So I’ve terrified the life out of a lot of you my dear readers, sorry about that, I know that in the cold hard format of print my last post came across as shocking and terrifying, I know that it would have scared the bejesus out of me.
Whilst I believe in honesty, which is why I gave it to you warts and all, it was no intended in any way to put you off having kids yourself. Childbirth is something that all mammalian life goes through and as much as we have been sheltered from the realities it is still a beautiful thing. Mrs Bunny Chow went through living hell bringing Monkey Boy into this world, yet we have bounced back and are about to do it all over again.
I’m going to continue now following some sort of timeline and again going over the highs and lows that surround being a father and to some extent a parent in general. I’m not going to discuss boobs, breast feeding or anything that falls outside of the role of the father other than to say, that we are expected to be of some assistance in this regard, fetching and carrying, drinks, back rubs etc. etc. I will say now for the record I was hopeless at this.
Mrs Bunny Chow breast feeding I could just about cope with, but when friends and others have whipped out their boobs and begun feeding their kids in my presence I did all I could to avoid running from the room screaming. I know it’s natural and all ladies have them and will even admit that I quite like a boob but when people you know whip ‘em out I make my excuses and make tea.
Anyway I said I wasn’t going to talk about mystic Mother stuff so I’ll go back to talking about the role of the father as I interpret it. After Monkey Boy was born and Mrs Bunny Chow was settled into the nursing wing with him I was summarily dismissed.
I drove across a cold dark, South London, slower and more carefully than I ever have, I felt overwhelmed, terrified, I was responsible for this cute, squashed, little being and had had the tiniest role in supporting Mrs Bunny Chow bring this tiny fragile little boy into this world. I knew in my heart that I knew nothing about how to care for this little scrap of humanity and that all the books I’d read had left me helplessly unprepared, but I also knew that people have been bringing babies into the world for millennia and had coped in much tougher conditions than we were expecting to and a glimmer of confidence returned.
Ouma and Oupa Bunny Chow were waiting expectantly for me when I arrived home in the early hours of the morning. It was time for that beer I’d been craving for days. I was exhausted but elated, both of my parents got up, Oupa and I had our breakfast beer and I had the happy job of phoning the extended relatives around the world. I had another been and then a third for good luck before crashing into the sleep of the dead for a few hours.
I don’t recall much about the rest of that day but know that I returned to the hospital at about lunchtime, we paid some people to take a couple of photo’s of the Monkey Boy and were allowed to take him and Mrs Bunny Chow at about eight in the evening. There was still snow on the ground and we wrapped Monkey up in a snow suit that made him look like a tiny blue starfish before carrying him in his shiny new car seat out to the car.
Whilst on this subject, all car seats are stupid and badly designed, I am of the firm belief that they are made this way so that your child will have an early exposure to their fathers colourful vocabulary. I dislike them intensely but I digress. Monkey Boy and Mrs Bunny Chow were installed in the car and I once again crossed South London at a snails pace.
Even in those early days of sleepless nights I remember thinking that it wasn’t as bad as I’d been expecting, you adapt, you cope. Yes babies cry, yes you have to deal with nappies, but they really are not as bad as you think they will be. Once the Meconium is done (remember that first poo mentioned in my last essay) their excrement smells a bit cheesy and resembles a Korma with Almonds. I can’t speak for girls but wow do you have to be careful of little boys hosepipes when they are unhinged though. We had a couple of early accidents more down to our lack of skill than anything at fault with the child, but these were easily resolved with clean sheets a bit of extra laundry and we were good to go again.
Small babies don’t do very much other than cuddle, wail and eat so I won’t go into too many hints and tips, they progress into being little people slowly so you have plenty of practice as they learn, first the can lift their heads, then they can roll over, then they can eat a bit of real food and their nappies become less pleasant, but because you’ve been softened up by the early easy ones you cope without too much difficulty.
There are moments of huge excitement when they give you that first smile, then you get the giggles when they giggle at you, each step along the way is fascinating, every day they do something new to make you fall even deeper in love with them than you would ever have believed possible.
Mrs Bunny Chow has been an incredible inspiration to me throughout it all, she has always been there for him, she has been a figure of calm when he’s screamed blue murder at the indignities of being changed, she’s soldiered on the the middle of the night when I have given in to exhaustion and given me the inspiration to be a better father.
So in conclusion regardless of the difficulties and the scary times, being a parent is the most amazing thing I have ever done or expect to do. Kids make your world and all those things you think you’ll miss out on because of them pale into insignificance in comparison to them, even beer!
Mr Bunny Chow.