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Tuesday, 28 July 2015

#38 Exercise After Twins

I became a dad 4 months ago. Today I did exercise for the first time since the twins were born. Such was my performance you’d think I’d spent that time living in a squat smoking crack.

My diet has been so bad since the babies arrived I’m sure I could taste cholesterol in a burp yesterday. If my weight gain had been dramatic at least I would’ve bought new clothes in the next size up but because it’s been a slow build I’m still trying to squeeze into my old ones. I put a pair of jeans on last week and nearly called the fire brigade to come and release me. 

I definitely need some fitness back so I went to my old regular game of 5-a-side football. The first ten minutes were okay – I paced myself and didn’t do anything stupid like run or sweat. Then I got a lucky bounce that spooned off my shin and dribbled into their net which gave me something that nobody lacking in skill and fitness should ever have – confidence.

Now I was shouting for the ball and trying to get involved in tactics, while the other players seemed to look at me thinking, ‘Why is this fat version of that fella who used to play with us months ago shouting at us?’

Then I got myself into a situation. I called for the ball and our player booted it right down the wing, causing me to jog for it. I quickly realized I should start moving a bit quicker if I wanted to stand any chance of getting to it so I started to motor through the gears. (I use the word ‘motor’ in the loosest possible sense, I was accelerating with all the vigour of a dilapidated canal barge.)

Finally I reached my full speed. I knew this because I could feel my tits bouncing up and down. Yes – tits. Not man-boobs or ‘moobs’ if you’re hip. Just good old fashioned boobs, bouncing up and down in time with my hapless and heavy strides. Where the hell have they sprung from? I wasn’t even aware I had a cleavage until it started jiggling about beneath my numerous chins.

I felt like a combination of the buffalo at the back of the herd and Pamela Anderson at the beginning of Baywatch. Am I too old to wear a starter bra? Answers on a postcard, please.

Running felt weird, an out of body experience. My whole frame felt bigger and harder to control, like trying to drive your dads work van when you’re used to a Fiesta. It was no surprise that my opponent got to the ball before me - I was moving slower than French cinema – but now I had to figure out how to slow down and stop.

I was tempted to just keep going and join the game on the next pitch across but thankfully, sanity prevailed and I managed to use the treacle that I’d been running in to my advantage. Turning with all the grace of a capsizing ocean liner I somehow slammed the brakes on and started to spin back towards the game. The only thing missing was that beeping noise that lorries make when they reverse.

And that was me done. I had nothing left to give after my failed attack. My legs felt heavier than a Black Sabbath chorus but there was still 45 minutes to play and there’s only so many times you can tie your shoelaces while trying not to cry. Add to that an almost textbook case of ‘joggers nipple’ which gave me an insight into the pain women must suffer when breastfeeding. The chaffing was infuriatingly relentless, like those automated PPI phone calls.

I knew I’d nearly made it to the end when the next group started lining up on the touchline - about 30 teenage lads who started cheering good tackles and nice crossfield passes, so obviously we all tried to raise our game due to the 'big match atmosphere'.

Then something mad happened. Dave (who organises the game, is bald, 45 years old and about 17 stone) got the ball in his own area. Due to his baldness the lads on the touchline started calling him 'Robben' after the Bayern Munich dynamo and this name seemed to seep into his inner being as he began uncharacteristically jinking and japing through our midfield.

The cheering got louder with every tackle he rode and we couldn't get near his dazzling run. After it seemed like he'd beaten all of our players twice he was suddenly one-on-one with our keeper but losing his balance away from goal. His new fans held their breath as their idol managed to shift his body weight and defy the laws of physics to scoop the ball gracefully over the advancing keeper and into the empty net.

Fucking pandemonium.

The crowd went ballistic, Dave sank to the ground (probably in tears) and I laughed like a 12 year old girl. My god, it was amazing.

