The high points of having children are well known: the smiles, the warm feeling of family, the knowledge that a small part of your essence will live on in an otherwise dispassionate and soulless universe. But after six months of Fatherhood, I’ve discovered plenty of other joys that I hadn’t expected.
You’ve always got something to talk about
You know those awkward moments at a party, at work, when someone phones you, on public transport, when meeting a friend for lunch, at your pilates class, at the cafè, at the beach, when grabbing a hot dog from a stand, at an inpromtu social gathering, when buying a newspaper or during intercourse when you can’t think of anything to say? I now have a ‘go to’ subject that I’m enthusiastic about, about which I can talk effortlessly and which other people, at the very least, have to think of some clichès with which to respond?
“How’s he sleeping?”
“Well here are the logs from the last 120 nights. Do you want to go through them together, or what?”
No more social awkwardness
Long gone are the days when I’d struggle to be up for a 3pm lecture. I can now say that there is something that feels good about being up before the rest of the world. With the demise of milk men and house burglaries, parents are one of the only communities awake in the wee small hours. I now understand why they repeat Match of the Day at 0730 on a Sunday morning; there’s absolutely no way I can stay up late enough for the Saturday night edition and frankly the Sunday morning edition could do with being on an hour earlier. You feel like you can achieve so much when you’re up early. That you don’t achieve any of it is but a minor footnote.
New relationships with old jumpers
By 1916, the supply of fit men for the front could not keep up with the demand caused by the losses at the second battle of Ypres, at the Somme and by the imperative to relieve pressure on the French army at Verdun. And it is with this very much in mind that I have forcibly conscripted some of my second rank jumpers to active service. The speed at which I can wash clothes has lagged behind the rate at which my small but well trained army of nice jumpers have been covered with sick. This has meant reacquaintance with older, retired jumpers pressed back into action and newer, less favoured knitwear that resulted from a panicked afternoon at TK Maxx.
The most minor tasks are now major achievements
Henry Morton Stanley took 10 months and required a retinue of 192 porters to find Dr Livingstone and in the end Livingstone didn’t even want to be found. My trip to Boots yesterday took similar efforts but you don’t hear me shouting about it (apart from the 3 tweets and the press release I put out). All of the things I previously did without thinking are now credit worthy activities deserving of note. Loaded the dishwasher today – I am fucking amazing.
For the time being there’s always someone who is happy to see me
Apart from the brief interegnun between the ages of 7 and 21 where your children treat you with nothing but contempt, you’ve got a new best friend for life. I know his excitement first thing in the morning is largely because I have the strength and motor skills capable of lifting him out of his cot but whilst I am of some use to him and he is still amused by peek-a-boo, we’re cool.
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