Father of two.

. Being a father is a challenge in itself, we all know that. However, living away from your home country and not speaking the native tongue very well, can make it even more difficult, but not impossible.

. I am a father of two boys and living in Tokyo, Japan. The eldest boy is six, and the youngest is just a few months old. The eldest was born in Melbourne, Australia, which is where I am from. He spent his first 3 years of his life there, then we moved to Tokyo as a family, then 3 years later my youngest was born, just this year.

. My youngest, was actually unexpectedly 25 days premature. And labor pains to birth was. under 2 hours, and unfortunately, it all happened while I was working. Like I said, unexpected.

. The birth of the second child has changed a lot of the dynamics at home. The most obvious one being, the shared responsibility of bringing up our oldest one. Within the six years we’d formed a routine of how we cared for the eldest. There were times when we did things as a family, times where I would take him out for the day, or vice versa. Therefore, with my wife still needing to be the main care giver to our newborn, it has tightened the bond between me and my eldest.

. Before I continue, I want to stress the fact that I am still heavily involved in caring for my newborn, but as we all know, there are some things that only a mother can produce. I help out with bath times, nappy changes and generally giving mum a break. These things help me create a new bond between me and him, that will strengthen throughout time.

. There was one piece of advice that I got before the birth from a friend who is also a father of four, and that was, “Look after the needs of the eldest one first, before the newborn.” This ended up being some great advice on how to manage the first few months of the eldest one adjusting to the new family member. Obviously, this doesn’t mean neglect the newborn, but for the eldest to have a positive attitude towards the baby, this is a must. I’ve also find that the eldest one enjoys being involved with caring for the new family member, and when the time is right, or whenever possible, it is important to encourage this process.

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. Over the next few weeks, I’m going to write about how my family has adjusted to now being a family of four, and my experiences being a father living in Japan. I will also write about how I’ve taught my son English and some general father hacks, so come along for the journey.

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Thank you,

Craig Atkinson.

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