Friday’s post was the first of a two parter regarding my experience at 4YFN / MWC, but the second part is going to have to wait a little while, as Saturday was my daughters first birthday it seems only right that todays post focuses on the post traumatic stress I am facing one year in to my lifetime stretch as a dad.
Really this post would suit a nice ol’ listicle where I rant about separate dad related topics, but I feel i’ve gone a little listicle crazy lately so instead you can all put up with a nice fat badly punctuated block of text.
Anyone reading this who has just had their first kid or is expecting their first kid, I wanted to share what little wisdom I have on the subject matter. One thing you’ll hear a lot in the inevitable shit storm of small talk you will find yourself in post first baby is ‘oh don’t worry, it get’s better / easier‘. Now I can neither confirm nor deny this, as people don’t tend to be specific on a timeframe when discussing when it is due to get easier; but I can tell you this. It definitely get’s fucking harder!
Tiny babies require milk and cuddles, they’re happy folk; as we all would be if we could spend most of our day with boobs in our face. A 1 year old is like the energiser bunny on cocaine. Now we’ve just bought our first house (have I mentioned that before?) So there are a lot of tools and unfinished sections that I would rather a 1 year old doesn’t play with / jump all over. It turns out, she doesn’t give a shit.
In fact, as soon as she realises I don’t want her to do something, that becomes her new favourite thing to do. She will stand by the stair gate staring at me and waiting for me to say no, at this juncture she will begin to climb smirking ear to ear. I’m going to have to rig it to explode just to teach her a lesson.
When we had a newborn, I was still able to play ample computer games (I just put her on a pillow next to my keyboard, ye I’m that kind of guy). Now? I would say between me and my wife there is about 1 hour between chasing her around, feeding her and putting her to sleep where we aren’t completely frantic. I tend to spend this hour looking at my finances and working out what pointless purchase I can make to gather dust in an already overcrowded house slowly being taken over by baby furniture.
I have started going to bed at 10pm… 10pm! Back in college I used to get up closer to 10pm. To be honest, the time I go to sleep is irrelevant anyways, both myself and my wife will spend most of the night praying to various deity’s to get a grumpy baby to stop trying to jump out of our arms and run around in the dark.
From my experience the things I expected to find difficult before having my first kid have been less of a problem than the things I overlooked. Take nappies for example.
I was convinced I would be gagging and struggling not to vomit when changing a nice poop filled nappy. When actually the entire house now has a faint aroma of baby shit so it is barely noticeable; however what I didn’t plan for, was having a baby who at the drop of a coin decides ‘that’s enough laying still thank you’ and commences a screaming river dance knee deep in her own shit. It’s these little surprises that will keep you on your toes as you meander through life in a vaguely comatose manner brought on by a combination of sleep deprivation and the constant need to pick up pieces of biscuit.
The real problem with having a kid, is that you end up falling hopelessly in love with them. There are very few people who I would let slap me in the face repeatedly whilst laughing, fewer still who aren’t dressed head to toe in leather. It’s endlessly frustrating to spend two hours trying to put a baby to sleep only to hear them climbing to their feet as soon as you close the bedroom door, but when you go in there ready to smother them with their Thomas the Tank Engine pillow, you are immediately disarmed by a sad tired looking baby face.
It is a bizarre feeling to know your life has been permanently hijacked and to be ok with it, hell it’s a miracle I even find the time to write this blog (this particular post has been written at 4am whilst listening to the mercy plea’s of my wife desperately trying to get our daughter back to sleep). Even with all of this there is nothing that little girl could do to make me not grateful to get to come home to her every night.
I wasn’t exactly sure how to end this post, so I’ll use this anecdote as a metaphor for having a 1 year old and leave it at that. Recently it was decided that our little girl needs more naked time to run around and be free (I’m not entirely sure why). This culminated in her staring me down from across my office whilst curling out what can only be described as a chocolate Mr Whippy on my laminate flooring. Once this was polished off she ran towards me with a big smile and gave me a hug.