When Anna was three I remember getting out of the shower as she opened the bathroom door and strolled in (privacy being something I lost in 2010). She looked at me and pointed. "Wow Daddy, that looks like one of the Muppets!" It took me a minute to realise that she was comparing me to Gonzo.
When my son was born I spent at least the first six months wondering why, on a good day, he didn't like me and, on a bad day, he hated me. I felt ashamed of these thoughts and kept telling myself, logically, that it wasn't possible for my son to think or feel either of these things yet at such a young age.
Before I had children, I never really knew what to buy children. I'm still not sure I know now, unless it is for my own offspring. What I do know is what not to buy them. So here is my top three gifts never to get a kid. Never. Ever.
All women want to be a great mum. Maybe a perfect mum? I did. I think my mum friends did. I definitely wanted to do things The Right Way and not The Wrong Way. Who would argue with that?
If like me you have recently moved in the last few weeks you can probably remember the horror of finding those little extra costs and projects that you didn't foresee. I thought that other parents would appreciate a little help from for a dad who has been through the ordeal.
I'm childfree-by-choice, as it happens, and my life is often like that Ping Pong night, complete with a continous rolling sidebar of questions from friends and strangers, although they get less frequent as I get older and out of the baby-making zone.
Get undressed again! Wriggle struggle! Wriggle struggle! Into bed. Under the covers. Yawny stretchy! Yawny stretchy! We're not doing the school run on an inset day again.
Many premature babies do eventually go home with their proud and grateful parents. These babies are inspiring, as many stories outline. The proliferation of success stories can give the impression that all preemie babies get to go home and live happily ever after. Sadly, that is not the case.
So from now, when a fellow parent informs me that little Jack has been self-soothing his little arse off since he was three weeks old or suggests a sleep-solution 'I must try', I shall smile and share with them the joy of living with a 'sleep-hater".
A few weeks ago a stranger chased me half way down the street to give me my sons glove, which he had dropped from his buggy. She didn't have to go out of her way to do that, but the fact that she did made my life a little easier.
We were talking about having a child, right? A cool thing. An episode that we all get to share. She as a professional expert, using her expertise and wisdom to help engineer a seamless birth. Us, as new parents, glowing with the opportunity to do this special project ever so well.
Choice is what should be promoted, not exclusively breastfeeding. I am absolutely sick to the gills of health professionals and the NHS and antenatal/postnatal professionals, and worst culprits of all, fellow mothers, constantly banging on about how important it is to breastfeed.
Have you ever heard someone say that they want to be 'just' a mum or a dad when they are an adult? If they have, I wonder what the reaction was? We are always expected to have another role. Mothers are now expected to go to work, have a career, and play a role financially even if a partner supports them.
Children need parents to act like parents by setting boundaries and telling them whenever they are behaving badly. While you may mistakenly think that your child will become your friend and thank you in years to come for your weak boundaries and disclipline, they will not.
If someone offers to cook you dinner/clean your house/work their way through your ironing basket, don't be all British about it and politely refuse. Embrace the offers with open arms. They will soon dry up. And you can always pay them back when they have babies themselves.
The woman who performed the ultrasound calmly turned to me and said with an apologetic tone of voice that there was no fetus at all in my uterus. She then moved the instrument towards my fallopian tubes and that is when they found the ectopic pregnancy in my right side.