Loki: A letter to my son
Somehow, one day we woke up and you were no longer just a digestive system with vocal chords, but rather, an autonomous person in your own right
Dear Guantanamo Baby,
At the time of writing, you are two-years-old and making terrific strides in some important areas. For example, your ability to clearly articulate your position on any number of issues, from your seemingly constant need for “juice” as well as your uncanny talent for scaling furniture that is no longer strong enough to support your range of movement.
You also have a tremendous singing voice and I love you very much.
But despite your undeniable beauty, irrepressible curiosity and a grasp of language that appears firmer by the day, your mother and I are experiencing some minor issues where your existence is concerned. The main one being: society has yet to develop the cloning technology that would allow us to meet your desires and needs without copious amounts of coffee, chocolate, and unleaded petroleum.
Now, I know that parenting is nothing new. I know that child rearing is the oldest game in town as far as our species is concerned. I know parents have raised children in far harsher environments than East Kilbride and that had you been born just 100 years ago, you would either be dead or working in a mine. I’m grateful that the biggest safety dilemma we have at home is just how many HD screens you are exposed to throughout the course of a day and not that there’s a chance you may decide to run with complete abandon into a coal fire.
There are many sides to this parenting malarkey and unlike your sister’s baby box, this stuff does not come with instructions and boil-in-a-bag poetry. Somehow, one day we woke up and you were no longer just a digestive system with vocal chords, but rather, an autonomous person in your own right, imbued with the sort of self-insistent and rebellious personality that your mother and I would be terrible hypocrites for criticising.
I am sceptical of anybody who claims you don’t know what you are doing when you say ‘no’ to everything, considering you are fully capable of complying with any chocolate-related enquiry. My suspicion that you understand more than you’re letting on was heightened when I left the room for around eight seconds and returned to find a toy helicopter placed on your seven-day-old sister’s screaming face.
Before you were born, your mother and I worked very hard to try and create an environment where you would feel safe, supported and secure. Since your birth, you have worked very hard to make sure that that environment is covered in spaghetti and excrement.
And as profound as responsibility for something other than yourself can be, I’d be lying if I said you aren’t a handful right now. I think it’s important to be honest about that for all the parents out there who worry that other people will judge them harshly if they do anything but gush about their “amazing children” and how they just cannot get enough of removing fossilised Weetabix from high-end upholstery with a hammer and chisel.
Mummy and I are sorry that we aren’t as game to give you full renditions of the Fireman Sam theme-song (including harmonies and mouthed guitar effects) as your aunties and uncles. We are sorry we are no longer as enthusiastic about building the “choo-choo track” every morning and evening as your papa is. And we are sorry that society is not yet enlightened enough to understand that ice-cream is a completely legitimate breakfast option. These are your crosses to bear, though hopefully your commitment to the belief you are “too strong for Weetabix”, coupled with you being so sure of yourself that you need to remind us you are “not Iron Man”, will offset these disadvantages.
I love being a dad and I love you. I’m sorry I had to work so much when you were just a baby. The day I heard you call your papa “Daddy” broke my heart but it also gave me an incentive to quit all my jobs and focus on doing what I am doing now: writing about things I love. I know you are too wee to understand. You don’t need to understand. Even if it took ten times the effort to look after you, I’d still love it. But it’s also OK for me to be honest about the fact it’s heavy going sometimes. Me and Mummy are very tired. We love you so much, son, but we’ll also be very happy when you are in bed, so we can resume looking at our laptops and being surprisingly OK with saying very little to one another.
Tony Stark X
With the first box sent out a year ago today, new figures show 52,065 babies across the country have received a box
Poverty is a common denominator in poor outcomes for children like Kirsty, the Holyrood baby
To celebrate our Holyrood baby's second birthday, we asked a group of MSPs about being parents and what advice they would have for Kirsty’s mum
Kate Shannon takes a look at concerns that councils would not be able to make the move to 1,140 hours of free childcare by 2020