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By trade I am a journalist with a background in current affairs, culture, health and fitness, travel and high profile interviews. I also own and run an outdoor fitness business aimed at people that hate gyms and bootcamps (www.spartanfitnesslondon.co.uk). Most importantly though, I am on Shared Parental Leave from May 31 to October 3. Everyday from 0730 to 1800 I will be in sole charge of a real and completely awesome baby girl.

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Saturday, 11 June 2016

DAY 11 – Bright Baby Smiles Always Help

WE returned to Baby Yoga today and were given plenty of poses to wake up the muscles. You certainly know when you've been in a class... "warrior" pose while holding onto a baby, especially a monster baby, is no easy task. Try throwing doing a sun salutation with 10kg kettle bell wriggling in your arms. Go on! Straight after the class I gave the A-bomb the rest of her milk then headed for my hometown to see my parents and family.

Unfortunately our visit was borne out of bad news. It was my uncle's funeral. I had thought about taking M'Lady to the service but decided that it was unfair on her to request silence and no moving for an hour. I'm not sure she would've obeyed those polite commands. I also felt that the funeral service was a time to focus purely on my uncle, to celebrate his life and reflect on his legacy – not to listen to the excited garglings of a baby too young to understand what was happening. I was fortunate to be able to leave the munchbunch with my brother's fiance for the duration of the ceremony. As usual she behaved herself. Good girl, she earned her dinner. 

No funeral is a happy affair. However some do mark the end of a long life with members of the congregation leaving the ceremony with a sense of "he/she had a good innings". I must say that this was not one of those events. My uncle had lived a great life, made lots of people happy, enjoyed himself and now leaves behind a loving family, but he wasn't finished. He had more things to do. He had many more goals to achieve. This was was one of the unfair ones.

I had planned to collect my baby immediately after the service and shoot straight back down the motorway to beat the Friday traffic and have her home in time for bath time and bed. I changed my mind though. On seeing the rosy-cheeked ball of smiles, so oblivious to the harsh, sometimes awful nature of the real world I decided that I needed to take her for a quick trip to the pub, to see the family. If there is one thing a baby can do it's brighten up a room (or beer garden).

Of course, every day is filled with proud moments for parents of babies. Wow, they blew a bubble; OMG they did another mustard poo; quick look, they splashed me in the bath. All genuinely incredible, memorable things. But today, taking The Lady to The Admiral Cunningham pub to see my family members in their moment of real grief was a true proud event. For a couple of minutes, as she bounced around on my arm, my smiley girl beamed some sunshine into what was a grim day for the relatives and close friends of my uncle. I told the girl that she did a good job but she just laughed and motioned that it was time for sleep and time to return to the Milk Lady.

It was a grey day and one that highlighted the fragility of life. Thankfully, A-bomb, starting out on her own journey was there to provide some gummy smiles.



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