth certificate looks reassuringly official, and the design doesn’t seem to have changed since mine was issued.

There’s a nice quote by Desmond Tutu on the importance of registering births (via the Wikipedia page on birth certificates): “…it’s a small paper but it actually establishes who you are and gives access to the rights and the privileges, and the obligations, of citizenship”.

An officially named baby.

  "First learn stand, then learn fly. Nature rule,   Toby-san, not mine."

Do the hustle! Doo do doo do doo do doo...

Baby’s First… Bathtime

Being a baby must be overwhelming at times; practically every day involves doing something for the first time. No wonder they need to sleep so much. But for the parents, all these firsts are really rather wonderful.

Our Little Monkey wasn’t entirely sure about his first bath; after a minute of concentrating, trying to figure out what was going on, he had a bit of a cry. Probably because his over-cautious parents made the water a bit too cold. He seems to have enjoyed subsequent baths, as much as a baby enjoys anything, presenting a calm, thoughtful demeanour. So look out for him in the 100m freestyle at the 2030 Olympics…

Pensive at bathtime

"Hmmm, what's going on here then?"

Heavens to Murgatroyd!

My hoomins have lately taken to confining me to the tiny moveable room that I hate, and taking me to visit strange hoomins who live in a house that reeks of nasty dog and stinky cat. I recently had to spend all day there, and they dosed me up on some seriously strong catnip – I was literally knocked out, and when I came round they’d stolen one of my teeth! And not just any tooth, one of the good ‘uns, a big pointy one at the front. I was not a happy kitten. Also, a weird coincidence, it doesn’t hurt when I eat anymore. (Editor’s Note: The kind staff at Acorn Vets have looked after Binky very well, for which we are all grateful, even if Binky doesn’t quite understand.)

I would like to make it clear that I will not be amused by any references to ‘Snagglepuss’ that are made in my presence. For the sake of clarity, please refer to the following guide:

Not Snagglepuss

A Fortnight of Fatherhood

Our Little Monkey arrived two weeks ago, which seems as good a reason as any to write down a few trifles that I have noticed in my first days of fatherhood. Doubtless, these are not original thoughts in the grand scheme of things, but they are for me, and what’s a blog for if not for self-indulgent musings.

Look at his little toes! Look how little and toe-y they are!

Babies don’t have an intrinsic scent

Having heard much of “new baby smell”, I sniffed his little head when he was brand new, and got nothing. Admittedly, I don’t have an acute sense of smell, but I got not a whiff of anything distinctive. He does smell now, though; of milk and freshly laundered cotton, two pleasant smells which mingle agreeably, certainly.

Babies are hairy

Or, at least, our baby is. Not in a Teen-Wolf way, he just has very fair, downy hair in unexpected places, like the top of his ears and on his shoulders. (Incidentally, IMDB patrons, what’s with the low 5.9/10 rating for this eighties classic? And as an aside to my aside, The Incredible Suit tipped me off about IMDB’s brilliant ‘parents guide’ feature, which is a real treat.)

Babies are little humans

Okay, it’s obvious that two Homo sapiens have another little one, but from the start Toby has been sneezing and yawning like a pro, which seem like quite complicated things for such a little chap, even if they are just instinctive responses to certain stimuli. His big eyes are now starting to do some good looking at things, and his face is practising frowns and appealingly lop-sided smiles. But I think the thing that makes him seem ‘human’ rather than ‘baby’ is the level of communication that is developing between the three of us. If he’s hungry, then before he gets worked up, he mimes sucking and pokes his tongue out a bit (although, despite the best efforts of Mrs. Monkeyshines and I, he won’t respond to our tongue-poking with some of his own, sadly); if you’ve got him against your shoulder, then he bangs his head against you to indicate a rumbling belly. If these subtler means don’t result in the desired end, then he starts wailing, which will certainly do the trick…

“No Daddy, I Haz Not Seen Your Bukkit…”

"...and does Mummy know that you're teaching me lolspeak as my first language?"

Jungle Cat on the Prowl

Perfectly camouflaged for hunting on the prairie.

Tail puffed, ready to pounce.

Ew, is that a beetle? Gross, I'm going back indoors.