The Newborn Stage – enjoy it while it lasts!

I often hear people telling new parents that the ‘newborn stage’ is the hardest but I don’t agree. Newborns are the best. They’re essentially little slugs. They don’t move, they just sit there doing nothing except sh!tting in their pants. Toddlers on the other hand are the devil. You’ve to run after them everywhere. They’ve no morals and they sh!t on your floor.

You’re welcome.
DD

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Rolling Down The Lego River

And there it was. No sooner had I attempted the first dunk of my fun size Mars bar into my milky tea that I heard it, the mogwai-like gurgling of our newest addition – Thing 3 was awake…

I downed tools, secretly wept and prepared myself for another couple of hours of feeding, burping, peeing, wiping and crying. And that’s just me. Thing 3 arrived four weeks ago as if from nowhere (my wife will argue differently) and with Thing 1 and Thing 2 already tucked up in bed It gradually dawned on me that my nightly ‘Netflix fix’ will slowly become a thing of the past. Stranger Things Season 5 will be out before I’m back In my lounge pants and Mars bar heaven.

So there you have it, I’m a Dad of 3 boys aged ‘just turned 5’, terrible 2 (and I mean terrible) , and 4 weeks old. I love them dearly but I’ll be honest I’d been dreading the arrival of Thing 3.

Call me selfish – maybe I am – but I’ve never enjoyed the first 4-6 months of a baby’s life. Actually scrap that, I’ve never enjoyed my life for the first 4-6 months of a baby’s life. Hmmm yes, I must be selfish (my wife doesn’t argue with me on this)

sleep

Three kids is a game changer, I’m shattered, just shattered (and yes before you shoot me, my wife is even more shattered). It was Thing 1’s birthday last week and we had a party for him in a play centre – Kids Space Rathfarnham – which was very good although I probably lost 3lbs due to the crazy heat in the place (Mankini next time for shizzle). There was a lot of running around, wiping brows cheering on kids but being the CPO (Chief Present Officer) in our household I knew what lay ahead – helping Thing 1 construct his massive Superman Lego city AND following through on my promise – why oh why – to go camping in the back garden in his new tent. Thing 2 – who’s potty training I might add – had a wonderful idea of pitching the ‘ent’, as he calls it, and playing with the Lego in this newly pitched fort. BOOM, two birds with one stone I thought.

So we pitched, we played, we laughed, we shouted, we cried and shouted some more before we tucked into dinner and prepped ourselves for night camp (if only we could drop the ‘m’ I thought).

tent

And so night fell. With my stamina dwindling and Thing 1 & 2 in sugar rush heaven we hit the ‘ent’ for what was to be a long long night ahead. I introduced the boys to an app I’d found called Voice Changer with Effects (free on Android) and they had great fun hearing themselves back as robots, creatures, cyborgs, extraterrestrials and more.

It was only at 3am when I was woken by a Monster-like voice and some Lego bricks floating (yes floating) past me that I realised something was wrong… Thing 2 had woken up. He’d found my phone and was standing behind me when he accidently hit the Monster voice.

He scared himself ‘piss-less’ to the point of peeing at full pace against the inside of the tent, creating a Niagara Falls-like gush straight through Lego Metropolis and past good old Daddy’s ears.

As the little Monster’s voice said ‘Daddy I’m doing a wee wee, Daddy I’m doing a wee wee, Stranger Things I thought. Stranger Things indeed, but probably season 6 at this rate.

DD

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THINGS I LEARNED AS A PARENT LAST YEAR (Part 2)

1. 90% of eating with your kids in a restaurant is preventing them from (1) putting food in their drinks or (2) spilling their drinks.

2. ‘Dad, why don’t you let the radio sing instead?’, was just cruel and unnecessary.

3. Trying to open a Capri Sun without it squirting out is one of parenting’s toughest challenges

4. Wearing a Halloween Mask in bed has been a great way to stop our kids from wanting to sleep in our bed at night.

5. You don’t know creepy until you’ve had a child stand over you at 3am and whisper ‘Bunny says he doesn’t like you”. #TimeToChangeTheUndies.

