Was a lad (easy). Now a dad to Daisy & Seth (less easy).


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From Beers To Tears.

The Whatsapp group appeared on my phone. The message I had been waiting for. The message that (if I’m being 100% honest) I was slightly dreading.

The group was entitled Boys Night Out.

“Come on Rich”, goaded my friends, many of whom don’t have kids. In my head I could visualise 10 lads surrounding me chanting “chug, chug, chug” as I necked back shots of tequila.

These days, if I go out for a drink it’s normally just a pint…

Of shandy.*

That aside, I wasn’t going to let being out of practice come between me and a good night out with my mates who, inevitably, I see less than I used to.

The night started at my pal Darren’s house with a good old fashioned game of Beer Pong (Google it if you want the rules) followed swiftly by a taxi into town and a couple of bars. All was fine until this text exchange with my wife at 1.15am:

Boys night out

I knew that Seth hadn’t been feeling 100% before I went out but it turned out that his teething led to me leaving. Strangely, it didn’t even cross my mind to stay out. Something, somewhere inside me was saying GO HOME. Your son comes first. I don’t think that emotion existed in me before being a dad!

Fortunately my friends were too intoxicated to realise so I managed to avoid the barrage of abuse that would have been heading my way for leaving early! Now they have read this, I fully expect to be receiving a new Whatsapp group: Rich Is Pathetic.

#ladtodad lesson ‘bros before hoes’ has now been replaced with ‘son before fun’.

*I‘m hoping we can keep this just between us. Thanks.

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A Simple Formula.

e = m sleep2

Here’s my ingenious(!) formula for parenthood where E= euphoria and M = more.

euphoria = more sleep2

Apologies to Einstein for the rip-off because it’s not ingenious at all, just basic common sense. The more sleep the kids and I get, the happier we are. Sleep is precious and I will do whatever it takes to eek out every last potential minute that comes my way.

The quest for e = m sleep2 can do all sorts of things to a rational, normally calm person. In the past ten days both my own folks and my in-laws have been on the receiving end. Maybe yours have too…?

My parents were looking after Seth (aged 1) on Saturday morning as I was stacked out with work. I did break away for an hour to meet up with them for a coffee and give Seth some lunch.

It was heading towards 12.30 when I started with the gentle hints:

“Ooh, time’s knocking on. The little lad will be fast asleep when you pop him in the car if you’re not careful. Lol”.

Of course we all know what I was actually inferring:

“Seth needs a nap by 12.45. If you don’t leave NOW he’ll fall asleep in the car. Then he’ll wake up when you get him home. You’ll try and put him down for a nap but it won’t happen. He’ll scream, be inconsolable for at least ten minutes, then end up totally overtired and unable to drop off. Then, when I pick him up later, he won’t have had his nap, he’ll be grumpy, won’t eat his food properly, will be a nightmare to bath and will be ratty until he eventually falls asleep. My wife will be furious and blame me because it’s my side of the family and that’s just how it is…”

And breathe.

When did I become this person?!

Do you ever do something and as you are doing it you know that you’re being quite annoying. Yet you continue. That was me at that particular moment because when all is said and done… e = m sleep2.

And my in-laws were to feel the brunt of my die-hard-nothing-gets-in-the-way-of-my-sleep attitude the following weekend when they came to visit us for a couple of days.

Bath and bed. The most crucial 40 minutes of the day dictates not only the success of your evening but also how your next 24 hours will pan out. You can’t afford to bollocks it up. Now considering my in-laws live out of town, the normal, rational, sensible, nice thing to do would be to let them cosy up to the kids, read them a book or two and put them to bed. However, in the world of e = m sleep2, niceties count for nothing.

And so I began:

“Why don’t you read her one book and then I’ll finish up with the other two and put her to bed. You can relax downstairs.”

Translation:

“Look, don’t take this the wrong way but Daisy (aged 3) is very particular. She likes things done the same way every night. If you do her books they’ll take twice as long. It will get past her bedtime and she’ll be overtired. Then when you try and put her to bed you’ll do the wrong songs in the wrong order and she’ll be upset. I’ll have to come up, start again (albeit 30 minutes later than her now out-of-the-window bedtime) and put right the damage you’ve caused by not letting me do it in the first place. Tomorrow she’ll wake early, be tired and quite frankly, it will ruin everyone’s day…”

My poor mother-in-law.

She knew what I meant without me having to say it and resigned herself to a one book allocation.

So I guess the question I pose myself is ‘do I feel bad?’

The answer… a resounding NO.

I’m a better person with sleep and so are my kids. So much better it actually frightens me. So don’t judge me on my momentary indiscretions where sleep rules above all else. Don’t think of me as the bad guy when I want things my way. Don’t be offended if I get a tad precious. Just remember;

e = m sleep2

#lad2dad lesson Seth fell asleep in the car, so I was right!


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Say What You See

If there’s one lesson from the world of fatherhood this week, it’s that no matter where you are or what you’re doing, the potential for embarrassment is only ever a heartbeat away.

There are certain things that fall into the category of ‘dad jobs’ in my household, one of which is taking Daisy swimming once a week. Like most kids, she absolutely loves it and her ensuing smile makes the rigmarole of the whole affair more than worthwhile.

The only part of the two hour round trip that is a bit of a palaver is getting us both kitted out. They have a ‘kids section’ at my local pool which is annexed from the ‘mainland’ of the changing room, separated by a gate, but fully in view. Non dads in the adult section glance over (there were about 15 on that day), normally they have pitying eyes, glad that that they don’t have to deal with the drama of getting a kid changed.

I was that person once. *sigh

Surprisingly, this particular change was going relatively smoothly once the ‘to hair bobble or not to hair bobble’ debate had died down. Picture the scene; Daisy is sat on the bench in her ballerina swimming costume, armbands in place, bobble round her wrist (she won the debate), looking towards me with the kind of big smile that melts every dads’ heart.

And then it happened.

As I removed my boxers exposing my bare legs and stepped into my swimming shorts, from nowhere, the sweetest little voice piped up. “Daddy”, she said… “Look…”.

I glanced up, mid change, and waited to see what the problem was. Then, she roared;

“That’s your willy”.

Time stood still for a moment. It was if Daisy had been inspired by the gameshow Catchphrase and simply wanted to say what you see. Fellow gym goers, as if in slow motion, focussed their eyes in my direction. My face turned a shade of red, which was even more disappointing considering I was in pink swimming shorts and was now clashing. Daisy laughed (she knew what she’d done) and 15 men, albeit unintentionally, were staring at the little general.

My response of “yes it is Daisy” seemed to do nothing to avert the unwanted attention. In hindsight, I think I was attempting to play the whole thing down (if you’ll excuse the pun).

#lad2dad lesson expect the unexpected.