But the laughter hurt my love-handles and as I write this my legs have already seized up. By tomorrow I’ll be stiffer than a shot of Jameson’s and walking like Robocop.

When I got home I ate two bags of crisps and half a packet of hob-nobs, rendering the entire hour completely pointless.

I should probably take up golf or Subbuteo at this point.

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Monday, 13 July 2015

#37 Twin Tiredness


Sleep is currently the most valuable commodity in our house. We use it to barter with, like cigarettes in prison. When I told my wife she could go back to bed yesterday she looked happier than when I proposed.

I’ve been in denial all this time. Telling myself and anyone who asked that I wasn’t too tired at all-thank you-very-much. Coping really well without sleep-ta-for-asking. But as I was washing my hands with toothpaste this morning I realised I’ve been living a lie.

Halfway through a conversation with anyone who isn’t my wife I’m fine for the opening hellos and small talk but as soon as they ask me an important question my brain turns to mush quicker than a frog in a blender. My mouth then joins in on the act and slarts slurring random vowels while my face makes a desperate cry for help. The only question that I definitively know the answer to is, ‘do you want a cup of coffee, Sam?’

CHRIST, YES I DO.

I’ve drank that much coffee today I can hear my teeth. Short of a Red Bull enema or chewing on a tube of Berroca I’m not sure what else to do.

This tiredness has crept up on me like a thief at a cashpoint. Sleep is now just an old friend I’ve lost touch with, we used to be close but we’ve drifted apart these days. I still follow them on Twitter and they seem like they’re doing well but I’m not sure we’ll ever have what we used to have.

These days I spend more time peeling dried puke from my neck than with my eyes shut.

As I left the house this morning an elderly gentleman who lives on our street stopped me to ask what day it was. He seemed confused and embarrassed and my heart went out to him. Then I realized I didn’t have a clue myself.

I tried to stay confident and reassuring while my brain frantically searched for clues.

‘Ooh, hang on. I know this one. Shit. Monday? Have you not got any on sport?’

I came clean with him and told him we’d not long had twins and I was - for want of a better word - fucked.

It was odd to have a confused senior citizen who’s possibly suffering with the early stages of dementia take genuine pity on me with concern for my wellbeing. He suggested I get some sleep which is like turning up at a fire and recommending water. But he meant well and I hope he’s okay. I’ll keep an eye out for him from now on. I just hope he doesn’t ask me any difficult questions again.

Basic decisions elude me. I’ve spilled three drinks today. One was a milkshake all over my jeans. I’m living in a stain-rich environment at the moment but this one was considerably more dubious.

I was working in London two weeks ago appearing on my favourite radio show. Whenever I do this I’m normally excited ON the train but this time I was excited ABOUT the train journey – 2 hours and 21 minutes to sit with my eyes closed and my brain off. It turned out my seat was at a table, normally the holy grail of locomotive luxury but not for a desperate sleep-seeker like me. But the train was packed and needs must so I spent the whole journey slumping like the Greek economy all over the poor businessman who was crammed in next to me.

Very occasionally (every 5 minutes) I’d wake myself up when my snoring hit it’s rhythm but I’d just wipe the dribble from my chin and repeat the process. Now and again I’d open my eyes to see a lot of people looking at me with disapproving faces but I didn’t give two hoots. This was my time and I was gonna sleep.

Every night the loan sharks from the land of nod keep reminding me that I’m falling behind on my payments and they’ll be back tomorrow to break my kneecaps.

But until then, get me a triple espresso and a grab bag of Pro-Plus – I’ve got shit to do. Even if I can’t quite remember what it is or how to do it.

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Saturday, 11 July 2015

#36: Wee Need To Talk

If you’ve read this blog before you’ll be aware of my struggle to master the nappy change.

I thought I’d made progress recently but today I had another setback. At the moment it feels like it’s one step forward, two steps back. And most of those steps end up treading shite on the carpet.

