Happy Birthday Axel – Wilkommen til Year Five!

Axel James Andoh Baker-Bates was four years old today. This post is a copy of the mail sent to all the noble subscribers to the Net Parent News mailing list, and for the edification of my blog. Selfish as his father is.

Whether or not Axel fully understood the significance of the occasion today is hard to say, as he wasn’t letting much conversation get in the way of him and his Thunderbirds Tracy Island present. Zwoosh! Ba bada baa!

But looking back on the last 365 days (and he was born at 6:43pm my notes remind me, so that’s not going to be an exact figure), and the Net Parent Newsletter we sent out on his third birthday in which we so accurately predicted so much difficultly, we hope, as no doubt all parents do, that this year will be remembered for being placid. Certainly, there is school ahead in January, and thank f**k for that.

So which highlights can we recall to warm the heart and raise a smile from the lips of our dear readers? How about the time we spent about three hours trying to get him interested in the bouncy castle at Willow Farm? Or the fact that he won’t go in the swimming pool at Archway Leisure Centre because “it’s wet”? That’s right – he’s not the most adventurous type. And yes, the running about when he should be in bed, the inexplicable preferences for certain items of clothing and not others, the awesomely effective demands for treats – all this, and a dose of fifth disease too, have come our way. But at least we expected most of it.

So perhaps this year we will be marked by the unexpected. School… the English language; other kids, trouble, swearing and the influences of the outside world will produce chaotic episodes we can only guess at. This is going to get interesting.

But until then, we leave you with some photographs (see URL below, maybe not all there at time of writing, check back next week) and the now customary lame excuses for not being in touch. Having a kid is distracting, really, but in a good way we hope. So if we sometimes appear distant, or reluctant to go to clubbing on Sunday nights, gatecrash toga parties or organise as many pub-crawls in the way we used to when you knew us without a child – give us time. This is only a phase.

Happy Fourth Birthday Axel – adventurer on planet earth, with all of us.


Autumn 2003, in family shorts


Reading this after I sent it out, it comes across as rather negative, and I now wish I’d re-done it. It’s not often I write something that goes off the rails like that, but I think what I was expressing was a defence mechanism: we don’t want him to grow up and go to school, and really would prefer him to be like this forever. But he’ll grow up and leave us. And part of us wants to resent that.

It’s hard being a parent.