Category Archives: Year Zero

August 26th 2010 – August 25th 2011

Hoovers suck!

It sits in the corner of the room, dormant. Isabelle’s eyes narrow as she watches it for the any signs of movement, no matter how slight. Gingerly she crawls passed it but always watching it.

Then, from out of the shadows it strikes with a deafening noise…Isabelle has a fear of the vacuum cleaner. It’s almost as if with her becoming more aware of noises and sounds around her, so once both co-existed in harmony.

The fact that it’s a Dyson ball creates images of the boulder from the beginning of Raiders of the Lost Ark snapping at the heels of Indiana Jones, but I’m more inclined to see it as akin to the crop dusting plane remorselessly chasing down Cary Grant in North By Northwest.

Lately then hoovering has had to occur when Isabelle isn’t here or when she can stay in the other room with Sarah whilst Daddy wrestles with it like Tarzan, loin cloth optional. It evokes memories of this scene from Mr Mom with Michael Keaton.





Stars in Their Iz #8

We all remember that scene in BIG where Tom Hanks and Robert Loggia dance on the giant piano in the New York toy store F A O Schwarz, well this impromptu moment of Isabelle copying Dave with his ‘piano skills’ kind of reminded me of that. Of course they aren’t using feet but just the essence of that moment from the film was just there for me. Sorry Dave, that makes you Robert Loggia!

Tom Hanks and Robert Loggia
Dave Phillips and Isabelle Newman

Stars in Their Iz #2

Part 2 in a limited series of random images of Izzy that on later viewing appear to replicate a famous person or scene from film, TV or history.

E.T. and Elliot
Gloworm and Izzy

This edition we hark back to Steven Spielberg’s 1982 classic, E.T. – The Extra Terrestrial. The film depicts the close bond an alien and young boy have with each other.

It’s a modern classic and features many memorable scenes and images,

 perhaps none more than the moment E.T. and Elliot fly past the moon on their bike. Thankfully Izzy and her gloworm have stayed on terra firma…for now.

Stars in their Iz #1

This entry kicks off a strictly limited series of Izzy as famous or iconic figures from the world of film and television as they crop up purely by chance.

This week: Han Solo in The Empire Strikes Back

Han Solo?
Izzy Newman?

You remember the scene, it’s near the beginning on the ice planet Hoth where Han and Chewie take out a rebel drone.


Not to be outdone Missy more than resembles a Tauntaun, which Mr Solo also uses in the film to find a missing Luke Skywalker, although we won’t be slicing her open for Izzy to sleep inside her like in the actual film.


Feed of Dreams

I inhabit a world now where a sufficiently large burp or amply filled nappy pleases and excites me and I know it’s hardly Ripley’s believe it or not but Izzy has just fed whilst being asleep. A natural reflex by all accounts but I found it somewhat fascinating all the same as I was not aware of this baby autopilot phenomenon.

Clearly this a skill we lose early in life as I’m sure I would have consumed more than the odd pizza and chocolate using this very same method, although I’m sure there are still the few who have adapted the use of this skill when they are at work.

Izzy just looked rather chilled and relaxed as she took her sleep feed, her eyes remaining closed throughout the guzzling of milk, some general gurgling the only sign of anything actually happening. There was even a spot of dream burping to be had as well.

If you feed her…her burps will come.

Operation: Day Out

The new Newman clan had their first solo outing this weekend. Destination: Freeport shopping outlet – it basically looks like ‘The Village’ from The Prisoner but with more clothes rails, it is almost as difficult to escape from though!

It also marked Izzy’s first visit to a Pizza Express – which is pretty much as close as it gets to a religious experience for me, a church of pizza if you will. So, obviously very much a Kodak moment. Funnily enough though such a visit doesn’t seem to warrant a caption card and photo space in any of our ‘Baby’s first year’ books, but then nor does first trip to the cinema, first purchase or first pun delivered.

