I’ve been a dad for two years, here’s what I know
There we are, having our weekly summit
It’s been a while since I wrote one of these, a whole year in fact. Whereas before when I wrote these updates I was a dad in the biological sense, in hindsight I don’t think I was really A DAD DAD. I was basically a guy who’d had some sex then seen the consequences up close, and those consequences were a live-action nature documentary about “the human animal” narrated by a very quiet, almost completely silent, Sir David Attenborough. There was lots of groaning, I saw an unfamiliar head pop out of a very familiar orifice, I walked around the place with a heart full of love and a faint glimmer of terror in my eyes. I was a bloke who had had fatherhood thrust upon him by the makings of his own magnificent penis. Now, a year later, I’m closer to being an actual DAD DAD.
Almost everything about me is DAD. I’m cobbled together, I’m overprotective, I’m largely preoccupied, I’m slightly overweight, my eyes have not bags, but luggage underneath them, my record collection is static, I have snotty tissues in every pocket, I no longer compute the aroma of shit in the air, if we go out to lunch I fully expect to eat at least 1.5 entire meals, and when there are other people on hand to keep an eye on our lad, I immediately tear my clothes off and dive into a swimming pool of booze.
During the churny-outy days of these fatherly updates, I would pick out the moments that surprised me, or the things that shocked me, but it doesn’t really apply now. My son is nearly two (the day after tomorrow), and he’s everything you’ve seen or heard about kids who are nearly two. He wails, he shrieks, he giggles, he blubs, he occasionally produces nappies so grotesque that it’s like a builder took a dump in them, he climbs on everything. He has started to form words and to create his own sentences. Some days I’ll arrive in his bedroom to greet his morning chorus and he will look absolutely appalled because he wanted his mum (always first choice, and understandably so) and now he’s lumbered with this loser. I’ll tap dance for his approval, sacrificing every ounce of dignity I have left. Then other times he’ll greet me like I’m the angel, not him, and my fragile ego will inflate to the point of popping.
Yes, two years in, and he’s no longer just another entity in the house – not a gorgeous lump asleep in a Moses Basket, nor a stationary cherub on the floor we can all coo over. He is a tangible presence, a considerable character, he has moods that can change the atmosphere of a room, he’s evolved from household pet into demanding housemate. He’s complicated, (occasionally) self-assured, he’s quite clearly determined to break the majority of my most treasured possessions and to eat all of my Shreddies. He says funny things by accident, his cuddles are the best, and his kisses are generally very wet and quite snotty.
But, in amongst everything, the biggest change of all – and the real difference from last year to this – is that in the same sense that I have become a DAD, my little boy has become a SON.
I couldn’t have hoped for a better one.