I am Neuroscience PhD, a humanist, skeptic, feminist, avid reader, science enthusiast, woolly-liberal über-nerd, and, as of October 2015, father to the Lykketroll.

I moved from England to Norway in January 2012 and live in Lørenskog with my wife, the Lykketroll, and our two aging rescue cats, Socrates and Schrödinger. 

I am on paternity leave from the 4th of July to the 18th of November. 

The job I am on leave from is as an  Associate Professor and Head of Studies at the Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences. My background is in child neurodevelopment (my PhD looked into the relationship between fatty acids like omega-3 and cognitive development in young children) but I now work on a hodge-podge of things roughly within the field of Universal Design of ICT 50% of the time, the other 50% of my time I am Head of the 'General' Studies (Allmenn in Norwegian) Unit, which is comprised of around 24 academics within a range of fields, including mathematics, physics, Norwegian, and technology and leadership.

In between working and doing the usual dad things,  I like hiking and running in the beautiful Norwegian outdoors, cooking and playing video games. 

If I believed in souls I would say that mine was born in Norway. 

I plan to sleep when I'm dead.

10 things it helps to remind myself of every day

10 things it helps to remind myself of every day

  1. He is not a robot with on and off buttons. I read this on a sleep advice website (can’t remember which one, unfortunately). Seems so obvious, but it was a bit of a revelation in the midst of the worst part of his 10-month sleep regression, and it’s still helpful to remind myself of it most days. I can’t say that I can empathise with his struggle to sleep, as I can sleep standing up and fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow (or when we get 45 minutes into watching any film…), but my wife struggles with it often, and thinking about it this way has helped me to cut him more slack and be more patient at nap and night times.
  2. All advice is meant with good intentions, even if 95% of it doesn’t work for us. I find it much more helpful (and less annoying) to just hear about what other parents are doing with/for their kids, rather than being given advice for what to do with the Lykketroll, and this is how I try to approach these kinds of conversations myself.
  3. I know him better than anyone (even now my wife I suppose) and I should just trust my instincts. 
  4. Everything is trial and error. I just have to learn to be systematic with trials and hope that the errors are on the right side of making him seriously ill or accidentally killing him.
  5. He doesn’t get bored. I have always been someone who loves to be doing a dozen things at once, but being at home with the Lykketroll has in many ways helped me work on my FOMO and focus on doing fewer things. That said, it is tough sometimes dealing with the monotony of the day. It gets a little boring sometimes, but that’s ok. The answer isn’t to cure my occasional boredom by filling the day with too many activities, as that isn’t good for him, instead I am learning to be in the moment more and remind myself that am constantly doing something that couldn’t possibly be boring: watching and helping him learn to become a human being.
  6. He doesn’t need to be activated all the time. In the firsts few days of my paternity leave, I would try and cram in all the chores if and when he took his naps so that I could spend all my time interacting with him. I used to feel like a terrible parent if I was on my phone for more than a couple of minutes. But I quickly came to realise (with some help from my very sensible wife) that that wasn’t sustainable and was probably counterproductive, too. Now I let him watch me load the dishwasher or hang up the laundry and think of doing chores as a different form of activation and learning for him. Building in a couple of sessions of free-play into the day, where I leave him to explore and entertain himself for a bit whilst I have a cup of tea and browse Twitter, is good for him as he learns that I can’t be there hovering around him all the time, and it’s good for me too as I get a little time to myself.
  7. Narrate. I’m not much of a talker, and I’m really not a fan of talking for talking’s sake, so I have to remind myself often that it’s really good for him that I just describe what I’m doing and what is happening.  Even if he can’t yet understand what I am saying, it’s all helping him build a picture of the world and setting the foundations for this language development.  
  8. It doesn’t matter how other babies are doing. I know that babies develop at hugely different rates and yet it’s virtually impossible not to compare his milestones to the other kids in our NCT group and at drop-in nursery and worry that things are not happening fast enough. I’ve found that it helps to focus on the more general, abstract guidelines provided by our health worker rather than individual kids we know.
  9. He is not bored of eating anything yet. He is still trying things for the very first time all the time! I have a problem with not wanting to eat the same thing too many days in a row, and sometimes project that problem onto him and think that he must be bored of eating half a banana at least once a day. Then I remember that I have been eating bananas for 32 years and not just the last 7 months. He hasn’t been eating anything long enough to be bored of it yet.
  10. Out of all the people in the whole world, he loves me and his mum the most, even when – perhaps especially when – he is screaming at the top of his lungs in the middle of the night. 

 

The Troll in three characters

The Troll in three characters

10 things that make raising a baby a scientist’s worst nightmare.

10 things that make raising a baby a scientist’s worst nightmare.