In a former life, long before In The Night Garden marathons and synchronized bacon sandwich and Peppa Pig viewing sessions, I used to have a responsible job where people listened to and acted upon what I said. These days I find myself in the centre aisle of the Co-op pleading with my son to stop crying because I won’t buy him a full-sized carpet cleaning system.
Yes, that happened.
As a parent, I’d worked my way through all the stages that are supposed to be hell on earth: sleepless nights, teething, separation anxiety, having your shoes filled with sick… the whole gamut. And the thing was, that despite all the hype, none of these events was quite as bad as I’d expected. Like the worst type of film – all the best bits were in the trailer, leaving my partner and I feeling slightly underwhelmed to experience the supposed horror of the real thing.
It was with this (understandable) sense of over confidence that I greeted the my son’s (inevitable) turning from 1 to 2. It was simply a number, I told myself. A personality doesn’t change THAT much as the result of just getting a little bit older. What was the worst that could happen? After all, we’re just talking about a tiny tot.
HOW WRONG WAS I?
At any one time I’ll be putting shoes on my toddler, picking up Lego, texting my partner about dinner, trying to put my own socks on, brushing my teeth, waiting on hold to speak to the gas board, wiping dripped toothpaste off my T-shirt, sniffing my toddler to see if a nappy change is necessary, half watching Homes Under The Hammer and trying to eat some cold toast. Whatever this chaotic process of attempting to do everything at once is called, one thing is certain – I didn’t act like this before the baby.
It’s the odd thing about milestones, I just don’t see them.
What I mean is, I’ve never actually noticed a milestone at the time it happened. Rather I’ve only been able to see the moments that marked real, tangible, progression in my life retrospectively.
I think this may be a side effect of being busy. Actually ‘busy’, if I’m honest, doesn’t quite cover it. For the last 2 years I’ve been so manically active, so frantically ‘on task’, that ‘busy’ sounds like a rest.
And no, I’m not about to start moaning about how hard parenting is. We’ve all heard that a 1000 times before.
Parenting is hard.
But that isn’t newsworthy, there is no breaking story there.
It’s always been hard. It will always be hard.
That’s just the way it is. Sorry folks.
I’m keen, however, as my son achieves his second birthday, to look back at my first 24 months of fatherhood.
What have I learned? If anything?
Am I still out of my depth? It’s likely.
Do I continue to make points in lists of 3? Definitely.