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Protected: Daddy’s Boy

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Mum & Dad time

“I should have brought my big camera,” I said, as the sun came out and lit up the hills.

“Nah, it would probably get wet,” Rod said.

I froze. Where the hell were we going? The camping jokes had gotten old really fast and the casual mentions of the Arran ferry were transparent but this comment threw me.

“AH! My wellies are in the other car!” I gasped.

“Oh…. Well, they’ll probably provide everything we need,” he said, then pointed and made to turn into a field filled with trailers and what looked like a circus tent.

“JUST KIDDING!” he cackled. I wanted to cry. I didn’t like this magical mystery tour and I was beginning to get seriously worried about where we’d end up. Then suddenly I saw a sign that made me cry out in relief.

Stobo Castle – Scotland’s only destination spa

I should have trusted him and I should have remembered what a wind-up merchant he can be. Luckily the wee spud had excelled himself – the receptionist said some truly magic words:

“Your suite will be ready in half an hour so you can go in and get ready before your spa treatments.”

Even spending thirty minutes waiting in the bright atrium with a freshly squeezed juice and nothing to do but sit was a treat. We couldn’t stop smiling at each other.

Our suite was stunning – I felt like I was on the set of Downton Abbey. Two sets of patio doors led out onto a terrace with stone steps curving down to the lawn. Two enormous plumfy beds were against the wall opposite, the views in the morning would be stunning.

Room with a view

I noted the large bathtub (I love a deep soak) and a huge TV (Jessica Ennis, Tom Daley and Ussain Bolt were on Jonathon Ross that night) as well as a sofa buried under cushions and a beautiful fireplace. But there’d be time to enjoy it later, we had to slip on our robes and pad through to the spa.

The treatment rooms were minimal in their design and a lovely cool temperature. I lay for an hour in that suspended state of consciousness while the therapist eased away all the knots and tension spots. Afterwards I clutched my glass of water and sleepwalked out to meet Rod, who also had that dazed look. We rounded the corner and flinched as the sunlight poured through the glass wall that was the entire side of the swimming pool. With its infinity edge it felt a bit like floating at the edge of a waterfall at the top of a green wooded valley. Eventually I couldn’t stand it any longer and suggested we go back and enjoy our terrace. Rod agreed.

Living the high life

We lay with magazines, beers and sweeties for two hours uninterrupted. I’m just going to say that again, uninterrupted.

After a long bath and a lovely dinner we took a walk as the sun set. There was no traffic noise and very few other people -just fresh clean air and the reflection of the pinks and greys in the loch.

 

 

We woke up early (old habits) and breakfasted on smoked salmon with scrambled eggs and fresh fruit in the dining room. A breeze came through the half-open window and Rod spotted a hot air balloon on the horizon. We wandered back to the room, tidied up a bit and dressed but it wasn’t even ten o’clock, so we went out to explore. The Japanese garden was a wonderful surprise – as was the warmth of the day. We followed a path and came across a waterfall, a little wooden bridge and stepping stones, all beautifully designed and maintained. I loved it.

We wandered through the rest of the grounds, sat with a capuccino for a while and then had a light lunch back in the dining room before tearing ourselves away. We had a little boy waiting for his mum and dad to come home and we couldn’t wait to see him. What a brilliant 30th birthday present.

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Protected: F for First Birthday

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Protected: Baby’s first swim

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Protected: Best friend’s arrival

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Code brown situation

“Do you remember becoming a bit obsessed with poo when I was born?” I texted my mother the other night.
“No because I’m squeamish” came the swift reply. So mum, I hope you’re not reading this, because I’m about to tell the story I wanted to tell you two nights ago.

As Grimsvotn was spewing volcanic ash into British airspace, Rod was experiencing another eruption on our living room floor. The wee man’s favourite trick is to do just enough to alert you to the fact his nappy needs changed then save his best efforts for the exact moment his bum is bare. I tried to warn Rod, but he was too gung ho. It became gunge-ho. He used a whole roll of kitchen towel, wipes, two nappies and a little bit of carpet cleaner.

The weirdest thing is that we were both delighted. The frequency of newborns’ bowel movements can be a real cause for concern. I know this because, on three separate occasions, I have discussed baby poo at length with a friend of mine who’s also just become a mum. When we were pregnant we discussed much cooler things. But she totally trumps me (sorry) and she is remaining nameless so I can relay her story.

The first time she changed her tot’s nappy when she got back from the hospital the baby projectile pooed all over the wall. That, and her husband’s face, made her laugh so hard she wet herself.

Now that’s some funny shit.

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Protected: Is breast best?

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Like father like son!

I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I had always secretly thought that newborns looked a bit like prawns. I could never understand when people said “Oh he’s got his daddy’s nose” or “Gosh – he’s got your eyes mummy” – to me they all just looked the same. Everyone’s been telling me little F is Rod’s double – and I’m happy to believe them, although I never saw it myself… Until now. I have just found this photo, I think I took it a few days ago, and look at the smiles! I stand corrected – he is his father’s son!

Double trouble

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Protected: The wee man’s first week

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Crying over a carseat?

We decided that, with five days to go before my due date, we should probably check that the babyseat would fit in the new car.

How it should look

I was apprehensive cos Rod had already flung his PS3 controller at the wall in a fit of pique this morning. Occasionally his temper gets the better of him so as he unpacked the carseat I warned him to read the instructions and be gentle.

Fifteen minutes later I went outside to check his progress.

“I’m not happy about this,” he said, shoogling the seat violently.

He was right, it was slipping all over the leather and didn’t look secure at all. But one side of the carseat seemed to be moving a lot more than the other.

“Why is…” I peeled back the cover to find the, albeit polystyrene, wing had snapped clear of the plastic.

“You broke it,” I accused. “You lost your temper and you f*ing broke it.”

I stomped inside, then stomped out through the back and stood taking deep breaths in the garden trying not to cry. I’ve been very stressed lately and this could have pushed me over the edge. But I realised we still had time, we’d just need to go to the Pram Centre today and buy a new one. And get it fitted, which we should have done in the first place, except we bought the pram travel system before we bought the car.

When I stepped back into the kitchen Rod was on the phone. He was arranging to take back a ‘faulty carseat’ and evidently they were being very helpful because he wasn’t in the middle of breaking anything.

Sheepishly he turned to me and asked if I’d like to be dropped off at Mum’s while he dealt with this.

“I’d rather come with you.”

Fitted properly with a seat grip

We drove to the Pram Centre in silence – until an idiot in an Audi TT cut me up and we bonded in our swearing at a common enemy. It softened the atmosphere. Then there were the fantastic staff at the Pram Centre. The woman at the service desk agreed the carseat was faulty and arranged a replacement (which they luckily had in stock) within five minutes. Another girl, called Nicky, came out with us to the car to fit it. She wasn’t happy with it on the side with two plugs, so moved it to the side with one plug (diagonally opposite the driver) and then called out her supervisor to double check. The supervisor checked it thoroughly, gave the belt plenty of good tugs and advised a seat grip for added security. It cost £10 – a hell of a lot less than an iso-fix system or a new carseat – and made that little bit of difference that set our minds at rest.

As we drove home, relieved and back on speaking terms, Rod tapped out an email to the Pram Centre manager on his iPhone, with the subject ‘Superb customer service’. He read it out to me and I couldn’t help but grin at his final line:

“We’ve gone from wanting to murder each other to being back in love – isn’t that great?”

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