Wednesday, November 2, 2011

New advice column!

(... which is to say - new column, same old advice.)

Dear Masses,
Today The Tiger Father is very proud to present a brand new feature to make this excellent, absorbing website three times more absorbent than regular websites: It’s our very own all singing, all dancing, fur-lined, ocean-going, cut-out-and-keep stay-at-home dad advice column! Keep the questions coming, and I swear I’ll answer them as I get around to it. Thanks – The Management,


Dear Trev,
Very nobly, and without wanting to draw attention to my manful self-sacrifice, I stayed in to look after our six-month old daughter recently while my wife went on a girls’ night out. Unfortunately our baby woke up in a state of distress at one point. I tried everything I could think of, but after my wife’s phone didn’t answer I decided that being a musician, I would soothe her with song. Alas it still took ages for her to go to sleep. In fact, it was long after my wife came home. To this day I think she was angry with me. Can you tell me what mistakes I might have made with my sleep and settling technique? Thanks, Dave, Chaoyang District. PS: I play the bagpipes.
Hi Dave,
When trying to settle your little ones we have to make some pretty careful choices, for the road to a sleeping child can be potholed with many perils. But the bagpipes? It’s a no-brainer. Play the bit from Mull of Kintyre, not the bits from It’s A Long Way To The Top or Scotland The Brave. Also my mum used to dip her finger in some whisky and let us suck it. You could try that, but whatever you do, don’t try Chinese spirits like er guo tou. The kid will be burping up fermented potato peelings for days. Good luck and happy sleeping!

Dear Trev,
Please help us get our 12-month-old boy to sleep! We love him dearly but his inability to get sufficient rest is wearing him out – and his parents! I’m afraid to say, it’s putting a strain on our marriage. We feel we have considered every possible reason, even whether there might be some environmental issues about where we live in Beijing. We have thought about moving but our home is so convenient as it is right next door to my work. Please help! Kevin Phelps, Chief Engineer, Beijing People’s No.1 Foghorn Testing Facility, Chaoyang District.
Dear Kev,
Like that thing at the front of the middle shelf in the fridge, sometimes what we’re looking for can be right under our noses and we don’t even know it! You raise the question of environmental concerns? Could there be a bad smell somewhere? Dirty sheets? Are there any noise concerns at all? If so, ear-plugs could be the solution for your baby sleep blues. It sounds crazy but we use them in our family. Now, our little ones could cry all night and my wife and I wouldn’t have a clue.
This kid can cry all he likes - he wouldn't wake me up.
Dear Trev,
We’ve got the dinner time blues! Our highly spirited four-year-old boy has taken to tantruming during meal-times. Last night, he refused to eat anything that wasn’t blue, so we had to use food dye through his sausages and vegetables. The night before, he upturned his dinner all over his sister’s head, stabbed a fork into his mummy’s hand, and ran from the table screaming, knocking over a pot plant. We love him dearly but we just wish he’d eat and we can get back to enjoying family meal-times together. What should we do? Brian, Shunyi.
Dear Brian,
Wow – your boy sounds like a real piece of work. Really, what an arsehole! I read your words with great interest, for, trust me, this column has heard it all before. Words like “highly spirited”, for example. We all know what that means, right? A proper little s**t! Just give him his food and if he doesn’t eat it, that’s his problem mate. You eat it. I mean, really. It’s high time these little Hitlers learned who’s boss around the place and started showing a little respect. Love him?! Cuff his ears, more like.
This kid can cry all he likes.
He's not getting blue food.

Dear Trev,
My wife and I are worried about our son’s increasing weight. He is eight but weighs as much as boys twice his age. We try to regulate what he eats, but sometimes he gets quite insistent and we find it easier to cave in than fight. We are sure his size problem is genetic, or because of over-active glands or something, but are wondering if you know of any techniques we could use? Thanks, Keith, Shandong.
Dear Keith,

Genetic?! Glandular?! Listen feller, there are no fat sheep in a drought, right? You want techniques? Here’s one: Hide the cakes and pies.
Here is the drought sheep ...
... and here is the eating disorder sheep.
Dear Trev,
Can you please help us help our children to sleep better at night? They’re three and six and up all the time. We’ve read a few books on the subject of settling and sleep issues, have tried controlled crying, herbal remedies, whale song CDs, the lot! Nothing seems to work. Like everyone else, it’s putting a strain on our marriage and we’re almost at our wits’ end. Please help! John, Tianjin.
Dear John,
This again? Look, I don’t know what’s wrong with your kids John. End of every night I fall into bed exhausted and sleep like a baby. Or better than most babies by the sound of these letters I keep getting! Try telling them that when you were their age you used to toil all day in a workhouse in Victorian England and used to love getting to bed! Also say you used to get beaten all the time. See if that works. But if the stress is making things tense at home, can I remind you that Paddy O’Shea’s is an excellent place to watch Premier League Football on a Saturday or Sunday night. And golf. That goes on forever.
At the end of the day, kids need to sleep in a place which
 is suitable for them, such as here.

Or maybe here.

And it's important for any parent
to watch out for tired signs, such as kids falling
asleep while walking downstairs ...

... or while standing up.

Dear Trev,
I am seriously worried about my marriage and hope you can help me by giving me a man’s perspective on our problems. I love my husband and our three beautiful children but after seven years together I am sad to say that the spark appears to have gone out of our marriage. When we first got together my husband was a spirited, enthralling, interesting man, always keen to try new things, go new places and meet new people. But now he seems content to do the same things all the time, won’t go anywhere exciting, hates meeting new people and making conversation and seems to only become animated when watching football in the pub with his friends. Our sex life has also deteriorated. I desperately want things to change because I am no longer happy. Please help! – Lorna, Beijing South.
Dear Lorna,
Ooh, mmm. Nasty. Very tricky indeed. It’s um … yeah no. What’s, aah …
Ah look Lorna, I wouldn’t be getting too worked up about it. You know it’s probably not that bad really, when you think about it … probably just what a lot of people go through or something. You’re probably just worrying about nothing. Yeah, that’s it! I’d say the best thing to do would be to just sit tight, don’t do anything drastic and see what happens. And then, well, you just never know. Otherwise you run the risk of getting into one of those awkward and dramatic “talks about the relationship” and noone wants one of those, do they? Furthermore, this one shapes as quite a lengthy one, far longer than “Stop putting the lids on bottles so tight” or “Would you just pick one channel and stick to it”. So … just … I wouldn’t worry too much about it. But Lorna, thanks for writing in and remember if there’s anything I can do, or if you ever want to chat about something, I’m here to help.
Jeez is that the time?
And this kid can cry all he likes. I don't know
what his problem is. He can just cry
all he likes.


  1. I am laughing so hard I have tears! Trevor you're hilarious! I will have to write to you for your sage words of wisdom :)

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