6. Did you know that blueberries can pass through a baby’s digestive system fully intact? Same goes for sweetcorn, carrots, potatoes…

7. One of the best sounds you’ll ever hear is your partner and kids in fits of laughter in the next room.

8. . That said, hearing Thing 1 (5) ‘teaching’ and explaining something to his younger brother (3) makes everything in my world completely insignificant.

9. Son: “DAAAD I only asked you to hold my ice cream”.
Me: “Yes and that was a mistake. Now you must learn from it..

10. The one thing I have in common with our baby is we both cry when our bottles are empty.

11. 6yo: “Daddy what does neglect mean?”
Me: Sssh I’m watching the golf.

12. “I want a snack” – my 4yo when he’s eating.

13. Nothing halts having fun with your kids quicker than when one of them grabs your glasses.

14. We teach our kids not to lie and then 30 seconds later tell them that their picture is excellent.

15. Before i had kids i thought only perverts sniffed underwear.

16. If you yell “what are you up to” and your kids say “nothing” that’s kid code for “you better get off your fat a** and check on us”

17. Always double-check the garden after you’ve had a party because seeing a 3 year old chew on a cigarette butt is all sorts of wrong.

18. If you want to see a full-blown meltdown, give a boy a girl’s party bag by ‘mistake’.

19. Always make sure that your son is looking into the toilet (or even at the toilet) when you offer to have a ‘wee wee’ sword fight with them. #DadsWillUnderstand

20. I’ve been present at 3 births (right hand is still fractured) but nothing compares to the facial expressions of a toddler trying to squeeze out a poo.

21. Sunday bedtime is usually when my kids like to discuss quantum physics

22. It’s also the time when my kids ‘need to finish’ their homework.

23. …and it’s also the time when I tend to lose my sh*t.

24. I only bring my kids to the library so that I can get some peace and quiet.

25. I’m never more nervous than when I insist we’re out of something and my wife goes to look for it herself.

26. You haven’t really been patronised until a 6yo hugs you and starts patting you on the back

27. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make my 3yo wipe his own arse.

28. Its weird how 6 glasses of water seems impossible but 6 glasses of wine can be done in one sitting.

29. ‘No I’ll do it myself’ is the reason i’ll never be on time for anything ever again.

30. ‘Really. Wow that’s mad’ – things I say when i’m not listening to my kids (or wife)

31. If bottled bath water was a thing, my kids would drink it by the gallon.

32. Even if my privates were on fire my kids would walk into the room and ask me for a snack.

33. 4yo: I don’t like it, it’s too spicy.
Me: IT’S A YOGURT

DD

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Digital Dad: Things I learned As A Parent Last Week

From Russian roulette to Santa bribes, here are 27 things that I learned as a parent over the past few weeks…

1.It only took two phone calls to Santa this morning to get the boys ready for school. Result.

2. Everywhere is a potential bed if you try hard enough.

3. Nobody is better at Hide-and-Seek than my wife when she hands me the kids after I walk in the door from work.

4. YAAAAY bath time.

  • 10 mins of tactical negotiations to get the kids into the bath.
  • 5 mins of screaming about how hot the water is (it’s not).
  • 1 min of fighting about which end of the bath my 4yo & 6yo want
  • 3 mins of screaming about getting shampoo in their eyes (I didn’t )
  • 5 mins of laughing as all 3 do farts in the bath- 2 mins of panic while we realise that Thing 3 (our toddler) ‘sharted’ not farted
  • 2 mins of ‘full monty’ dancing
  • 3 mins of post evacuation chasing of Thing 1 & Thing 2 in order to get them dry and dressed.

Parenting (with clean kids). So much fun.

5. My toddler should write a book called “Why one sock is better than two”.

6. My 4yo should write a book called “Why I never wait for the sun to come up”.

7. My 6yo should write a book called “Why I want to be a Lego Master Builder”.

8. *from upstairs to downstairs*

4yo: “DAAAAD. I got poo in my hair”

Me: “That’s not possible. Go to sleep”

Turns out it is possible. #ByeByePillow

9. “Noooo I want to do it, I want to do it. I said I WANTED TO DO IT” – my 4yo’s nightmare last night, presumably about traffic light buttons.

10. If you’re ever concerned about your kid’s hearing, just open a bag of crisps from another room.

11. it’s always fun to find a mushed up banana stuffed between your ‘no longer new’ couch.

