Category Archives: Buy my Book

Buy My Book

I’ve written a book about becoming a parent. Sometimes you have to Bite the Dog published by Soul Rocks Books. They also published an interview with me which you can read here.

If you’re looking for some guidance on those first few months of fatherhood then there may be something here for you.

Essential reading for all parents, In this honest and heartfelt book the author shares the emotions he feels at his daughter’s birth, how life changes with the responsibility of becoming a father and oh so much more, that I won’t spoil by revealing here.

So many books are written for new mums and pregnant women. This is for Dads and it is powerful stuff.

I wish it had been around when I had my two babies as I think it would have given my husband a much better understanding of what I was going through and how to give me the support and love when things were difficult – not only during labour but also in the months that followed when I sometimes felt I really didn’t know what I was supposed to be doing.

“You need to keep writing. We all need you to do that. Parenthood is an elusive club to people like me but thanks to you I really get it.”

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Book Chapter Sample: Information

This will be incomprehensible to some of the younger generation.

There was a time when a person could live a life without carrying a phone. There was a time when you could set out to explore the backend streets of a city with only your house key tied around your neck. There was a time when parents would have no idea where their children were, no idea what they were up to and very little fear for their safety.

I remember fishing with my father when I was very young. My father, who I rarely spent time with, was sucking testosterone like a breath mint that morning. He spat on the grass and swore. He may even have grown chest hair before my very eyes. I was twelve and much more intrigued by a discarded Razzle I had seen in a bush as we got out of the car.

There’s not much that happens in the early hours of the morning. There’s a stillness to it which momentarily freezes you. We got to the river early to avoid the ranger. In hushed whispers we walked side by side, fishing rods in hand, parallel to the lazy slip-slopping gurgle of the water by our feet. The morning mist swirled around us like a gigantic, enveloping spider web. It felt like the world had died and we were walking over a stonecold carcass.

Dad swore magnificently, spat and bent to rest on one knee. He stared over the river looking like he knew what he was looking at. I scoffed at him and he grunted at me before moving further down the river bank away from me. I looked to what he’d been staring at.

A kingfisher. A dazzling, rainbow of a bird perched quite happily on a log on the other side of the river. They are a fizzing, zipping, beautiful creature. Blink and you would miss one. I took a step closer and it vanished. It disappeared before my very eyes. I looked down the bank at my father who had started unpacking our fishing tackle. He’d walked a fair distance and he waved, silently beckoning for me to go towards him. Smiling.

I sucked in the fresh, morning air and looked to the horizon. The sun had started to dress for the morning. A purpletinged bank of clouds wrapped itself around a spinning arch of reds and oranges. By the river bank I could hear the warm rustle of animals. The soothing plip-plop of fish breaking the surface of the water. The lazy buzz of insects warmed by the sun only added to the symphony of the morning. I was witness to a sensory experience that even today stirs not only memories of watching the world wake up but also how close I felt to my father that day.

Now let’s think about how that day would have been if we both had smartphones. I would have tweeted about it. I would have texted someone. I would have felt my phone roll around in my pocket. My father would have had his phone holstered to his belt. I would have checked my phone for messages as I waited for a fish to bite instead of talking to my father. I would have tried to take a picture of the kingfisher rather than witnessing it with my own eyes. In fact I would have strolled right past it more interested in tweeting than anything else.

Is there a Fishing App? What are the reviews for this area? Where can I buy a better fly? Are there any local businesses in the area that stock that item? “Hey everyone I am FISHING! LOL!”

Technology would have made those memories very different.

I watch parents in the park playing with their children while talking on their phones. I see no engagement with the child. Only a complete disengagement from that very moment in which tiny shards of relationships are born and nurtured. It saddens me and I remember that when my father and I strode out that day, more intent on catching memories than fish, we were alone. No one knew we were there. We were adventurers. We had the fizz of excitement in our bellies. We were swallowed by the world. Neither of us was carrying these portable tracking devices. We were both enraptured by each moment of our connection with a simpler world. The real world. The world that doesn’t endlessly trying to sell us something. The world that doesn’t track and report your every movement. The world that isn’t ruled by anything except nature itself.


This sample chapter is taken from my book Sometimes you have to Bite the Dog published by Soul Rocks Publishing.

 

Book Chapter Sample: “List of Things to Remember” (when your partner is in labour)

Our daughter was born on December 12th 2011 at 13:47. As I write this I have forgotten her weight and feel a pang of guilt about that. Perhaps I am overthinking it, but now there always seems to be something else to feel guilty about. We visited the hospital upon first feeling contractions. Unfortunately our daughter was only vaguely interested about coming out and, without going into details, was somewhat induced; persuaded; cajoled even. Regardless, we tentatively left the hospital and, within a few hours, were back within the
beeping depths of the maternity unit. At this point the entire world stopped turning. Either it stopped or started spinning at a speed at which the outside world ceased to exist.

List of things to consider and remember as a father when your partner is in labour:

1. You will need patience – lots of it. I sat beside my wife for nearly 24 hours. During the time at her side I was constantly battling my emotions. Time loses all meaning, and you need to be aware of that. Your thoughts get darkly creative at times and you need to keep them to yourself – for her benefit as much as yours.

