Looking into the future

This final post in the #fathersdaymonth series comes from @LoveAllDads.

@LoveAllDads is a great initiative and a one stop shop for anyone wanting to peruse a fantastic selection of dad bloggers, dad voices and all things dad. It is basically a showcase for the best of Dad Blogs.

Go check out the website here www.lovealldads.co.uk and follow on Twitter @LoveAllDads

And I cannot think of a more appropriate way to close out #fathersdaymonth, with a cheeky little blog post from a guy who runs a platform for showcasing dad blogs. This post is from a man with two lovely girls and is a nod to the future, whatever that future may contain.

Even if it is boys.

++++++++++++++++++++++

Live for the moment, not the past, as you can’t change that.

What about the future though?

Well the future is scary.

Why is it scary?

Simply I have two amazing girls and I am grateful that I have them and I’m so lucky.  

The thing is this. They will grow up.  And THAT is scary.

As things stand the girls are blonde and blue eyes, and both could melt your heart…BUT this is a worry as they grow older; what if those horrible creatures known as BOYS start sniffing around?

I have already warned the girls that boys are off limits until they are 21 and luckily at the moment they respond 

“That’s ok Daddy boys are yucky!”

I do however think this will change at some point.

As tradition dictates, it’s up to the Bride’s Father to pay for the wedding, which if things carry on, with their expensive tastes and everything, could cost me a pretty penny.

Multiply that by two and you have…well it’s not worth thinking about.

I am hoping that it is still tradition for the hopeful chap to ask me for my daughter’s hand in marriage at which point I can simply say “NO!” and in an Eastenders way ‘deal with him’.

Is that allowed? 

Of course I am joking

(sort of)

With the guidance of their parents I know that my girls will grow up to be well mannered and polite and hopefully make the right choices throughout their lives and no matter what, they will know that we will always support them.

As Frank Sinatra said ‘regrets I’ve had a few but then again too few to mention’

Advertisements

Childbirth is painful, but have you ever been kicked in the nuts?

This penultimate #fathersdaymonth post comes from Stuart at @mvd_stuart. For those of you who dont know, he is one half of the dynamic duo that make up www.mummyvsdaddy.com

With his wife @mvd_sarah they run a brilliant and innovative blog that provides a space for the often contradictory (and sometimes agreeable) mix of opinions between a mother and father which make up the rich tapestry of parenthood. 

If you need any more convincing, they were also BiBs finalists this year. Go check their blog site out and follow them on Twitter.

I particularly like this #fathersdaymonth post because it is utterly tragic and brutally honest. And yet somehow, Stuart manages to work a thread of mischievous humour throughout. For this alone it’s a brilliant post. 

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Before meeting my wife Sarah, I had never imagined that some day I would become a father. I was a lazy, childish and slightly mental teenager who at the time found kids nothing more than irritating.

Having children of my own was ‘never’ on my life’s agenda and for me nobody was going to change that. But apparently things do change.

I was 23 years old when I learned that I was to be a Daddy for the first time. Despite my reservations from years gone by, I was ready to step-up for what was to be my little girl – but other plans were made for her.

My first experience of a hospital delivery suite was the 13 hours 50 minutes delivery of my daughter, with my wife and I knowing we would be leaving the hospital empty handed.

On April 24th 2006 my first child Ryleigh Jayne was born sleeping, and to my shame on that day I made the horrendous choice to not look, and to not hold my daughter before she was taken from my life forever.

To this day I consider myself a bad father because of my decision that day. I may try my best for the children I have with me now.

But the fact remains the first thing I ever did as a Father was turn my back on my daughter.

Of course I wanted to see and hold her, but I did not have the courage or strength to do it. I will forever be disgusted with myself.

Ryleigh was delivered at 4 months gestation, after being given just a 5% chance of reaching full-term but then a 0% chance of survival at birth. Before our daughter began suffering we had to do what was right for her, as heart-breaking as it was and will forever be.

Ryleigh had Cystic Hygroma with Fetal Hydrops, and Turners Syndrome.

She will of course always be my first child.