12. Conjunctivitis.com – now there’s a site for sore eyes. #DadJoke

13. Parenting Russian Roulette – Undressing a standing toddler and removing the nappy not knowing if anything will fall out or slide down. I lost

14. Asking your kids to clean up their toys while you hold a large black bin liner is EXTREMELY effective. Try it.

15. It’s slowly dawning on me that the only way I’m going to ever use a gym is if I go to prison.

16. DING DONG.

Sales Caller: “Oh…..Hello there. Is your Mummy or Daddy there?”

4yo: “No”…while slowly closing door.

Sales Caller: *puzzled look*

Me: *feeling proud (as I hide) that he executed it perfectly*

#WitchingHour #GoAway #WorstTimeToCall

17. I can’t believe I was naive enough to think “a soft play centre will never see a cent of my money”

18. School photos; because who needs money to buy groceries this week.

19. My kids have reached that stage where they blame their farts on their mum now. Is it bad that I’m somewhat proud that they’ve reached this milestone?

20. Last Saturday my 4yo son took off his shoes, top and jeans and stood in a display shower in Homebase while waving at customers.

21. Meanwhile, my 6yo dressed up in full Nerf ‘combat’ gear yesterday just to kill a bug. I swear I could hear the bug p***ing himself…laughing.

22. If you’re bored, a fun thing to do is tell your kids that it’s time for bed, and repeat it again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and….you get the picture

23. “Ugh. I’m not eating that, it’s yucky” he says about tiny bruise on banana.

The same can’t be said for a stringy snot however (as I type ‘n’ wretch)

#OurFourYearOld

24. Cleaning your house is pointless if your children are going to continue living there.

25. I thought I was a normal person until my 4yo son asked me if “I’d eat a bowl of dog poo for 3 million euro pound money”

26. Never ever lose instructions for a newly bought Lego spaceship. #SundayRuined

27. I’m thinking of setting up a ‘Nap Club’. It’ll be kinda like a book club just without the books or the talking.

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Best,

DD


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Study Finds, Women need longer than six weeks to recover from childbirth.

Having a baby is a beautiful experience. Or rather welcoming a baby is a beautiful experience. As a guy I couldn’t, and wouldn’t, even fathom a guess as to what you amazing women go through during pregnancy both physically and mentally. Us guys have it easy. We can just sit back eating Jaffa Cakes waiting for the new little person to arrive. It’s very much a man’s world.

But as everybody knows, giving birth is just the start of it. The demands on one’s body can live long after the birth of a child and although most books and doctors may tell you that you’ll be back to normal within six weeks this just isn’t the case for most women.

Of course, I can only talk about my own wife in this situation but while being pregnant with our second child she developed Symphysis pubis dysfunction, or SPD which stayed with her for almost three years. For every day of those three years, she was in crippling agony.

Sometimes she was unable to walk, sometimes she was unable to get out of the bed, and sometimes she was consuming more medication than she was food. Three full years of chronic pain – multiple doctor visits, multiple nerve block procedures, multiple physiotherapists and oodles of pain medication but unfortunately nothing helped her.

Needless to say, it took its toll on her and if I’m being honest it took its toll on me too. Anyone who has suffered or is suffering from SPD will tell you just how painful and emotionally draining it is. Thankfully after the birth of our third child, the SPD went away and my fantastic wife is now more or less back to her original brilliant self.

Mother and newborn

The reason I write about this is because I recently came across a study by Dr. Julie Wray – a researcher in Salford University in England – who interviewed numerous women at different stages of post-partum life in order to gain a unique insight into postnatal recovery.

During her research, Dr. Wray found that the standard six-week recovery period is a ‘complete fantasy’ and it can take a full year for a woman to recover from childbirth.

Physical recovery is just one aspect. Anybody who has a baby will know that the emotional shift and psychological effects to becoming a parent – even for a father – can be one of, if not, the toughest challenges.

The study found that hospital wards can have a negative impact on women’s ability to recoup and celebrate the birth of their child, and realistic woman-friendly postnatal services are needed to help women with the transition of becoming a mother.

“Women feel that it takes much longer than six weeks to recover and they should be supported beyond the current six to eight weeks after birth,” Wray explains. “The research shows that more realistic and woman-friendly postnatal services are needed.”

