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Well, time is up: As of tomorrow I will be back at work, and it feels like these last few months have gone past in a few minutes. When I left work I was the size of a barge and full of optimism about the impending birth which was, I was sure, just a few short days away.

Yeah I know, made me laugh too.

The lack of posting since the birth has been a deliberate move on my part, knowing as I did that I would have little enough time off, but plenty of time to reflect afterwards. In fact, it does feel a lot as if real life has been put on hold for the last few months so I do wonder how things are going to pan out now that I will have time to reflect during my daily schlep.

Alfie has been a constant source of pleasure for the last 9 weeks – 9 weeks, god has it only been 9 weeks?!? – and his being around has led to some superb comedy moments so in traditional TOTP style here is a countdown of the best (dah, daaah, dah, da-da, daaaaaaaah!!!)

The Baptism
Cannon Bennie took centre stage at Comedy Central by accidentally locking us out of the church, reading the service from an entirely different book to the one the rest of us were reading and then mixing up the words of the service so we all ended up rejecting Jesus' empty promises instead of Satan's. Godfather Bill (Maltesters in cheeks purely optional) was then left holding the baptism candle while we went to sign the register with hot wax dripping all over his new suit unsure of whether he was allowed to blow it out or not. Bangers and Mash at the pub was just fab, and I felt so choked when I looked over at the other tables to see all our nearest and dearest who had taken the trouble to turn out to celebrate Alfie's arrival.

Baby Massage
Last week we started baby massage classes run as part of the SureStart initiative in the local library. We were the only couple there, and Keith the only man, and to make matters worse, for reasons of feeding, and sleeping, we were one of only 2 people who actually laid hand on baby to try out some of these snazzy massage moves. The first session was all about the legs and feet and there were several pairs of eyes aimed firmly in our direction when the teacher proved once and for all that the essence of comedy is timing.

Teech: Now take a foot in your hand, find this point and press with the tip of your thumb …
Keith, brow furrowed, finds the spot and presses for all his worth before looking up for his next instruction
Alfie, naked and bemused by the entire experience takes aim and makes like a fountain
Teech: … that releases all the tension in the abdomen … here, I think you need this tissue.
Because Keith had managed to get his leg completely covered by Number One Son without having noticed a single thing. Moreover, he managed to get covered a second time by the little fella not 5 minutes later while doing the other foot, and didn't notice that either. I mean seriously, how can you not notice something like that?!? Twice!!!

Miss World Arrives Home
Just after we arrived home to Gib, the newly crowned Miss World arrived back home to a rapturous welcome. I'm talking seriously rapturous here, almost orgasmic. When the day was declared a national holiday we all grabbed a paper flag and headed onto Main Street with the rest of Gib to line the parade route. The temperature was 18o and being as this was shorts weather, we took the small boy out suitably attired. Unfortunately we had forgotten that temperature, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder and this being the Gib winter, we stood out like clowns at a funeral.

Gibraltar being what it is, we got the verbal mauling of our lives! Sod Miss World, there's a baby here in short sleeves and no socks, this cannot go unpunished! Eventually, the remonstrations died down to mutters and clucks, until Alfie, in a move of unparalleled bad timing decided to make known his tidings of woe at having just filled his nappy.

Even more unfortunate was the fact that as the whole family had just run down to see Miss World (who like any good prima donna had kept us waiting) we didn't have a nappy or wallet between us. Not that we could explain this to Alfie who by now was letting the entire crown know of his displeasure which of course just sealed the prevailing opinion that we Englishers torture babies. Luckily, a fiver was found and a pack of nappies bought from a nearby pharmacy and wouldn't you just know it, Miss World chose that moment to make her appearance.

My enduring memory of the parade was looking over to see Keith changing Alfie on a Burger King table while the luscious lady sailed serenely past.

Jiggy Chicken (and other dances)
There are certain times when faced with a case of the screaming ab dabs the choice is to beat 'em, or join 'em. Clearly beating is not an option, so when faced with the necessity of Option B, the members of my, and I suspect many other families, have displayed previously unplumbed depths of musical creativity.

Keith invented the Jiggy Chicken dance while in Gib airport (Alfie decided baggage reclaim was the ideal place to fill his nappy) which goes something like:

He's a jiggy chick'ehn, a jiggy chick'ehn,A jiggy chick'ehn, a jiggy chick'ehn,He likes jiggin' and chi'hi'kehn,Cos he's a jiggy chi'hi'kehn!
While Alfie was laid along his forearms being jiggled manically. Strangely it did the trick, not just then but for many weeks afterwards. It also proved to be a very versatile tune with chicken being changed for chillimanjay, which is Keith's unique take on the Spanish for Custard Apple.

I should explain the chicken reference simply by saying that Alfie's poo smells of roast chicken crisps. Or it did at that point anyway, I was hugely dismayed to find out that the smell had morphed into the smell of chickpeas last week, it becomes very hard to enjoy your meal when all you can think of is your first born's dirty nappies.

Anyway, the other dance of note has much simpler lyrics. It goes "una aceituuuna, una aceituuuna" and it was invented by my little sister Mich in the middle of the supermarket one day when the only source of lyrical inspiration was a nearby olive stand. That too seemed scarily successful in combating the onset of a lip wobbling hissy fit.

So what now is to become of my little boy with hair like a teddy, comedy waaaa-rooooo cry and eyelashes supermodels would kill for? How will I deal with missing the long, involved, bubbly conversations, the heart melting smile and the frankly terrifying poo face? It feels so strange that having got to know every nuance of every cry for the last 9 weeks, I'll now miss the next development. Pretty soon he'll make a noise and I'll have to look helpless until Keith translates for me. But in some ways I'm hugely grateful for that fact.

Our boy is going to be looked after by his dad, who frankly is bursting with the excitement of all the adventures they are going to have together. I tell myself and everyone else that he is the better person to stay with Alfie, and he is by a country mile, but I am going to miss the three of us rattling around all day together. Now we will only have a few family adventures a week but we'll be none the worse for that fact because I'm going to day trip the shit out of them.

That's the plan anyway. 

Right now it all feels a bit scary and I'm hoping someone in the office has a dance ready for me when I realise how much I am missing my son and by bottom lip starts to go.

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