And so we find ourselves at Freeport in Braintree and – I can see this being a recurring moan – most of Joe Public are oblivious to a bright green buggy that is only seconds from mowing them down. If this does continue I think we’ll have one of those things fitted that they used to have on the front of old trains in Westerns to clear cows off the line – although rotating chariot blades would be another obvious option.

The other thing worthy of note is just how buggy unfriendly most places seem to be – not Pizza Express I hasten to add which is perhaps why it seems to be home to two-thirds of the world’s high chairs. Most other places have uber thin aisles that make the trenches in the Death Star look like autobahns in comparison. This seems to be especially true in shops with lots of plates, decanters or porcelain figurines on display, but perhaps the worst culprit of frankly crap layout is the Mamas and Papas store. It’s more like a garden maze than a store with constant dead ends due to ridiculously placed displays that make safe passage or passage of any kind impossible.

"Dad, put the camera down"

Most of the coffee places we found on this particular jaunt, vital for those all important drinks and nappy changing pit stops, were just as bad, looking more like lower class on the Titanic all in the quest to cram just one more table in to sell that one extra latte with chocolate sprinkles. It was a good job we could rely on Starbucks then.

Anyway, back to Pizza Express, the restaurant itself sounded perhaps more like a children’s swimming pool party as it was full of a constant child chatter, not that this is a criticism, it was nice and friendly, relaxing and the food was great as well. The waiting staff were even so nice that when I was scribing the bare bones of this on a napkin – if Orson Welles could write on beer mats then I’m musing on napkins – they even offered to get me some paper. At least they didn’t offer me the crayons and colouring in set!!

The eating of the food itself though proved to be an interesting exercise as Sarah and I were practically like a tag team, swapping between cutting the other person’s food whilst the other held Izzy. Thankfully we only had the three courses, bonus points also for pizza not tasting awful as it cools down, as if it had been one of those eight course meals it would have ended up being more like the Le Mans 24 hours.

Night of the Living Dad

Despite the constant drooping eyelids it turns out that feeding and burping in the night isn’t all that bad. This week I’ve done it whilst catching silly o’clock screenings of Jurassic Park and Beverly Hills Cop 3, although with the latter I was naturally tempted to pat the Axel F theme on Izzy’s back but did resist.

Izzy turned one month old this week and is continuing to grow (almost before our very eyes) as she now weighs 8 lb 9 oz. She marked the occasion by being sick on me for the first time – with all that white gloop coming out from her mouth she did a fairly good impression of Ash the cyborg from Alien. Who’d have thought that such a little person could hold so much warm, white fluid!

It’s certainly put me off Ovaltine for life, not that I much fancied it in the first place to be honest.

Haven’t I seen you before somewhere?

Well here we are just over three whole weeks in, zooms by I know, and numerous people have commented that Izzy looks like the pair of us, which sounds kind of obvious but it is also nice to hear.

The general consensus seems to be that the top half (eyes and er forehead) is moi and the rest (nose and mouth) is Sarah. Ears we can’t make our mind up on so they can be like Switzerland in World War 2 and be neutral.

At times though Izzy has also taken on the chameleon-like role of appearing as several other different people, sort of.

With her giant scratch mitts (which look more like she is playing a game of scatch) which constantly wriggle off due to her oh so tiny hands which has meant she has scratched herself a little, nothing serious though. Thank goodness she has hair then as she’d look more than a little like Donald Pleasance as Blofeld, arch enemy of one 007 in You Only Live Twice.

Sarah thinks Izzy looks a little like the worm in the wall in Labyrinth that speaks to Sarah – the character in the film played by Jennifer Connelly.  Sounds cruel I know. It’s all in the dinky nose, mouth and her eyes. Obviously it’s not a worm in everyday sense of the word but in the fantasy world of the Jim Henson Creature Workshop, so that’s okay then. Still it could have been worse!

Izzy also has a habit of constantly poking her tongue out, a bit like Barty Crouch Jr, as played by David Tennant in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, not that she’s in league with Voldemort or practices the dark arts or anything.

