Parenting

Six Months a Dad


Fred Durst once rapped “life is a lesson, you learn it when you’re through” and when I was fifteen that was one of the most profound things I’d ever heard.

I now realise the fundamental flaw in this philosophy; to wit, being dead is not an ideal time to learn life lessons. Some would argue, correctly in my view, that if you haven’t got your head around it by your deathbed then you should probably just let it go.

However, what is an ideal time to learn life lessons is the first six months of parenthood.

Lessons I have learnt from being a Dad.

If there is a thing in your house that can choke/strangle/poison/electrocute/bite or otherwise maim your child they will find it.

The change from static, pink blob to mobile, inquisitive dribble machine happens with alarming speed. As such, we were utterly unprepared for such amusing diversions as ‘rolling off the bed’, ‘grabbing electrical wiring’ and, currently our favourite, ‘trying to eat the cat’.

We flit from one narrowly avoided crisis to the next, and whilst we are both intelligent people and have made some pretty sound guesses as to what will be dangerous, adjusting as best we can, there have been some curveballs where we are left wondering how the hell that happened. Like the time he got his finger trapped in the xylophone or the bruising that he picks up from head-butting the end of his cot to let us know he’s awake.

Toys can never compete with iPhones and/or other expensive things.

Honestly, we have so many toys the house is starting to look like a roadside memorial to a traffic accident. Usually these do a decent job of entertaining the boy; until something really expensive is seen which will draw his laser-like focus and he will not rest until it has been picked up, dribbled on, chewed and thrown to the floor.

When I’m rich and famous, I’m going to set up an experiment whereby I introduce increasingly more expensive items to see if the boy goes for them. You know, start with a rubber duck and work our way up to a Faberge egg.

Once this has been completed, I’m going to hire out his services to art valuation companies. Put a selection of rare artwork in a room and watch as he singlehandedly identifies the most valuable piece. That can then be auctioned it for more than the others. I mean, sure, there’ll be some dribble and mashed banana on it and the edges might have some light bite marks but I have no doubt art dealers will be lining up to use his services.

Linguistic acrobatics. 

I try to not swear much on this blog because I like to challenge myself to find other ways of express what I’m feeling. This level of Zen-like reflection is not mirrored in real life, particularly when driving. Understandably, the wife doesn’t want our child’s first word to be ‘twat’ and so I have been instructed to stop. We have a swear jar which is currently holding more money in it than Zimbabwe.

The upshot is that I have developed words that are as satisfying as swearing and I’ve started swearing in a mixture of languages. “Alai wah, you stupid, barstan fei jai, pi gu, dew lai noh mor fantwist!’ Which is quite a lot of fun.

Work can go to hell.

Teachers, by default, are conscientious workers. There is simply too much to do in a usual 40 hour week (and yes we work in the holidays as well). Also, the never ending nature of teaching means that you can work insane hours and still not get everything done. It was not unusual in my first few years of teaching to work 80 or 90 hours a week.

Whilst over the years that has dropped, I would still regularly pull around 60 hours a week to get stuff done. Not anymore, I now top out at 50. If isn’t done in that time, it isn’t getting done. I’ve got raspberries to blow on someone’s tummy.

The ultra masculinity of fatherhood. 

Aside from the obvious evolutionary kudos of reproducing there is and extreme masculinity wrapped up in being a committed father.

To my mind, there is a societal division between what men are seen to be good at and what women are seen to be good at. Blue jobs and pink jobs, as my father in-law jokingly calls them. However, there is a point when doing something so traditionally feminine becomes inversely more masculine when a man does it with gusto. Like a chap who is so comfortable in themselves that they wear a pink t-shirt in public, it highlights the nonchalant disregard for what is expected. I am a man who choses my own destiny, it says.

It therefore becomes manly to play ‘bop your nose’, sing The Wheels on the Bus or change a nappy. And I’ll chain fight anyone who disagrees.

Love.

You can blame it on the oxytocin all you like, I didn’t realise I had a son shaped hole in my heart until it was filled.

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25 thoughts on “Six Months a Dad

  1. I can relate to everything in your post. My 18 month old loves my phone and she’s already learned that she can turn on the camera without needing the PIN number. 30 seconds after she grabs it, I have two dozen pictures of the carpet, the dog, and the walls.

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  2. Excellent post!! I read it outloud to my wife and we both got a kick out of it. We know what you are going through…x3 (a son who is now 18, a daughter who is now 13, and another daughter who is now 10) Have fun with him. They grow up way too fast.

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  3. Lovely post. Suspect we’re in for an interesting time ahead with our little man. He’s currently 4.5 months but much bigger than his sister was at the same age and I suspect will be capable of even more kamikaze behaviour than she was! Everything is already going straight in his mouth. The girl was just that little bit more discerning – although seemed to relapse when she hit two! Good luck and enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It sounds like a very similar experience you’re having. He’s also getting quicker and quicker with the crawling which is making it harder to track what he is putting in his mouth. I suggested we put an electric tag on his ankle but that idea was shot down in flames…

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  4. The older you get, the more you understand life… and sometimes… when you’ve lived a good long life, you’re through before you’re dead. Wishing you a very good life in all it’s stages, and great enjoyment from the learning throughout. Best wishes to the child and his mother as well.

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  5. Great post. I always found that instead of toys when my boys were little they enjoyed the boxes the toys came in as much as the toys, if not moreso. When it comes to putting things in their mouths, I will never forget the first time I grabbed the tv remote and it was covered in baby slobber. Good times.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s funny, after you commented here I squeezed one of his squeaky toys and rather than an amusing and distracting squeak I got a palmful of dribble with accompanying wet raspberry sound. Which was gross.

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