52 Weeks of Fatherhood: Week 26

My six month probation period is up. It’s time to find out if I’m up to snuff or whether I need to clear out my nappy drawer and start looking for another baby to take care of.

Liberty called me into her room (as she does every morning)… This was it.

Over the last six months I’ve felt a lot like I’ve just been ‘having a shot’ at being a parent, and at any moment someone would turn up and ask if I wanted to continue with this crazy experiment… but they didn’t. Having now changed around 1,200 nappies (with no prior experience), survived weeks with a fraction of the recommended sleep and had zero trips to A&E, I think it’s been a fantastic H1. I can only hope Liberty is equally as impressed.

Luckily she was delighted with my performance and is happy for me to continue my role for the foreseeable future. Phew!

It’s been a good week at my day-job too, although it’s been one of those weeks that come Friday you’re looking forward to the weekend and a well earned rest. Then you remember you have a baby to look after, and freelance work to do… No rest for the wicked eh? It’s my freelance work that’s pushing me pretty hard at the moment, but given that we’re ploughing through 80+ nappies a week, it’s nice to have some extra cash. Finding the time to do the work however, that’s a challenge in itself. Fitting it in around a busy family life can be tough. That’s why, when my wife said she was going out with the girls, I thought it would be a great opportunity to get my head down and do some work.

I often listen to music while I’m working, it helps me power through those late night sessions. Although, listening to my entire music collection on shuffle can throw up some surprising and embarrassing choices I’ve made over the years. Then occasionally something comes on that really knocks you for six. As if plucked from the air by the gods, this next song reminded me how lucky I am to be a parent and made me more emotional than I think I’ve ever been.

When I got married I didn’t cry. When Liberty was born, not a drop. When I found out that S Club 7 were breaking up, nothing… I truly have the heart of a concrete elephant. My wife even refers to me as Professor Cold Heart. But not tonight. When I’ll See Your Face One Day came on, a wave of sadness washed over me. It’s a song one of my wife’s friends wrote after losing his little girl to a brain tumour, aged just 20 months. It’s an incredibly touching glimpse into their family life, the heartache they went through and the hope of some day being reunited. I can only imaging how he was feel. All I wanted to do was run through to Liberty’s room, scoop her up and give her a big cuddle. This also felt incredibly poignant as I cross the six month mark as a parent. It made me really appreciate every second I get to spend with Liberty and it made me mad at myself for not always being patient with her. It also got me thinking about the fun we’d have on our next playdate. Luckily I didn’t have long to wait.

Friday finally rolled around and it was time for our first proper afternoon together, just the two of us. I really wanted to make the most of our time so rather than just grabbing a sandwich and walking around until she fell asleep, I plucked up the courage to go out for lunch. This was slightly daunting as I didn’t have my wife to back me up, but I knew it would be much more fun than pacing the cold streets of Edinburgh, and infinitely more tasty than a prepackaged sandwich. I already had a place in-mind. Wagamama. Other than the yummy food, my logic was that it’s relaxed enough to be fine with kids and noisy enough that if Liberty kicked off no one would notice… perhaps I over thought it. Anyway, we arrived and, after tackling the stairs with the buggy (single handedly), I got Liberty into a highchair. She sat there quite content playing with some plastic letters, everything was going well. Until my food came.

Liberty started to get a little fussy, recognising a sleepy baby when I see one, I thought I’d try her in the buggy… From where I was sat, every so often I could see her craning her neck to peek out the side. She’s too nosy and there’s too much going on for her to sleep, so no luck there. Then her nappy needed changed, but that didn’t seem to help either. She even turned her nose up at the plastic letters she had been happily playing with just a few minutes earlier. What now? It made me realise how much I rely on my wife, I always look to her for advice on what to do next when nothing seems to work. By this point she was looking really tired so I finished up my Yaki Soba and got the bill. Less than 30 seconds out the door she was sleeping. I knew it! I know she was just tired!

The best thing this week

On route back to the car after our Friday lunch date, we stopped off at a well known coffee chain (I learnt my lesson last time). While enjoying my tea and caramel slice, Liberty woke up. We then started playing tug-of-war with her plastic letters and she got a fit of the giggles. It was a lovely moment.

The worst thing this week

Those situations when I’m in the heat of the moment and don’t know what to do to calm Liberty down.

What I’ve learnt this week

I don’t relish the thought of public singing but I put that aside as Liberty loves Bookbug’s. It’s great seeing her enjoying the songs and nursery rhymes. I’ve learnt that the only thing for it is to commit to it 100%, it’s much more enjoyable that way.

Weekly stats

34 Nappies changed
Baseline 84/wk

40 Hours sleep
Baseline 56hr/wk

9 Happiness
out of 10

4 Stress
out of 10

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