Being Dad

A New Year Letter To My (Disappearing) Baby

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Dear Baby B,

Last year you arrived and this year you will wave (when you learn how to) bye bye. Not to us but to your baby self. Because 2015 is the year you grow up to be a toddler.

I can’t quite believe there will come a day that you’ll no longer be a baby. I haven’t really thought about what happens next.

We’ve been so busy this year making sure you were sleeping, clean, and well fed, and more recently, not hurling yourself down the stairs, that we haven’t had time to think about the future.

All babies grow up. I know that. I did it once upon a time. But there is still a small voice in my head that whispers, “He’ll always be this small. He’s your little pet. Like a Tamagotchi that poos.”

I know this voice is lying. It sounds like Billy Bob Thornton. Maybe I need more sleep.

We went to stay with your cousins at Christmas. The oldest is two and the other one is new, only a few weeks old. It was fascinating seeing these three stages of babyhood lined up before me. A bit like that famous picture of the ape evolving into a man.

There was the tiny baby we called ‘The Woodland Creature’; curled up, squashed face, making the sheep noise. Then there was you, Baby B, on the move, trying to play with his older cousin who completely ignored you except when you tried to take his scooter. I expect when you’re two you’ll feel all grown up and you won’t want to play with a baby either.

So i could see where we’d been and where we were heading.

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I know this isn’t news to anyone who’s trodden this path before us. But like every new parent I am still surprised by the changes and the speed of the changes. It’s such a cliche. I’ve become a cliche! Arrrgh!

One thing I do like about all this is the way having you has stretched time. I don’t know if the theory of relativity was thought up while Einstein was baby-sitting but when I think about last January when your mummy was pregnant and we were pacing around the shops looking at buggies and cots and giggling like excited children at the novelty of it all; that feels like years ago. Or more like a completely different lifetime. A different person.

People still ask “So, what does it feel like being a dad?” And I still don’t have a satisfactory answer. So I mumble something unsatisfactory, like, “Oh you know, busy, different.” Then I add, “But I’m still me, I can talk about things not related to babies!”

So perhaps 2015 will be the year I understand what it means to be a dad? Or maybe not. Because I think being dad (or mum) is about evolution. We’re back to that picture of the ape men again. We’re going to have lots of chats about this stuff, you and I.

Look, there I am this year, all hunched over from lack of sleep and carrying around a sack of potatoes shaped like a tiny human. No clothes on, because I’ve forgotten to get dressed. I know you hate getting dressed too, but you’re going to have to keep it up because much as you’d like to be, you can’t always be naked.

Then perhaps the next ape man is me this year; I’m standing up a little taller. Probably so I can see where you’ve crawled off to. A little less panicked expression. A little more sure of where I’m trying to get to. Oh and there you are too, trying to stand up by clinging onto my leg. Neither of us getting anywhere fast.

Who’s that creature in the distance? He seems to be dressed, walking and talking, laughing with his friends, eating a meal in a restaurant. I think I can remember those. His hair is still a bit of a mess. This can’t be the future me, could it? I’ll try to get a closer look. Oh, no. It’s not me. He’s far too handsome and young. It’s not the old me either. No. Now I can see it’s you.

You’re not a baby anymore. You’re all grown up. Using a knife and fork. Staying up late because you can. Ordering wine. Not a care in the world. You lucky sod 🙂

I hope we’re still there laughing with you. I hope you still want to hang out with us when you can say more than “Hadda”. When your pants aren’t smelly. When more of the food is in your mouth than down your front and on the floor.

Maybe by then I’ll know what it means to be dad. Maybe I’ll still be learning. I think that’s the point isn’t it? We keep learning and growing along with you. But let’s not get carried away. Let’s hit rewind and get back to now.

You’re being a good boy, having a nice long nap upstairs, and letting me and your mummy do some fun things. Actually, we’re both sitting typing at the kitchen table with our morning coffee. It’s a sunny day but crisp and cold outside. Granny is coming later and me and your mummy are going ON A DATE NIGHT!!!

All is well in the world. You only have to worry about trying to move the furniture and testing gravity with your dinner.

So here’s to a brand New Year. Full of new challenges. New joys. New types of poo.

Maybe some new words. How about saying “Dadda”? Go on, give it a try Baby B…

No, not “Pusscat”. Oh alright then.

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Categories: Being Dad

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3 replies »

  1. It’s a cliche but it’s true – the rate of change over this next year or so is astonishing. Our youngest (of three) has just passed two-and-a-half and we’re still scratching our heads at where our cute little infant has gone. (She was spirited away and replaced by a stroppy little madam, is what happened!)

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