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Commando Dad to be deployed in Italy: Italian publisher Mondadori to release Commando Papà in 2013!

Mondadori logo

Commando Papà to hit the  Italian shops in 2013

 

Italian publishing giant Mondadori is going to publish an Italian language version of Commando Dad next year. Commando Papà.

 

Wow. I just want to say a huge THANK YOU to all the dads (and mums!) in the UK, Australia and New Zealand who have bought the book and made it such a success. I put a lot of time and effort into making Commando Dad the basic training manual that every new dad needs. But if you hadn’t bought it, I wouldn’t be on this adventure. Right, that’s quite enough emotion there!

 

And to the Italian dads, I’d like to say, remember the first rule of being a Commando Dad: un commando Papà è un mani sui Papà. I really hope that means ‘A Commando Dad is a hands on Dad’.

 

Over and out.

 

 

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Olympians Must Begin at Home

After Team GBs fantastic showing at the Olympics, and as we gear up for the Paralympics, there has been a lot of talk about getting more sport on the curriculum. Hooray! I say – but with a caveat. I think we can’t only rely on the schools: Olympians must begin at home.

As a PE teacher (and now as a supply teacher) I see countless notes excusing pupils from PE. Now while some of these are genuine, I’ve been in situations where nearly half of the pupils in the class have been excused from my lesson. My personal low was a pupil that handed me a note explaining he couldn’t do PE as he had lost his trainers. He was wearing them. But without the rest of his kit, and without the jurisdiction to override a note from home, nothing could be done.

We need to address this issue now, or it really won’t matter how many more lessons in the curriculum are devoted to PE. Hopefully, pupils – and parents – will have been inspired by the Olympics and PE teachers up and down the land can get on with the business of teaching their subject and helping every pupil reach their potential in sport – not juggling a depleted class and non-participants.

And of course, participation in sport is not just about creating Olympians. Sport can give you so many benefits in both the short, and long, term.  Not only will it make troopers  physically fit, but also give them a sense of belonging,  teach them how to work well in a group and individually and hopefully also be a lot of fun. And the lessons that sport teaches you can help you in whatever career you troopers decide upon. Ray Winstone, a former boxer, said in a recent article in Men’s Fitness: “boxing helped me mentally. I’ve bought that discipline and determination to acting.”

With so many potential benefits, should we as parents be writing notes to excuse our troopers from PE for anything other than medical reasons? I, for one, don’t think so.

 

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Commando Dad Newsletter

I finally got the Commando Dad newsletter squared away and ready for dispatch.

To sign up for your copy of the newsletter, please go to the bottom of the Commando Dad homepage.

Your details will be kept solely for the purposes of Commando Dad newsletter. I will not share your details with the enemy!

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Why the Sidelines are No Place for Dads

In 1970, on a warm summers evening  in July, my dad dropped my mum, who was in labour with me and my twin brother, off at the hospital and asked her to call him when she felt ready to cope with visitors. There didn’t seem anything unusual in that to either mum or dad, that was just how things were done. When their wives were in labour, men went off to work, or sat in the waiting room with flowers like in a Carry On film. Oh how times have changed.

I couldn’t wait for the birth of my children. I read the books, attended the ante-natal classes and got to know the midwife. I was convinced that if my wife went into labour unexpectedly I would be able to deliver my son (tying off the placenta with a clean shoelace – I looked it up). Luckily, my emergency delivery plans never saw the light of day as we made it to the hospital in plenty of time.

I was right by my wife’s side throughout, offering what comfort and support I could. And words cannot explain the feeling of finally holding my brand new baby trooper in my arms. It is an amazing experience, as any dad will tell you.

But then something really strange happened after the birth. Without any warning, I disappeared. I became completely invisible to doctors, nurses and the midwife. I think my wife could see me, but I was finding it hard to get to the side of her bed to double check.

So perhaps I didn’t physically disappear (although that would make a good story) but it certainly felt like it.  And that’s when I first realised that it’s very, very easy to become sidelined as a new dad. And not only in the delivery room, but beyond it too. The vast majority of advice, support and care is geared towards mum. Don’t get me wrong, parents need all the advice, support and care that it is possible to give them, but dads are parents too. And we have a crucial role to play, right from the minute we welcome our trooper into the world.

We need to provide physical support, such as taking on night feeds, keeping the house squared away, buying supplies, getting meals on the table, washing clothes and generally keeping on top of everything. But most importantly, we need to make sure that our partner has everything she physically needs, from time to take a bath to healthy food.

We also need to provide emotional support, essential to keeping morale high. Sometimes, our partners can feel as if life has become all about the baby trooper. Reassure her and let her know you’re in this together. Having a new baby is tiring for everyone, but your wife and trooper have been through labour too. Tempers can get frayed in the beginning when you’re both adjusting to a completely new lifestyle on limited sleep. Keep calm.

And our trooper needs us too. Don’t believe that we aren’t biologically programmed to be good carers. We may not have the ‘maternal instinct’ but I can assure you that the minute my troopers were born, my wife and I both had a huge instinct to love, protect and care for them.  We got the ‘parental instinct’. And in terms of physically caring for a baby, we can do everything but breastfeed. It might not seem like it at the time (well it certainly didn’t for me) but with practical experience, you will easily master the basics.

