So, I don’t know about you, but since first entering the realm of dadhood, I’ve walked into a hazy cloud of parenting advice.
Getting through the haze has been an interesting journey in itself (my usual go to move is to smile, nod, smile again and non-commitally thank the person) and began within the first week of The Little Dinosaur* being born into our family:
“It gets so much easier when you take them home”
“The first six weeks, get through that and you’re set”
“After 12 weeks it all makes sense”
“Once they hit school age, you just see this change in them forever”
“When they move out of home, THAT’S when you’re home and hosed”
Not only was I completely overwhelmed with learning how to use nappies, knowing how to hold a newborn and not accidentally drowning my daughter during a bath…I had 20-25 years until things improved.
The great thing was that all those people were wrong – well, sort of.
Yes, the first weeks/months were hard, full on and tough…but pretty much everything worth discovering and learning usually is. Especially when you’re facing multiple new skills or challenges on reduced sleep**.
I’ll never forget literally collapsing onto a couch after surviving the first night of screams, shrieks and learning how to bloody swaddle a kid.
I’ll never forget that moment of feeling completely out of control whilst trying to stop The Little Dinosaur from crying. I’d gone through the “Nappy, Hungry, Pain, Wind, Cold, Hot Checklist” and still come up empty. (It was hunger AND a massive burp for everyone playing at home).
I’ll never forget feeling like a benchwarmer stuck on the sidelines, waiting for the coach to call me in during those early months. I don’t think I have ever offered to make as many cups of tea, coffee or water as I did during those times (anything to feel like I was contributing).
When you’re completely out of your depth and feeling like you have no idea what to do, even the simplest of things can appear impossible. Like finding a dummy, making breakfast or putting on your pants.
At that point,
most things everything seems to suck in some sort of way.
And then one morning the kid looks up at you and smiles.
Absolute game changer.
Every horrible night, stubbed toe on the door, shriek in your ear or leaking nappy?
Absolutely worth it.
It isn’t about how long you have to survive for, because, well, who really knows with every kid being so different.
It’s about finding those tiny moments and choosing to see them. Otherwise you’re simply a sleep-deprived-slightly-crazy person searching for dummies and working out how to put your pants on.
I’ll never stop enjoying those moments when she looks up and smiles at me.
Bloody magical. Every single time.
*This was a completely unplanned nickname – I can’t help that my baby daughter chose to sound exactly like a baby velociraptor from Jurassic Park
**Parents of multiple children: you are insanely amazing. Seriously. I would like to meet you, shake hands and stare at you in wonder
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