“Life is full, full of surprises, and the nicest surprise in my life is you.”
That’s what Cilla sang, back in the day, at the end of her hit series ‘Surprise, Surprise’.
It really was (and is) a terrible song.
Even worse, perhaps, is the fact it’s still lodged in my mind, like a bit of spinach stuck between my teeth refusing to go anywhere. I’d bet, with her gigantic gnashers, Cilla avoided spinach like the plague – but I’m going off topic.
*To the uninitiated, I’m talking about the legendary (recently deceased) Cilla Black: singer, presenter and national treasure. Below is a rather large photo of her – for no good reason.
Essentially, what I was trying to get at is that, parenting (like life) is full of surprises.
It really is.
You find yourself doing things that you’d never expected – some of which are (admittedly) humourous.
So, as I’m a lovely fella, I’ve listed 10 of them here for your amusement:
- I Have Poo Tinnitus. It’s true. Everywhere I go I can smell a gentle whiff of poo. Where it’s coming from, I can’t tell you. It may be that changing a multitude of nappies has made me especially sensitive to the aroma of fecal matter? Perhaps I’ve become the human version of a drug sniffer dog – but with a purely poop-based ability? Perhaps I always have a small amount of poo about my person? It’s unlikely but not impossible. Whatever the truth is, I smell it wherever I go. If you see a guy outside Tesco, hopping up and down on one foot to see if he has dog-shit on his shoe – it might be me. Why not say hello?
- I Can Function On VERY Little Sleep. This was a real surprise to me – as I am someone who LOVES sleep, but it seems I really can go about daily activities after only a few hours of shuteye. There is, however, a drawback. I used the word ‘Function’ advisedly. I can do the bare minimum needed on very little sleep – but none of my more complex tasks, like not being a moody so-and-so, are possible in this state. I walk into things, I can’t remember what I’m supposed to be doing, my vocabulary vanishes at a moment’s notice leaving me not talking good. Essentially, without sleep, I become the stripped- back version of myself – the ‘Value’ range, the entry model, the Windows 95 version of me. It’s enough, but it’s not a pleasant experience for anyone involved. Sorry about that. Below is a picture of me pretending to sleep – just to help you imagine it.
- I HATE Celebrity Parents. To be clear, before becoming a parent I already hated anyone who classed themselves as a ‘celebrity’. For me, the whole ‘celebrity’ culture is a bit part of what’s wrong in the world. Yes, I know I’m ranting. In the past people became famous because they were good at something, they then found they were ‘celebrated’ for that skill. Fair enough. These days, people become famous and then scrabble around looking for something to be good at. Invariably, they find they’re not much cop at anything – and saturate the market around something they can at least spell. So we have a load of celebs giving their advice on parenting. Mylene Klass with her ‘My Bump & Me’ or Sam Faiers and her ‘My Baby & Me’. Notice a theme here? I mean, what kind of person would cash in on their child to make money? On a totally unrelated note, Sam and I are available to make guest appearances, open fetes, attend weddings, christenings and bar mitzvahs for a very reasonable fee.
- I’ve Got Verbal Diarrhea. I’m permanently in a conversation with Sam, who chatters back in a mixture of sounds, syllables and (recently) words. This (mainly one sided) conversation has been going on since he was born. I think it’s a healthy way to be, ensuring he feels included and permanently surrounded by language. The issue is my commentary on life has stuck, a bit like the spinach and Cilla, in my head so that I find myself chattering away even when he’s not with me. I’ll be wandering around the supermarket only to discover I’m narrating my trip:
“Shall we get cheese? Cheese would be nice. You like cheese don’t you?”
What the other shoppers think, on seeing no baby in the vicinity, is beyond me. I’ve tried, but I just can’t stop it. Worrying really. Below is a pointless picture of a supermarket.
- I’ve Gone All Soppy. It’s true. There’s something about having children that rewires your emotions. Suddenly, from nowhere, I’m permanently on the verge of blubbing. Anything can set me off, any half decent meme on Facebook showing puppies or some such nonsense has me tearful. God knows I can’t watch Bambi anymore (not that I did previously on a regular basis). I’d never be able to sit through an episode of Surprise, Surprise with Cilla. There have been times when I’d have to leave the room during the The One Show.
- My Standards Have Dropped. I reached the point, not long after Sam’s arrival, where I realized trying to keep myself stain free was impossible. I used to pride myself on my appearance. Actually that’s total rubbish. I’ve always been a scruffy sod. But now, since the advent of Sam, I’ve become a scruffy sod covered in stains (food, sick, snot… you name it). It’s something I’ve made my peace with. I’m glad I don’t have to get the Tube anymore, as I’m sure people would avoid sitting next to me. Actually, on reflection, that’s a good thing. I should head to London to try this out.
- I LOVE Postman Pat. I mean I really LOVE Postman Pat. At any given moment you’ll find my wandering around, humming the ‘Special Delivery Service’ theme to myself. It’s like The Archers but with more emphasis on incompetent postal delivery. Pat is such a numpty. He really is. Everyone goes on about how good he is at delivering stuff – yet he never manages to transport as much as a pencil case without some unnecessary disaster that always ends in him bringing the SDS Helicopter into play. It’s preposterous and it’s genius. To hear more of my thoughts on Pat, click here.
- I Talk About Myself In The 3rd Person And It Feels Totally Normal. It’s true. Daddy does this all the time. It’s something that Daddy isn’t even aware of doing. Silly Daddy. Daddy really wishes he could stop doing it. Mummy thinks Daddy has lost his marbles. Mummy might be right!
- I Can Tune Out Noise. I came into the world of parenting a (very) ‘noise sensitive’ person. I’ve always said that silence is the ultimate luxury – something that only the richest can afford. I found unwanted noise extremely trying. I won’t go into it now – but let’s just say that if I’d lived next door to Cilla Black I’d have got really wound up with her belting out ‘Alfie’ at any given moment. These days, however, I’m much less noise aware. I can certainly sleep through Sam crying and totally tune out even the loudest of rackets – it’s the only way I cope with soft play. That said, as I write this I’m becoming increasingly annoyed by someone over-vigorously stirring their coffee – I’m in a cafe. So I may not be fully cured yet.
- I’ve Started Writing Lists. See above.
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The Out of Depth Dad
To see some of my recent blogs for Huff Post Parents click here.