I’m young enough to remember my own mother being in hospital for a week after the birth of my sister (we never ate as many portions of beans on toast as we did during that week. Thanks Dad!). The current generation of mums however now feel like they have to go home before they are ready. As well as this, many mums nowadays hold down full-time jobs outside of the home and have to return to work long before they might actually feel ready to do so. Am I right?

Dr. Wray thinks more and longer care of new mums is needed and thinks it is worrying so many new mums feel the pressure to get back on their feet so soon after childbirth

Do you agree with this? How long did it take you to feel back to normal after giving birth? Let us know your comments below.

Thanks

DD


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Digital Dad: A Tip Of The Cap To Single Parents

The phone rang and like a bat out of hell she was gone.  As I watched the smoking tires fade into the distance I turned around and looked at my kids. One had two straws up his nose, one was munching on his foot and the other was picking out a now wet toilet roll that had fallen into the bowl…It was going to be a long, long weekend.

My gorgeous darling wife was heading abroad for four days with her friends and had been planning this well deserved trip for quite some time.

I was genuinely happy and excited for her but two weeks ago my safety net was pulled from underneath me when I found out that my parents and my in-laws wouldn’t be around for the weekend either. I was up nappy creek without a wipe, so to speak.

Like a bat out of hell she was gone.

We have three boys under six – five, three and 10 months – and although I’ve had the pleasure of spending time with them (aka parenting) on my own for a couple of days/nights before, this was going to be a different challenge. I won’t lie. I wasn’t looking forward to it.

And I know it’s parenting, I’m not disputing that or trying to wriggle away from any responsibilities but it’s tough for anyone to mind three kids without a break for a prolonged period of time.

Single parents, I salute you.

Dad Feeding Child

The prospect of feeding, changing, cleaning, cooking, playing, entertaining, nursing and ultimately refereeing for four full days probably isn’t something that anyone would look forward to. But hey, as I said that’s parenting for you.

I’ve had it relatively easy up until now, especially the past 10 months while my wife has been on maternity leave. Work has been my escape, my break if you will, from the monotony of day to day parenting so I haven’t had to do the ‘take for granted’ chores of cooking, cleaning, laundry et all.

I was up nappy creek without a wipe

Anyway, I embraced the weekend with all the gusto I had. Between a junior infant’s sports day, swimming lessons (Tip: don’t forget to remove the blue overshoes before you go shopping), GAA nursery, a pet shop visit and some pre-camping accessory shopping for this coming weekend’s ‘Camp Friends’ reunion we had enough to keep us busy.

The jewel in the crown, however, was the trampoline I bought which I was hoping would keep them occupied for most of the weekend…thankfully it did.

And it was the trampoline; or rather the assembling of same that highlighted just how important it is to spend quality time with your kids. After putting them up to bed on Friday night I proceeded to assemble said trampoline only for Thing 1, our five-year-old, to come back downstairs because ‘he wasn’t tired’.

He volunteered to help me ‘read’ the instructions and for the next two hours, I did a one hour job.

Realising after some time that he wasn’t really helping me or that I didn’t need his help he got upset and it was in that moment I realised that for him this was a ‘I’ll show daddy what a big boy I am’ bonding moment.

I was too distracted with reaching the end goal to cop it, but thankfully I had enough smarts to get him to help me put the final spring on the trampoline so that he could finish the job.

It ended well and I made a big thing of him staying up late and helping me. He was proud of himself.

I also promised myself to never let anything distract me from those fleeting bonding moments again.

They are precious and by god kids grow up so quickly.

Dad and Baby

It was being on my own with them that I got to appreciate just how lovely my kids are. They adapted to my style of parenting. I let them wear odd socks because that’s ok. I let Thing 2 pour milk into his dinner – on the proviso that he eats/drinks it all – because he’s quirky like that.

I let them sleep in their t-shirt and shorts because they didn’t want to waste time getting dressed in the morning…trampolining was more important.

Granted this wouldn’t be the norm if I was a stay at home dad.

My methods would change and evolve but even still, I realised after just four days that a stay at home parent is not the life for me.

