Babies learn new skills at a startling rate, whether it’s blowing raspberries, crawling or holding a spoon, their cognitive development is astounding.
My wife is very attentive and makes sure that no landmark goes by without me knowing, smartphones have meant every second can be captured in high quality and sent at the touch of a button, and luckily she is poised and ready like a camera crew on a nature documentary!
“The infant checks for danger (click), senses his mother is close by (click) and takes the first tentative push into all fours (click) before propelling himself forward with unexpected ease (click and send all)”!
It is great to have a wife who understands how difficult it can be to be away from my son, and takes steps to ensure that I am still involved, even if that means face-timing from the office or a text, step by step, account of his lunchtime ritual!
I have missed a lot. The smiles, the crawls, the rolls and the cries have mostly been shared exclusively with my wife, and I have to say that it honestly sucks not to share in more of my son’s life.
Being a stay at home parent is tough. It’s a gruelling task, based very much on instinct and Google. There is no lunch break, you cannot step away from your child like you can your computer and the lack of sleep is dizzying. But being a working parent has many downfalls as well. Every time the tube driver says that they are “evening up the gaps in the service”, when translated into working parent speak, it means that I probably won’t see my son that night. You miss milestones, you are wracked with guilt when you need to just sit on the sofa after a long day, because you know your partner hasn’t been afforded that luxury.
The truth is, it’s a massive lifestyle change for the both of you. Neither role is easier than the other, but in times of stress it is hard to see the other’s side POV.
Sometimes though, my little boy saves me a little nugget for my time at home, knowing how much this means to me I think he holds on in there so that I don’t feel left out!
I am washing up in the kitchen, I hear a repeated sound that my little boy is saying like its the new toy that he is playing with on Christmas morning. I dash in to the living room, hands still sudsy from the sink, and I say:
“Did he just say what I think he said?”
My wife replies “what?”
“Da da.” I persist. “Did he say dada?”
My little boy takes one look at me and he says “Dada”.
In that moment I am on a cloud floating above the room. He knows I am his Dad. So I say to him (I am trying my luck at this point) “Say Dad, Toby”
There is a question mark at the end as though to check that this is what I meant, and of course it was! Sometimes when I leave the house he practices his “dad’s”. This is one milestone I am glad I didn’t miss!
So you may not be able to teach an old dog new tricks, but it does make a happy – not so old dad, to see baby’s new tricks!