Tuesday, 18 August 2015

The Baby Shop

 #29 The Baby Shop
I'm not sure what shape I'll be in by the time you know me but I've always been really active. I learnt judo when I was around 8 or 9, I played rugby for years. I play a lot of 5 a side and squash these days.

There's sporty active people flooding through both your mum and me so it's quite likely, whether you're a boy or a girl, you'll be sporty. There are, however, some other, shall we say less attractive features you might also unfortunately inherit.

Those being the Benedict nose, which is a fair old conk and the Benedict belly. If you're a girl, you might escape these things, but if you're a boy you might be in trouble. To be fair, my nose hasn't caused me too many problems. I've broken it several times now but it always looked broken even before it was. It's a broad wide thing and I think it made people think I was a fighter, which strangely enough helped prevent many fights rather than cause them.

The Benedict belly is quite a different thing. It seems, at least as boys, we start quite thin but the belly is always waiting to get us. Your great grandpa Charles had a fine belly and your granddad Jeff has worked hard to make his impressive. It's inevitable I suppose then that it will come to me. And maybe you, if you're a boy.

To be quite honest, it's already trying to rear its podgy head. I showed your mum a picture of me when I was about 18 and I actually had a visible six pack. Those days are sadly long gone. So today I decided to go for a jog. I think part of me still thinks I'm invincible like I was when I was twelve. Part of me still thinks I'm Peter Pan.

I set off to run round the local playing fields. Now for a forty-one year old, I am fairly fit, but I haven't jogged in maybe ten years. And suddenly my body decided to tell me this in something of a moaning shout and show me that maybe I'm not quite Peter Pan anymore.

My shins hurt, my back ached, all my old war wounds decided to come out and play and I'd only been running for about ten minutes. I am stubborn enough to not be beaten by that but I think once again I learnt an important lesson. I want to be fit and healthy enough to keep up with you as you run about (even though someone your mum works with thinks I'll nearly be a grandad dad). And keeping fit and doing plenty of exercise is such an important thing.

In this world of television and computer games it's really easy for children to become unhealthy, for tired parents to plonk their child in front of the nearest media so that everyone can have a good old rest. And that is absolutely the last thing we want for you. We're going to make sure we're up and about and we'll spend lots of time exploring the outdoors with you. If I carry on jogging, we might even get a jogging buggy so you and your mum can come too.

Now everyone knows that when you take up a new hobby or start playing a new sport, the first thing you must do is go out and buy the most expensive kit...

Obviously this is not the thing to do at all. When I was learning to play guitar, I had a three quarter sized guitar because my arms weren't long enough to reach all the frets. My friend bought a full size expensive guitar. He never learnt to play because the guitar was too big for him. I still play now.

For some reason we often think the biggest mist extensive things are what we need but the truth is we need to right equipment to get the job done, not the equipment that looks the best whilst we stand around admiring ourselves in the mirror, getting nowhere. The most expensive tennis racquet doesn't make you the best tennis player in the world. You must work hard, learn new skills and as you improve, maybe you'll buy better equipment along the way as and when you need it.

Saying that, me and your mum went to buy me a new pair of trainers to run in. They weren't expensive though. They'll do the job. And as you get older your learn that that's okay. It's unlikely I'll be running any marathons anyway.

We did see a back to school stationary kit and your mum joked that we could come here to buy you that one day. I said I wouldn't embarrass you like that because the pens were so cheap. Your mum said maybe you won't mind anyway and maybe you won't. Maybe you'll be strong enough to stand up for yourself and not worry about what other people want and have as long as you have what you need.

Don't worry too much about your shape or which brand of backpack you carry, you'll find the things which make you, you. I'm sure you'll inherit the best bits of both your mum and me and if you don't, we'll take you back to the baby shop and swap you for a cuter one. I'm only joking, that's my sarcasm which you're going to have to get used to pretty quick. Really, we know whatever shape you are, you'll be absolutely perfect, and in our eyes, whatever you do and however you look, you always will be.