It’s not that it’s a hard job per say, and it’s not easy either, it’s just relentless.

Even the small things like hanging pictures, changing bulbs, mowing the lawn, shopping, cooking, cleaning, laundry, tidying up, become big tasks over time. It’s just nonstop.

I had the cushion and comfort of knowing that my wife would be coming home but if I didn’t I’m not sure how I’d feel. I have a new found appreciation and respect for my wife and stay at home parents but more importantly for single parents who do this day in day out while also trying to hold down a job. After looking after everybody else, it’s the lack of that precious ‘you time’ that really stood out for me. If that’s you, I salute you.

Multitask Mum

As I said at the start of this piece, my wife deserves a mini holiday with the girls. I’ll deserve it too when my time comes. All parents deserve it. Everybody needs a break whether it’s on their own, with friends or as a couple. Life is short. It’s to be enjoyed not suffered and certainly, that’s how we as a family live it.

That said, I was dreading the weekend. Some of my mates were in the same boat so being the nerds that we are we set up a ‘Single Dads’ WhatsApp group and exchanged war stories.

One of the lads even pretended that he’d allowed his kids to stay up and watch the Champions League Final even though we all know that he’d simply failed to get them down to bed that night.

Anyway being a glutton for punishment I decided to invite the lads and their kids over for a ‘Trampoline BBQ’. In for a penny, in for a pound and all that. Nine kids and three adults later there we all were happily soaking up the sun heaping self praise on each other while the trampoline did all the work.

We thought we were great. It was only four days but ignorance is bliss.

One thing we all acknowledged though was how tough a job it is as a stay at home parent and how much tougher it must be to raise kids on your own – whether by choice or not. It’s all consuming, it’s relentless and it’s often thankless and we only needed a few days over a long weekend to experience this.

We couldn’t fathom what it must be like if you have to hold down a job on top of all of that.

So as the title of this piece suggests, I salute and tip my hat to all the hard working single parents out there.

Best,

DD

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Dear Dad: A Message From My 6-Month Old. Part 2

Dear Big Person,

Thanks for taking on board some of the issues I mentioned in my last message. Your stale breath has slightly improved and I’m glad to see that there were no ‘nappy nugget’ incidents last week.

While I lie on my back I have a good deal of time to ponder about things so I’ve put together a few more bugbears that I hope you’ll be able to help me with…

1. Can you remember to clean in between the creases of my chubby legs. I found a raisin in one of them yesterday. At least I think it was a raisin, same colour but ‘twas very very soft.

2. That long necked thing that you guys call Sophie, any chance you could get it to stop squeaking? I’m continually biting it but it won’t shut up.

3. Heads up that when Mummy tells you that she didn’t know I had a ‘pooey’ nappy, she’s lying. She often sniffs down there, calls you and then pretends to get a phone call from somebody important.

4. I may only be starting to rollover but I’m no fool. Just because you turn over the mattress doesn’t mean I can’t still smell the vomit.

6. Speaking of rolling over, those Lego pieces are a bit hard on these young gums. It might be advisable to move them out of my way. I’m happy enough with the stale Liga I randomly find under the couch however.

5. Mummy has mentioned this to you several times but can I remind you to use the vests from the top drawer rather than the bottom drawer which are now 3 months old.  My bum isn’t meant to squeak every time I move and I’m sure my ‘wiggly thing’ is meant to have room to wiggle.

7. NO NO NO. Don’t ever put one of those winter snow suit thingys on me again. They look ridiculous and we don’t live in the arctic. I’ll be the laughing stock of crèche. Lilly with the one tooth has already had a snigger.

8. You might want to get the floorboard fixed. I hear it every time you try to sneak out of my room. I keep screaming at you but you don’t seem to understand.

9. If you can’t be bothered to cut my nails then face the consequences. It’s not my fault.

10. Same goes for Mummy and Thing 2’s hair; if it dangles I’m going to grab it. Get me some better toys and I might not be so entertained by their screams.

Nappy Nuggets

11. Any chance of a bonjela drip? These gums are killing me.

12. That activity centre gives me a right old wedgie. Best not to put me in it until my feet actually touch the ground.

13. Don’t mind Mummy, I’ve no issue with staying in my pyjamas all day. I’m happy to follow in your footsteps.

14. If you don’t like seeing the spaghetti race down the wall then stop moaning and move my feeding chair away from the walls.  What did you expect?

