It’s tougher than I thought it would be. With Little Bear starting nursery today, our time together on parental leave is just about to be over. I’ve dropped him off and of course I was there for hours trying to convince his watery eyes that it was ok to let go of Pappa, and that whilst this was the end of an era for both of us, we’ll still be together, and life will go on… No. Save about ten seconds of being clingy to Pappa, he discovered some balls to test in the corner and then promptly forgot about me. I hung around like a loser harbouring some unrequited love for about 10 minutes (9 minutes too long from his perspective), and then slowly crept out when he wasn’t looking.
Your first newborn is tough to look after. And not because of the sleepless nights, feeding troubles, and poo explosions. It's because nothing in life had ever prepared you for these things, and their constant wearing away at your normally well rested self. You're sub-consciously wondering when your weekend will come, or if the baby has an off-switch. When will you get to sleep! When will you shower! Then you clock that it's only been a week (felt like a month), and you've got the rest of the next 20 odd years to do... at least.
Fast-forward 8 months into parenting... It starts to feel like you can do this, and it's getting pretty fun. It's like you tasted your first pint of bitter (beer for non-Brits) 8 months ago and it was disgusting, but now it's turning out pretty refreshing and has become your drink of choice.
The Daddy Tag Challenge
1 - Are you a Stay at Home Daddy or a Working Daddy?
I don't stay at home much as I try to take Little Bear out most days, and the two of us are currently visiting family in Sweden for the month! But I guess while I'm on Parental Leave, I'm a 'stay-at-home' dad. I was a working dad whilst my wife was on Parental Leave, which was great, but I'm enjoying my turn as 'stay-at-home' parent more than working!
But it starts getting really tough really quickly. Both getting up a dozen or so times every night to feed our wide-eyed (not yet so charming) little troll. As a warning to those who are expecting, there isn’t really anything in life that will prepare you for these first few weeks, especially if your little guy or gal has trouble with breastfeeding (ours had ‘tongue-tie’ which wasn’t diagnosed until we insisted the midwives double checked). We discovered pushy and paranoid parenting fueled by grumpy sleep deprivation was essential to helping your baby...
I won’t lie, I was very excited about the prospect of my first full night sleep in a hotel, with no baby interruptions. Unfortunately, due to the psychological trauma we had faced over the last few weeks, I woke up every hour startled, looking for a crying Little Bear. I probably felt more exhausted when I got back to London than when I set out… Since then, each time I’m abroad for work, I’ve been faced with mixed feelings: I’ve enjoyed the break, but also really missed my buddies (baby and his mamma) back at home...
What can we tell about future personalities from how babies act? Based on little evidence, I think sparks of their personalities are already starting to show at 5 months. Not having seen this all before, I could be totally wrong. But I think I'm seeing some clear signs of who the Little Bear might turn out to be...
During the whole thing, he barely moved at all, unless to whimper that he was hungry (every 30 minutes unfortunately for his mum). And he certainly didn't interact with anything around him, save the occasional stare into people's eyes.
In stark contrast, he now aptly grabs his toes while folding up into an agile yoga position, explaining to us that his feet are the most exciting thing since the discovery of his fingers only weeks earlier. By explaining, I mean rambling, squeaking and occasionally blowing raspberries: so copying his parents...
I'm Dave, dad of Little Bear. Also known as 'Pappa' to the little man as we try and bring out his Swedish roots