• This began as a Facebook post… (pinned post)

    Matt Coyne Banner

     (If you’ve already read it ..you can just skip to the end).

    “I was congratulating myself today on how I’ve got nappy changing down to a precision art. I’m basically like a Formula One pit crew.. in fact, in many ways, I’m better, because when you’re speed-changing the tyres on Lewis Hamilton’s car he’s probably less likely to piss in your eyes and projectile shit up your arms.

    so, this is what else I’ve learnt so far..

    The Birth.

    – I used to think that the theory that the moon landing was a hoax was total bollocks, just because it required a huge amount of people to share a secret. I now think it’s a distinct possibility given the conspiracy of silence about how horrendous labour is.. The labour suite is like being in ‘Nam.. It is nothing like you see in sitcoms or film.. unless that film is Saw IV, combined with the chest bursting scene from Alien. So, to those who told me that the birth would be a magical experience.. you’re a bunch of f*cking liars. ..Labour is like magic.. but only in that its best when you don’t know how it’s done.

    (In truth, the hardest thing about labour is seeing someone you love in such excruciating pain. But then Lyns did once make me sit through an episode of Downton Abbey so .. six of one, half a doz..)

    The first week.

    – I never knew this.. but babies breath in a jazz syncopated rhythm.. There is no set pattern to it and they stop breathing roughly every 40 seconds just long enough for you to think they’ve died.. Of all the dick moves your baby can pull, pretending that they’ve died is by far the most dickish and they do it all the time.

    – A baby crying is a weird thing. During the daytime you can listen to it and think that it’s endearing and cute. …At 3am it’s like having the inside of your skull sandpapered by an angry viking.

    – Baby piss in the eye really is only funny the first time and every single shit really is comically timed. The worst thing is when they do a ‘lure-shit’, then wait till you’ve got the nappy off mid-change to bring the real thunder.. It’s the same thing terrorists do when they time bombs to go off just as the emergency services arrive.

    – Every item of clothing is held together with f*cking press-studs. There are three or four more press-studs than necessary just to make you look like a moron in front of your child.. who shows their disapproval by endlessly windmilling.. Dressing a windmilling baby is like trying to put a rabbit in a f*cking balloon. when you tell them to stay still they ignore you or scratch their own face. they’re mental.

    (I’m thinking of launching a range of baby clothing that is all velcro, based on strippers trousers. You should be able to just hold a baby in one hand, the clothes they’re wearing in the other and just separate the two with a satisfying rip.. )

    – Babies at this age don’t look like anyone.. every one sits around drinking a f*ckload of tea and says he looks like you, or he looks like his grandad or whatever.. In truth they all look like Ross Kemp.

    ( well, they look like one of the Mitchell brothers anyway.. if you’ve got an ugly baby.. its Phil)

    The first month.

    – Throughout my adult life I’ve tried to read a book a week or so. I’m not naive I knew that I’d have less time so I thought I’d promise myself that I’d try and read a book a month.. It’s now been a couple of months and the only thing I’ve read is a pamphlet on Breast pumps. (and I’ve still not got to the end of that, I keep falling asleep during the paragraph on ‘nipple confusion’..)

    – It is possible to have so little sleep that your balls hurt.

    – Does anyone remember the show ‘Touch the Truck’ with Dale Winton (before he had his face retro-fitted).?. It was on Channel 5 and basically 8 contestants put their hands on a truck and the last one to keep their hands on it and stay awake won the thing. Having a baby is like being on Touch the Truck.. the only difference is that on Touch the Truck you were allowed to have a piss and something to eat every 3 hours. ..and you won a truck.

    – Whether Lyns likes it or not holding the baby above your head when its naked, and singing ‘The Circle of Life’ is funny.

    – Its only when you’ve just got a baby to sleep that you realise how loud your house is.. I thought our home was pretty quiet and sedate but it turns out we have a bathroom tap that sounds like Godzilla f*cking a tank.