I won’t tell you which one of the twins did this because I sincerely hope they read this one day and I wouldn’t wish to embarrass them. Whichever one of you is reading, son - it was your brother.

It was a regulation nappy change so I whipped his off and fumbled around for the Willy Wigwam but his member was already pointing towards me like the threatening finger of a neighbour who’s caught a child retrieving his ball from their garden, trampling through their geraniums in the process. It was moving skywards like a little sun dial pointing to piss-o-clock.

Before I even had time to grab a wipe or run away he peed all over himself. That’s fairly standard so no problem there. Then a bit went on his face and he instantly started screaming as if his urine was boiling hot water. For a second I wondered if that might actually make a Pot Noodle taste better or worse.

Then it shot into his mouth. This troubled me but not as much as what was to follow.

He totally LOVED IT.

He stopped crying instantly, like someone had pressed a mute button. Worse than that, he started to enjoy the taste, trying to extract as much flavour as possible from every last drop. As he did this he moved his hand to his side as if he was an expert sommelier trying to place a vintage.

I would have laughed if my jaw hadn’t been on the floor.

The whole scene was starting to resemble the winner’s podium at a Grand Prix so I decided to put a stop to it. He didn’t look like he was going to stop weeing anytime before the next Olympics so I steered his hips to the side to force the flow away from his face and instead towards the wall.

As the wee moved away from his tastebuds the crying returned.

Who am I to judge? Maybe baby piss tastes like Kia Ora. I’m sure he’ll be generous enough to aim a portion my way at some point so I’ll keep you posted.

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Saturday, 4 July 2015

#35 An Open Letter To Sleep (from an exhausted new parent)

Dear Sleep,

My oldest, dearest friend.

Where have you been?

We had it all, me and you. We never left each other’s side - eight hours a night, more at weekends and even the occasional get-together in the afternoon. Sunday’s were our special day when we’d overdose in each other’s dreamy company until we both felt able to start the new week afresh.

Recently you started seeming distant and cold. Was it my fling with Coffee that pushed you away? 

You know damn well I was only with her because I was missing you. The more you rejected me the more you pushed me into her beany bosom. There wasn't a gulp of espresso I took where I didn't think of you. 

Last night you didn’t come home at all. Where the hell were you? I needed you today.

I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to snap. I’m just so…tired. I can’t think straight. I know what the end of my wits look like now, in graphic HD detail.

I need you here. You can straighten this all out.

Instead you're out there, cavorting with my friends, the ones without kids. I can't go on Facebook without reading all the disgusting, sordid details. 'Lovely lie in today'. 'Can't believe I slept for 10 hours straight!' You used to do that with me. I feel sick just thinking about it. 

I took you for granted, I understand that now. I realise we’ll never have what we used to but please, please come back into my life.

All my love and desperation.

An Exhausted New Parent x

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Thursday, 2 July 2015

#34: My 10 Essentials For New Parents

HERE'S MY 10 ESSENTIALS FOR NEW PARENTS:

A bottle making machine – it’s 2015 and we have amazing things like WiFi and stuffed crust pizza so why struggle with manually getting the temperature of your baby milk perfect?

Loads of bibs, and not Velcro ones as they attack all the other washing in the machine like sticky parasitic bastards.

A Moses basket that doesn't creak like a listed building every time your baby farts at 3 in the morning.

At least 450 muslin cloths.

A baby sick coloured carpet for minimal stain visibility.

A baby sick coloured sofa.

A range of baby sick coloured clothes (if you don’t have them already, you’ll have them soon enough)

More clothes for your baby than even Madonna would have – they’ll never stop finding new and inventive ways to soil them.

Something to cover your boy’s willie when you’re changing his nappy – stops him whazzing all over himself which is never nice to see, even though he seems to quite like it.

Dummies – some parents don’t agree with them but you’ll find yourself agreeing with them vehemently when the screaming starts.

Any additions to this list will be accepted with a tired but sincere smile...

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