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Like father, like son

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Like father, like son

I was recently looking through some pictures of myself as a baby and was struck by some of the similar things that I did as a baby and that our son has done in his first fifteen months. Here are a few examples…

I’ve talked about slings in some posts on this blog, partly because we live near a village called Sling and partly because going round the supermarket with my son in a sling has become an unexpected father and son bonding activity. As it happens, I was a baby who was carried around in a baby carrier by my dad over thirty years ago…

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Another thing that I seem to have copied from my dad is wearing matching father and son stripey t-shirts. The one on the left was taken in Scotland in the early 1980s and the one on the right in Wales last year…

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Our son also seems to be following in my footsteps by developing an early interest in reading, or at least pulling books off bookshelves…

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…and he seems also to have developed my love of sand and sandpits.

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As I mentioned in a recent post, our son has tried to water our chickens while walking around our back garden with a watering can. Judging by the picture below on the left, it looks like my parents took steps to make sure I didn’t get too close to chickens whether or not I was carrying a watering can!

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Finally, it seems like my son and I also share a love of swings. Here’s a photo of baby, daddy and granny in a play park…

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What did you think of this blog post? Do your kids do things that you used to like doing when you were younger? Please feel free to share your views in the comments section below or on the ‘Dad’s The Way I Like It’ pages on Facebook or Google+.

Remember that you can also subscribe to this blog by entering your e-mail address in the box on the right of the screen and also follow this blog via BlogLovin. There’s also now a Pinterest board for this blog as well, so please feel free to pin this post if you’ve enjoyed reading it.

 

I’ve added this post to the following parent blogger link-ups:

Reading with baby on Fathers’ Day

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Fathers' Day

Despite being only fourteen months old, our son is already showing an interest in books. Sometimes this involves pulling them off shelves rather than actually reading them, but I still see such acts as small steps on the pathway towards literacy. Before he could walk, one of our son’s favourite activities seemed to be crawling into our spare room and trying to empty the entire contents of a set of bookshelves onto the floor.

He also tried a similar trick on a visit to a library event for toddlers and little kids at which I energetically tried to pick up books as soon as he’d thrown them on the floor. I think that this was a game that he quite enjoyed in fact. Indeed, he seemed to like it even more than playing with any of the many toys that the library had. When I was small, I also enjoyed messing around in libraries. I once left part of the bottom of one of my trouser legs in a library – it was a turn-up for the books.

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As it happens, one of the first Christmas presents that I bought for our son was a book called Dilyn Dilys. The title is Welsh for ‘following Dilys’ and tells the story of a sheep called Dilys who goes for a walk and encounters various different birds and animals along the way. As someone who has learnt Welsh as an adult, I sometimes come across words in Welsh language children’s books that I do know. Indeed, I discovered the Welsh words for bees, thistles and fluffy thanks to Dilyn Dilys.

In addition to providing an opportunity to enrich my Welsh vocabulary, I also see reading kids’ books as being part of quality father and son time. My dad and my mum both read to me as a child and I’m sure that my wife and I will both read to our son as he grows up. We’re bringing up our son bilingually and this normally involves my wife speaking English to him and me speaking Welsh to him. By exposing him to books in both languages, I hope that our son will be able to take pleasure in the cultures and traditions that are associated with the Welsh and English languages as well as taking in the words (and pictures) in his books.

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As I started learning Welsh as an adult after moving to Wales back in 2007, reading to my son has meant that I’ve generally not been using the very same books as the ones I had read to me when I was small. In some ways, this might seem like a bit of a shame but it is also a source for me as I get to discover new books. Indeed, I’ve quite enjoyed looking through the kids’ books at a fantastic local independent bookshop that stocks a great range of titles in both Welsh and English.

Our son seems to be showing quite a bit of ambition when it comes to reading despite being very small. On a recent trip to a library with mummy and granny, he decided that the books for babies and toddlers weren’t all that interesting and instead kept grabbing books about things like dinosaurs and robots from the shelf for older children.