Needless to say the issues we had with Ryleigh made the next pregnancy with our daughter Rhianna all the more stressful. Both me and my wife were always worrying that something may again go wrong. Instead of looking forward to every ultrasound scan, we feared them, as it was an ultrasound which first revealed Ryleigh’s problems.

In the latter stages of the pregnancy with Rhianna she was measuring quite small, which added to our fear that perhaps something wasn’t right – but thankfully our fears were without foundation.

First impressions of the delivery suite this time around were completely different. This time I didn’t arrive knowing I would be leaving again without my child, although at the back of my mind, a little fear of that remained. I was after all yet to be a Dad physically, so this was still all new to me.

I did my best to stay positive as it goes without saying Sarah had so much more to worry about. Yet I proved to be pretty useless to her.

It turns out that my usual cool, calm and collected nature didn’t apply within the walls of a hospital. The experience of child birth took me by surprise to say the least.

I’m not sure what I was expecting. As a man, by far the most common comment I see and hear about child birth is how lucky men are, and that I as a man could never imagine (or stand) the pain of giving birth. Of course the comments always come from women.

To those women my response is have you ever stopped for a second to imagine just how much more painful it would be for a man to give birth? Excuse my phrasing, but our holes are tighter than yours, so of course we consider ourselves lucky that giving birth isn’t our role. But rest assured we appreciate what you go through.

I must admit that I myself have in the past asked women if they know what a proper, full on kick in the nuts feels like and placed it arguably up there alongside child birth on the top shelf of painful experiences.

Although I have always said it in jest, but with a straight, dead-pan face giving the impression that i’m being serious. Just for my own entertainment, it never fails to get a reaction.

In reality the pain women bear during child birth is incredible without a doubt, and as the very proud Father of four (plus my angel Ryleigh) my wife has shown her strength time and time again, not that I have ever doubted her.

For the want of a better description she has seemingly breezed through each delivery and I couldn’t be more proud of her.

As for me though, and my role as her “birthing partner” I have been pretty useless and overwhelmed every single time which surprises me.

I am and have always been a super relaxed man, I take everything in my stride but upon arriving at the delivery suite I fall into a corner and have become almost invisible until it’s time to cut the cord. But I have always been there and at her beckoned call if ever she has needed or wanted me. So I did my bit, albeit a very small bit.

Do I feel I should have done more during the birth of my children? Most definitely.

Do I feel like my wife needed me? Honestly, no.

Because when she needed to be the one to take things in her stride she went head to head with that pain threshold and won comfortably

Although perhaps comfortably is the wrong word!

The whole experience of child birth from a Dad’s perspective was for me far less traumatising than I expected, but far more overwhelming if that makes any sense at all.

Before you become a Dad for the first time all you know is what you hear, or what you have been told by friends or family members who have children. And if the people you know are anything like my lot they will say just about anything to try to put you on edge.

If you are an expectant Dad I would advise against you reading any baby books or asking people what it’s like because there is no routine for child birth.

Your experience of it will be unique to you, so do whatever you can to enjoy and make the most of it because once that baby comes squeezing out (or sliding, depending on the size and shape of your partner) that’s it.

But you can forget about silence, and forget about doing things your way ever again!

Inside the delivery suite you will see your partner in a whole new way, however long you’ve known her. She will not only abuse you physically, but verbally too.

She will at times give the impression that you’re needed, but as soon as you step within reach she will be clawing at your arm like a f****d off raccoon. You will also hear all kinds of new sounds. Just pretend it’s aliens, it’s less scary that way.

And as for the smells… sorry ladies, there are new smells in there too – ask your partner and the look on his face will tell you that he wants to say yes, but is terrified of doing so.

Finally, I want to remind the dads out there that the delivery suite represents your last chance to prepare your partner for Motherhood. She may find these following things irritating at the time – but it’s for the best.

Firstly, do not be afraid to poop yourself and scream for some clean pants.

Secondly, if you feel a bit sick be sure to get some in her hair – she needs to learn to cope with this.