15. I’ve never seen you eat with a shovel so can you do me a favour and revert back to using the small spoons when feeding me. I’m starting to look like the ‘The Joker’.

16. Sippy cups? Sippy cups? Honestly how old do you think I am? I’ve only just mastered the full fist in mouth, give me a few weeks will ye.

17. I know I take an age to eat my dinner but when it goes cold could you heat it up again? I never see you tucking into a cold Sheppard’s pPe or Bolognese?

18. Do you know how unnerving it is to know that somebody is staring over my cot while I’m pretending to be asleep? If you really need to do it then go to Dublin Zoo.

19. Don’t you love when somebody puts a clothes peg on your nose? No I didn’t think so, so will you relax when wiping my nose and ‘squeezing’ every last big of gunge out of it.

20. Nappy rash is bad enough but stubble rash is just taking the piss. Please shave before you insist on kissing me.

Thanks. Thing 3 xoxo

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Dear Dad: A Message From My 6-Month Old: Part 1

Dear Big Person,

You’re the first dad I’ve ever had and so far you seem to be OK at it. That said I’ve nothing to compare you against so if it’s not too much trouble I’d appreciate if you could take the time to read some of my bugbears below….they’d make my life a whole lot better.

1. Please brush your teeth before kissing me in the morning. It smells worse than my nappy.

2. Don’t be a lazy toad, put the nappy cream on me every time. We’ll see how you like it in your old age.

3. Eh, you can quit with the airplane feeding game. It’s well run its course. Just feed me and shut up.

4. And if I don’t like the food, I don’t like the food. Get over it.

5. I hope the wheels on the bus fall off so you can stop singing that annoying song.

6. Can you do me a favour and quit putting your thumb in your mouth and then wiping my face with it. It stinks. Have ever wondered why I keep throwing my soother out of the cot? Karma sucks baby. Pardon the pun.

7. Can you tell the other two small people to wipe their noses before they decide to kiss, cuddle and ultimately gunge me. Or better yet, do it for them. Cheers.

8. I kind of like my toes, especially putting them in my mouth from time to time so if my shoes no longer fit, they no longer fit. Square peg, round hole. Alright?

9. By the way, it’s your own fault if you keep throwing me up in the air after I’ve just eaten.

10. If you don’t like my ‘nappy nuggets’ falling onto the ground then refrain from chasing the other two small people around house with the nappy. That’s fear in their voices, not laughter.

That's My Teddy

11. If you insist on moaning every time water sprays out of my ‘wiggly thing’ then stop chatting to me and making stupid noises while you’re changing me. Duh.

12. Can you tell the older woman in the tablet to stop singing songs every time she sees me? You don’t see me crying before she starts do you?

13. Listen I know we don’t live in subtropical climate but we’re not in the North Pole either so do me a favour and relax with the number of layers you put on me…especially given that you insist on further wrapping me in blankets when we go out. That redness on my face is heat not constipation.

14. The vibration on my chair has an off button so can you please use it every now and again? It’s nice to enjoy a ’melty puff’ in peace without trying to guess which way my hand will move.

15. While you’re at it, relax with the nappy straps; they don’t need to be that tight.

16. Listen if you insist on so much tummy time, I’ll have to insist on face-planting to make you stop. Agreed?

17. Do you have any idea how boring it is sitting with my back to you and staring at the food-stained seat while we drive? When can you turn me around? Also, there’s a whiff of urine off the seat, did the two small people have it before me?

18. And do you really have to turn on that mobile above my cot every time? Really? It’s doing my head in and the tunes are so 3-months-old.

19. Just a heads up that Granddad 1 doesn’t know how to hold me properly. I think we’re both scared when he picks me up.

20. Oh and by the way, Mummy spilled the drink on the new couch, not Thing 2. I notice that she tells you stuff like that a lot.

Thanks, Thing 3

Ps. Do the above and I’ll continue to let you use me as a scapegoat for your flatulence.

A Message From My 6-Month Old: Part 2

DON’T tell Mum – 12 Tips For Clueless Dads

It’s bad enough, but acceptable, that a baby poops its pants but to avoid you doing the same, here are a few of my tips to keep you clean and turn you into the ultimate parenting machine.

