Thursday, 30 December 2010

Leading a double life

I keep pretty close tabs on that wife of mine.
So I've known for some time that Kate has been updating her Facebook page with great enthusiasm, predominantly expounding the virtues (and vices) of life with Her Madesty.
I've also known that Kate refers to Maddy as the Noise Box, a moniker that's gone down a storm with her burgeoning social network. Indeed, it's not uncommon for me to be stopped in the street by mutual friends enquiring as to the well being of said Noise Box.
What I'm much less pleased about is the label Kate's given me - that of 'Favourite Hubby'. Needless to say, I'm keeping track of all references for when it all becomes too much, and I need to site examples of unreasonable behaviour.

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Sunday, 26 December 2010

What's in a name?

You may have noticed a recent change to the spelling of our daughter's name.
Well, having argued some 9 months ago as to how we'd spell the derivation of Madeleine (Kate gunning for 'Maddie' while I was pushing for 'Maddy'), I conceded, having won the battle for middle name rights only a few days earlier (a sensitive topic which we opted not to blog about at the time). But it would appear that Kate has now seen the error of her ways.
Luckily it is not in my nature to brag. Nor are Kate and I in any way competitive with one another. So I am NOT reminding her of this. On a daily basis.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Christmas cheer

The latest photo taken of all the NCT babies at our Christmas party. Thank-you to Wenda for plying us with champagne all afternoon and to Martin for taking the pic. Which was no mean feat now that most the babies are mobile.

And here's one of the last group shots from August when they were (almost all) together.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Let it snow

Saturday brought with it a fantastic layer of snow. And whilst Maddy is still too young to enjoy it, it didn't stop Matt and I building a snowman in anticipation of the obligatory photo op:

Passed through The Mill's iPhone app for a pretty bleached effect.
And being all traditional, those are cucumbers (buttons), gherkins (mouth), ginger (nose) and Taste the Difference figs (eyes) which we can heartily recommend.
Addendum 16.01.11
I've just gone through our Flip Video archive and found 'the truth behind the picture' (apologies for the odd angle and generally dodgy camera work - I'm sending Kate on a course):

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Absence makes the heart grow fonder

So I'm currently in a hotel room in Dallas on a business trip, whilst Mum and Dad are at home looking after Maddy. I thought I'd be going bonkers with worry, but actually *says quietly* it's quite nice to have a teensy bit of peace and quiet. I'm drinking a cup of coffee with NO interruptions. And now, I'm going to have a shower. All on my own. And for as long as I like.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Poseur, moi?

I guess you had to be there...

But there is something quite infectious about watching little people crease themselves with laughter:

(Particularly when that little person's face somehow keeps an oddly fixed xpression...)

Thursday, 25 November 2010


Here's Maddie showing how high she can go on the swings in Queen's park. I couldn't get them in the photo, but her friends Ludo, Jack and Kitty are on the other three.

Addendum: Behind the scenes

This lovely family pic has just came through from Richard:

I've been wondering if I could pass that off as a yawn, but sadly Kate and my 'we're having a good time, honest' smiles give us away.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Going to the chapel

My brother got married to Laura today, which was lovely. No pictures of the happy couple yet, (they're all a bit blurred on our crappy camera), but here's one of me and Maddie all dressed up in our best togs. She had curlers in ALL morning to make those ringlets.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Raw fish?

'Get that the hell away from my mouth'.

Maddie's first trip to a sushi restaurant was an otherwise resounding success.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Just because you've been baptised a Catholic...

... it doesn't mean you can't pull off the Hasidic Jewish look:

Check out those ringlets. Oy vey!

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Is anyone out there?

Yes, you'll have noticed that there has been a lack of posts over the last couple of weeks. That's because we're off to Kenya tomorrow and every spare waking moment has been spent either at the Doctors, or in Boots, attempting to protect Maddie from various flying insects, general diseases and sunburn. We have enough room in our suitcase for one t-shirt each. And a pair of pants.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Reaching for the stars

We've left favourite hubby in London this week, whilst me and the Noise Box have a holiday with Grandma and Grandad in PonteCarlo.
The fresh Yorkshire air must have done her the world of good as she's since learnt how to reach out her arms to be picked up. I couldn't have been more excited if she'd recited the works of Shakespeare. Backwards. And in French.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Another great baby blog

Phillip Toledano's The Reluctant Father is a wonderfully insightful blog about, well, becoming a dad, obviously.
And his transformation, as he puts it, "from observer to participant".
Some truly stunning photography of his daughter Loulou, which puts Kate and my snaps with the iPhone to shame.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Oh, we do like to be beside the seaside

Even if it means a flagrant disregard for the safety our our child, as seen here, being walked along a crumbling concrete wave breaker in Bridlington:

"Get me away from the edge, and that big wet thing".
That's what Maddie's thinking. You can see it in her eyes.