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I’ve also tried to keep ahead of the game when it comes to reading and parenting. As I mentioned in a post entitled Bilingual parenting means learning lots of jokes, I have been stocking up on joke books in both Welsh and English so as I can take on the traditional paternal role of sharing puns, one liners and other forms of rib-ticklers in different languages. Some might say that I don’t tell many good jokes in English so shouldn’t have trouble failing to tell decent jokes in Welsh. However, I feel that I would be failing in my paternal duties were I not able to tell dad jokes in both languages.

I’m not sure what’s in store this weekend for Fathers’ Day but I’m looking forward to spending some quality family time with my wife and son. Last year we went out for lunch and then on to a local pottery shop where we got our son to decorate some plates with paint footprints and handprints. He was so calm and relaxed about it all at the time, but I think things would be a bit different now that he’s walking and running all over the place. I certainly wouldn’t be relaxed taking him into a pottery shop anyway!

 

I’ve written this post as part of the #DadsRead campaign that is being run by the Zoobean blog and the Good Men Project. To see more posts on this topic, search for the #DadsRead hashtag on Twitter.

 

What are you looking forward to this Fathers’ Day and what books do you like reading with your children?  Feel free to share your views in the comments section below or on the ‘Dad’s The Way I Like It’ pages on Facebook or Google+.

Remember that you can also subscribe to this blog by entering your e-mail address in the box on the right of the screen and also follow this blog via BlogLovin. There’s also now a Pinterest board for this blog as well, so please feel free to pin this post if you’ve enjoyed reading it.

 

OTHER POSTS FROM THIS BLOG ABOUT BOOKS AND READING

Bilingual parenting means learning lots of jokes

Happy World Book Day!

Babies, Books and Blogging

 

I’ve added this post up to the following parenting blog link-ups:

Happy World Book Day!

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Happy World Book Day

I’ve always seen books as being special and this post is about why they are important to me now that I am a parentIt’s also about what I feel that we need to celebrate on World Book Day.

My first post on this blog was entitled Read all about it: dad books and preparing for fatherhood. It was about parenting books that are specifically aimed at dads and dads-to-be. I have also written other posts about specific books that have discussed some of the aspects of parenting about which I am passionate. It was a real privilege to be able to interview Ana Flores, one of the co-authors of the book Bilingual is Better, as part of the Multicultural Kid Blogs Book Club last year. More recently, I have also blogged about reading Bill Richards and Ashley Steel’s book Family on the Loose: the Art of Travelling with Kids and buying some Welsh language joke books in order to entertain our son.

Books have always been important to me, and I talked about why they are particularly important to me now as a parent in December 2013 in a post entitled Babies, Books and Blogging. I have previously explained how they have helped to play an important role in being a bilingual parent, and only last weekend I read a book to our 10 month old son for the first time. It was a Welsh language picture book about a sheep entitled Dilyn Dilys, which means ‘following Dilys’.

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Reading a book to our son for the first time felt like a really special parenting moment, one of what I hope will be many that involve sharing things with our son that he will enjoy. We are really lucky that he has already received several free books as part of schemes to promote bilingualism here in Wales, and that several local libraries run events for parents with small children and babies.

Books can provide a means of understanding the world as well as understanding one’s self, and I talked about this in a blog post that I wrote shortly after the death of the Irish poet Seamus Heaney. As I mentioned, I am from Scotland, have Irish parents and the country of Wales where I now live is a place whose national anthem celebrates its poets. In 2008, the year after I moved to Wales, I went to the Hay Book Festival and really want to return to this eclectic and exciting event again in the future.

Y Babell Len - the literary tent at the Eisteddfod Genedlaethol

Y Babell Len – the literary tent at the Eisteddfod Genedlaethol

I have also twice been to Wales’s Eisteddfod Genedlaethol (National Eisteddfod), an annual week-long Welsh language cultural festival. At the event in 2009, I saw Y Babell Len (the Literary Tent) as somewhere that was perhaps not worth exploring as I didn’t feel that my Welsh would be good enough. However, I did end up venturing inside as there was a discussion taking place in Welsh about an English language novel by Simon Thirsk entitled Not Quite White. Last year, I was brave enough to venture into the Pabell Len to listen to a panel discussion about e-books and their impact on the Welsh language.