Lastly but not least, if you fancy a cuppa, and the midwife is refusing to make it because she’s delivering your baby, you are well within your rights to throw a tantrum.

Saliva, snot and tears; one man’s reflection on childbirth

This is the fifth guest post in the #fathersdaymonth series. This comes from a great dad blogger called The_iDad. According to his Twitter profile he is “…dad to a crazed toddler and another in production“. Go check him out on Twitter @The_iDad and you can find his great blog here www.idads.co.uk

This is a lovely post that reflects on the need for adaptability in fatherhood (and in parenting in general) and demonstrates clearly that being prepared for childbirth is good, but that you also have to be prepared for the eventuality that sometimes EVERYTHING can change……

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

During the 40 weeks of pregnancy you have quite a while to mentally prepare for what life will be like when your baby arrives. A lot of that time maybe spent wrestling with flat pack nursery furniture, debating over nursery colour swatches or purchasing ridiculously overpriced novelty clothing.

Throughout the prolonged countdown I found myself spending more time contemplating life after birth than birth itself. My thoughts of labour constantly flip flopped between sheer joy and excitement, to utter panic and terror.

Could I be the man that my Wife needed me to be during the birth?

As I write this I realise how pathetic that may sound as I appreciate I am a mere passenger to the birth experience rather than the one actually having to give birth.

I hate to compare the role of the birth partner to that of a back seat driver but the catalyst that fuels the vocal reaction of the panicked passenger is that of lack of control.

I feel as though my fears of labour were stemmed through the feeling of being out of control. Whether or not the birth experience would be good or bad for my Wife seemed as though it had little to do with me. The speed of which I could mop my Wife’s brow or fetch hot towels seemed irrelevant to what my Wife would be going through.

As naive as that sounds I had never been around birth before or even babies so my understanding of it all was slightly out of date.

Having acknowledged my fear and prehistoric knowledge I embraced the opportunity to learn the way of the force and be the best birth partner a man could be.

As an open minded, hip hop, modern era kind of couple we jumped at the opportunity to sign up to 6 weeks of hypno-birthing classes. The experience was great and after the course we both felt empowered to go and pop the baby out with minimal fuss. After all, a pre-planned cocktail of relaxed breathing and a bucketful of oxytocin meant the baby would simply just slide out. Right?!

Wrong!

Yes, with my new found skills I could identify the optimum volume for the hypno music, light several calming candles with the precision of a pyromaniac and produce a knee wobblingly good foot rub; but what if something went wrong during labour? I would be unprepared.

And unfortunately in reality I was.

I found the ethos of hypno-birthing to be incredible and I would highly recommend it to anyone.

But when you find yourself in the stark reality of an emotionally charged emergency c-section situation, deep breathing isn’t enough.

The catchy tune of Elton John’s Rocket Man was still ringing in my ears as my pupils sharply adjusted from the dim sensual lighting to the piercing glare of the surgery room.

As I frantically tried to find the arm hole of an inappropriately ladies size 8 scrubs top that I had been thrown, my concentration was abruptly cut short by the sight of my Wife’s spontaneous projectile vomit coming towards my face.

My knuckles were whiter than my face as I clung on in confusion to my distressed Wife. My fear of being out of control was at its peak and my knee jerk reaction to regain it was coming across as desperate and weak.

It was time to put our trust in someone else and hope for the best.

Well the best couldn’t have been much better, the sight and sound of our newborn son was embarrassingly overwhelming.

Soon after cleaning our newborn son off, the staff were doing it again. But this time it was me they were cleaning as a combination of saliva, tears and snot congealed together to create an alien like emotional eruption that Mount Etna would have been proud of.

The best laid plans may have gone out of the window but the end result was the same.

I am now two and half years into being a Father and the feeling of not being in control still niggles away each time we reach an obstacle for the first time.

It may never go away but I know with each new experience I will learn from it and aim to be better for the next time.

I am thankful to say that I will have a next time as my Wife is 25 weeks pregnant with our second son.

How will I be different during birth this time? I don’t know is the truthful answer.

But I do know that I will be more aware of the various scenarios that can play out and I will support my Wife in every way I can.

