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Borrowed time 

Baby is over due. We’re fed up.

Today I felt a bit like a single dad as it was a mostly daddy and daughter day. We had a good time though, we went to the park round the corner, had a ride on her scooter, she ate a good lunch (the healthy carrots and tomatoes had to be bribed with wotsits) and we planned dominoes and did some reading.

But I worry about her relationship with wifey as they’re not able to play together much and that could be the case for some time, more out of time than the current physical difficulty when the Boy arrives. 

I feel very conscious of wanting to make the most of the current situation where I can easily give the Girl my undivided attention, and I fear how I’m going to manage sharing myself between them very shortly. 

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Your first baby is a life changer, but don’t underestimate the second.

A close couple has just had their second child, and their first is still in nappies and a little unsteady on their feet.

This has taken me straight back to the anxiety panics I had in the early months of our first. Right now I can’t even get my head round the basic logistics and family needs. I’ve always known deep down that I wanted a family, and coming from a family with brothers and sisters I struggle with the the conflicting ideas of raising an only child, and being healthy enough to support a bigger family.

Being an adult is fucking hard. 

Potty training day one – making a song and dance of it.

Day one of potty training, and I’m relived I only had to deal with a few child-like grownups in the office and not an unpredictable toddler wearing pants for the first time in her life.

Over all it was a success. A quick first top three lessons learnt on the first day:

  1. When you’ve spent your whole life wearing a nappy, switching to a comfy pair of pants is actually quite weird for a toddler.
  2. When they finally perform on cue in the potty, making a literal song and dance is fun, we spent about 15 minutes jumping and dancing round the room celebrating, to the extent that I was worried she’d wee again with giggles and excitement.
  3. Wipe clean floors really come into their own when there’s the constant risk of wee.
  4. You can’t have too much kitchen roll and floor wipes to hand.
  5. Roll up the rugs you have on your wooden or tiled floor – make the most of that wipe clean surface.

The day finished with a respectable wee in the potty while watch “Zoo lane” and a grump about putting a nappy on for bed time. Let’s see what tomorrow brings…

Baby upgrade / they grow up so fast

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Our little girl has had another upgrade this week and has taken her first steps.

She’s been impressing us more and more in the past month with her walking skills while pushing a trolley around the garden, and her hands and knees crawl as been evolving into a hands and feet crawl. Unfortunately I was at work when it happened, but wifey was with her so at least one of us was there. And Wifey’s had a tough week and deserves a little reward.

She’s really not a baby anymore, and I feel a sense of relief that this really is the end of the traumatic first year of utterly helpless dependence on her parents. But it also marks the start of more movement and freedom, more independence and more worries and anxieties. There’ll be more screams and accidents as those little sausage legs learn to do what evolution has spent generations perfecting.

The more you live the adventure of parenting, the more you realise how never ending and absorbing it is.

Father’s Day feels real

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This weekend will be my second Father’s Day, but it feels like my first, for two reasons.

Reason one: This time round I’m not such a bubbling, confused, sleep depraved, anxious, cluster of flesh and bone. Last year baby was barely a month old and I was a wreck. And I didn’t feel like a dad at all, which leads me to…

Reason two: This time I actually feel like a dad, I can announce that title with pride and have some level of confidence in my ability to look after our little one and entertain her. That might sound obvious but for me, and the journey I’ve been on the last 15 months, it’s an in imaginative leap from where I was in my dark times. I sometimes wondered if I’d ever get to this point, and I’m relieved and happy that I have. I know the work has barely begun, but I at least feel my fatherhood foundations are built on much strong rock.

Last year’s Father’s Day lead to some horrible and upsetting arguments, we’re both in a much better place now, and I can’t wait until Sunday.

“It’s her first day”

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I did my first full drop off and pick up from nursery today, and it was an odd experience.

Dropping her off was a strangely low key affair, one of those situations which clearly meant a lot more to me than it did to the nursery staff. They didn’t do anything wrong, and it was probably down to Wifey doing such a good job getting everything set up properly in advance, but it was literally just a case of turning up, handing her over and then saying goodbye.

