Demolition Man

Being that I’ve lived in Birmingham permanently for about six months now, and in Cardiff for seven years before that, you could say I’m used to being away from home. My family live in my hometown of Swansea, although one of my sisters ironically moved to Cardiff two months after I left there, and so I’m quite accustomed to seeing family members only a few times a year. In fact, I guess I’ve always somewhat preferred it that way.

Katie’s family are based in Cardiff, which is two hours away from us by car. My family are a further hour away on top of that, and so we’ve often wondered how we are going to handle the issue of our baby spending quality time with his grandparents. A couple weeks ago, Katie had a great idea: a sofa bed.

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The Force was Awakened…

It is inevitable that my son will one day watch Star Wars. I have accepted this fact, and even though I’m not particularly a fan of the franchise, I’ve started to get excited at the thought of being with my boy the first time he watches Luke Skywalker face off against Darth Vader. Without question, he’s going to love himself some lightsaber battles! Hell, who doesn’t?

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The True Reveal of Dad

The Story of Dad would not be complete without a true reveal about my level of geek. Or nerd. Whichever is the cool one nowadays.

I’d spent a long time being sure that this website would be specific to my journey as a father but, as time has gone on, I’ve realised it’s a whole lot more than that. It’s a little peak into my life, and all the things that make it up. And God knows that my love for action movies and television will absolutely shape my parenting techniques and the hobbies I force/encourage my child to enjoy with me.

With that in mind, I’m going to open up this website up a little bit more, and cover all aspects of my life. Baby, dog, cat, the Lady, what I cooked for dinner (or ordered in, as is most often the case!), what I watched on TV, and so on; it’s all fair game now, whether you like it or not! Also, if you never hear from me again, it’s because Katie murdered me after realising I listed her after the baby, the cat, and the dog. Women are very funny about that sort of thing, I’ve come to realise.

So, a bit of writing about nothing tonight, but be aware that lots more is coming! Oh, and the nursery is almost complete and ready to be fully revealed. Given I’m no longer a home owner, and am renting again (I can thank my divorce for that!), we haven’t been able to go wild on the room itself, but all the little bits and pieces we are putting in there look lovely, and I can’t wait to get it finished.

If looks could kill…

I’ve written previously about the scans I’ve had of my little boy, and how the 4D scan in particular was absolutely amazing. That the 4D scan gave us such a clear look at our sons face was incredible, and I still find myself looking at it almost daily as I count down the final 9.5 weeks until he is due to join us.

Whilst I can already tell that he is a handsome little boy, and will one day break many ladies hearts, I can’t get past one little thing: he appears to have a hint of my own frown when I was a baby.

Being a 1980’s child, there obviously aren’t that many photos of me from when I was in nappies. In fact, I thought I was in possession of them all, until four images surfaced on Facebook a year or so ago. Let me tell you, these photos revealed a startling fact that shakes me to my core every time I view them: I was evil!

IMG_4153

There’s nothing cute about that baby! I look so damn serious and pissed off, yet my mother seems to think I’m the cutest thing she’s ever seen. My father appears to be too busy modelling for the camera, but that’s a whole different conversation for another time, I suspect!

I can’t say I’ll be disappointed if my son comes out with that disgusted look on his face that it seems I was always carrying around with me. In truth, it would likely produce some superb photos that I can spend the rest of my life laughing at. I just feel sorry for anyone who’s going to have to tell me he’s beautiful and handsome, when clearly he might just be an evil-looking bastard with no love in his heart to share with the world!

Great photos, mind. Happy to share them!

Wheels in motion

You know you’re getting old when you trade in your three door Fiat 500 for a five door Vauxhall Mocca. Well, not me; I already knew I was old. For Katie however, this past weekend was something of an eye opener.

I’m not a driver, at least for the time being, but I can still appreciate a good car. Or at least, a shiny one. For that reason alone, I had quite the soft spot for Katie’s little red Fiat 500. Cute little thing, it was. Practical for a family with a dog, it was not.