 

 

Daddy Day Care

It’s Father’s Day month! The first post is here!

This first post comes courtesy of Dad vs The Kids who has a seriously funny Twitter account (@dadvsthekids) and a great new blog at http://www.dadvsthekids.com/ – go check him out!

I love this post and he is right, it does ALWAYS start off with the crayons……

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

if you ever wonder whether you’re ever doing the right thing as a parent, DON’T. Those rewards are coming

Parenting – if you are doing it right, they will let you know

DADDY DAY-CARE

In the beginning, Mrs DvK would coddle and hold our kids tightly. I, on the other hand, would count down the days until their neck was strong enough for me to throw the kids into the air and catch them like all the other ‘cool Dad’s’ did on the TV. The women would scream in horror. The men would secretly hi-five me for my reckless abandon. Good times.

This would be my downfall. The following experiences of calculated mischief and impossible mayhem can only serve as a warning to all Dads who think its ok to close your eyes for 5 minutes when you’re entrusted to watch your own children.

THE COVER-UP

It starts off with the crayons. ALWAYS with the crayons. You didn’t buy them, but you accept them, not realising the full impact of what will eventually happen. Soon enough, you walk past a once pristine cream wall in your living room to find a piece of blue and orange wax wall art you don’t remember commissioning. And the tiny culprit nowhere in sight. Banksy?

The taste for wanton destruction escalates as your precious bundle of joy reaches each milestone of curiosity and creativity in their development.

My attempts to maintain my place as ‘cool Dad’ means, inevitably, I am the complicit accomplice in their misdemeanours, often hiding the evidence before Mrs DvK comes home.

As I fish out yet another brand new loo roll from the toilet, or wipe up urine and other unspeakable substances from every room in the house (except the bathroom), I give thanks to shows like CSI and Dexter for teaching me the finer points of crime clean-up.

One occasion finds me asleep AT THE DINING TABLE. I only wanted to rest for a few minutes, I swear. Seizing a rare moment of toddler independence, my two boys (about 2yrs & 3yrs old at the time) use this opportunity to find out what our large square cushions are made of.

You’ll recognise the moment when it happens to you. I jolt myself awake. Disoriented, I wonder where I am and why my usually noisy kids are unusually quiet.

Then I see the carnage.

Thousands of tiny polystyrene balls cover our living room floor like a beautiful, white, winter wonderland. Except with two small figures standing in the middle of it, one with the dustpan and the other with a brush, both working together to sweep up all the evidence to dispose of it in the kitchen bin. Busted.

In retrospect, that was the first time they worked together as a team. Brilliant, they love each other!

That was also the first time I remember regretting giving my eldest son a sibling-sidekick. Little gits.

THE ADVENTURER AND THE WRESTLER

These days my boys, now 7 and 9, are seasoned players of ‘The Floor is Lava’, leaping from dining table to sofa to coffee table with the enviable flexibility of a Parkour athlete.

In the early stages of parenthood, the house was baby-proofed, so my ‘cool Dad’ instinct is to leave them to their own devices and discover things on their own. It’s ok Mrs DvK – you go out and run those errands. I GOT THIS. What’s the worst that could happen?

Our first trip to A&E occurred when the youngest (again, probably 2yrs old at the time) somehow manages to traverse a flight of stairs, get into the master bedroom and attempt to climb up our giant chest-of-drawers.

Oh, did I not mention the enormous widescreen TV that was on top? Everything. EVERYTHING toppled over on top of him, the TV missing him by inches.

I’ll never forget the crashing noise and the mythical superhuman strength I suddenly possessed allowing me to flip the chest-of-drawers off of him in one desperate, determined motion.

Despite being stunned for a few seconds, to this day I cannot explain how he emerged from the wreckage without so much as a scratch or broken bone.

The years go by, and the kids get bigger. And rougher. We get complacent, because dammit, for the 100th time, if you fall out of that tree and break your legs DON’T COME RUNNING TO ME.

