My brother is awesome. Apart from the time I ‘accidently’ pushed him down a fairly serious cliff / bank when I was eight, we’ve always got along very well. He’s more than a great brother – he’s a great friend and sharing my childhood and now adult life with him is a genuine privilege. So today he’s guesting on the blog so you can share in his awesomeness with his observations on becoming a dad. Introducing my brother, Dan…
I’ve been a dad for just over a year now and I’ve loved every minute. Eloise, my daughter, is a delight and watching her grow and learn new things each week is such a privilege. Adjusting to life as a parent has been amazing and challenging. I had the advantage of watching many of my friends become parents before my wife and I had a baby ourselves. I watched them and wondered what it would be like if and when my turn came. I used to sarcastically ask my friends for pros and cons to having children. I would ask them if there were more pros or cons. I remember one of my colleagues saying to me that there were actually more cons than pros, but the pros still outweighed the cons because of how valuable they each were. That always stuck with me and I remind myself of it when I’m tired or feeling a little grumpy and selfish. (The pros really do outweigh the cons).
I get so much joy from watching Eloise interact with the people around her. Something as simple as walking through a supermarket when all the old ladies want to talk to her as she smiles and waves at them. She loves to interact with people and that is a pleasure to see.
I’m finding the cliche advice/sarcastic comments you receive when you become a dad to be true. “Say goodbye to your social life”, or “You won’t get much sleep for a few years…” but I’m actually not finding this too bad. Although in the moment, when you’re getting up at 6am on a Saturday, it’s frustrating, I’ve grown to love those slow and sleepy mornings with my daughter.
The most common comment/advice you get though is by far: “Savour every moment because they grow up so fast…” – agreed, I can’t believe Eloise is 13 months already! You just get used to one season and then it all changes and before you know it you’re into the next one. That’s something that I reflect on a lot. Especially when I consider all the ‘stuff’ we were told we had to buy for new baby, only to realise that the said items have a very limited shelf life before they are redundant and no longer needed. You feel you should have two or three kids just so you get your money’s worth out of car seats and buggies and cribs etc!
Eloise is moving forward and growing up at such a fierce rate, there really isn’t much time to stand still and reflect before the next season comes along. Sitting up, crawling, clapping, saying the odd half word, saying a full word, singing, dancing, walking with a walker/help, walking on her own… She’s powering through her ‘growing up to do list’ and like a lot of parents I sometime wish I could slow it down a bit, spend a bit more time savouring one before it’s old news and the next trick she’s working on is grabbing the family headlines.
Today we accepted another big change that is coming our way. The fact that Eloise will have a little brother or sister in January. We had been in slight denial, but it all became very real when we had our first scan this morning. It’s an amazing moment, seeing the grainy image of the little 5cm baby enlarged on the screen. Not that long ago we were looking at the very same screen, at an image of Eloise, full of anticipation and wonder. This time, Eloise was sat on my lap, giggling and pointing at her new sibling’s blurry, squirming picture on the monitor. Wonderful changes keep happening and I have to embrace them and savour them, because they are magical. And now as a soon to be dad of two, under two, I find myself passing on the same cliché advice to newer dads about savouring every moment, while celebrating the forward direction our children keep marching in.