Having just become an uncle for the first time I was thinking over some manly, sibling advice to pass on based around my own experiences in the past few years.
With a seven month old and a five year old around the house I suppose people would expect me to be able to pass of some pearls of wisdom when it comes to babies, so here goes.
The first thing you’ll need to get over is the initial shock – I suppose it must be a bit like being a police witness to a brutal crime because it takes about a week for your brain to compute what your eyes have seen and then attempt to make any sense of it.
That’s probably as far as the court analogy will stretch though, because no judge or jury would listen to a word from the jabbering, sleep ravaged shell of a human taking to the metaphorical stand. The second thing to come to terms with is what to do with a tiny, screaming, hungry, miniature version of yourself.
It doesn’t come with a manual and no matter how many NCT classes you’ve been to it always comes as a shock to see that little face staring back at you expectantly.
That first few weeks of paternity leave locked inside your home will be a bit like a hermetically controlled science experiment. Every surface will be scrubbed down like an operating theatre with hands washed and sanitized until you draw blood.
These are magical times with mum and child, chiefly because you don’t really know what’s coming next. Your home will fill up with equipment, but not cool stuff for mountain bikes or computers.
Babies need so much kit that you’ll need a new car to fit it all in and probably a new home as well. The CIA couldn’t dish out the sleep deprivation and white noise of these first few months and eventually you’ll need to get back to work and a semblance of normality.
Colleagues will snigger and say how tired you look while you bumble your way through meetings and botched presentations. By way of a quick blokey diagnostic if a baby is crying try the following in this order: nappy change, feed, wind or add/remove layers of clothing. If this fails the baby is either bored or over stimulated so either play with them more/less. Easy right? Here are a few more things to think about:
- Remember when you used to have nice things? We’ll forget it because they’re part of your past.
- Baby sick does not come off Hugo Boss ties.
- Coffee. Sweet, sweet coffee.
- However much you want to think otherwise, you are now officially a grown up.
- NEVER touch or move a baby that is A:sleeping or B: Happy.
- Your circle of friends is now reduced to other mums and dads.
- You will take more photos in the next three years than a tabloid paparazzi.
- Alcohol is now your enemy. Looking after a small child while hung over is worse than any purgatory in all mythology.
- Baby sick does not come off laptops.
- Embarrassing photos and comments about you as a baby will be endlessly offered by parents and relatives.
- Babies are really, really cute. Their hands, feet, ears and basically all body parts will provide hours of fascination. They’re so smaaaallllll!
The main thing to be ready for though is the unconditional love that only a child can inspire. That, and a little smile or glance that can light up your heart in a way you never knew was possible. Welcome to the world Matilda.