As such, Katie traded in this past weekend, and picked up a new beast of a car. Photos don’t do it justice, it’s a monster. Five doors, and a place for our dog to go now (the boot!). Pretty ideal.

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Wizards, witches, broomsticks and Hogwarts

On Friday 30th October 2015, Katie and I did the now-very-popular Warner Bros. Studio Tour, allowing us a glimpse into the making of the Harry Potter movies.

The trip had been a birthday present for me back in April, but unfortunately our schedules were just too busy at that time to confirm the trip date, so we had to hold off until a wet and windy day in October. Worth the wait though, all in all!

The one thing that struck me, almost immediately, was how many tourists were there for the tour. I couldn’t place a few of the languages I was hearing, but then I’m not exactly the best at foreign languages so doubt I’d have been able to tell many languages apart anyway! Regardless, this is clearly a tourist destination for people visiting England, and I guess it makes sense given the huge popularity of the Harry Potter brand across the globe.

Whilst stood in the queue, waiting for our tour to start, I kept being poked by a child. I think it’s safe to say that he was excited. It’s also safe to say that I made an important parenting decision at that moment too, which was to never let my child continuously poke a stranger and do nothing about it. Grumble aside, I suddenly realised that there were a lot of children there.

Why was this a surprise? Well, it wasn’t. I just hadn’t properly considered that this book series started almost 20 years ago now, and that in some ways these books are actually classic literature now, or in the process of becoming so at least. These children weren’t alive when these books were first released, nor were their parents probably even romantically involved with each other! Odd seeing something from my own childhood become almost timeless now, with even more future generations likely to come across this book series at some point too. I guess my little boy will be one of them, in fact.

The tour itself was good fun. Apart from the introduction segment, guests are allowed to explore the exhibition at their own pace, which meant we could quickly move away from some of the more irritating people (there’s always some, it would seem!).

We got to see some of the original sets, and costumes worn by the cast. There was also an extensive amount of film props available to look at too. I was surprised at just how detailed some of the props were, given their lack of importance on the big screen. It was nice to see so many things up close, and read the information notes that accompanied them.

There was an opportunity to go on a broomstick to have a photo taken in front of a green green, or a DVD movie of the same. Katie obviously couldn’t do it due to the large bump she’s now got proudly on display, and I decided against doing it too. My reason being that it was just too cheesy, even at a Harry Potter exhibition tour.

We did get plenty of our own photos though, much like everyone else there. Mostly, we just thought it would be awesome to show them to our baby boy when he’s not such a baby anymore, and is in love with the Harry Potter books and movies. If he’s young enough, I might even be able to convince him that I was friends with Harry and Ron!

All in all, it was a lovely day out with Katie, and probably one of our last big destination days out together before the baby is due. On the flip side, we’ve got countless more such days in our future, except we’ll get to take our little boy with us and live them through his enjoyment and excitement. I can’t wait for that.

Harry Potter studio tour

4D scan

Before Baby was on his way, I had seen quite a few of these supposed “3D” baby photos, and was quite honestly a little put off by them. All I could ever really see were deformed, orange faces. They also looked like they were melting, so generally the photos did nothing other than freak me out.

When Katie fell pregnant, and we started having scans, I finally brought up the issue of the 3D photos. I didn’t want one, but seeing as Katie and I had never discussed them previously, I had to be careful how to discuss the topic seeing as it might have actually been something she wanted to do. As it turned out, she was just as disinterested in having a 3D scan as I was.

Here’s a funny fact about pregnancy: you become a super excited person who just wants to see your growing baby as much as possible, and do as much for them as possible. As a result, my previous hatred for those “3D” photos quickly evaporated (well, at around 20 weeks anyway!), and suddenly I was itching to see what this little guys face looked like.

After the midwife appointment yesterday, I was on something of a high. I’d just heard Baby’s little heartbeat for the first time, and now I wanted more. More, more more! I had the name of a Birmingham company saved, as I’d looked into it the week previous, so I quickly phoned Peek-A-Baby and asked when their earliest appointment slot was. Turns out it was 9:15am the next day!

