You’ve come a long way, baby!

Happy birthday, Millie, my love!  Four years old today. 🙂

It’s hard to believe now that this picture is of her, that she was 1lb 7oz and that you could hold her in the palm of your hand.

Four years ago at 8.47 a.m. I was waiting, alone, in hospital and prepared for the worst.

At 8.47 a.m. today I was dropping Millie off at nursery, and for the umpteenth time wished I could go back in time and tell myself then ‘Everything’s going to be all right.

I often still think back to those weeks in 2005; oddly enough, it’s usually when I see Millie at her best – running around, happy and laughing, a perfectly healthy little girl.

I did try explaining something of the circumstances around her birth again this morning, but it’s hard to get across to a four-year-old the concept of them being the size of a kitten and facing odds for their survival that any betting man would walk away from.

I learnt a lot in those weeks, I can tell you – and not just about medicine!

Things I learned…

Things I learned on a stag do in Swindon on Saturday.

  1. Never go to lap dancing clubs.  Never ever ever ever ever ever go to lap dancing clubs, no matter how much the “stag” wants to.

Umm… And that’s it, really.  On an otherwise enjoyable stag night the stag decided he needed to go to a bar with scantily clad ladies dancing.

Despite the protestations of everyone else on the stag that they didn’t want to go, that there was no need to go to a lap dancing club just because it was a stag do, three of us ended up in one of the most hideously embarrassing situations I’ve ever been in (and I’ve been in some hideously embarrassing and hard-to-explain situations!)

There is some bravado at the door as we banter with the bouncer, then we go in the club and buy some drinks.

The stag announces he is just off to the loo.

And then…

..stag disappears and is not seen again.

Various ladies in their underwear come and talk to myself and friend; we make stilted, embarrassed “conversation” with ladies in their underwear for about ten minutes before going to look for the stag – who has gone.

My friend and I run away from ladies in their underwear exit the club immediately, relieved and confused.

On a more positive note: Millie’s fourth birthday party was a wonderful affair, with lots of people in crowns and cloaks and ball gowns and so forth.  There will be lots and lots of pictures up as soon as possible, but I had to head off to Swindon for the stag do once the party had ended so haven’t sorted them out yet.

One of my favourite long-term memories of the event will, I suspect, be that Millie ended up naked again – it’s becoming a bit of a habit with her.

I’ve got pictures of my fourth birthday and nobody there is naked; both my brothers’ fourth birthdays – nobody naked.

Millie’s fourth birthday – naked.  In fact, as you’ll see in the pictures – Millie blowing the candles out on her cake – naked! 🙂

Millie’s friend, Ben, who’s the same age as her – not naked.

Amber – not naked (although, only wearing a nappy).

The Lovely Melanie – not naked (sadly).

Thanks very much to everyone who made it to the party, and especially for making the effort with the princes and princesses theme – it was a sight to behold, and I’m now strongly tempted to wear my crown, robe and sword everytime I go out! 😉

Girls in the garden, dad in space

Gorgeous weather at the moment (although, the forecast today is for occasional torrential thunder storms) so the girls were out in the garden yesterday, playing in the paddling pool and the water table.

Or, as you can see in the pics, Millie was in the pool – eBub is a touch sensitive to cold water and refused to even look at it to begin with.

She did eventually deign to notice the pool, however, and quickly got stuck into the play table in the picture.  Whereas a naked Millie ran riot around the garden, eBub is a bit more conservative and maintained a certain level of decorum at all times – as much decorum as one can muster when one is sopping wet, at least.

The Lovely Melanie also tells me that eBub can now play the kazoo!  A band called The Two Man Gentleman Band sent me one free with a t-shirt a couple of years ago; Amber picked it up yesterday and quickly learnt that if you hum into it it makes a funny noise, so she spent the next few minutes walking round and round the house proudly blowing her kazoo, much to the general hilarity of everyone present!

I didn’t see any of this as I was at work, but later on I did get to see a chap called Brent Buffington give a talk at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich.

Brent is a young guy, but astonishingly he’s also one of the people who “flies” the Cassini probe, currently orbiting Saturn.  He gave a fascinating lecture about a potentially very dull topic – Mission Design In The Saturnian System – during which I learnt all kinds of things I never knew, or even suspected, about the Cassini probe.  For instance, it is largely “steered”, if you will, by regularly swinging past Saturn’s largest moon, Titan.  I kind of assumed it was guided by regular firings of the onboard rocket engines, and to a degree it is, but these mostly make tiny course changes that can have a very large impact on its speed and direction when it swings by Titan.

Brent modestly pointed out that he’s not a scientist, he’s an engineer, but his lecture and the following Q&A, were a wonderful revelation to me – and I like to kid myself that I know a little bit about astronomy and space missions!

It’s at times like these that I really really love living in London – where else do you get a chance to see this kind of thing?

Quote of the day…

As a fan first time round of 80s synth pop, popbitch now knows how original 60s rockers felt when Shakin’ Stevens started topping the charts in the 80s with his erzatz “Green Door” charm.

-from Popbitch

I know how they feel – I still have trouble stopping myself from laughing out loud when I see fashion victims kids done up in fluorescent ’80s finery.

See, for so long after the ’80s had finished the only place you ever saw these clothes was in charity shops, and the only people who ever bought and wore them were poor, mad people who didn’t care what they looked like.

In the ’90s only those at the tender mercies of “Care In The Community” tended to look like they’d stepped out of a time machine from 1985!

So whenever I see fashion victims kids in ’80s gear my first instinctive thought is, “Poor things, they can’t afford anything better,” when in reality they’ve probably paid a fortune to look like – to me! – a homeless person from the ’90s!

“Wait – he’s WHO???”

After a long time having to buy my own lunch I – and the rest of my department – finally got taken out for a free lunch at work today, and I can confidently say that the steak at Kettner’s is well worth £22.

A pretty important guy in Yahoo! was over to tell us about some exciting new developments and he generously took us all out to lunch and paid for it, which was nice. 🙂

I accidentally ended up sitting next to him at lunch and he was a nice guy.  We didn’t have a great deal in common, but I did manage to dredge up a bit of small talk (not one of my most saleable skills, I confess) and thoroughly enjoyed my meal.

Now, it turns out that he’s not “a pretty important guy“, but rather he’s the Ultimate Supreme Boss of Search here at Yahoo!

Gulp!  You better believe I’ve been trying to remember exactly what I said at that meal!

Speaking to my boss this afternoon, she thought this was just hilarious as her boss has been trying to get to speak to this guy for months!  That’s her boss, two levels above me, and he’s two levels below my lunch partner!

Did you ask him about getting more people?  What did he say about expansion?  Did you mention…?  What did he say about…?

Even better than that!  We joked about his love of tabasco sauce, discussed our steaks, the new iPhone model and (briefly) comics.

What the hell is…

..”thugged-out rave core dubstep wobble“?

No, never mind, it’s not important.

Is this one of the consequences of the ongoing fracturing of musical styles, that the names of genres of music are going to get longer and longer?  Will Millie and Amber be listening to types of music whose description sounds like the title of some nightmarishly self-indulgent ’70s prog rock?