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The Blog of Life
From Balance Bike to Pedal Bike - Stabilizers Not Included.
Seemingly just like that he learned to ride today. Despite the grimness of the weather today (oh how we fluked it big time on Friday for the treasure hunt and bonfire birthday party!) which put us off our initial plan of visiting the bike shop straight after Church (at which we sang Happy Birthday followed by him handing out some chocolates) we plucked up the courage to go out just before it closed at four to collect it. There had certainly been some trepidation on his part - he'd been saying to people that we were going to get two round "daffodils" from the bike shop?! - and we nearly put if off for another day due to rain showers, but how glad that we didn't. He balance biked there like a pro, zooming right ahead of us but stopping and waiting perfectly (we even de-toured over and back across the toucan crossing!) before he parked up on the bike stand and headed into the shop to ask excitedly about his new red bike.
OK, so this is a real luxury - a brand new bike for a 4 year old boy, and not a cheap tacky one at that, a Frog - but to be fair we've basically brought him no presents up till now so it was about time we got him something proper. Fingers tightly crossed I made the right choice, though naturally I was immediately filled with my usual concern that I'd made a fatal yet classic dyslexic mix-up between 48 and 43 (similar shape and nearly similar colour) and got the wrong sized bike (still not convinced the bigger wouldn't have been more sensible - buyers regret - is that a thing?). Anyway, after a little bike shop faff we were presented with the machine and instantly got very approving sounds from the little man - I have to admit that it did look good, red, good choice my boy - we got our hands on the thing and he wanted to give it a test ride, right in the store. Last week we had had a little go on a display model to check sizing (I did get it right didn't I?) where I held the handlebars and pushed, but this was different, he was really keen to get on and start riding straight away. I've not seen this confidence before, or at least there have been occasions where un-confidence has dominated making me not expect this. But he was fabulous. Off we went round the store and almost as soon as his feet were on the pedals I was merely holding my arms under his armpits. And then I wasn't even doing that - he was cycling on his own there in the store just minutes after clambering on. Wow. Stabilizers schmaberlizers.
And so we cycled home. I did mostly maintain my armpit support and a some assistance for starting off (a bit of pedal leg orientation coordination which is entirely new to him), but basically he did it. At home we took some time out to feed the littlest of guys and have a break. But then as five o'clock came we decided to go for a practice ride around the block. And again he was up and raring to go. We paused to let Dr K catch up with the buggy and then made a move, taking his lead we headed to the duck pond and then in the end up right into Impington and round back through Home Field Park (which was really pleasant even if it is really actually rather tiny). He cycled all the way, up the Impington hill (with some gentle push assistance from me), but he did it. He was cycling. I was overjoyed and so proud. And even more so at his awareness of the surrounding and his continued chattiness throughout. We just kept talking all the way round about cycling tips (with Dr K giving a good curb mounting demo with the buggy) as well as the things we were seeing. All this in the cold and missley grey "spring" weather. What a total star. And, technically all before he actually turned 4 later in the evening when we relaxed with a film - Finding Nemo. Happy Birthday my mini cyclist.[2019-04-07]
I've just put my boy to sleep at the end of his third year (or conclusion of his fourth) and what a change in this past year. New memories laid down, experiences had, life changes lived, mixed all through with joy and laughter. The two biggest changes must have been becoming a brother and starting pre-school. He's taken so well to being a big brother with such love for this little creature which has come in to disrupt his world. In the mornings he'll run down to give him a kiss first thing we well as loving having cuddles every day and just generally helping out with looking after a baby. Sure there are lots of feet-in-the-face type occasions, but his love is strong. Starting school has been mostly positive too, though due to the week split we have, the days when his friend circle are in are much preferred.