But of course it doesn’t end there. Even after ten years as a stay at home dad, I still consider myself a Commando Dad in training. It is worth the effort. To a trooper, their dad has many roles, often falling somewhere between Hero, Role Model and Protector. When you become a dad you step into those shoes and you owe it to yourself – and your troopers – to be the best dad you can be. So don’t let yourself get sidelined, dads. You are simply too important.

I wrote this blog for The Baba Blog, a great blog  full of practical advice and tips for new mums…..and hopefully some new dads too.

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Commando Dad won a silver LovedByParents award!

The category was ‘Best Gift for New Mum/Dad’.

Tina Summers from LovedByParents said:

“We are delighted that Neil has won a prestigious Silver Lovedbyparents Award and it is a testament to how hard he has worked on his wonderful book, Commando Dad. It will make a great gift for any new mum or dad.”
Cheers Tina! And of course HUGE THANKS to everyone who voted for Commando Dad!

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Please vote for Commando Dad: Loved by Parents Awards 2012

Commando Dad has been shortlisted for a Loved By Parents award, in the category of ‘Best Gift for New Mum & Dad‘. It’s all down to the public vote now!

So, if:

  • You read the book and think it’s worthy of a vote;
  • You are the kind of person that wouldn’t mind voting for a book to win an award;
  • You are not currently engaged on active duty with your troopers

…then please consider casting your vote for Commando Dad.

To vote

  • go to the Loved By Parents awards page
  • select ‘Creative’ category on the page that pops up
  • Commando Dad is the very last one in the list
  • you will also need to vote for at least four other products (sorry) that you rate
  • enter your email address
  • click ‘Submit Votes’

Cheers

Neil

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Command Dad Book Signing – 26 May, National Memorial Arboretum

Dads!

I’m going to be at the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas this weekend, signing copies of Commando Dad. It would be great to see you there (especially as I have all my family there too – not just my troopers but my mum and dad)! As an ex-serviceman it’s an honour and a privilege to be given the opportunity to be signing the book at a place which means so much to so many people.

In case you don’t know it, the National Memorial Arboretum is our national centre of remembrance. It is an amazing place that honours all those that have fallen since the second world war and also those that may not have been commemorated elsewhere. In case I have made it sound like a sad place, please let me assure you that the atmosphere there is one of pride and gratitude.

I’ll be there from 11.30, and you can find the address on the NMA website.

Cheers

Neil

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How to Clean and Sterilise a Baby Bottle

This is the second video to support ‘Surviving The First 24 Hours’ chapter in Commando Dad. I was a bit nervous and I think you can see my hand shaking at times (this was because of the camera, not because I am frightened of baby bottles). Please let me know what you think

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The Spooky Tale of How I Named My Daughter, Liberty

Naming your baby trooper is a tough business. There’s the whole issue around any name needing to be a good fit with your surname, as well as avoiding acronyms and all the names you have negative associations with (the kid at school with unsavoury habits, annoying colleagues with unsavoury habits, any boss you ever had, unsavoury habits or not etc). But the naming of my own troopers is an increasingly unusual story.

First, Samuel Robert Sinclair. Named after my wife’s granddad Samuel Lucas (or more accurately, Ernest Edwin Samuel Lucas, but that’s another story) and her dad, Robert ‘Bob’ Lucas. Both great men and two great names. Job done.

Then Jude Bonaparte Sinclair. Yes, you read right. Jude was originally destined to be called Peter Edward (using my own dad and

granddad’s names) but my wife took a bad fall when she was pregnant and we thought that she may miscarry. Then one day soon after the drama was over, she said, “I think we should change the name of this baby you know. He’s a fighter.” So we looked up the patron saint of second chances and his name was Jude.

We got Bonaparte from my other granddad, Napoleon Bonaparte Sinclair. Yes, you read that one right too. When my granddad was born there was much ado about which family names he should be given. In the end his dad declared he would be named after someone he admired to end the argument. I should add at this point that the whole family is from Thurso, Scotland.

 

Finally, Liberty Maeve Sinclair. Now this is the kind of story I need to preface with ‘I have witnesses’.

Naming a girl is difficult, because not only are there millions more names to choose from but every noun can plausibly be a girl’s name (Willow was in the running for a long time, for example). We knew her middle name was to be Maeve as my wife’s nanny had been of Irish descent (Florence O’Rourke from Cork) and her auntie is a Maeve and she is a Tara. But we went through every first name under the sun and couldn’t agree on a single one.

Then one night I had a dream (stay with me) that my wife handed me a baby and said: “this is your daughter and her name is Liberty.” Now, I should tell you that we were living in Hoboken at the time and I thought, well maybe I have just picked up the idea from the Statue of Liberty and didn’t give it much thought.

Then later that morning I heard my wife talking on the phone to her sister. She too had a dream. In a very brightly lit room our son Samuel had said to her “You have to call the baby Liberty mom. Two beings made of light told me.”