The Casual Father: How 'hairdryer treatment' and 'Fergie-time' means something different in our house

Michael Steward

Michael Steward

Archant

Without wishing to sound older than my years, isn't technology incredible these days. I make this statement in reference to a little piece of equipment that has been making the wife's and, in turn, my life a whole lot easier - and it was free.

In fear of turning this column into some kind of baby gear review, as well as being accused of selling out, I will not mention the name of said product (although I am willing to listen to any potentially lucrative offers in the future).

I was first introduced to this little nugget of downloaded electronic gold after arriving home from work one day.

“You won’t believe this app I’ve got on my phone,” said the wife, barely letting me in the door and grinning like a Cheshire cat.

“It’s like hypnosis,” she continued, “you just set it by her ear, hit the button and she goes to sleep.”

Ever the sceptic, and well aware that sleep deprived mothers aren’t renowned for their rationality, I had to see it for myself.

The application works on phones or tablets and contains a series of everyday sounds, things like a fan, a car ride or a vacuum cleaner.

Not wishing to put a dampener on proceedings, I decided against highlighting the fact that the vacuum cleaner is not an everyday sound in our house.

“She only settles with the hairdryer,” said the wife, as she pushed the button on her phone, and to my complete and utter amazement, it worked.

Elizabeth was comatosed within about one minute, the wife gave me a look of “I told you so” and our house has sounded like a busy hair salon ever since.

It is important for me to say that this app does not have a 100 per cent Elizabeth sleep success rate, but I’ll tell you what, it isn’t far off.

The only downside to all of this is hearing the wife instructing me to, “give her the hairdryer”.

Nothing wrong with that per se, but her words conjure up the unattractive image of former red-nosed Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson hissing at his players in my mind.

I explain to the wife the legend of the ‘hairdryer treatment’ – Sir Alex bawling at Beckham and co from a yard away so that their hair ends up behind their head – and it tickles her.

The method thereafter is christened as “Fergie time” by the wife, which I try to explain is something else altogether, but it seems one football analogy is enough for now.

So with Elizabeth now napping with the aid of technology, I quickly speculate at ways in which our newly found free time can be used.

“Can you do the vacuuming?” asks the wife.

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