For me it's been seeing this small cute toddler become a proper boy. I can't believe how much he now knows and is able to do. The speed at which new things/idea can been taught and picked is stunning. I feel I could be teaching him more intensely but at the same time I'm so happy to let him play and be him and learn through that play. I've been really pleased that some of the things I did concentrate on early on - such as holding a pen/pencil correctly, and using scissors correctly - have stuck and been worth the early focus. Interestingly that makes me quite side with the no-nappy approach to child raising, as I watch my newborn sit there weeing into his nappy thinking that at some point he's going to have to un-learn this behavior. Still, there are changes I simply can't seem to prevent which is frustrating at times. Repeating sill or naughty behavior is deeply annoying and an increasing fussiness seems to be running a race alongside a slowly germinating idea that it's good to try new things. And when I've annoying him he's learned quite a good way to upset me by telling me he doesn't want to play with me any more - happened this morning when I kettled him downstairs, but eventually we managed to overcome that and had a nice play together.
And that reminds me that sometimes I worry I might just be really quite a boring father. A few times of late he's declared that he's board, and I've had to agree that those days have indeed been quite boring. Partly it's just winter. We don't spend any time watching TV which could well alleviate such moments of boredom when cold gray skies enforce an internal solitude, and before we can all get lost in our own books (if that ever would happen - I guess I live in fanciful hope). I'm good at doing tasks together - cleaning, cooking, gardening - but I'm much less good at thinking of creative activities to inspire and develop dark days into surprising gems. I guess the sad reality is that the encroaching doom of full-time school will in one way alleviate these problems by filling our world with shitty homework and the like, but really I secretly suspect that there is something deep and profound in the experiencing of that boredom together - and the surviving / beating it - that develops character and skills for life which the busyness of school (and extra-curricular activities) tend to plaster over with pretend activity and productivity. We'll see, but I'm certainly not looking forward to his starting school this year even if he (currently) thinks he is.
I want to end on a positive note (for my future self - hello Nick). Character. While there were lots of characteristic things of the previous three years (many of which have now come to pass as we were reminiscing earlier), there has been a real explosion of character this past year. Most predominantly for the best. There is still a wonderful joyful abandon. He spent today mostly only in pants even coming out into the garden before running inside declaring it too cold to be out!. Dancing, prancing, and being a total joy is such a source of delight to me, I love it. But also there is a more sophisticated quiet side which loves to read stories together and sometimes talk about deep things (such as the death of my father) and even has worries about the future - a couple of nights ago we shared a little cry in bed when we were counting his age and then counted up to 20 when I suggested he'd have left home by then, which brought on a real sense of worry, and he tried to reassure me (and him) he wouldn't want to. It was a beautiful moment.[2019-04-06]
The Blog of Photos - past 30 days
Are We Living in a Simulation
I'll try and voice this thought, but don't expect it to make a whole lot of sense right now. It relates to a recent broadcast/podcast of The Infinite Monkey Cage on the subject of "Are We Living in a Simulation". This particular subject has had a bit of a resurgence lately it seems, also coming up in Hello Internet and I think also on BBC Click. But this particular discussion got very much into faith territory in a way I wasn't expecting.
Basically, as far as I can tell from my first listening (which was conducted whilst picking blackberries for wine making) they proved the existence of God in all but name. Either that, or they made the case for life being ENTIRELY pointless in a way I had never considered before and as such the belief in a God was so much more attractive than the belief in no God. It was this stark choice between hope and total hopelessness. As Phill Jupitus put it, you might as well literally go berserk because simply nothing matters. Gone was that nice Humanist side of Atheism, this was pure empty pointless hell.
Like I say, only listened once and need to listen again now that some of the swirling confusion has subsided, so perhaps I'll have more coherent thoughts later on. I'm also considering running a Histon Methodist Youthish (name still to be worked out) evening session on this cast so I'll definitely need to re-listen in preparation for that.[2017-08-14]
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Upside Down & Inside Out
From: Hungry Ghosts
23 knife wounds
Recently:Slipped while sharpening cleaver and sliced deep right across the proximal interphalangeal joint
Change from our first outing with baby
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