Things l’d like my Son to know 

Things I want my son to know. Lesson #12 – Have Courage, But don’t be afraid to cry.

“Big Boys Dont Cry”is something I used to hear a lot when I was growing up.

When I was 22, my granddad died peacefully in his sleep. He was someone I loved so much, someone who taught me the art of DIY, allowed me to drive his cars all the time, sit with him and play with him.

I remember getting the news at about 3am when I heard the house phone ring, and I immediately sensed he was gone, and it was confirmed by my mum’s crying. I jumped up in bed and burst into tears. My dad walked past, knocked on the door and saw me crying and said “Let it out now, but be strong when you get to the house” but there was no time. Granddad lived 3 doors from us, so I quickly got changed and had to dry my eyes and “be strong” for my family. Continue reading

The well placed F-Bomb.

So I’m not a huge fan of foul language, (in front of children), but sometimes the little things can really annoy the sht out of you at times. One such time was a couple of nights ago when my phone decided to play silly buggers and not connect to the Wi-Fi at home. The story of what happens next will crack you up…

Its late in the evening, and I’m about to take my son for his bath.  I decide that some music is in order because, well why not, and go to get my phone from the kitchen where it was sat charging.  I had left it for about 40 minutes or so, and it had only picked up about 10% charge which was infuriating, as Sid’s bath would take at least 8% of the charge.

Anyway I realise that it is also not connected to the Wi-Fi and so I turn the Wi-Fi on on the phone, and wait.  And wait.  And wait.

By this time I’m seriously hacked off and under my breath, seeing that my son is now buzzing around me I mutter “why the fk isn’t the phone connecting to the Wi-Fi?!?!?!”. He was about a metre away from me and I immediately realised I had said those magic words a little too loudly.  He suddenly stopped what he was doing, stared me right in the eye and said “Daddy don’t say that. Don’t say fk. It’s not nice to say it. Instead say .. Hmm (looks at his book of planes) instead say helicopter.”

I was both amazed and mortified at the same time.

I wanted to swing my genius son around and at the same time cut off my tongue for using such profane language in front of my angel with horns child.

There was an itching curiosity within me as I rested that evening.

How did my son, my 2 year old, whom we never swear in front of, know that fk is such a bad swear word?  No-one told him, and certainly not me.  I wondered – did my son realise that my frustration, linked to the extremely well placed F-Bomb meant that the word I used was a naughty word?  Or has someone secretly been teaching my son things to just wind me up?

I did a very crude experiment with him the next morning.  I pretended to get really angry and shouted out “What the chin!?!?!” – and lo and behold – he stopped what he was doing (eating) and said – “Daddy – don’t say Chin.  It’s not nice”.

Could it be that children are that more sensitive to the way we say things compared to what we say?

If it is so, then it is both sentiment, emotion, AND language that has an impact on a child.

This relates quite nicely to what we hear about communication and arguments – most of the time arguments occur not be cause of what we say – but because of how we say it.

It seems like this is not a learned construct – It’s almost innate and we know what this “feeling” of negativity is, from a very young age.

If there’s anything I have learnt from this experience, that is to never underestimate 2 things.

  1. The value of a well placed F-Bomb
  2. The ability of your child at such a young age to pick up on emotion, more than the words.

4 Tips for prenatal bonding for dads- how to get involved after your work is done

So you’re pregnant!! 

Well, not you per se, but you other half is. 

     
 And as dads, we get considered the accessory to all of this. The number of times I got ignored and pushed aside while people flocked to Wifey to say “wow aren’t you blossoming?” Was met with a number of stern looks from me and my casual response of “well I actually did most of the hard work but whatever” (rolling eyes emoticon). I had another 9 months of this. 

Now for the next 9 months you may be wondering what to do when you’re not building the nursery, or panicking if you’re going to be a good dad, or dealing with the surge of emotions (hers) and so on. 

But for me (like other dads) this was an incredible journey. 

I was able to witness the creation of life and the development of my unborn child in all its glory. Without having to actually have the morning sickness, or the mood swings, or the swollen ankles.

  We tracked the development of Sid using an app called babybump, and it was great. Week by week I took photos of Sang and tracked her development up till his arrival. 

This is about as much as most guys I’ve spoken to get involved. For me,this wasn’t enough. I often think that mums to be get the opportunity to develop a unique bond with their child, way before it pops out. They get to feel the baby and talk to the baby, they share a heart beat, and other bodily fluids. 

But dads, it feels like we kind of sit there twiddling our thumbs before we can connect to the baby, which happens after its out in this world, and at this time you’re fighting off all other relatives to get time with him…

Me, well my family say that I’ve been broody since the age of 19 (probably true) and so this journey was one waited for patiently and I wanted to get connected to Sid as soon as possible.

