Fatherood By Numbers.
My son is now 16 months and 20 days old, roughly 67 weeks or 469 days old. Broken down into hours this is approximately 11,256. I could count on one finger the number of accumulative hours that I have not enjoyed fatherhood, there have been only fleeting moments when I would think what have I done and is this for me but these were normally during the early weeks of sleep deprivation and at a time when my precious two weeks paternity leave had ended and I was back in work. A screaming baby at 3 am and 4 am and again waking at 5 am is enough to make any man crack for ten seconds.
But this preamble must surely begin at the beginning, little Oliver may not have been around had Ray the floor repairman not had his headphones on and given us the necessary 5 minutes during a peak ovulation cycle! by this point, we had been trying for 5 months and not looked like catching so any opportunity was golden. We found out whilst in Cyprus at my brother's wedding so our parents were double overjoyed. Now reality kicks in and for the time being we could look forward to telling people once we had reached the less risk milestone of twelve weeks, you can relax a little then but of course there can still be complications and a baby being born has odds of 4,000,000 to 1! so everyone is literally a little miracle. We have experienced both having had a miscarriage with our second after ten weeks, both elation and rock bottom but were both realists and understand that it isn't meant to be then it won't happen.
The twenty-week scan was our next milestone and an opportunity to discover the gender and as I told my wife at the time I can honestly say hand on heart that I am not worried what we have so long as it has a penis! but for us finding out early meant we could start to ask friends for 'donations' luckily we were late starters amongst out group so plenty of tips, clothes, and toys to pass down. Friends were also full of what seemed like endless advice most of it seemed quite straightforward so take each with a pinch of salt and work out what is going to work for you. Each baby and family life is different and only you can decide what is best, you want to be as comfortable as possible and for your baby to make the best possible start in life as they can. Some family may be pushy and almost force their opinions and views on you, we had a falling out with one mother about breastfeeding which almost caused a massive family rift and for my wife to become rather worried about the whole experience. but our boy is now thriving and certainly loves his food so must have had enough to kick start his appetite.
One of the best pieces of 'advice' which of course you don't have to take is to join an NCT group. The theory behind some of the birthing aspects is a bit hippy-dippy but there were several sessions where I found the information most useful and helped prepare us for the birth. We also have a good group of friends who have been through the same experience at the same time. When the wives were off together they developed a strong bond and had a great support network to swap ideas, fears and to vent when the dads had cocked up for the 6th time of the day by bringing home the wrong type of chocolate bar! I am still friendly with the dad gang and we try and meet up once a month even if this isn't the full seven to have some man chat. The sole reason we are all together is that we had a baby on the way so we are all very different people with different interests but we have bonded over beer, poker, and sports. All three I forced upon them!!
Time is flying by and we are nearly at Olivers second Christmas, it won't be long before he starts school then comp then uni I can see it all coming around too quickly which is why it is so so so important to take every chance you get to spend time with the little one. Even after a terrible day at the office or if the car has broken down take five minutes to appreciate the 4,000,000 to 1 miracle.
There are hundreds of stories I could share and mistakes I have made so far but that's the fun part of having a baby learning how to adapt and become a better dad each day is my own adventure. I can guarantee one thing, this IS the best thing to ever happen to you and it will change your life but only for the better. You will also now appreciate the previously arduous daily commute to work where you have 30 minutes to your self to switch off listen to some tunes and brace yourself for another adventure when you get home.
Looking forward to the next time.
Ben is part of the This Dad Can community.
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Father of one jolly Oli, he is the best thing I have ever created. Already eating me out of house and home and predicted to be a meter tall when two! I have been a PE 'teacher' for the last ten years and currently living in Cardiff #siaradcymraegambyth
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