The little one was ok, a bit quite and shy. It’s strange seeing her so reclusive when I know what a fun, smiley girl she usually is. It seemed as if she was already resigned to the fact I was going to leave her there and didn’t see the point of putting up a fight or getting upset.

I called once during the day, and was reassured she was doing ok but wasn’t eating much which is apparently quite normal for new starters.

Picking her up was a different story. I peered through a one-way mirror and could see her sitting quietly, but when I went in and she saw me she burst into tears and zoned and shrieked. This was not the greeting I was expecting and it took me quite by surprise. I was quickly reassured that it was actually a good sign, that she was knackered and was pleased to see me really! She did look ruined, and started to come to life on the way home and by the time we got home she was her chatty self.

Things I learnt:

  • First days are a big deal for you, but the nursery are used to it.
  • She probably won’t eat as she’ll be quite disorientated and will need some time to settle in.
  • If she screams her face off when you pick her up, don’t fear, it’s a good thing!
  • Having a child makes you feel old. Starting the road to school, college, uni makes you feel even older. This feeling is going to get worse.

Good night

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I enjoy the whole evening routine, some gentle tv, a bath, fresh clothes, bottle of milk and a story. When I grew up I was also taught by my catholic parents to say a prayer to give thanks for the good things and ask for help with the bad and difficult things.

I’m very conscious of our daughters relationship with religion, and although we agree in having her baptised, that’s as far as our “forced” religious introductions go.

I like the concept of nighttime prayers though, and have found myself thinking of three good things that happened during the day, partly to help myself think about the positives from the day, however small, and partly to encourage her to finish the day with happy thoughts and not dwell on the missed opportunities or unfortunate events.

12 hours

So yesterday was Friday the 13th. Wifey was tired and went to be at 9, I stayed up and watched a french film I’d recorded ages ago (District 13, a good action flic) and went to bed about 11.

Wifey slept until 9am the next day. TWELVE HOURS. She woke very briefly at 6 to ask me to do the first feed but went straight back off and got the longest nights sleep in about 6 months.

Awesome.

I wonder how long this will last?!

Three IS the magic number

It’s Friday, and for the last three nights wifey and I have slept from 11pm to 6am without being disturbed by our baby.

We have been disturbed by each other, a crying cat and my own insomnia, but baby has slept through the night.

After three nights of this relief I’ve finished a day at work feeling half human, and mixed with the fact it’s Friday, I have a rare feeling of optimism.

Of course, it’s Friday the 13th, so the realist in me expects all hell to break loose tonight.

I’ll keep you posted…

Some things just creep up on you

Alternative title: This had been bugging me for some time.

I’ve noticed a definite change this week, it’s been a gradual thing over the last seven days but when I come home from work I’ve realised I’m actually looking forward to seeing my little girl.

This I think is directly related to her own developments – she continues to take more and more interest in her surroundings and shows more ranges of facial expressions. Smiles are quite common now and it’s great to come home, pick up our baby and get a big grin from her – the troubles of the day really do melt away.

But on top of her making me happy with her smiles and gurgles – to finally get some feedback after weeks of give give give, I’m relived in myself that those feelings are coming through, that the balance is beginning to be addressed.

It’s all such a slow process that it’s hard to notice. One incident which was quite obvious was a few days ago we went for a walk in a nearby nature reserve. It was a council run reserve and although cheap, was rather disappointing. But I found myself getting very frustrated by bugs and insects flying about, and very protective of our baby if any got near her. One landed on her face and I was infuriated – how dare you land innocently on my baby’s delicate skin! My reaction was so excessive I stepped back and thought “woah, easy there!” After all the self doubt about lack of feelings for my baby, here I am showing rage at a harmless bug!

That made me realise that of course I care a great deal about her, and would do anything to keep her safe. And to me, that sounds fairly normal fatherly behaviour.

There’s hope for this sane dad yet…

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