June 18, 2013 15 Comments
A couple years of up all night and a few thousand diapers later
That mistake he thought he made covers up the refrigerator
Oh yeah…he loves that little girl.
Momma’s waiting to tuck her in
As she stumbles up those stairs
She smiles back at him dragging that teddy bear
Sleep tight, blue eyes and bouncing curls
There goes my life
There goes my future my everything
I love you, daddy goodnight
There goes my life
There Goes My Life – Kenny Chesney
One year, eight months ago, I was tossing and turning. I was wondering what to say. How do you respond to the words; “Babe, I think I’m pregnant”. Well, the movies say you jump out of bed and do like ten somersaults and then live happily ever after. Well, reaility is very different!
One year ago, I was giving back massages (I perfected the art in one very long evening that I should start a massage parlor), walking up and down maternity wing corridors and wondering if all is okay.
One year, five months ago, I was being sent back and forth, between home and the supermarket. Reason? Yoghurt! Now, I was never sent for five or six. Nope, it was Yoghurt on demand. Imagine yourself all comfy in the couch, and next thing, you are sent for a particular flavor and brand of yoghurt! Uchumi and I became good friends! I knew when all branches opened and closed and I knew the fastest teller!
One year, four months ago, I was banned from getting into bed ‘smelling like a stove’ (the endearing term used to described my pack a day habit) and smelling like a brewery (the not so endearing term used to describe my Friday boys’ club after breath).
One year, three months ago, I was beginning to adjust to a life that was going to be, half of me and half of her. Basically, our lives would never be the same again. We would from hereon, need to prioritize a third person.
One year, two months ago, I was answering questions like “Do I look fat?” or… “How long does it take to shed off baby weight?” Word of advice to my fellow fathers, YOUR answers to those questions are never right. I suggest that when asked that question, please drop your phone, or even throw yourself on the floor. Do what you must, but by all means necessary, avoid answering that question.
One year, eight months ago, I was busy doing research. Yes, I was on Google. And it let me down! Everything I Googled led me back to the same answer: HORMONES! For every question I put forward on Google hoping for that magical answer, all I got was, “Hang in there and grow a pair! It’s her hormones dummy!”. You think I lie? Well, I dare you. Google something from a man’s perspective and that’s all you will get!
“Not yet, but it should be soon…” That was one year and two days ago. I had mastered that answer because that’s what every caller wanted to know. What happened to calls that offered a beer or three. What happened to asking where I am at? I should have known that my world had changed. It was no longer about me. It was no longer about me. It was no longer about the two of us. It was now all about our permanent visitor. She that had not come yet, was already a priority, not just to me, not just to her… but to all those around.
Eleven months ago, I was busy on the isles at Uchumi scrolling through a shopping list. I quickly enlisted of a fellow customer to help me figure out exactly was required. I had been sent to get diapers and I got to the baby section and I discovered diapers have NUMBERS! So, at this point, we are at number 1.
Eight months ago, I got home from a super market run and I got home smile on my face and baby stuff in my hands. “You brought the wrong size of diapers”. Smile quickly vanishes, pocket dented and another supermarket run on the go. Lesson learnt! Babies grow fast. And I mean super-fast! We were now on number 3.
Six months ago, we were weaning! Now… this you must understand is a process. The Mrs. would prepare baby food in a sanitized environment, and it would take about an hour to get everything just right! And then the moment of truth would come and… a sniff and a lick later, she wants nothing to do with that food! Baby milk would follow the same pattern. I must have bought about five different varieties until I struck gold! I soon discovered that “Cow and Gate” formula is to babies, what “Mara Moja” is to those that partake of alternative beverages. Cow and Gate it was.
Five months ago, we developed a system. One that was idiot proof! I was to be sent for items in the supermarket based on COLOUR! I somehow kept buying all the wrong stuff. I once got emailed a list that had pictures! Yes, it was that bad. This numbers thing just doesn’t work for men.
Nine months ago, we did our research. Getting a baby to sleep all night. How hard can it be? I mean, we possibly had about ten methods that are GUARANTEED to work. It’s just that easy! Breaking news. It isn’t ‘that easy’! The problem starts when you think she has fallen asleep in your arms and as you are putting her down…at that moment, she wakes up. Now, you need to understand that baby waking up, is not like an adult waking up. When a baby wakes, its eyes all open and ready to play. Basically, it’s back to scratch. No mention of challenges of getting her to sleep through the night . Letting her cry herself to sleep,filling her with food, being as silent as possible, ensuring that she sleeps very little during the day….
Everything about maternity, paternity and parenthood is an art. No science to it. It takes practice. It takes patience and it takes courage. Holding her down for her jabs, well that hurts me more than it hurts her. Figuring out what foods she likes. That’s an art. Accepting that after spending time getting her food ready only for her to have a sniff and say no… that hurts the Mrs. More than it hurts me, but hurts all the same.
One day ago, I was holding a lovely one year old, whose smiles melt the very core of me and whose laughter is so infectious; it makes everything else feel trivial. She now has eight teeth (and can now bite). Whenever she waddles up to me, her tiny hands stretched out, her face glowing and her little teeth showing, I can’t help but smile. She means everything because she is everything.