2. Remember, if you want to leave the room you can. And you should. If you start to hear a voice inside your head saying “You’re really not dealing with this very well are you?” then it’s time to leave the room. Always make sure your partner knows where you’re going and how long you’ll be.

3. Keep an eye on the midwives. Ask questions. Try and understand everything that is happening. Your partner’s mental faculties are vulnerable at best. You need to be a prophet. She needs you more than she perhaps will ever need you.

4. Don’t ever think the worst but be prepared to be brave. Courage is what you need, and what you will always need, as a father and as a parent.

5. Smile at her when she wakes up. Don’t be afraid to touch her. Make eye contact.

6. Remember that you will never understand what she is going through.

This last one is of particular importance. She is about to show you a side of her she has preserved since the day she told you she was pregnant. She most likely has no real comprehension of how much physical, emotional and psychological pain she is about to go through. She’ll be terrified. You’ll be terrified. But you aren’t about to eject a living being out of your body. A living being you’ve been keeping alive inside you for almost a year. That’s the difference. It sounds obvious but it’s easy to forget as we are, as a race, naturally selfish.

Be assured that she is about to amaze, delight and terrify you in equal measures. She will look into your eyes in a way you will never, if ever, see again.

Believe in her. That’s all she needs from you.

This sample chapter is taken from my book Sometimes you have to Bite the Dog published by Soul Rocks Publishing.

Book Chapter Sample: “A Gentle Savagery” (The Milk Diaries)

(An imagined diary written from our daughter’s perspective)

I awake with stomach cramps too painful to bear silently. So I scream. The things above me stare silently into the distance.

There are no feelings in those colour-filled eyes. No feelings at all. As a pale green light creeps slowly into the room I begin to visualise my surroundings. While surrounded by the cold expanse of a soft prison encasing my view I see little except a vast white space above me. The things weightlessly bobbing above won’t respond to my enquiries. At times they follow each other ominously in a moronic, circular parade. There is an accompanying music to their slavery. It sounds as if bones are being crunched between the blackened teeth of giants. My stomach cramps even further and in the mangled chaos of the morning I soil myself.

The pain ebbs away, yet now I lie here in my own faeces. A familiar acrid smell fills the room. The white space above me offers no respite. So I scream harder and longer. There is a muffled shuffling in the distance. The soft padding of feet. A brief gust of wind as the door to my room is pushed open. The things rotate backwards against their mechanical shackles then morosely swing forward to their original positions. Sometimes if I kick them hard enough I can induce their musical clatter but this is an effort I am unwilling to partake in this morning.

It’s Mummy.

“Good morning little one!”

“Good morning. I have yet again soiled myself,” I tell her.

The wrinkling of her nose indicates that she is more than aware of this. She bends over the side of my cot. Her hair brushes against my face. I stop screaming for a moment to gaze at her face. Her eyes are half closed. Her smile sits awkwardly on her face. She leans over and tucks each hand under me to lift me out of my cot. I am free. The room and the occupants stand to greet me. My loyal silent subjects.

First there is Flat Teddy. A useful companion when initialising a cot-exit strategy. His time will come but for now he sleeps.

Next to greet me is Milly. A strange and weird creature with dark, soulless eyes. She makes me feel endlessly uncomfortable. Why she persists in staring at me is a peculiar matter. She remains one to watch.

Oliver is my trusted companion. Long into the night have we conversed on matters close to my heart. Along with Flat Teddy he too provides a platform for potential escape. His eyes speak the language of trust and accompaniment.

Best of all is Bunny. I cannot sleep without this soft-faced companion wrapped around my fingers. Ever will he be my most treasured of friends.

But the observations of the morning are drawn short by Mummy. She draws me close to her. My head now rests against her warm, soft skin. Her essence is my rapture. Her smell wraps around me. My fingers, once clumsy and inept, feel strong and supple. I curl each digit into a fist and bash her chest in my ecstasy. I cannot help but squeal in delight. She moves me in ways I cannot control. I am addicted to her. I hear clumsy footsteps. Daddy, the one who elates yet saddens me in equal measure, is leaving me. Again. I turn from Mummy and call out to him:

“Daddy! Don’t leave us today. There are so many things to accomplish with the morning. I can show you my rolling trick I showed Mummy yesterday. She must have told you about it? I turned on my front then turned back over again. Mummy was ecstatic and I’m sure you will be too? Daddy!”

Yet it is not to be. He is leaving us again. He shows his face at the door to smile at me, dashes into the room to kiss my head before heading towards the bathroom. I will enjoy ripping the hairs out of his chest later. But no matter. My soiled clothes are removed. I am nude for a short while which pleases me no end and I squeal in my short freedom and the anticipation of what is to come next. The euphoria of breakfast. The supple, warm combination of aroma and taste entangle me in their web of hedonism. I am at one with her and at one with myself. My very being centres itself in a slow passionate dance of blissful elation. The universe speaks to me in these moments.

But not for long. Daddy enters the room and bends to kiss me again. I cannot help but smile at him. In my intoxication I can forgive him for anything. In the paradise of my inebriation the world is a joyous kingdom indeed.

I fart loudly which induces fits of laughter from both of my companions. At times I struggle to understand this world. Its gentle savagery grants little comprehension.

This sample chapter is taken from my book Sometimes you have to Bite the Dog published by Soul Rocks.

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