The answer to life, the universe and everything…

Hey Campers,

It’s been a few weeks since the forty-second anniversary of the world becoming Jimified, but the celebrations continue with the random arrivals of belated birthday gifts – my POP figure collection is starting to become hoarder-like.

Oddly enough though, nothing much appears to have changed. Foolishly, I’d hoped that with another year’s passage, perhaps I might have also miraculously managed to become a tad wiser, especially since my age now corresponds to the answer to life, the universe and everything – according to Douglas Adams, at any rate. Sadly, this does not appear to be the case, and I appear to still be very much a kidult.

theanswertolifetheuniverseandeverything

Admittedly, fatherhood has aided in my growing up a smidge. For instance, my big nights out where I come home at some ungodly hour are few and far between, mostly because I know that however little time I leave myself to sleep won’t have the slightest effect on what time my son will demand my attention the following morning. My husband maintains the astonishing ability of being able to sleep through our child’s plaintive demands, no doubt reassured by the fact that I’ll be the one roused from my slumber more easily…until I shake him awake and inform him it’s damn well his turn! But I digress.

To be fair, I don’t really feel that much older, apart from that odd cracking sound my left knee makes and those malicious silverish hairs that make an appearance from time to time…before they are swiftly removed. As everyone knows the secret to looking youthful is a healthy lifestyle and positive attitude…of course, the flawless handiwork of my ‘beautician’ may have a hand in keeping my complexion preternaturally smooth.

Anyways, I had a most lovely birthday day, kicking off with my habitual champagne pancake breakfast, which my son shared in this year – the pancakes not the champagne, although he’s French…so probably next year? After our delightful nanny came to take the beast off my hands, I retreated off to the Bois de Vincennes for a spot of sunning myself, whilst working on my latest literary project. Then it was prancing off back home, in order to primp and preen, before heading off again to the Carrousel Français for wine and nibbles with friends. This was finished off with a scrumptious banana cheesecake from my beloved – the man is truly an artist in the kitchen.

Must away, I hear the wonderchild awakening from his nap, no rest for the wicked and all that.

Tchao! Tchao!!!

The Joys of Daddyhood.

Hey Campers,

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve posted about the trials and tribulations of Daddyhood, mostly because it’s been so dreadfully time-consuming, energy-draining and generally only leaves me mentally fit for watching Gilmore Girl marathons. Don’t get me wrong, Nate is pretty damn awesome – most of the time, although there have been several occasions where we’ve genuinely wondered whether or not he was temporarily possessed by a demon spawn. But I jest…sort of.

All in all, I’m very much a happily married father of three – yes I include the cats as they are just as needy as any human child, let me tell you – and wouldn’t trade it for the world. That’s not to say, I’ve managed to completely master the tricky balance between maintaining any semblance of my own life and making sure every last whim of our little beast is sated.

The Plight of the Stay-at-Home Dad.

Now, let me preface this rant by saying that I absolutely adore my son and would gladly sacrifice everything to ensure his happiness, and that my heart swells with love at his every cheeky smile and infectious laugh. That being said, what the hell has happened to me?

I’m unable to answer the question ‘how are you?’ without it rapidly becoming a rambling reply about my son. Sadly, the conversations with my husband have been the most affected, with us often discussing at length the maintenance of ‘The Beast’ – as we’ve affectionately nicknamed him.  Not to mention, I’ve developed a disturbing aversion to higher temperatures. And, perhaps the most worrying of all, I completely forgot about the start of the summer sales. THE SALES, PEOPLE!

MAYHEM IN MEGÈVE!

Hey Campers,

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…actually it was mostly the worst. Our sojourn, off to my favourite alpine retreat, got off to a rather rocky start, let me tell you. I’d been looking forward to our early-summer getaway to the family apartment in the French Alps, where I would have both my husband and mother-in-law on hand to help me wrangle our beloved bouncing baby beast. Consequently allowing me to have time to relax and catch up on my writing. Alas, it was not to be.

Upon arrival we discovered the weather was decidedly chillier than anticipated and that the heating for the building had been turned off in anticipation of the usually warmer season. Added to this, the cold water had been switched off while the pipes were being replaced, so that we had as much scalding hot water as we liked but nothing else. This meant that the toilet needed to be manually filled to flush – like peasants we were – and showering was nigh on impossible – I’m not a fan of baths…except for the ones with the blood of virgins, but that’s far too fiddly to organise in the Alps.

Granted these were somewhat minor inconveniences but then my darling mother-in-law managed to throw out her back and retreated back home again for treatment. And to add insult to injury the indoor icerink was closed and I would be denied my Disney Ice Princess playtime.

Out of the mouths of babes…

In an age where we’ve made leaps and bounds in the area of communication, why on earth haven’t we come up with something to help us understand babies? I mean it’s a most desperately required piece of technology – just ask any frazzled parent who’d give their right arm to figure out what their screaming Hell Beast wants at three in the morning. Honestly, how hard can it be? They had one in The Simpsons and they predicted the Trump Presidency, so surely anything’s possible? And while they’re at it, they should design one for use on cats, as I desperately want to know what my furry monsters’ fixation for our bedroom wardrobe is all about; meowing plaintively at it on a daily basis for no discernible reason. But I digress.