Whilst I do have an e-book reader and a tablet that I use to read e-books, I am also very attached to traditional paperback and hardback books. The physical copy of a book in some ways conveys a greater sense of intrigue or mystique. I have also found that second hand books are often cheaper than electronic copies that it is possible to read on an e-reader.

Our son with one of his current favourite books, the phone book.

Our son with one of his current favourite books, the phone book.

I also really value being able to visit a local bookshop where it is possible to browse and discover new books. We are really fortunate to have a fantastic local bookshop called Palas Print that is well stocked with a wide range of titles in both Welsh and English. The people who work there are always really helpful when it comes to ordering books or suggesting titles when we’re after a present for someone but aren’t quite sure what to get.

Online retailers can offer low prices and quick delivery, but I don’t feel that they will ever be able to fully replicate the pleasure that comes from visiting an actual book shop. For that reason, I’m trying extra hard this year to try to buy as many books as possible from local shops rather than online retailers.

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When it comes to online retailers, I’m also currently trying to use Amazon as little as possible. They may have an excellent range of books and other products, but I really have issues with the methods that they employ in order to try to minimise the tax that they have to pay here in the UK. It was reported last year that they only paid £2.4 million in tax on £4 billion of sales in the UK by virtue of effectively registering Amazon UK as a subsidiary of the Luxembourg-based Amazon EU Sarl. As was reported on the BBC News website,  Amazon has been able to put in place these tax arrangements despite the fact that it employs more than ten times as many people in the UK compared to Luxembourg.

The slogan on the website of our local bookshop is ‘heb ffiniau / without borders’. This is a concept that I associate with trying to make sure that reading is a gift from which everyone can take pleasure.  As our son grows up, I hope that he too will enjoy reading books that broaden his horizons and help him to understand the world around him. I hope that he will grow up in a world where the local bookshop remains present and in which big retailers respond to concerns about how they go about their business.

DISCLAIMER: I have not received or sought any form of sponsorship for mentioning any of the books, organisations or retailers that I discuss in this post.

Did you do anything to mark World Book Day? Are books important to you and/or your family?  Please feel free to share your views in the comments section below or on the ‘Dad’s The Way I Like It’ pages on Facebook or Google+.

Remember that you can also subscribe to this blog by entering your e-mail address in the box on the right of the screen and also follow this blog via BlogLovin. There’s also now a Pinterest board for this blog as well, so please feel free to pin this post if you’ve enjoyed reading it.

Nominations are now open for the MAD blog awards for UK parent bloggers and I’ve been nominated in the categories Best Baby Blog, Best New Blog and MAD Blog of the year. In each category, only the four blogs with the most votes will make the final shortlist. If you’d like to vote for me, please go to http://www.the-mads.com/vote/ and type in the web address of my blog (https://dadsthewayilikeit.wordpress.com/) in the relevant categories. Thank you!

I’ve shared this post with the following parent blog linkies:

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Babies, books and blogging

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2013-12-11 19.17.13I’ve read many books about parenting since learning that my wife and I were going to welcome a new arrival. Indeed, parenting books that are specifically aimed at dads were the subject of my first post on this blog. I’ve also talked about books that have helped me learn how to talk about wind, throwing up and tickling in Welsh.

I also did a post where I responded to a newspaper’s list of 50 supposed baby essentials, and this led to some interesting discussion about the most and least useful things to get when you have kids. John S. Green, who blogs at Papa Green Bean, suggested that a library card should have been on the list of essentials, especially as it can make it possible to borrow both books and music.