I’m that used to seeing Izzy asleep or laid down, so it’s a brilliant sight to see her sat upright after having her fill of milk. It’s great to see her so animated, looking and moving like a proper little person, a little juddery, a bit like an animatronic, but a proper juddery animatronic person none the less.

Sometimes she looks part little old man, slightly hunched over and rather looking out of breath, but then who wouldn’t after necking 5 fl oz of milk in record time. Sticking with Jim Henson, movement wise she also has an air of Robin, Kermit’s nephew about her, by way of a Doozer from Fraggle Rock minus the hardhat. She’s undeniably cute and just wants to make you go ah!

Back to the old routine

Well, didn’t those two weeks go rather quickly? It doesn’t seem that I’ve been off five minutes and then I’m back at work.

Of course it was a doddle leaving Sarah and Izzy at home whilst I ventured out into the cool September morning air and didn’t really give the pair of them a second thought, which is why I checked my phone for missed calls at 0816, 0819 and 0824.

It felt the same returning to work yet at the same time changed utterly. Whereas before it seemed all about the work, even sometimes at home, it now took on the feeling that work was more pretend. Pretend isn’t the right word (don’t worry it’s still important Mr S) but it’s had to shuffle up on the sofa of life in the priority stakes. The free coffee in the machine also helped act as a buffer of sorts today.

It was great to catch up with Pat Higgins as well, lecturer come horror auteur, who is busy prepping the horror flick Strippers Vs Werewolves, as well as getting ready to welcome his very own first child into the world. We sat there segwaying from low budget horror films to ‘new dad’ talk and probably back to films again but it felt good and oh so natural to leap between topics.

Pat’s shooting his film, featuring former Emmerdale actress Adele Silva, in early 2011 and he wondered how he’d juggle the pressures of both his film and baby. I’d often thought about this and it turns out thus far I’ve been my most prolific in writing for both my blog and the one I pen for those fine folk at Syfy. Clearly having a baby is good for your creative juices.

I mentioned to Pat that I also think it’s about having less time but utilising that available time better, at both work and home, using each second of those eight minutes as that sterilizer whirs round and round in the microwave to read a chapter of a book or do the pots. Perfect for reading scripts in short sharp bursts I bet.

Nearly three weeks up and it’s still a fun, exciting ride of discovery and lots of staring at a very small person and lots and lots of perfumed nappy bags. Even now as I sit typing this I’ve got the baby monitor cranked up to 11 and pausing every so often when there is some static or a shuffle. Of course life as we know it has changed but it doesn’t mean that what has come before has stopped, it’s just finding new ways to fit it in.

It’s day two back at work in the morning and I’m sure that I’ll slip back into the old routine a little bit further. In fact I don’t think I’ll check my phone for messages until at least 0827. Tiny steps, you might say.

Two weeks old today!

The excitement was all too much

That’s right Izzy has been with us for a whole two weeks and it’s certainly not been a fraught fortnight either. It’s odd that we are even at the two-week mark as sometimes its seems less and sometimes it feels more but whichever way you look at it it feels as if she has never not been here.

The health visitor came out today, who Sarah knew from work so that made it feel all that little bit more special.

Izzy’s first weigh in after she first came home showed us she had lost 11 ounces from her 7 lbs birth weight, quite a normal occurence but obviously we were still a little worried.

Since then the little madam has been gulping for England, been a bit sick for Scotland and hiccupped for Wales, rather adorably sounding like a yapping puppy, think the woman who bounces up on down on one leg and does a dog impression in Coming To America. But the, she makes being sick seem adorable at the moment as well to be honest.

Izzy at 14 days old

Anyway, back to the weigh in, she’s been putting the weight back on, fitting snuggly in the graph and charts they plot, and now weighs 7 lb 3 oz. Obviously we are fattening her up for Christmas.

They also measured Izzy’s height and she is a dizzying 50 com tall, I grant you no ‘Attack of the 50 Foot Woman’ just yet but I’m sure she’ll grow at a fair old rate and be up to be shoulders before I know it…just not this side of Christmas if you please!