    – Trying to walk round a supermarket takes ages because old women reeeally like babies and lock onto a pram with the dead-eyed tenacity of a predator drone. Dodging them is like playing Frogger. They’re wily, if there’s more than one of them you’re screwed, they’ll split up and hunt in packs like f*cking raptors.

    After 3 months…Now..

    – The most important thing ive learnt so far is that Charlie is supremely lucky to have Lyns as his mum. She’s tough, smart, funny and in love ..and she will make sure I don’t fuck up too much. Hopefully, her DNA will also batter my genetic predisposition towards big nostrils and man-tits.

    He is without reservation the greatest thing that has ever happened to us both.. (Better than completing the world cup panini sticker album which, i did in both 86 and 90). He has already removed enough of my cynicism to include this paragraph.. and I feel pretty sure that I’m going to be good at this .. because as shit, disorganised and pathetically inept as I am.. it is beyond important to me that Charlie comes to no harm. and that, as far as I can make out, is not a bad measure.

    _______________________________________

    I wrote this in a sleep deprived state one Tuesday evening, when our little boy Charlie decided to close his eyes for a couple of hours, for what seemed like the first time since he’d opened them three months before.  My balls were aching, I did have sunken eyes reddened by baby piss.  I sat, I typed, I felt a bit better.  As he stirred, I hit the ‘post’ button and sent what I’d written to get trampled underfoot in the social-media parade of shocked-looking cats, dick-pics and photographs of what Auntie Pat had for her tea.

    The following day I logged back on to find that the post had been shared a hundred times.  Later that day it was a thousand, and by the end of the week it was tens of thousands.  It was shared by bloggers, vloggers and even movie stars like Ashton Kutcher.  I started to get requests for interviews from newspapers, TV and radio.  Each of them asked the same question: Why did this incoherent and rambling bollocks strike a chord with parents, parents-to-be and the long haired one from “Dude, Where’s My Car?”.

    I didn’t know.

    So I sat and I thought.  Then, I started to read through the online comments.  The answer was there and it was clear. There was a reason why this particular message echoed, ..why so many could find their own experience in between the aching balls and nipple confusion, and the reason was as conclusive as it was striking.

    …Most new parents haven’t got the faintest f*cking clue what they’re doing.

    Sure, there are the super-parents, the bland routiners, the perfect arseholes raising their cookie-cutter children using colour-coded charts and whatever the f*ck the ‘pick up – put down’ method is.

    But, that’s not us.

    We are the screw-ups; the play-it-by-ear, winging-it normals; the inept, the scared, the disorganised, the immature and clueless.  We have vomit on our shoulder and yellow shit under our fingernails and.. Jesus Christ, are we tired!?.. but we are Legion.

    And, our kids will be the kids that other kids want to play with. They will become the adults that other adults want to have a beer with. They will be the smart ones, the creative ones, the ones that will change the world or just make it better in tiny slivers.  Because, as useless and pathetically shit as we are, our children will be the best of us.

    Because we give a f*ck that they can be.

    …This blog’s for us lot.

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  • Never argue about nappy changing again…

    The way I see it, there are two main ways to work out nappy-changing duties.. There is the turn-based “I Did it Last Time” method.. or the more controversial “He/She’s On You” system.

    There are advantages and disadvantages to both… For a start The “I Did It Last Time” method requires both parties to remember who changed the baby last time, (and when you’re sleep deprived it can be a real cock to remember).

    It also lacks a little flexibility.. A meteor could crash through our ceiling severing both my arms and legs.. Lyns would still look down at my quivering torso and say “It’s still your turn, stumpy…”.

    The “He/She’s On You” method is more flexible, but what do you do if the baby shits whilst independently in their cot?, or on a stranger.?. or on a family member distant enough to tell you to “fuck off” at the suggestion that they roll their sleeves up?

    ..Anyway, taking all the information above, I came up with this combination method that works… I’m making it sound complicated, but I’ve condensed it into a simple diagram.

    flowchart1

  • Breastfeeding and the Weirdos.

