Charlie Swinbourne: From being called ‘Poo Daddy’ to a traumatic plane journey – My 10 most embarrassing dad moments

Posted on January 4, 2013

‘Becoming a dad has given me some of the most beautiful moments imaginable,’ says Charlie Swinbourne. ‘But there have been some very, very embarrassing moments too.’ Here he tells us his top 10, gathered over the past four years since his first daughter Martha, arrived, followed by Edie, who is now two.There are exquisite moments as a father that you never forget. Such as witnessing your daughters saying their first words, smelling that newborn smell, and building castles on the beach on family holidays.

But there are also moments of acute human embarrassment. Unavoidable, cringe-worthy moments, some of which I was responsible for and others that were fired my way by the dark, cruel gods of parenthood. Without further ado, here are the fatherhood moments that still make me wince.

1. Driving my firstborn home from the maternity unit. Very slowly

Maybe it was the fact that I’d hardly slept in three days that did it. Or perhaps I just wasn’t too sure of how well the man from Halfords had fastened the baby seat. Either way, the speed at which I drove home from the hospital that first day remains a source of amusement for my wife. Of course, there was no more precious cargo than our tiny bundle of joy sleeping soundly in the car seat, mere hours into her time on this earth. But things became farcical when, in a 40mph zone and in clear traffic, I was overtaken by a elderly cyclist.

2. Poo Daddy

I wouldn’t have minded if Martha, then three years old, had shouted out her new nickname for me in front of close relatives. My parents, say. Or my wife’s sister and brother-in-law. That she suddenly decided to point at me and start calling me ‘Poo Daddy!’, before collapsing in a fit of giggles, during a meal attended by a family we’d never met before was awkward, to say the least. ‘Is that what she calls you then?’ the husband asked. I could see from his facial expression that he really wanted to ask, ‘Why?’ There were no socially acceptable answers to either his spoken, or unspoken, questions.

To read the rest of my 10 most embarrassing dad moments, including the list below, just go to

3. Potty training goes wrong. On the high street

4. The boiled man

5. Falling asleep… while my wife was in labour

6. A leak on the activity centre floor

7. Kicking the trolley

8. The Dindy Dondys

9. Insulting my parents’ parenting skills

10. A traumatic landing

 Charlie Swinbourne is a freelance journalist, scriptwriter and Dad. Charlie grew up in a deaf family, signing and speaking by equal measure, and went on to feed this into journalism for the Guardian, BBC Online and this website. Charlie has worked in television for Channel 4 and the BBC and has appeared on Radio 4 and BBC Breakfast News. He has also written plays and short films featuring deaf characters, winning an ITV Writers Award in 2007 for his first script, a comedy called ‘Coming Out.’ Charlie has two young daughters and recently swapped city life in London for the countryside of Yorkshire.

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