Welcome to Dad Club
It’s one of the least exclusive clubs on earth. Extensive research reveals that around 50% of parents are already a member, but, just like Fight Club, for most the first rule is that they don’t talk about it (as much as me).
Well this Dad Club is going to be different. I’m pitching it somewhere between Radio 5Live and Top Gear (but without lorry drivers phoning in and virtually no jokes about the French).
Expect a little human interest and a fair amount of moaning, some practical tips for surviving as a parent, hopefully some funny stuff and if you’re lucky a few recommendations of cool and useful products I come across on my journey.
This is a place where it’s OK to admit being a dad is hard (but not as hard as being a mum – we don’t want a slap). Where we encourage stories of hiding in the toilet to avoid changing nappies and to let out the seething anger at those with no children who park in parent and toddler spaces at Tesco (more on this soon).
It’s OK to admit that some days you feel like you are trying to ‘run down the clock’ until bedtime and that you just don’t dig Peppa Pig and her porcine pals.
It’s a forum for everyone who’s found themselves involuntarily breaking into Let It Go while walking down a corridor at work and has in their darker hours wondered why all pubs don’t have soft play built in (or all soft plays don’t have pubs built in).
My name is Tim, and I just became a double-dad. I already have a 3-year-old girl, but just a few days ago I ‘completed’ the human collection after my wife gave birth to our baby son.
Over the next few weeks and months I hope you come with me on this journey as I try to juggle two kids, commuting, work, in-laws, friends and sanity.
#1: Two’s company
I meant to start writing this 5 days ago, but that happened to be the exact day that my son was born so even with my over-ambitious-things-will-be-a-lot-easier-the-second-time hat on, this is the first opportunity I’ve got to seriously put fingers to keyboard.
Yes, this has been a tough first few days – but do you know what, it’s been completely different to the first time round. When our daughter was born, my wife and I were both up pretty much 24/7 for the first few weeks holding a crying baby (my daughter liked to cry).
And when she stopped crying we largely just worried that we were going to break her in some way (we didn’t).
Our son has certainly begun a lot more calmly. Yes, he needs to feed in the night, and yes, we’re all knackered, but his slightly more relaxed approach to being a baby along with our slightly more relaxed approach to being parents seems to be paying dividends.
But the biggest difference is quite obvious now baby has arrived – we have two children now (yes, I know I should have been able to perform this simple arithmetic in advance).
And that means that the world can’t stop turning like it did last time to accommodate a new baby – because that new baby last time is now 3 and needs to eat, sleep (not sleep), play, go to pre-school, have massive tantrums and watch Aladdin on repeat.
She also need to be reassured that she hasn’t been replaced, which I am doing in the best and most responsible way possible – by showering her with gifts and giving her whatever she asks for.
In the short term this seems to be working, although I’m not sure what I’m going to do when she asks for a Range Rover Vogue with the license plate PR1NCE55. I guess we’ll deal with that in 14 years or so…
The last 5 days for me have been much less about extreme newborn parenting, and much more about extreme toddler parenting.
My daughter and me have literally been together day and night (she ends up in our bed within about an hour) for the past week whilst my wife has taken on full-time baby care.
As much as this is great (I actually quite enjoy the works of Pixar and am partial to a run around the assault course at the local play farm) I’m not sure my body or mind was really ready for such an onslaught from a threenager.
I had mentally geared for baby poo and sleep deprivation, instead I’ve got bruises everywhere (she’s so kicky these days) a back ache (she’s so heavy these days) and a mild addiction to Barbie and the Dreamhouse on Netflix (it’s just such a wonderful world she lives in).
(TOP DAD TIP: If you’re watching Netflix with your little ones, try to get them hooked on Beat Bugs. That way you can sing Beatles songs in the car rather than The Wheels on the Bus).
This morning my daughter’s gone to pre-school so that’ll give me a chance to catch up on nappy changing and getting puked on a bit before she comes home and refuses to eat any dinner before not going to bed.
The last couple of days she’s been so knackered (yet even more unwilling to go to bed) I’ve resorted to the old fashioned Drive-Around-For-No-Reason-In-The-Car-Until-They-Fall-Asleep™.
(TOP DAD TIP: Driving in a slightly higher gear than you need to produces a lower rumbling engine sound that appears to help with inducing sleep – careful not to stall.)
Right, I’m going to go and sit in the front room with my mother in law and watch Homes Under the Hammer for a little while. Life is good.
See you soon.
Dad’s Thumbs Up
This is the bit where I recommend cool stuff that I have found useful, or just think you might like because it’s fun…
Sakura 12v Plug in Cooler Bag – £29.99 from Drive Den
Milk. It’s the one thing that young children of many ages have in common. The problem is it doesn’t last very long in the car – until now.
This handy cooler bag will keep milk (or anything else for that matter, perhaps dad’s Diet Coke or garage sandwich) up to 12 degrees below the ambient temperature by plugging into a 12v DC plug (lighter socket we still call them) in your car.
It can take up to 14 litres of stuff (including two side pockets) and is pretty lightweight so you can unplug it and take it on a ‘cool’ picnic with you before plugging back in for your journey home.
It’s gadgetry meets practicality and has made this dad quite happy.