    Breastfeeding

    [from the archive] I know this has probably all been said before but.. who are these fucking crackpots who have a problem with breastfeeding in public? Or these weirdos who say they “don’t mind it” as long as it’s done “discreetly”.

    Erm.. show of hands.. has anyone ever seen breastfeeding done indiscreetly? I for one have never seen a woman begin breastfeeding by ostentatiously unveiling her nipple-tasseled tits to the hard-house remix of ‘Here Comes The Boom’. Or attach her baby to a rotating target and, to drum rolls, squirt-fire the milk at the child from 6-feet away.

    In fact, come to think of it, I’ve never even seen a nipple when a woman has been breastfeeding because.. (and here’s the science bit).. that’s what the baby feeds from. So, the nipple is, by its very design, covered by the child’s mouth. (Maybe I’ve not been gawping hard enough like these freaks who are so appalled).

    What you actually see when a baby is breastfeeding is …. the back of its fucking head. And if you’re disgusted by the back of a baby’s head you should see what comes out of their arse.

    The strange thing is that it seems to be both men and women who have a problem with it.. but again,.. who are they? ..who are these women, who are so delicate, that the possibility of seeing a breast will make them keel over like one of those goats with a heart defect.. And who are these men, who are so sheltered, that seeing an uncloaked nipple might cause them to have an instantaneous stroke (and not the good kind).

    It’s odd .. These are people disgusted by a child having its dinner.. usually whilst they are eating their own.. really.. what is so terrifying about the possibility of glimpsing an areola whilst simultaneously eating soup? ..The ironic thing is that, if I’m describing you, you’re probably the biggest tit in the restaurant. And, you’ll no doubt be the same arsehole tutting when the baby cries because its hungry.

    ..So why am I banging on about this now..?

    ..We’ve just been for a pub meal and the couple across from us clearly had a problem with Lyns breastfeeding ..(they used the international language of twats: ie. ‘eye-rolling)’. This is my first experience of the open hostility to breastfeeding.. (I genuinely thought it was a myth).,

    so… I didn’t say anything, but to piss them of I did take my shirt off and ate the rest of my carvery topless. (..and after overindulging over Christmas I’ve developed quite a decent rack).
    Anyway .. I’m pleased to report a small victory:.. they did leave without dessert, and Mr Twat didn’t even finish his pint.

    ..That said, ..it did backfire a bit….. I burnt one of my man-tits with a bit of Yorkshire pudding gravy and the sight of my white, pasty body put Lyns right off of her cheese and broccoli bake.
    ..Still, as they p*s$ed off out the door, shaking their empty heads, ..it did feel like a moment of sisterhood.

    www.facebook.com/manversusbaby/

  • Night Garden – Shit Houses

    Today I got into an online debate about ‘In the Night Garden’ with a mum who’s a massive fan of it. (She’d seen an earlier post when I’d suggested that Iggle Piggle and Upsy-Daisy were nazis and ‘Jen’ wasnt at all happy).

    At one point she argued that “The Night Garden is sweet, is about fun and friendship and at the end of the day wouldn’t the Night Garden be just a lovely place to live?”.

    To which I replied: “Really? OK, ..but in whose house?”

    And it’s an important point.. If you had to live in the Night Garden whose house would you live in? Because they’re all well crap.

    The Tombliboo house looks nice from the outside but the interior looks like its been built out of twiglets and varnished dog shit.

    Makka Pakka’s cave is basically a f*cking tomb. And its also built in a dry river-bed on a flood plain.. which means if there’s a flash flood he’s f*cked it. (And in a flood the first thing that goes is the sewage drains, so any prolonged rainfall and he’s going to be either dead or knee-deep in Ha Hoo shit).

    On the face of it The Pontipines have the best house but you’ve got to bear in mind that it’s a semi-detached and the Wottingers next door have got 8 bloody kids.

