I’m the first to admit that I was quite naive going into this whole ‘parenting thing’. I really was.
I genuinely thought my days would be just as they were before, with a few nappy changes and the occasional bottle feed. How dumb was I?
Thankfully I’m a quick learner. I can now change nappies with my eyes closed – not to show off, I just find I have to look at much less poo that way.
All in all, I genuinely feel like some days I’m getting into the swing of this whole parenting thing. Some days.
That said, there are still somethings that I do, on a daily basis, that surprise me.
Here are my Five Things I Didn’t Expect From Fatherhood:
1: I pick my son’s nose most days.
Babies, all babies, are snotty creatures. Sometimes it feels like producing snot is their actual job. Sam, like so many of his peers, produces bogies at a prodigious rate. I mean, if snot were gold we’d be millionaires.
With small babies (whose noses are two small to pick) there are these little vacuum pumps that you insert into your young person’s nostril and squeeze – in an attempt to dislodge the accumulated goo. These devices are about as useful as… as… something not very useful at all. There are other bits of kit that allow you to siphon snot from your kid’s nose by inserting a tube in there and sucking on the other end. I’m sorry, but that was never going to happen.
So you can imagine my glee when Sam’s nose became large enough to pick. There’s a sentence I never thought I’d write. Anyway, in order to keep him – relatively – snot free a good nose-picking is what I give him.
The joys of fatherhood.
2: Work is ‘time off’.
I do childcare for Sam three working days a week – he’s in nursery for the rest. My days with him are glorious, but tiring. Oh, so tiring.
Sometimes I feel like I’m spinning plates, running around trying to do ten things simultaneously: play games, wash bottles, find toys, prep lunch – growing ever more exhausted until the plates start dropping. These days I drop so many (metaphorical) plates the (metaphorical) floor looks like it belongs in a (metaphorical) Greek restaurant.
So my days doing work, which used to be the low-point of my week (although they were the majority of it), now feel like a period of relaxation. All I need to do is sit down and get things done, with nobody to worry about but myself. They feel luxurious.
3: I’ve become competitive.
I’ve become strangely competitive. Which is strange because (generally) I’m not a competitive person. Or perhaps I see the foolishness in misplaced universal competitiveness.
I’m not one of those people who feels the need to compete at everything, from ten pin bowling to getting away first from traffic lights.
Why waste energy on things that are:
ii. Physically or mentally draining?
iii. Likely to be done better than you by a host of people?
I’ve always limited my competitiveness to one or two key areas where I know I have talent; leaving the rest to those who are easily distracted by shiny things.
I have, however, become very competitive on Sam’s behalf. On our daily activities together I find myself silently comparing Sam to the other babies we encounter – always announcing Sam as the victor:
Which baby has a nicer laugh? Sam.
Which baby has better hair? Sam.
Which baby would be most at home roller-skating in an Evian commercial? Sam.
I’m sure this will only get worse at the years roll by.
4: I smell poo everywhere.
Poo is a big part of my life these days (not my own). Sam’s mum and I talk about little else:
“Did he poo this morning?” “A little.” “How little’s little?” “Cadbury’s Creme Egg sized.” “OK. What colour?” “Brown.” “Dark brown or sandy?”
You get the idea.
I’m constantly sniffing the air to see if a nappy needs changing or (God forbid) a leakage has occurred. They say that Queen thinks the world smells of fresh paint, which must be awful. Wet paint gives me a headache. For me, I’m sure the entire world smells of poo.
I have poo tinnitus.
I’m not sure if ‘poo tinnitus’ is a ‘thing’, but if it’s not it should be!
5: Socks will always be with me…
In Star Wars there’s a line: ‘The force will be with you, always…’
Fatherhood has brought me a similar thing, but with socks. “Socks will be with you, always…”
Socks, to a one and a bit year old, are the best thing in the world. They’re right there at the end of your leg, ready to be pulled off, laughed at, shook about and discarded.
My life seems to be one long succession of putting on and picking up socks. Every item of clothing I own has one of Sam’s socks in its pockets, rescued from the floor. Seriously, his socks are everywhere, in my shoes, in my kit bag, behind the TV… I even went through a phase of using them as impromptu book marks.
The only place I rarely find socks is on Sam’s feet. And if that doesn’t sound like something a dad would say, I don’t know what does!
The Out of Depth Dad