Monday, August 20, 2007

This isn't what I was expecting

by The Expectant Father

Oh fatherhood. It has finally arrived and how sweet and wondrous it is but...


Excuse me, I just have to go and see to a small, yet very loud, baby for the 50th time this morning.

Where was I? Oh yes, fatherhood, how sweet and wondrous it is but...

Whoops, someone's just been sick in their Moses basket. I'll just mop that up...

So, fatherhood sweet and wondrous it is but...

Blimey, what's that smell?

Oh dear, I only changed you 5 minutes ago. There's another dirty nappy in the eye for the environment.

Let me start again; fatherhood, is it what I expected?

I'll take you back 3 weeks, just before the tornado that is my son hit our lives with it's full force.

My wife and I were itching to finally become parents. Mrs C just wanted to not be punched and kicked from the inside any more. I wanted to start our new lives as a family. I'd spent the last 9 months thinking of us as a modern, scaled down version of the Waltons - so happy in our mountain homestead.

Yes, as the Expectant Father during pregnancy I had some very preconceived ideas about what fatherhood would be like. In quiet moments I would picture all the good times we'd have; the laughing, the playing, the cheeky grins after he's locked his Nana in the cellar.

Now, I'm not an idiot, I knew there would be hard times and some tears. I'll obviously have to tell him off every now and then - discipline is important - but I'd explain to him why he'd done wrong (“Nana's very old and she's afraid of the dark” etc.), he'd apologise and promise never to do it again. We'd hug as some heart warming and ever so slightly sentimental music plays in the background.

But mostly I focused on the good stuff.

I could see us at our first football match together and the pride I would feel as I watched him pull on his Everton shirt for the first time - “That's my boy” I'd think.

I could see him on stage as the Artful Dodger in his school play. Me wiping a tear away as he sings “I'd do anything” to the girl he's got his eye on from the lower-6th.

I could imagine my heart being wrenched from my chest as I drop him off for his first term at University (probably Oxford or Cambridge my dreams aren't too fussy) and the immense pride and satisfaction as I watch him collect his degree.

I think it's fair to say that I'd got great expectations for Peter's life.

Now, that Peter is nearly 3 weeks old, those expectations are all but out of the window. After the initial rush of excitement at being a new father (and at all the associated gifts and cards) I'm now firmly into the slog of parenting. In fact, it's such a slog at the moment that I don't have time for expectations. I'm too busy living in the real world.

Too busy putting dummy's in mouths.
Too busy cleaning up sick.
Too busy changing nappies.

And what I've discovered is that it was easy being an expectant father; being a real father is a different kettle of fish altogether. It's hard work and currently without much reward. I've discovered that newborn babies like to take but they don't really give much.

So now, when Peter does reward us with 5 minutes peace and quiet, when I can dream about those expectations, I' dream about my beautiful son giving me a smile for the first time.


The Farmers Wife said...

ah yes, new baby in the house. i remember it well. Or rather I remember wandering round in a lack of sleep induced haze for 4 months...

Mama Zen said...

Congratulations! I'd tell you it gets easier, but . . .

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