Monday, 30 August 2010

The good luck genie

It has recently come to my attention that when at home during the day pretending to be really busy, Kate actually whiles away the hours by dressing Madeleine up to look daft (pronounced 'daft' and not 'darft', I'm reliably informed).
A case in point is this 'good luck genie' outfit, crafted out of a colourful shawl, and staged for a friend of ours who was starting a new job last week:


You take your eyes off 'em for one minute...

... and they pick up a pen, take the top off and scribble all over their faces.

Okay, we gave her the pen, but she did the rest.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

A vertical view of the world

Yes, Maddie can now officially sit up without props. She can't seem to stay up for any length of time that's particularly worth noting, but we applaud her everytime regardless.

Under the thumb

Kate has just made me change the 'About me' section of this blog to 'About us'.
So I'm preserving my original blurb here for posterity:
My name is Matt Roskill. I'm married to Kate Roskill, sometimes known as Kate Harris (she insists on using her maiden name despite my obvious disgruntlement). We now have a daughter called Madeleine. Madeleine's surname is Roskill (I made sure of it - I registered her birth). This blog is the story of Kate's pregnancy and the first year of Madeleine's young life, largely from my point of view as a first-time dad-to-be. But occasionally Kate hacks into my account and tells it how it really is.

Controlled crying - progress report (2)

Mmmm. I appreciate these stats might look massaged, but it's true. Honest.
Saturday night
Down by: 19.55
Duration of crying: 0 minutes
Slept until: 06.45 (with dream feed at 22.50)
I'm sure we just caught a lucky break.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

It's very orange

This is the carrot puree I've just made for one of Maddie's first tastes of 'proper' food.

One of the books recommends sieving it to make sure there are no lumps, but I've got about as much desire to do that as I have to dig out my brain with a blunt spoon. So lumps and a potential choking hazard it is then.

Controlled crying - progress report

We finally bit the bullet last night and, with a free weekend ahead of us, decided we should put Maddie through the saga that is controlled crying.
It obviously filled us with dread, thinking we were going to have to listen to our baby scream for up to 2 hours according to some sources, but we steeled ourselves and prepared for the worst (i.e. we hid in the kitchen with Alicia Keys playing really loudly).
Key stats are as follows:
Friday night
Down by: 19.45
Duration of crying: 25 minutes
Checked in: 20.15
Slept until: 06.30 (with a dream feed at 23.00)

Saturday morning
Down by: 08.50
Duration of crying: 15 minutes
Checked in: 09.10 (awake, but chilling in the cot)
Slept until: 10.00 (forced wake-up as we had to head out)

Fingers crossed tonight continues on this downward path - night 2 can often be worse than night 1, I'm told.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

The most ridiculous invention in the world

It's basically a Lazy Susan for babies who don't like being put on their tummies.
(No, we didn't buy it. It was yet another loan from friends concerned Maddie's being brought up in a monochrome environment.)

To be fair to the inventor, Maddie hates being on her front but seems to be enjoying this.

It's a tooth!

Maddie's first tooth poked through today on the bottom left hand side of her mouth.

No photos though as every time we try and contort her mouth into a suitably wide open position, she screams like we're trying to poke her in the eye with a knitting needle. Does she not realise that we're documenting all this for her sake...?

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Kate tries out going back to work

Kate's thinking about returning to work in the New Year.
And while she mulls over how many days a week to go back, here's her practising what the Friday of a 4-day week could look like. With Madeleine's help, of course.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Isambard Kingdom Brunel, eat your heart out

The tower that Maddie built...

... almost.

Food, glorious food

After much deliberation, this weekend was deemed 'chow time' given we were down at Heatherfield (and could therefore make lots of mess in Maddie's paternal grandparents' house, rather than our own - but don't tell them).
Step 1: a morning of spoon training.

Open wide, in (prolonged suck) and out.
Step 2: test-drive the real thing.

Put fingers into spoon of baby rice. Put face into spoon of baby rice. Get limited amounts of baby rice into mouth. Keep looking at camera.
Tick. Tick. Tick. And tick.
Although apparently Dad needs to work on his portion sizes. I'm told the first time Maddie might only want a spoonful rather than a bowlful, as these leftovers would suggest.