Roll on this morning, and Katie had been awake since 4:15am with excitement. She loves to see Baby on a screen, so the fact she’d get to see her boys face in a few short hours meant she just couldn’t get any real sleep.

We left for the place we had booked into, and by 9:05am were entering the building. From outside, I thought it looked a little tacky, but once inside it was a much different vibe, and it all felt very professional and relaxed.

The experience wasn’t without problems mind. I asked about how they wanted to do payment, and was then told that their card machine hadn’t been working for a while, so I’d have to go to a cash point. Except they didn’t know where a cash point was, and of course, neither did I.

The receptionist suggested either trying the petrol station at the bottom of the road, or to go to the roundabout at the top of the road, try by the shops, and if not go a bit further where there was definitely a bank. The latter seemed a bit of a nightmare considering it was farther, and I had less than 10 minutes until the appointment.

I took my chances, and ran to the petrol station. And I mean ran. It was a complete waste of my time though, as it turned out there wasn’t a cash point there. I ran back to the place of our appointment, getting there a few moments before the receptionist called Katie and I over to ask for our payment.

I told her she was wrong about the garage, and assumed she would just let one of us go to the top of the road to look for a cash point after the scan. You know what they say about assuming…?

Katie of course had to be the one to go, as it required a driver and that’s not me [yet]. I voiced my dissatisfaction with the receptionist, telling her that whilst it wasn’t her fault that their card machine wasn’t working, the staff should be telling customers to bring cash for payment, when taking their bookings via telephone. Some of their packages cost near £200, so I refuse to believe that people just walk in with that in their pocked each day – the assumption would be that you could pay by card for such an amount, correct?

Almost proving my point, the woman who was booked in for the slot after us encountered the exact same payment problem, and had to leave to get cash. This worked in our favour, as we’d been told that not having our appointment on time (due to their payment issues) might mean we’d have to wait for another slot as they wouldn’t want to delay anyone. Thankfully, when Katie got back, the woman due after us had not, so we got to finally go in to the scan room.

I should state now that from this point on, every part of our Peek-A-Baby experience was nothing but superb, and the staff very friendly. They just really could’ve handled the payment issues better, in my opinion.

So, we are in the room, and Katie is on the bed, getting her bump out ready for the scan. We were asked if we wanted Disney music playing over our DVD, and whilst the mere thought of it made me die a little inside, I knew Katie was going to be pro-Disney so I let her give them the thumbs up to put it on the DVD.

Music on. DVD recording. Bump out, and gel on. It was time to get this scan going!

The scan started out as the typical 2D scan we have in the hospital, although it had been six weeks since the last scan so it was lovely to see how his shape had changed even more since the last scan we had, six weeks earlier. They then switched between 2D and 4D (or is that 3D? I’m confused as to what the actual medical term is for the scan, as people seem to just call them 3D?), and I got to see my baby boy more clearly than I’d ever seen him before.

That crazy excitement of being a new parent suddenly kicked in again, and immediately I did not care about the orange skin or melting skin. All I cared about was watching my baby on that massive television screen for as long as I could.

26+4 scan photo

What an experience it was. I got to see my sons face (and wow, he looks like his mother right now!), and I even got to see his little mouth open as he stuck his thumb in for a good suck. Honestly, I was in heaven.

I even got to hear his tiny ticker again too!

Once the scan was over, we had to wait a few moments before we were called into another private room where we could go through the photos and decide which three we wanted to be printed for us. We’d get all 13 photos on a CD of course, but the package I booked allowed us to have some printed for us too. We ended up being given a cheeky fourth photo too, possibly to make up for the payment issue, or perhaps he just made a mistake when printing them. I like to think it was the former.

So, I’m now armed with a DVD of the entire scan, complete with Disney music. I also have a CD of photos, and four photos printed at no extra cost. I now also know what my son looks like at this exact moment in time. Maybe he will change in appearance, or maybe he will stay the same – who knows? All I know is that he’s bloody cute, and I can’t wait to meet him properly.

All our baby scans so far

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