I was thinking about these comments recently as our son now has his own library card at our local library, which also entitles him to use several other local libraries. Not only that, but also received a free bilingual book about animals in Welsh and English when he joined our local council-run library. Our son has actually been going to libraries since he was three weeks old, notably because one of our local libraries was the venue for a parent and child Welsh course that my wife went to with him and has written about on her blog Mindful Mam.

For me, the fact that libraries are about more than just shelves of books sums of their value as focal points for communities. It is for this reason that I feel that it’s a real shame that public sector spending cuts in the UK since the last election have resulted in many libraries closing. Our local libraries make available books, CDs, DVDs, the internet and books that can be read on e-readers.

My wife has often said that reading books on an e-reader is great when breastfeeding. It’s amazing how light a device that can store thousands of books can be. This is a good thing as it minimizes the negative consequences of accidentally dropping an e-book reader whilst holding a baby, not that I’d know of course… 🙂

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Our son’s arrival has at times influenced my own reading choices, and not just because I’ve read quite a lot of books about parenting. In the run up to his birth, and since then, I have read quite a few about Wales and Welsh culture. We live in North Wales, and I moved here in 2007 due to work. After getting the job for which  was applying I rang all the Welsh people I knew at the time. It only took about five minutes and two phone calls.

I’ve thankfully got to know a few more Welsh people since then and have also been busy learning Welsh, a language that I now use as part of my daily life both at work and when talking to my son. As I mentioned a while ago in a post that I wrote shortly after the death of the Irish poet Seamus Heaney, my mixture of Scottish and Irish roots sometimes leaves me a bit confused about my own sense of identity and I’m not sure what our son will make of the fact that he’ll be eligible to represent Wales, Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland at football.

Since I talk to my son in Welsh, I’m going to have fun discovering new kids’ books in Welsh at the same time as him. Even if this means that I won’t be reading exactly the same books to him as did when I was growing up, I’m looking forward to the challenge. We’re lucky to have a really good local book shop that stocks a wide range of titles in both Welsh and English.

As a multilingual parent, one aspect of running this blog that I have really enjoyed is that it’s allowed me to connect with other bloggers in a wide variety of different places who are raising their children using more than one language, and also parents who are raising their children to appreciate a variety of different cultures. One group that has made this possible is Multicultural Kid Blogs, who bring together a fantastic range of bloggers and coordinate a great variety of different activities.

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Going back to the theme of books, Multicultural Kid Blogs have run an online book club where bloggers such as myself recently read Ana Flores and Roxana Soto’s book Bilingual is Better and discussed it on our blogs. Each week, a different blogger would write a post about a specific chapter in order to start the discussion. Here’s a link to the posts about each chapter. As you will see, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to host a question and answer session with Ana Flores on this blog.

In the new year, I’m looking forward to the second installment of the Multicultural Kid Blogs Book Club. This time round, we will be reading Family on the Loose: the Art of Travelling with Kids by Bill Richards and Ashley Steel. So far, my wife and I have been on just the one overseas trip with our son since he was born in April. We went to France in September, and I talked about this in a blog post entitled Our First Family Holiday.

I hope that September’s trip to Brittany will be the first of many that we undertake as a family, and I really look forward to reading more about the experiences of others who have been traveling with kids for a lot longer than we have. If you are interested in finding out more about the Multicultural Kid Blogs Book Club and how to get involved, just click on this link to see the schedule.

As our son grows up, I hope that he will develop a love of both travel and reading, and discover how both can broaden the mind and be a source of excitement and wonder.

What do you think of this post? What books were special to you as a child and what books are special to you and your children no? Feel free to share your views in the comments section below or on the ‘Dad’s The Way I Like It’ pages on Facebook or Google+.

Remember that you can also subscribe to this blog by entering your e-mail address in the box on the right of the screen and also follow this blog via BlogLovin. There’s also now a Pinterest board for this blog as well, so please feel free to pin this post if you’ve enjoyed reading it. Here’s the pin: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/428827195740258340/

Here are some parent blog link ups that this post is part of – check them out to see some great posts about all sorts of different aspects of parenting:

 

 

 

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