Monday, 9 August 2010


Yesterday we hooked up with our NCT posse (sadly, no Wenda & Jim and therefore no Jack & Kitty) but everyone else was there in force.
Including, it seemed, every other NCT group in North West London. Queens Park was positively teeming with groups of babies and their buggies.
It was of course also a great opportunity to take an updated team photo, thanks to Martin and the camera-that-puts-all-other-cameras-to-shame:

From left to right: Ava, Ludo, Aoife, Aaron, Evie and Madeleine.
Her Mad-esty once again appears to be lashing out, just as she did last time we lined everyone up.
I'm starting to think Martin is encouraging this belligerence on camera.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Ooooh, my hand

I've just spent a mesmerising 45 minutes putting Madeleine to bed.
She spent the entire time looking in awe at her left hand, in a royal wave like gesture. Over and over and over again.
Her Madesty, indeed.

The Ponte way

The Ponte Grandparents have been down this week offering their own unique take on how to entertain 5 month old babies.
This is Maddie smiling at the prospect of going to the pub with Granddad:

And this is Grandma attempting to keep Maddie quiet with The Simpsons:

And yes, the socks don't match her outfit. That's because Grandma dressed her...

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Sleep training

This is how we're attempting to persuade Maddie to sleep through until morning.

I reckon if every baby had a silk eye mask, there'd be fewer tired parents out there....

Saturday, 31 July 2010

The baby Roskill meets the Lady Roskill

Okay, not for the first time, but at least we finally remembered to bring the camera.

People often comment on how impressive Madeleine's head of hair is for a 5 month old. Finally the tables are turned - Madeleine's face shows just how impressive Granama's coiffure is for a 91 year old.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Baby blog envy

Now THIS is a baby blog.
Adele Enerson - we salute you.
(And we will obviously do something very similar for a Christmas card this year, featuring Maddie, and passing it off as our own creative genius. But no one will ever know).

Monday, 26 July 2010

Is that silence I hear?

We've finally found something that keeps our little noise box quiet.

Here's Matt with a rapt Maddie reading Hairy Maclary.

And yes, I've tried (and tried) parking her in front of the TV as well, but our little Chucky is clearly the intellectual (attention seeking) type...

Morning glory

Yes. Having a baby means almost never having a lie-in for the next ten years. Never reading the papers in peace. And never relaxing over a nice breakfast.

But who cares when you wake up to someone looking like this?

Sunday, 25 July 2010

They don't make 'em like that any more

We picked up this fantastic retro door bouncer from Emma & Andy today.
Although Maddie has yet to work out how to do anything other than stare forlornly at the floor. And whinge while doing so.

Angelic babies (and Maddie)

We've just spent a lovely weekend with Martha and Arthur down at Heatherfield:

(That baby on the right clearly needs a bit more photo training.)

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Grandpa Roskill's 60th

I think this was the shot that finally made the cut and ultimately the home-made birthday card.

But there were some 200 frames taken over the course of a 2-day shoot.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Bad Dad

We dropped into the Bluebird Cafe today to have lunch with all the Chel-ras and Euro Trashies.

Having secured a table outside on the packed terrace, I undid the straps on Madeleine's car seat, pushed the handle back, and exchanged a glance of mutual appreciation with a couple on the table next to us who also had a very young baby with them, before tucking into my burger.
At some point - it's still a bit of a blur - I decided to pick up said car seat and bring Madeleine a little closer to us both.
Having pushed the handle back for viewing purposes, I had inadvertently created a weight distribution imbalance and having also undone the straps for wiggling purposes, the car seat tipped forwards dramatically.
And Madeleine face-planted onto the astroturf floor.
Cue the most blood curdling screams I'd certainly ever heard, as the whole restaurant turned towards the commotion in unison.
But most damning moment was the evil stare from the mother at the next door table, who even went so far as to cover her child's face from the Bad Dad sitting next to them.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Getting with the programme

Lunch with friends alfresco in Chiswick, followed by a BBQ with friends in the hood. Maddie had clearly listened to The Roskill Rules and therefore behaved impeccably. She was however a bit sweaty. Just like her Dad.

Monday, 5 July 2010

Sunday, 4 July 2010

The latest 'tack' debate

To be honest, I'm amazed this is even a debate.
But Kate seems dead set on getting one of the most plastic fantastic items surely ever invented - the exersaucer.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Who's the dummy?

Matt and I are currently having an extended disagreement about the use of a dummy. Matt is in the liberal, 'reach for dummy as soon as she squeaks' camp, and I'm in the more considered 'use in emergency camp'. Thankfully, as our daughter's primary carer (yes, I bandy these phrases around liberally), I outrank him. Ha.

Boston bound

Here's Maddie belted-up and ready for take-off on her first flight ever.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Holiday rules

These are the 'Roskill Rules' for holidays going forward. Interested? Thought so...

1. Babies get jet lag. Stick to the one time zone if holidays are to include at least a modicum of sleep.
2. Flights. Minimise the time spent in an enclosed loo roll tube with a wailing ticking time bomb. Stick to an 'under four hours' rule to retain sanity.
3. Spend as long as possible editing the packing to avoid looking like you're emigrating.
4. Babies don't do holiday lie-ins.
5. Likewise sunbathing.
6. And long lunches.

