All posts by MattCoyne

  • 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..

  • Hagrid Baby

    So, this week, I accidentally called a woman’s baby: ‘Hagrid’.

    To explain…when I very first posted about this parenting stuff, I suggested that all babies are indistinguishable and that they all look like Ross Kemp. (What I actually said was that all babies look like one of the Mitchell brothers.. if you’ve got an ugly baby.. its Phil).

    Anyway, after eight months I’ve started to be able to distinguish between the babies at our drop-in health clinic. Only thing is, I don’t know their names.. So, just in my head, I use nicknames..

    There’s one baby that’s always chewing on his mum’s clothes, I call him ‘The Moth’, there’s one kid that looks a bit like Jeff Goldblum who I call ‘Jeff’. And, there’s another that, for some bizarre reason, is always dressed in army camouflage trousers.. I call him ‘Delta Force’.. you get the general idea.
    The thing is, there is one supremely hairy baby who I got into the habit of thinking of as ‘Hagrid’. (I’m not proud of it).

    Anyway, as I walked in this week, in a sleep deprived state, saying hello to everybody, I accidentally blurted “hey Hagrid”..

    Shit.

    The mum just stared at me.. I did try get and away with it by saying “Oh, er.. I call him Hagrid, y’know just because he’s such a big strapping lad”.

    Hagrid’s mum raised an eyebrow:

    “Actually, ..she’s a girl.”

    Oh, for f*cks sake.

    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

  • Baby Changing Rooms… of Doom.

    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

  • So, we’ve just come back from Charlie’s first holiday…

    Man vs Baby

    One or two people were a bit judgey about the idea of taking a 6-month old away. “So, you’re taking him on holiday?” Yeah. “Abroad?” Yeah. “Somewhere hot??” Yeah. “On an aeroplane??” …By which point I was tempted to answer: “No, me and Lyns will be going on the plane, but we thought we’d get Charlie there by driving him to Dover and firing him out of a f*cking cannon”.

    What I actually said was: “It’ll be fine”. And you know what? It was.

    Here’s some other stuff I learnt holidaying with our tiny human..

    – We had a checklist for what to pack, it had just one item on it:.. ‘Everything’
    The amount of stuff you need to take for a weekend is comical.. to go away for a whole week its roughly the same amount of stuff that the nazis took to invade Poland.

    – Don’t take an expensive pram on a flight.. The moment you check-in and that pushchair disappears behind that rubber curtain it is collected by two WWF wrestlers who smash it against a wall for half an hour.. before it is transferred to the runway, where they reverse the plane over it a couple of times before placing it in the hold.

    At your destination.. for some bizarre reason you have to collect whatever is left of your pram (a wheel) from a baggage carousel that’s f*cking miles away.. (I’m sure our stroller ended up closer to the airport we’d just left).

    – One of our worries about the flight was that we’d get seated next to someone unhappy about being near a baby.. We hoped to be sat next to a kindly old Angela Lansbury type, with a soft spot for babies.. In the end we got sat next to a woman who had a face like a cats arse being burned at the stake..
    To be honest, we didn’t care.. after 6 months we’re developing a thick skin for this sort of crap.. Some people have a problem with babies, whether they’re sat next to them in a restaurant or on a flight.. These people are what my dear old nan used to call ‘arseholes’. (Also, I suspect that if the woman in question had greeted us with a smile, rather than a roll of her eyes, we’d have been more inclined to tell her that she’d come back from the toilet with her skirt stuck in her tights, and was showing everyone her arse).

    – When airlines say they have ‘baby changing facilities’ what they actually mean is: ‘a shelf’.

    – Changing a baby in a plane toilet is like the hardest round on ‘The Cube’. Basically ..imagine trying to carve a turkey in a phone-box.. now half the size of the f*cking phone box, and arrange for an incontinent dickhead to bang on the door every five seconds.

    – If your baby will sit quietly during the flight that’s great , if they will sleep.. even better. If like Charlie, your little one likes to ‘stand’ up all the time.. You can look forward to, what feels like a midget river-dancing on your bollocks for the next four hours.

    – Baby Passports are, as I suspected, a rip off.. I’ve said before that all babies look like Ross Kemp, but the idea that any baby is still going to be recognisable on their passport photo 5 years after their birth is insane…. Besides which the immigration people barely even glanced at it.. Charlie could have sailed through passport control with a drawing of Gregg Wallace on the back of a beer-mat (..and it wouldn’t have cost us 50-odd quid).

    – As for the heat.. It turns out taking a baby to a hot country is fine.. people in scorching climates have babies quite a lot, so it’s a bit daft for us to think that if we take a baby to a sunny place they will suddenly burst into flames, like someone’s opened the curtains on a vampire. It’s just common sense, ..shade, avoiding midday and applying factor thrumpteen suncream.
    (Just a note on suntan lotion.. let it dry off before picking them up or anything, otherwise its like wrestling a seal that’s just left a massage parlour .. Charlie was in less danger from the sun than he was from me juggling him like a bar of soap).

    – Even with all precautions there is a threat from the sun. To you. You will burn. You will be so preoccupied with keeping the sun off the baby.. You. will. burn. As I write this my face is a haunting red. (I think I applied suncream to myself once in the whole week). In fairness, I did mention to Lyns, before we went, that I wanted to come back with a bit of colour.. I just didn’t particularly want that colour to be the same as an angry baboon’s penis.

    – Sandy beaches are a bad idea. A six month old baby puts everything in reaching distance in their mouth so, in hindsight, sitting them down to play on four acres of powdered glass is a bit dim.

    – Unless you’re willing to use gaffer tape and a stapler, it is easier to get a squid to wear a bum-bag than to get a baby to wear sunglasses and a hat.
    Finally, what I would say to anyone considering taking their baby on holiday is this: ..Go.
    For all its pissy little challenges, to spend time together, away from our newly destroyed home, was incredibly special..

    I will always remember Charlie’s face as he curled his toes in the sand for the first time. ..His delight at being pushed around a hotel pool on the back of an inflatable crocodile. ..And, his fascination as we sat on a bench, hand-feeding a sparrow some crisps, overlooking the deep blue of the mediterranean sea.
    ..Small price to pay that it was the same colour blue as my trampled bollocks after the flight home.

    www.facebook.com/manversusbaby

  • Baby Fingernails/Claws

    Baby Fingernails

    You know how fast Wolverine deploys his claws.. ? That’s basically the same speed a baby’s fingernails grow.

    You can cut them, file them, angle-grind them..turn your back for 5 minutes, turn back again.. and there he is.. Edward Scissorhands, lying in his cot, ..raking his own face again, until he looks like one of the cenobites from Hellraiser.

    I’m sure our Health visitor thinks that in between her visits we enter him into underground knife-fights. every time she asks how things are going and we reply that everything’s fine.. I’m just waiting for her to follow up with “really,? So, how come he looks like you’ve locked him in a cupboard with a fucking puma?”

    (please, don’t suggest the answer is scratch mitts.. there’s more chance of keeping a pair of sunglasses on Voldemort)

    www.facebook.com/manversusbaby/

  • 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

    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/

  • Another day, another parent-friendly coffee shop…

    Coffee Shop and Babies

    – 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

  • This began as a Facebook 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.