Leigh Sanders on life as a new dad
Your baby has arrived and life’s never going to be the same. Leigh Sanders gets to grips with being a new dad. . .
You wake up differently when it’s not the morning alarm shaking you into consciousness. Half alert and half still wrapped up in the warped realism of whatever dream you are being yanked from, your senses are skewed and muddled.
You hear a noise like a gurgle followed by a sneeze and realise that it is a few octaves too high to be your other half.
Then suddenly the brain wakes up, the realisation hits you like a blast of cold water to the sinuses and four words shine brighter than any Vegas casino sign ever could on your consciousness: “I’ve got a baby!”
You can’t help but laugh. For a couple of hours you have been elsewhere. In an adult (or not, depending on how your nocturnal mind operates) world free from the sounds of screeching and smells of pooping.
Those first few days. No matter how many people tell you this will happen or that will happen, you just can’t prepare. Those first weeks seem to expand purely for the fact that you are sleeping less and what could be 17 hours of being awake every day is suddenly 20 or 21 hours.
And suddenly you realise that costly gadget you thought was going to be the answer to your dreams is actually a load of s***.
Some items become absolutely indispensable. This must be how early man felt when the wheel was discovered. ‘How did we ever exist without this?’ you both cry. It’s a rhetorical question, neither of you know the answer to.
Our bedroom has been set and we now have a sort of pretend routine we work through for getting baby up in the morning and down to bed at night.
The other half was absolutely certain she wanted him nearby for the first stretch. We’ve gone for the Snuzpod 2 as it is a good size, not overbearing in the room, attaches to our bed and a removable wall means we can slide Isaac in and out horizontally rather than vertically. Honestly, sometimes their bodies seem to be honed to vertical movement. The slightest downward movements and those eyes shoot open, delving into your soul to scream ‘YOU’RE NOT SLEEPING YET DADDY’. This function is neat, as is the ease of which the mattress can be sheeted and un-sheeted to cope with the demand of baby bodily fluid eruptions.
And these functions can strike quickly like a viper. How many early parents think it’s a good time to change that nappy only to be met with a stream of urine (or worse) when you least want it? It’s for that reason the Skip Hop Nursery Style Wipe-Clean Changing Pad, available on Amazon, has been a godsend. We’ve wiped poo, wee, vomit off of it. In seconds, leaving no stain. When you have a screecher on your hands who wants you to know how unhappy he is you don’t want to be messing about with cleaning materials getting that polished finish.
Have you recognised what is important here? Speed. He needs feeding now. He needs changing now.
So given we live up in an attic conversion the thought of running up and down stairs at 2am, exhausted, hunting for bottles and milk is not ideal. So another tip from us is a bottle warmer – we’ve got the Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep Day & Night machine, with their bottles too, which help prevent colic.
Again, with a few scoops of powdered formula milk and by keeping it topped up with water you can have a refreshing, heated-to-body-temperarture bottle of the good stuff ready for your child within two minutes. He absolutely loves this the little pig.
So having mastered the skills of speed working in very quick time by necessity, it’s time to turn our attention to another skill I didn’t possess pre-parenthood – deft hands.
THERE ARE A FEW THINGS YOU WILL COMPETE OVER WITH THE NEWBORN.
Cuddles – who does baby seem to want more time with? Is he more settled with you or mum? Pride is on the line here.
Music – Which of your tastes seems more tuned to him? Does he shush and get relaxed to my metal or her RnB? The jury is still out on this one.
Dressing – who has the best eye for clothes? It’s like a fashion show. The amount of times I have pulled out an outfit and mum has swapped it around for me.
Feeding – how many times were each of you up in the night? Given that mothers seem paranormally attached to their sounds, the dad is never going to win this one without matchsticks in their eyes. Prepare to feel useless on this one dads.