Admittedly, my interest in this is completely selfish, as before having my own crying bundle of joy I truly believed that it was just a problem that parents should just have to deal with and keep it away from the rest of us. One could say, my current predicament is a good dose of karma for my lack of sympathy but that is neither here nor there.

And I’d just like to thank…

Hey Kids,

This is a missive I’d planned to write before the start of the New Year, but the early arrival of my progeny intervened and threw my schedule into a bit of a spin. Now that I have a bit more time, even though it’s a month or so late, I’d like to follow in the grand tradition of people taking to social media to sum up the triumphs and failures of the past year in a gushing Oscar-style acceptance speech format.

On the world stage last year was rather…sucky, to say the least. The main culprits being the growing global social conservatism that led to some truly scary individuals rising to power and the Grim Reaper cutting a swathe through far too many talented idols…I’m guessing they needed better celestial entertainment.

WHO’S YOUR DADDY?

Hey Kids,

It’s official – I’m a Daddy…and not just to young, impressionable twinks.

I’m coming up on two weeks of fatherhood and very happy to admit that I’m still bumbling about in a state of awe and shock. Not to mention the fear that creeps in whenever our pint-size man stops moving in his sleep and second guessing myself about absolutely everything, which I’m assured by more experienced parents will probably pass in thirty years or so.

It would be fair to say that Nathaniel Yves Peter Dhalluin-Goninan – the excessively long name is a French tradition – has me well and truly wrapped around his adorable petite fingers. Indeed, my whole world has quickly come to completely revolve around the needs and wants of this wonderful little bundle of joy. Thankfully, we have a handy app that tells us at a glance how long it’s been since we cleaned and fed him without having to calculate with our sleep deprived brains. Actually, on that point it hasn’t been too bad at all, with my beloved and I taking turns with both baby care and having naps throughout the day so that we aren’t complete zombies. This will, however, be tested when Antoine goes back to work in a few weeks and full daytime care falls to me.

The Peacock Has Landed.

Hey Kids,

Tis the season for miracles and I’m happy to report that’s exactly what’s happened here in gay Paris, as my sparkling clean apartment can attest. That’s right, I’ve gone full on Papa Peacock and started nesting, although it was bound to happen given the nearness of our new arrival. Admittedly, I’ve always been houseproud to a certain extent but I was by no means OCD about it all…until now. This past week my cleaning routine has switched into hyper drive, going far beyond the usual tidy up – polishing light fixtures, scrubbing cornices and doing inventory of all the cabinets. Even the cats, with their keenly developed habit of cleanliness, have been looking at me like I’ve lost the plot.

Parental Guidance Recommended.

Dear Gods, when will it stop! Why does it have to be so damn complicated?

In the lead-up to one of the most life-changing events that we’ve yet to experience – namely the birth of our first child – my husband and I are in very real danger of disappearing under an avalanche of advice. Honestly, it seems that everywhere we turn we are bombarded with words of wisdom that are often contradictory with the previous lot and it’s all become a little overwhelming.

In fairness, we are partly to blame for our current situation – we did decide to be parents, after all. And yes, we contributed further by reading parenting books and speaking with our own parents, siblings and peers who’ve already been through the process. Unsurprisingly, this has been helpful and frightening in equal measure.

Adding to our information overload, there has also been a great deal of unsolicited advice. Granted, it’s all very well meaning, but there has been rather a few times where I’ve nearly strained a muscle trying to stop my eyes from rolling back in my head and barely resisted the urge to simply shake them until they stop speaking.

Baby Steps.

Hey Kids,

Well, the cat is well and truly out of the bag, actually, come to think of it that always seemed like a bit of an odd phrase to me. Whenever our cats are merrily rummaging about in a bag it’s somewhat obvious and hardly a secret. Perhaps, a more apt saying would be, the cat is in the bag and very happy about it, indeed. But I digress.

For those who haven’t seen our proclamations on social media, our recent visit to the States was in fact the latest step in a very long quest to form a family of our very own. If all goes according to plan, Baby Jantoine – don’t worry that’s just a cute placeholder and not a narcissistic mashing of our names together that would be the bane of our progeny’s existence – shall be arriving early in the New Year.

To say we’re excited is a bit of an understatement, although there is a healthy mix of fear in there as well – I mean I can just about manage to keep my own life in check, how am I supposed to do that for a completely dependent infant, whilst in a sure to be thoroughly sleep deprived state? My empathy for my poor parents grows daily. Luckily, we have a very strong base of supportive people, which will allow me to muddle through somehow.

One of the main reasons for the trip was to attend our baby’s second ultrasound, where our little bundle of joy danced about more than my good self at a Kylie concert. To be fair, if I was being poked and prodded, in the middle of taking a nice cosy nap, I’d be doing my very best to move away from the source of the rude intrusion as well.  It was also a chance for us to finally meet our wonderful surrogate, Tara, and her equally delightful family, face to face – all of our previous contact having been of the virtual kind. Thankfully, everything went swimmingly, with our greatly enjoying their gracious hospitality. This didn’t come as a huge surprise, however, as we have all grown rather close over the lengthy process – well into our second year. In truth, we have already come to think of them as family and can’t imagine better people to be coupled with on this fascinating journey.