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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.


Sunday, 12 June 2016


TODAY the Milk Lady and I attended the wedding of two of our good friends, which meant leaving the A-bomb in the capable hands of my brother-in-law, K, and his wife, R.  It wasn't the first time we've handed over control to others, as both sets of our parents have had a stint in the hot seat, but that didn't mean there wasn't a lot of preparation involved.

I would say that we're pretty chilled out as far as being in charge of a human baby goes. I mean we don't panic every five seconds that she's not developing in line with guidelines for elite specimens or burst into tears if she hasn't mastered a Mozart piece by her second attempt. When it comes to eating solids and getting messy, I would suggest that we are relaxed.

However, when the carers arrived at the prescribed time of 0930 – one hour and fifteen minutes before our listed departure – and we talked them through a dossier of how to look after our kid, it became quite apparent that we run a pretty tight (oppressive?) ship.

"Yeh, the thing is guys, she's a good baby and won't cause you any bother. Just have a fun day – feed when she seems hungry and put her to sleep when she seems tired," we said, with an air of nonchalance.

"And by that, I mean feed her at 1100, 1500 and after bath time which is at around 1815 (exactly 1815). Her next solids session is at 1600."

There were questions from the kind couple on things like when to change nappies and what to do if A-bomb doesn't sleep. Again our "relaxed" response didn't really paint us out as laid back parents...

"Just change her when she seems irritable or if she smells," we said.

"But if you refer to the specific page in the document it says to change nappies before and after each nap as well as if there is sign of turd, this will give you a minimum of of five changes.

"At sleep time sing some some songs, read a book and do whatever you want to send her off."

R interjected: "So we just sing any songs and calm her down?"

"You must sing Twinkle Twinkle three times in a row then put her down. If she cries, do a couple more Twinkle Twinkles. If you are still struggling, which would be rare, go into the 'Ssssshhh' techniques coupled with deep squats."

It clearly was not the chilled out liberal approach to parenting that we had fooled ourselves into thinking we were offering.

The thing is though, purely from the perspective of two parents of a baby girl that sleeps very well, eats like a champion and is healthy, our (apparently strict) regime works, for us.

On arrival back home from the wedding with a few sherberts under our belts we were told that the lovely munchbunch had behaved herself and had slept pretty well... because they had followed our guidelines.

It's not rocket science people... get a schedule in place and stick to it, within the realms of possibility. It is certainly not an exact science and watches should not be synchronised.

With a solid plan in place (yes, maybe like a regimented briefing system), we can hand the baby to a family or friends and it should be happy days.

Lovely stuff.

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