I’m home from work barely 5 minutes. The boys are about 6yrs and 4yrs, and the oldest is recreating cartoon fight scenes in the living room with realistic aplomb. I’m tired and don’t care, heading up the stairs to check in with Mrs DvK.

Suddenly the crying from downstairs hits that ‘level’. You know the one. The level that says “Okay, they’ve taken it too far; I better stop ignoring them and do some actual parenting.”

I head downstairs. The 6yr old sprints past. “I’M SORRY! I’M SORRY! I DIDN’T MEAN IT!” What? I turn back to see the 4yr old following closely, his head split open and blood down half his face.

It’s the prom scene from Carrie and I am freaking out.

My reaction does not help the already distraught youngsters.

We explain to the nurses at A&E that the 6yr old somehow managed to pile-drive his younger brother into the corner of the coffee table, bashing his head in the process. Both kids are quiet and feeling sorry for themselves.

The only fatherly words of comfort I can offer are “Chicks dig scars.” Mrs DvK is not impressed.

Why am I sharing these tales of fatherly incompetence with you? Because I look back and see that my kids are creative, problem-solvers, resilient, bold, independent and braver than I ever was at their age. And eventually, they give back.

On Sunday May 26th, it was our wedding anniversary. 12 years. We’re not big on celebrations or cards, and when you have kids, that energy to put yourselves first for once and kick the kids out for the day just isn’t in us.

I wake up and reach for the iPad and instead find a handwritten note on a small piece of paper:

“Dear Mum & Dad,

It has come to my attention that it is your anniversary. I try to keep calm and it is not working. I know you love me and Tavon although you shout at us. Please read this letter carefully.

Love, Tyrese.”

No prompting from us.

For the first time, he wanted to do something for his parents that meant more than any specially crafted card or present ever could. Acknowledge in his own way how he felt about us.

Great, I’ve got a lump in my throat and something in my eye.

Fathers: as your child grows, all your fears/anxieties come down to the one question. AM I GOING TO BE A GOOD DAD?

The rules sometimes go out the window, and you’re going to beat yourself up over it. I know, because I have.

But keep at it. If you’re doing it right, they’ll let you know.

They WILL surprise you every day. And if you ever wonder whether you’re ever doing the right thing as a parent, DON’T. Those rewards are coming. And when they’re from the heart, all your sacrifice will be worth it.

Woo Hoo! It’s nearly Father’s Day Month!

In celebration of Father’s Day on Sunday June 16th I am going to be featuring guest posts from some of the finest father bloggers on the interweb throughout the month of June.

What better way to celebrate all that is good (and maybe bad?!) about modern fatherhood!

I decided to go a bit out on a limb with the theme of the blog.

I wanted to hear male voices writing about the process of childbirth. Childbirth is not something I have read much about from a father’s perspective, so I wanted to address the balance a little bit.

And in case any of the guest bloggers were either not there (or not conscious) during that particular process, they have an escape clause to otherwise write about fatherhood in general.

I hope you will visit my site over June as I feature their writing. I am really excited by it and personally can’t wait to see their entries

Featured writers will include

–          Tom Briggs (Twitter; @TomBriggs79 and Blog: www.diaryofthedad.co.uk)

–          Shawn Brown (at Circumstantially Wonderful  www.sextonsongs.wordpress.com)

–          The iDad (Twitter; @The_iDad and blog: www.idads.co.uk)

–          Dad vs The Kids (Twitter; @dadvsthekids and blog: www.dadvsthekids.com)

–          MVD Stuart (Twitter; @mvd_stuart and blog: www.mummyvsdaddy.com)

And yes, there is at least one BiBs finalist there in the line up! Woo Hoo indeed!

#fathersdaymonth

#FDM

+++++++++++++++++++++++

 NB – This is an idea I got from Dean @littlestepstwit over at www.littlestepsblogdotcom.wordpress.com

Dean has been featuring guest female bloggers on her blog for some time now on her “chats with moms” categories and I really liked the concept. It is refreshing to read so many female perspectives in one place. Go check it out.

(In fact, although I am not a mum, I may also have an interview up there soon! Watch that particular space!)