    Obviously, The Wottingers have exactly the same problem.. living next door to the Pontipines and their 8 kids. But for them its even worse because they’ve got to live next door to Mr Pontipine… who I’ve always thought was a bit of a smug prick.. with his dopey moustache.. that he obviously thinks makes him look like Magnum but actually just looks like a hippy’s bush has been stuck to his stupid ball-shaped face.

    Upsy Daisy and Iggle Piggle dont even have a house. Upsy daisy’s got a bed on wheels that she drags around like some lost mental patient after a f*cking apocalypse.. and Iggle is apparently homeless. He’s just got an old crusty blanket. I don’t even know where he sleeps, but if the Night Garden has a branch of Greggs he’s probably curled up in the doorway every night freezing his bollocks off and drinking lighter fluid.

    So like I said to Jennifer, The Night Garden would not be a lovely place to live at all.. “and you saying it is is just papering over the cracks of the fact that it’s in the grip of a severe housing crisis”.

    …..

    Jennifer: “Matt, you have got waaaay too much time on your hands”.

    Yeah, that’s a fair point.

  • So, Charlie is two years old today.

    So Charlie is two years old today. And I can think of nothing better to post than this bit out of the book… part of a letter to Charlie explaining how he came to exist in the first place…

    ———————————-

    “…So, before you came along, we were happy and had a pretty good life. We didn’t really talk about having kids. Weirdly, it just didn’t come up that often and as we got older I think we both just kind of assumed that we wouldn’t have any.

    Then one morning in 2009, I got a phone call from my dad, your Grandad Gerald. He sounded kind of confused and he stumblingly explained that he wasn’t feeling too well. That morning, he’d been in church and when asked to do a reading he found himself halfway through and unable to concentrate. The words were spidering across the page and he couldn’t quite focus. Worried, we took him off to the hospital and, after a few days of tests, it turned out that he was more unwell than we thought and he had a type of cancer that had spread to his brain.

    (Note: If you’re not Charlie and you’re reading this, I know what you’re thinking: Wow, this light-hearted book on parenting just took a serious left turn. Thanks a lot Matt, two pages ago I was having fun and now I feel like putting my head in the fucking oven. Well, don’t turn on the gas just yet. Because this is the story of how Charlie came to be).

    There are times for all of us when circumstance will plunge its fist into your chest, tear out your heart and show it to you, pink and beating. And for the year that my dad had left, as a family we were hollowed out. I miss your grandad a lot, and it feels like something is out of kilter with reality that you and him will never meet. You’d have got on.

    But, in the months he had left we talked a lot about us as father and son. He apologised a lot for the mistakes he’d made as a parent. There weren’t any, but he apologised anyway. I apologised for my mistakes as a son. There were plenty but he pretended there weren’t. And, he talked about how he had come to terms with what was to come because his kids were settled and happy.

    These were strange conversations. Maybe it’s because when you’re talking to someone who is dying everything they say seems somehow profound and worth listening to.

    What these conversations did, though, was make me see parenthood slightly differently. Your grandad was still a young man at the time of his diagnosis and so had been given a pretty shitty deal. But he accepted that deal more easily because his children were happy, and I thought that a curious thing. There was no way, placed in his position, I could have so easily accepted such a raw fate, just because another human (even one that I was related to) was okay.

    I started to realise that being a parent was defined by an odd sort of selflessness. An unselfishness I just didn’t have, and that the relationship between a parent and their kid was a genuinely unique one. And, maybe, as I lost one relationship to the great nothing, the closest I would ever find to it again would be from the other side of that equation as a dad to a son or daughter.

    So, when your grandad died, this experience, these conversations and this new wisdom got scooped up with the feelings of mortality that come along with a parent dying. Your mum was close to your grandad and she felt the same sense, and all of this stuff was smashed together to make us realise that it might be quite good if you were in our lives.

