Adventures of Fatherhood: Part 3
The realest shit I ever wrote
The journey has moved on and so much has changed, is changing, and forever changing on an ongoing basis.
As humans, we have to adapt in order to keep going forward and being a parent is no different. We have to adapt to our child’s everchanging needs.
Let’s break it down.
The Rocket Girl
So our eldest child turned two recently. We hired out a farm and it was amazing to watch her get all excited with the animals. She’s mostly passed the teething stage, which is painful to see her, or any child, go through and is currently just a ball of energy.
She’s always been quite a fearless character, combined with the natural inquisitive behaviour so everything is an adventure. From bath time to spotting a bird in the garden.
“Everything can be an adventure, if you want it to be.”
I’m really enjoying interacting with her and love how she’s just like a sponge; soaking up everything around her, learning new words, wanting to try new things with no regards to the trivial things we adults take into consideration like “other peoples opinions”, or “if something is being done in a correct or right way”.
It’s fascinating, especially for a creative person like me. It almost fuels me, reminding me to do the same.
A sponge-like mind however has also meant us a lot of adjusting. For example being more aware of when we are on our phones, what we say and how we say it (coming from someone who swear’s all the fucking time).
As you watch your child learn new words (which is amazing and hilarious at the same time), you’ll find you’ll happily replace them words in your own vocabulary for amusement.
So Shoes is now pronouched Shoooooz.
Box - Bocsch
All done - Aaaall dan
See you then - Seeee ya den
You get the idea…
We’ve introduced wind down times (no TV or phones between 7–8) forcing us all to engage, chill, talk, read and just generally wind (them) down for bedtime.
Now all this may not seem like rocket science, but coming from someone who hadn’t a clue about parenting and juggled quite an active lifestyle, it’s still quite an “easier said than done” adjustment that needs to be done.
In addition to all the fun of turning two, this also “unlocked” a whole new combination of feelings and reactions that were prevously unavailable (sounds like a computer game I know!) a.k.a the terrible two’s.
And boy are they terrible.
All those lovely “yes” responses are suddenly “no”.
Suddenly, they want mummy, not daddy or vise verse for certain things.
Suddenly, they want that toy, not that toy.
Suddenly, they want to stomp around the house in wellies.
Suddenly, they don’t want to share toys.
All quite random, and the consequences usually tend to be a deafening cry that’ll wake up half the street if they don’t get their way.
Simple things, like getting a coat on can now become an absolute miltary operation. It’s mental warfare almost.
And testing, but I get it though.
I know it’s not a bad thing and a natural process at that age. It’s the flip-side to the spectrum.
All the new feelings that they are experiencing and we’ve been confident enough to approach “most” tantrums and outbursts with love and compromise. Or diverting attention elsewhere.
We’ve tried a naughty corner, for moments that are too much, confiscating toys and will soon be introducing a star chart to help visualise the acts of rewards & consequences.
Looking forward to seeing the how this impacts and influences behaviour.
The Lazy Boy
The second arrival.
For a child who’s 7 months and already starting to crawl, he’s far from lazy. But we have noticed how far more relaxed he is about things. And us too. Studies have shown that parents naturally feel more relaxed about the care of the second child. And it is true, I have found we are much more zen-like this time round as we (kind of) know what to expect.
As mentioned, he’s bypassed the rolling phase and gone straight to the crawl stage whilst also showing the beginning stages of teething.
With everyone around him, especially the eldest one being so active; running, talking, dancing, we can see he wants to do the same and voices his frustrations in not being able to yet.
Changing boy’s nappies is waaay harder than changing girls. Just make sure whenever you do change them that they are pointing down or away so you dont get caught in the line of fire ;)
The handy thing about having both children close together in age is that everything gets used; so we’re definately getting our moneys worth. This goes for the toys, baby clothes, trainers, seats etc…
We’ve barely put anything away or in storage.
The fruits of our labour are also beginning to show as both are very close. They acknowledge each other every morning and every night, even sharing and playing together at times.
Flipside: this is often scarce and depends on both their moods. We tend to try use this opportunity to discuss and teach about sharing.
Things like Alexa are a god-send, or as she calls it “Lexa”.
At a simple voice command I can recall a ready made playlist to help almost any scenario.
- Wind down time
- Nursery rhymes
- Fun times / distractions
- Dance off’s in the kitchen
Combine that with Phillips Hue / automated lighting, it’s a dream combination.
Won’t be long before she’ll be commanding this for herself (and when she does the keyword will magically change :)
Other Challenges: Punctuality & getting out the door
Your schedule is and will be un-fucking-predictable. Which means your punctuality will suffer.
You will be late.
Throw in a tantrum or a soiled nappy in to that mix just before stepping out. Or better yet, vomit.
Tip: Either plan on getting up / ready at least 15 minutes earlier than usual or just embrace being unfashionably late.
Other Challenges: Sleepless Nights
Yep. Still miss a good nights sleep. It’s almost like I’m constantly trying to catch up on sleep. Because when you’ve poorly slept, everything is harder and feels much harder.
The early days were fun too, when one child would wake up the other and then they almost take turns to have a cry-off. This is where you and your partner really have to super-marvel-tag-team up. No one person can do this alone for nights on end.
Other Challenges: When the first child becomes jealous
Again it’s quite natural, with the better half attending to the younger one most of the time. Instead we try and include her on activities like help prep and wash the younger one. Playing and sharing together. Praising good behaviour and interactions wherever possible.
This is why I hope the star chart will help reinforce that behaviour. Until then it’s plenty more daddy time.
Other Challenges: Keeping your cool
Influencing your child rather than being authoritive is much, much harder than it sounds.
Other Challenges: The Juggle
Probably one of the toughest elements of having 2 children is the sacrifice of not being able to do the things you once did (as freely). But that’s the name of the game.
You’ll barely get enough time to bathe or go to the toilet in peace (yep, that’s no exaggeration).
Long gone are the days where you get ready in the morning in peace and calm. You’ll be lucky if you have 15–20 minutes max.
Let alone trying to fit in:
life admin, home decorating & DIY, gardening, spending time with the other half, gym, running, self development, designing, reading, writing, gaming, catching up on your favourite TV shows, and so on…
To quote what I said in the previous post:
“I know it will be tough (understatement). I know that it will mean more sacrifices then ever. No time to myself...”
And never has a truer word been said with foresight.
There are times when the days are just a whirlwind of nappies and lego bricks. Or a blur of snotty tissues and cbeebies. Nursery Rhymes and whines.
Parenthood is hard. And also very, very beautiful. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
If other’s can do it, then so can I.
I remind myself everyday:
Responsibility is a duty.
Fatherhood is a privilege.
And an honour.