The moment I first heard him it hit me full-force. That first cry in the delivery room announced as clear as day; he’s a real person and he’s here! No longer a bump that kicks me in the head as I listen for heartbeats at bedtime. A living, breathing, pooping, screaming reminder that we’d passed the point of no return into parenthood.
And with that, the baby had landed.
I vividly remember carrying my eldest son, then newborn, around my house thinking “and they just let us take him!?”
we hunkered down into ‘survival mode’
Life had changed unrecognisably. We armed ourselves with ready meals and tv box sets and hunkered down into ‘survival mode’. Not nearly enough sleep, undeniably weak attention to personal hygiene and forcibly constrained into a cat-like state of readiness – all for our new son’s wellbeing. Oh the irony!
Some early highlights of our new lifestyle included excitedly showing off my new nappy-changing skills to my mate, only for my son to explosively poop all over him and the bedroom. Win.
we had a new found inability to function in everyday life
And let’s not forget my alarm when my son suddenly developed a horrific, barking cough in the middle of the night, leading me to traumatically shine a torch down his throat, convinced that he’d inhaled something terrible.. (did I mention I was sleep-deprived?) Turns out, that’s just what his cough sounds like! Ha! Oh the joys..
The height of our new found inability to function in everyday life showed itself in the abject terror surrounding our first trip into town with baby. Despite ready access to proper, strong coffee, nothing could swerve our focus at all times from the nearest nappy changing facilities and praying that uncontrollable screaming would hold off just long enough to fool everyone that we actually knew what we were doing.
And with that rite of passage under our belts, we glimpsed some hope that one day, in the not too distant future, we might leave ‘survival mode’ and crack on with the rest of our lives.
It did get easier, I promise. But in the meantime, I give you the Dads’ Survival Kit, part 2 – The Baby Has Landed:
- Muslins (magical absorbent cloths that can hold 10 times their own weight in baby sick and other horrible bodily fluids).
- Ready meals (don’t be a martyr – the diet can wait).
- TV box sets (let’s not pretend you’re going to read any books or actually engage in non-baby conversation for some time).
- Mother / mother-in-law. Depends on the relationship but my mother-in-law was mint and taught us how to look after a baby. Which was helpful.
- Instructions to visitors that they will only be allowed entry when they can prove they have; cake / a meal / a desire to clean your house / all three.
- Friends to tell you you’re doing great and it gets easier (who cares if they’re lying!)
- Book to write down (selective) memories.
- Infacol (or any other mystical placebo substance that makes you think it has the power to calm and quiet your baby).
- Coffee. Obviously.
- Wine. See above.