    In the weeks after your grandad died, me and your mum had that conversation: The one that cemented our decision to try for a baby. And, in that moment, we felt like we had called out to the universe.. and you, our Charlie, boarded a big, fuck-off, white egg, like Superman leaving his home planet, and you would crash land into our lives at your earliest convenience.

    It didn’t work that way. The universe was an un-cooperative shithead.

    It would be four years before you landed. Four years of disappointments and defeats, false starts and sometimes brutal sadness. And, your absence began to feel like a weight belt. But your mum is determined and I’m disney-optimistic and we didn’t give up.

    Like so many parents for whom having kids is not straightforward, every time we walked into the wood-chipper of disappointment, we walked out the other side, bloodied but determined to reassemble ourselves and keep going. With no guarantees, nothing like simple certainty.

    Then you happened. Your superman egg appeared on the radar. Faint at first, but a clear blip. We wouldn’t get carried away or get our hopes up, but it was there, blipping away, and as you got closer the blipping got stronger.

    And three months after you announced that you were on your way (in the beautifully, inauspicious guise of a smiley emoticon on a piss-covered plastic stick).. we saw you on a screen, and the moment that we saw your black and white feet and a grainy middle finger, it felt like something perfect.

    And it was.

    Dad x

  • Baby Changing Rooms… of Doom.

    …used a baby-changing room today (in a branch of a well known, tax-dodging coffee shop). And it was horrific.

    Can anyone explain why they bother having these facilities, only to let the room become so filthy that a baddie from Scooby-Doo would think twice before having a shit in it?

    It is amazing how much a baby-changing room sign can mean to a parent when their infant has just detonated a level-9 in a packed shopping centre. This symbol is a beacon, a light guiding us to a place of refuge. A panic room. Baby Changing Rooms can be more than a place to change a nappy, they can be a room to retreat to and regroup. That’s the good ones.

    Unfortunately, the good ones are few and far between.. and the bad ones are a f*cking horror…
    You can normally tell, before you even open the door, by its grim handle and by the crooked sign above the entrance: “Abandon all hope ye who enter here”. And, as you open the door, there is a rumble of thunder and a dog howls plaintively in the distance.. Welcome to a cubicle of doom:

    A flickering strip-light overhead illuminates what appears to be a disused crack-house. If you are lucky there isn’t the chalk-line of a recent murder victim still visible on the stained floor. A floor that’s so sticky (with christ knows what) it sucks your shoe off as you walk in. You notice one of those “This facility was last checked by” sheets on the wall.. but its just a stone tablet hanging from an ancient cobweb. (“This facility was last checked by Pliny the Elder in 74AD”).

    And, cold, shivering and wary.. you approach the fold-down shelf thing..

    A shelf that appears to have been used by a tramp hosing off his balls. Its f*cking filthy. You wouldn’t euthanise a badger on this f*cking thing let alone change your baby. (Also, there always seems to be food crumbs in the hinges.. like you’d find in an oven door .. who the f*ck is feeding their baby on this??)
    Who hasn’t taken one look into a place like this and opted to change their baby somewhere more appropriate like the car, or a bench, or a derelict pig-shed.

    But sometimes you’re desperate. Sometimes there is no choice. And, so you place the most precious thing in your life onto a surface that has enough bacteria to wipe out France. And demand that your clueless infant not touch anything. As your baby, instead, decides that this is the appropriate time to start licking the walls and pawing everything in sight.

    The worst thing about the bad baby change rooms isn’t even the hygiene levels, or the fact that they look like Jeffrey Dahmer’s abandoned cellar. It is the fact that nothing is ever replenished. Everything is empty. The box of changing mat covers is empty, the soap dispenser just spits out dust, you are lucky to find water that’s running let alone hot.

    And, the design of these places is clearly the job of a f*cking idiot. Why is everything out of reach?? What is the point of having a big sign saying: “Don’t leave your baby on this surface unattended” if you are then going to place the soap, the bin, the sink and everything else precisely 12 inches out of arms length. The average arm span of a human is 5 feet 7 inches.. Just put everything within that f*cking range. Jesus.