1. Try to avoid becoming ‘Flatpack Jack’.  

I was practically renting out a room in IKEA prior to Thing 1’s arrival. The amount of crap that I bought, ‘built’ and didn’t use was ridiculous (it turned out to be good firewood, though). Yes, changing tables are great, but sofas, sitting room floors and kitchen counter tops are great too and SO much more convenient.  My three boys all got changed on the floor. Shock-horror.

As a general rule of thumb, the stuff that’s fun usually isn’t necessary.

2. Don’t let her rush home from the hospital.

Hospitals have doctors, nurses, and room service. Houses have dirty plates, dirty laundry, and an unkempt man. The longer she stays in hospital the better it is for you…..Believe me.

Things will never be the same again once baby and Mum get home. Ever…Believe me.

3. Breast may be best, but formula is fine too.

Some women feel guilty for not breastfeeding. Sometimes it’s just not meant to be, so support her and remind her that 1) formula is fine 2) she is fine and 3) your baby will be fine.

The downside, of course, is that you’ll be roped into nightly feeds but on the upside, you’ll have more bonding time with your kid (even though they can’t talk to you, they won’t understand you, and they’ll get sick all over you).

Flatpack Jack
Flatpack Jack

4. Accept all babysitting (and cooking) offers.

They’ll come thick and fast at first so accept as many offers as you can (lads, this can mean no cooking for a few weeks). People love babies and will be delighted to help you out so that you can grab a shower, take a nap, run away, cook a meal, contemplate your new life etc.

Minding a newborn is easy. Minding a 2-year-old not so much (bye bye offers). So take people up on all of their offers as they have a very short shelf life.

5. Point the willy DOWN.

Otherwise, you risk a leaky nappy or an unannounced shower. I’ve learned this the wet way…more than a couple of times.

DOWN. This advice is gold-en.

6. Don’t do what my Dad did.

There are two straps on a nappy so don’t end up with a Bungee Cord Nappy.

7. Scale back on the infant clothes.

Okay, I understand the compulsion (usually the mothers) to stock up on multiple versions of the same thing but lads, slip that card back into the wallet/purse and put the kibosh on it now.

People will give you lots and lots of clothes. Kids grow at a Formula One pace so don’t even take the tags off clothes until you absolutely need to because it’s probable that you’ll regift some of them.

Children, like adults, will end up wearing 10% of their clothes 90% of the time. They are dressed by adults after all.

8. Resist anything with thousands of snaps or buttons.

Snaps and buttons are the devil. The more you have to snap, the quicker you’ll snap particularly if you’re changing your wet, stinky baby at 4 in the morning. Go with elasticised trousers/pull-ups for the first few weeks.

You can thank me later.

Point the willy DOWN
Point the willy DOWN

9. Keep an emergency nappy and changing gear in the car.

Be prepared. S**t can quickly hit the fan. Backup nappies, clothes, wipes and scented nappy bags are all essential…particularly the latter unless you have a few gas masks handy.

10. Be Clark Kent.

No matter how many ‘How To Be A Parent’ videos you’ve watched on YouTube, drop the act and ask for help when you need it. Parents, relations, friends, and strangers – particularly elderly women in shops, as it turns out – will be only too happy to help you even if it is out of pure sympathy.

You’re not Superman. Sure I nearly had to call the AA the first time I tried to put our Bugaboo together.

11. Be the master of ‘Yes’.

Master your ‘yes dears’, ‘no problem love’, ‘absolutely love’, ‘you look great dear’ and most importantly ‘you are doing a great job dear’. Your job is to keep everyone sane and emotionally happy.

This is gold I’m giving you here. Gold.

12. Try To Enjoy it.

It’s exhausting, it’s stressful and it’s hard but when you see how quickly your little one changes, you’ll wonder where the time went. The first few months are the easiest –bar the sleep deprivation – as you essentially have a non-moving chirping Burrito in your house.

When Thing 1 was born I didn’t know how I’d cope but five years on and three kids later, one child just seems like a doddle.

The only constant is that everything keeps changing so get used to it and enjoy each stage.

You’re welcome.
DD