So our next trip? Somewhere in the UK where the weather is temperate, there are no aeroplanes to catch and no time zone changes? Oh no, that would be far too sensible. Team Roskill are off to bl**dy Kenya...

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Plane panic

Our first flight with the noise box tomorrow, and both Matt and I are positively dreading that we may well soon be villified by the whole plane for possessing a baby who we are unable to silence. As I have found out in the last twelve weeks, babies can cry for a surprisingly long time before they 'tire themselves out.' If they sold baby Valium, I would be buying it in bulk.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Like father, like daughter

We will be starting the face exercises next week to work on those jowls. Matt appears to be a lost cause though...

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Starting to look like a proper little person

Albeit one who appears to have recently stuck their fingers into the nearest plug socket.

Monday, 31 May 2010

The 1000 watt smile

Now her Mad-esty has decided to stop crying so much, Matt and I while away the hours in which we used to be asleep / out drinking /going to the cinema by trying to make her smile. The fact that eliciting a grin from her is still as unpredicatable as the English weather makes the game all the more compelling.
Here's one we made earlier:

And it's really quite exhausting work:

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Camera-less, so reading more

Down at Heatherfield this weekend, but a flat camera battery means no photos of her Mad-esty. Boooo,
But there was a very funny article in today's Guardian about new fatherhood, aptly titled Man with a pram. Some wonderfully observed comments from the author Danny Wallace about becoming a corporal in 'Dad's Army', my favourite being just how different dad-ship is today:
"We are perfectly aware that our dads were dads too. The crucial difference is that they were always dads. They were born, then they were dads, and there was nothing in between, just enough to fill a couple of old photographs in which they're wearing too-short shorts or have weird hair. "

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Maternity leave activity

Post natal pilates today at the New York Pilates centre. The instructor held the noise box for most of the session while I spent an hour lamely attempting to achieve a pre-pregnancy figure. A workout and a babysitter all for fourteen quid, though. A bargain by anyone's standards.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Showdown on Clapham Common

At a picnic on Clapham Common today, Madeleine met Jay Whiteley (Euan & Harriet's nephew), a strapping young boy who was perfectly charming towards her.
But on finding out that she was (a) 24 hours older than Jay and (b) still not even Jay's birth weight (an impressive 10lb 8oz), Madeleine threw a bit of a wobbly, precipitating an early exit from an otherwise delightful afternoon.

An early - but important - lesson that you can't always be the biggest / best / cleverest [insert adjective].

Gender stereotyping

Kate going to Bikram Yoga yesterday morning, meant that I was once again in charge of wardrobe.
While Madeleine and I were very happy with the where we ended up (below) there were murmurings from within the camp that she looked rather like a little boy.

I can't see it myself.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Behind the scenes

Hot off the press from yesterday's shoot: the little princesses get grouchy with their stylists.

Tsch tsch. What prima donnas - and at such a young age.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Maxing and relaxing

Madeleine and Martha hanging out in Queens Park:

Not literally hanging - that's just the way Kate took the photo.
It is easier on the neck muscles if I flip it:

Pushy Mums

A statement of intent?
Kate has just signed up for Pushy Mothers.
I pity Maddie.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

The Big Sleep

Henceforth, the night of Monday 17th May 2010 shall been known as the 'The night of the long sleep'.
Although not strictly true for Kate or me, Madeleine slept all the way through from the end of her last feed at 11.30pm until 6.45am - a whopping 7 and a quarter hours.
Needless to say Kate still woke up at 4.30am, expecting Madeleine to have done the same and therefore panicking about why she hadn't.
And for some inexplicable reason, I didn't put my earplugs in. Which I'm even more gutted about in light of the aforementioned 'long sleep', given I still got woken up - only this time, it was by Kate.

Monday, 17 May 2010

The most expensive breast pump in the world

One Sunday back at the end of March, we popped over to Camden see our friends Simon & Sato, and their one year old, Kai.

We parked on a single yellow line outside their flat and spent a lovely hour talking through the intricacies of the Philips Avent breast pump, which Sato was kindly lending to Kate.

At the end of the afternoon, we came back to a car-shaped space where we had parked, but alas, no car.

Much huffing and puffing, a trip to the pound in Kentish Town, and a letter to Camden Council later, we found out yesterday that our 'representations against the removal of a vehicle' have been rejected.

It was worth a try.

But it does mean that the 'free' breast pump has in fact cost us £260 - surely the most expensive breast bump in the world?

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Dressed by daddy

And I think I did a darn good job.
A properly colour-coordinated t-shirt / sock combo and everything:

Eat your heart out, Gok Wan.