Becoming a parent - Back to school!
I stumbled across an old post that I wrote around nine years ago about becoming a parent. This was when I was in my mid-twenties and the dad of only two young kids, who were both under three at the time. I thought I’d share it with the blog.
I apologise in advance for this not really being a piece of writing that actually *goes* anywhere. It’s something I wrote a while back, a week before my second daughter was born and is more of a reflection of how life changed when my first daughter was born back in November 2000 🙂
Becoming a parent - Back to school!
Becoming a parent is like going back to school. No, I’m not talking about the kinky school mistress outfit that you used the night you conceived, I’m talking about a whole new world of learning that comes as part of the responsibility of a new baby
Most magazine articles focus on the fun of a new baby. What they don’t explain is that 90% of the fun is the kind that is highly amusing to everyone else, but something you’ll only laugh at yourself a few months down the line. Ever wondered why parents of young children have such great, un-bitten fingernails? (Don’t believe me? Take a look!) That’ll be down to the experience of having baby poo under your nails ever time you change a nappy. Not so funny the first time it happens, but I guarantee you’ll be wowing childless friends with that one for years to come!
What you also hear about is the downside. There will be sleepless nights, there may well be post-natal depression (in both the mother and the father) and there will most certainly be problems. Mention the word “problem” and people immediately think the worst. I’m not talking about health problems here, which are extremely rare. I am talking about more immediate problems that affect a wider spectrum of parents.
For example, do you remember that car seat that you bought when mum was just 12 weeks pregnant? You know, the one that set you back the best part of the money you saved for a weekend out, and how you picked up that specific design as it looked “cute”. That will be the same easy-to-install car seat that takes you 90 minutes to fit into the front of your car, and as for the design, a few weeks worth of vomit and God knows what else will put paid to the cute design. And you daren’t take the damn seat out to wash it in case you can’t get it back in!
Friends who have enjoyed the comfort of a lift from yourself pre-baby are amazed that the speed-loving driving freak who used to think that 70mph was a minimum speed on our motorways and who saw speed bumps as a challenge rather that a precaution has become a modest speed limit loving clone, who allows others out at junctions and even slows the car down at amber traffic lights rather than putting their foot down, ploughing through a red light with eye shut, chanting “It’s only illegal if I can see it…” over and over again in true Homer Simpson style.
There are other changes too. Do you remember the times you’ve seen people be sick at parties, and have almost been reduced to a nauseous wreck yourself? Not any more! Cleaning baby poo from under your fingernails not only makes for fantastic nails, as mentioned above but also helps to install a steely resolve into yourself.
Give yourself 4 weeks with baby, changing the first couple of nappies that look like they’ve been filled with tar, and wiping off a seemingly limitless supply of baby puke from your clothes, and it’s like God’s given you a natural immunisation against sickness. Your reflexes pick up a strange canine-like quality, and you’re able to sense when baby needs you before she emits a sound.
As baby gets older, you spend all day playing Peek-a-boo after just 2 hours sleep, and not only do you know the names of all the Tweenies, but you know all their songs and dance moves, and you’re able to clean the whole house, start on dinner and make baby a milk in the time between the program starting and the credits rolling!
The two weeks sick leave you’re entitled to are no longer taken to enable you to sleep off that hangover (Hah! Like you’ll have time to drink!), but instead are used when the baby is poorly.
You’ll develop an intricate knowledge of baby medicines, and an even greater knowledge of which cold relief medicines you can take without feeling drowsy, to get you through the flu-laden days at work (You’ll have no sick days left, remember?)
Fast forward a year or two, and you’ll be juggling a career, a family, and remnants of a social life. In fact, you’re not a parent now, you’re Super Parent! Leaping small toy piles in a single bound, and reacting faster than a speeding bullet to the cries of a newborn! Life in 18 months time will seem a world away from life 18 months ago, and guess what?
You’ll love it, and you wouldn’t change it for the world.
Mood: Having the same opinions a decade later.
Location: Home, Chelmsford