I thought I’d list a few things that I would do, every evening, to connect with Sang and the growing baby, to develop a bond as a prenatal family. 

These things kept me close to her, and I feel gave me a great connection to Sid before he arrived in June ’14. 

  1. Listen to the bump. Every evening I would stick my ear to Sangs abdomen to try and hear the baby swishing around. More often than not, especially for the first few months, I just got Sangs sloshing tummy thanks to her hyperemesis (a whole other blog). But as the foetus developed, i would get the occasional punch or kick from Sid- probably won’t to my weighty head resting on him too much. 
  2. Talk to the bump, really close up. Sid was a great listener. I did at times feel a little stupid talking to him, but being able to tell him about the outside world, how beautiful his mummy is, and let him hear another voice was a great feeling. For me it was a connection to him that I developed over time and I think it explains why he doesn’t bother listening to me now! 
  3. Mozart for babies. We found a great piece of music, about 2 hours long written by Mozart, on YouTube. It was a sleep remedy for me and sang and also something for Sid to hear over my snoring. Apparently Classical music is great for a foetus’ development. 
  4. Importantly – and this is especially useful for the mum- massage cream onto the bump every night and every morning. We used a Sanctuary Spa cream developed for mums in the evening which was loaded with collagen, and a tummy oil by the same people in the morning and after showers etc. I get a lot of praise from Wifey for doing that – not a single stretch mark from the pregnancy. Aside from the obvious benefit, massaging is a sure fire way to build a bond with mum and baby. Lots of kisses and hugs kept the love flowing. 

    So this was one part of my journey with Sang and Sid. It was a journey worthwhile. 

10 Things to do when visiting a dad of a newborn

When my son was born we had the dread and fear as new parents, of visitors and hygiene and our care for our precious new arrival. 

We knew that we’d have family/friends wanting to come over before we even step out of the hospital, and Indians are typically fast when it comes to seeing a newborn. 

It’s as if we’re gonna get real offended if you wait to see us. 

Honestly we’re not!

Now I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that I was the more neurotic parent and I was really sensitive when people came round. I wanted them to enjoy their time with my son, as well as try to give as much protection to him as I could. 

You’re probably thinking “but kids need to have some exposure to germs in order to build up their immune system”- WRONG. 

A newborn doesn’t need that shit from the day they’re born.

They need a clean safe environment to stop them from developing complications such as meningitis, viral infections that cause problems later in life, or in my sons case- sepsis which he developed at 2 weeks old.  I’m not saying that visitor cleanliness was the cause, I’m convinced it was during delivery but let’s highlight the point shall we. 
And you’ll always get the older parents (and their kids who don’t have children of their own) saying stuff like- “well you forget that our parents had kids too” – AGAIN WRONG! 

Our parents had us 30+years ago. We’ve had numerous advances in research that give us the newest advice to help bring kids up in the environment we live in today.  An environment away from thalidomide for example. 

So now to the things that all parents of newborns dread. I have my personal list, and it’s made worse by the fact that desi’s are exceptionally difficult to “control” let’s say.  (you know who you are) 

Just as guidance – if in doubt – ask the parent!

  1. Stay for an hour – TOPS! Unless you’re cooking dinner or doing the dishes/laundry, or my project plan for work. 
  2. Wash your hands- and don’t pretend like we didn’t see you pick your nose, we know your gonna want to try and touch my sons face with those fingers. 
  3. Don’t – EVER kiss my child on his lips. Period. That is reserved for parental love ONLY. cheeks, head hand yes. 
  4. Ease off the aftershave/perfume. I don’t want my son smelling like he was out clubbing all night. 
  5. Shoes off at the door please. My son will crawl on the floor and pick up anything you bring in. 
  6. If you’re even marginally ill, come another time. We’ll love you a lot more if you do. 
  7. If you post a pic on Facebook of my child before I do, I will break your camera. 
  8. Use a muslin when requested. Or even if not requested. 
  9. Remember – the parent is ALWAYS right. Don’t second guess, over-rule or say things like “you’ll get it soon”. 
  10. Finally – I will and did look fubar’d. I don’t need reminding that “you look tired”. Great observation- now get me a coffee. 

Thanks for your understanding. 

Sincerely,
All parents of newborns. 

Fears…

  We found out we were expecting in the autumn of 2013 and as most parents, we were filled with both anxiousness, excitement, and nervousness for the coming 9 months. As time progressed, dealing with wifey’s hyperemesis, spd, and bump distracted us from the fears that lay dormant inside… 
But that said, as a son, soon to be a father, I had a cocktail of fears and concerns about becoming a father… The hangover of which, was immense. 

The biggest fear I had was..”Will I be able to provide and care for my son, and him love me back, not just as a baby, but as a growing toddler and so on…” 

Is this normal for all dads or dads to be? What were your fears or concerns? 

It’d be good to hear your thoughts…