    …Even, If you and your baby survive the ordeal of changing.. Then there is the nappy bin.. the throbbing, glowing, radioactive container in the corner of the room.. slowly cultivating the virus that f*cked everyone over in the film ‘Outbreak’. Obviously, the foot pedal doesn’t work so you have to use your hands to prise open the lid and close it quickly.. before the gas that is released has the same face-melting effect as opening the Ark of The Covenant had on the gestapo bloke from Raiders of the Lost Ark.

    Baby Changing Rooms are supposed to make life easier for parents and on the whole they do. It reflects well on a society that it wants to soften a new parent’s day. There is no legal obligation to provide these rooms, so businesses obviously think that they are a good way of encouraging young families, with cash to spend, to come on in.

    ..So, why go to all the trouble of creating one and then make it as welcoming as Death’s arsehole?
    Answers on a wipe-clean postcard to the Sheffield branch of a well known, tax-dodging coffee shop.

    www.facebook.com/manversusba

  • Another day, another parent-friendly coffee shop…

    – Could I have a cup of hot water please? I just want to warm the baby’s food.

    – No. We can’t let you have a cup of hot water.

    – Really, why not?

    – It’s Health and Safety.

    – mm. But I’ve just bought 2 cups of tea from here and they were the same temperature as the Earth’s core.

    – And?

    – Well, the only difference between those cups of tea and a cup of hot water is that the tea cost £2.50 and its brown.

    – Sorry, we still can’t give you a cup of hot water. It’s Health and Safety. Can I get you anything else?

    – Yes, could I get another cup of tea please?

    – Certainly, How would you like it?

    – Er. I’ll take it with no milk, no sugar, and no teabag please.

    [*Blank expression*]
    – But, …that would be a cup of hot water.

    – Now you’re catching on.

    – We can’t serve you that.

    – Why not?

    -It’s Health and Safety.

    ….And, in the distance, over on table 12, a hungry baby wept bitterly.. as it realised that it had joined the human race and it was a race full of dead-eyed twonks.

    www.facebook.com/manversusbaby

  • Tough week…

    Tough week. Charlie’s mum’s maternity leave ended. So the person in our house who prevents fires etc. returned to work.. Whilst I found myself looking after our little boy properly on my own..

    Its true to say that as Lyns walked out the door that first morning there was quite a few tears, sobbing, and protest-soiling.. but, in my defence, by lunchtime I had calmed down a bit.

    Anyway, to alleviate Lyns’ concerns about leaving Charlie in the care of a f*ckwit, I promised to keep in touch…

    www.facebook.com/manversusbaby/

    Texts

  • Book Tour Dates 2017

    Thursday April 20th – SOLD OUT! The Man vs Baby Rave/Book Launch, Hepworth Gallery, Wakefield
    https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/man-vs-baby-rave-book-launch-party-tickets-32865483546?aff=es2

    Thursday April 27th – Sheffield Waterstones (Orchard Square) 7.00pm – 8.30pm – £3.00 incl glass of wine
    https://www.waterstones.com/events/an-evening-with-matt-coyne/sheffield-orchard-square

    Wed 17 May, Chorleywood Bookstore, Chorleywood, – £8 Tickets (with Scummy Mummies)
    http://chilternbookshops.co.uk/events/evening-scummy-mummies-matt-coyne

    Thurs 18 May, Reading Waterstones, Reading – £5 Tickets (with Scummy Mummies)
    https://www.waterstones.com/events/an-evening-with-matt-coyne-and-the-scummy-mummies/reading-broad-street

    Wednesday 14 June, Urmston Library, Manchester 7.30pm This is a free Wordfest event. Book online at Eventbrite, phone 0161 912 3189 or email libraries@trafford.gov.uk

    Saturday 16th September – Chiswick Book Festival, details to follow..