Express & Star

Leigh Sanders: Hands up if dad needs help

Becoming a dad has meant learning to do several things at once with only two hands. Leigh Sanders is getting to grips with multi-tasking. . .

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Left holding the baby – or is it Righty?!

It is absolutely incredible how one-handed most people can be while doing daily tasks. Definitely me –throughout my life in certain situations one hand has had to do. That was until three months ago. Then I became a father. Suddenly, that weak left hand had to start pulling its weight. No excuses. Right hand was having none of it. You could hear it screaming ‘I CAN’T DO THIS ON MY OWN’ through my veins.

And to be fair he was right. Lefty had to learn how to hold things properly, show some actual strength, grip properly. It had to stop being a child and become a man. I’ve been quite impressed with the results.

But Righty was not being entirely fair either. While it thought it was sole operator, it didn’t realise just how much support and balancing Lefty was offering. And it soon missed it and apologised for the rant.

Lefty is now chief baby holder/entertainer. Tickling, burping, wiping, it always has something to do while Righty is busy doing the practical stuff.

Righty is the one feeding me, making baby bottles, clearing the way and getting the change mat out before a nappy bursts.

That Disney film Inside Out, was right. . . The internal rows and teamwork that enable humans to do things while attached to a baby is incredible. Like complex physics.

I could never eat spaghetti properly before – not even with two hands without walking out of an Italian restaurant looking like a Jackson Pollack masterpiece. Now during meals I can often be doing something baby-related with one hand while piercing or balancing multiple ingredients on my fork. They, probably four times out of six, end up in my mouth now too. Just don’t drop them on baby’s head whatever you do.

Childs Farm shampoo, £4,

Bathtime is a prime example of how many hands you might need. Luckily for us, our little lad seems to enjoy splashing around in the warm water of his bath without too much drama. Every now and then he has his moments, usually when his backside has added extra ingredients to the bathwater. Most of the time he cracks us a smile among the suds. But if any heavy-handed actions result in too much water splashing over him and it’s game over.

We found the Childs Farm bathtime products were really useful to us in this instance, particularly the sensitive Baby Shampoo (£4 it helps clear up cradle cap and doesn’t bubble up too much so there’s little danger of suds getting in eyes and hellish screaming ensuing meaning juggling grabbing a towel, getting baby out of the bath and mopping up tears.

Cuddledry Hands Free Towel, £29.99,

Another useful bathtime must buy is the Cuddledry Hands Free Towel (£29.99, No need for Lefty or Righty! This wraps around your neck and baby so that you stay relatively dry and he warms up quickly and won’t shiver once he’s left the warmth of his bath. It also increases the bond of togetherness. You feel closer to baby all wrapped up in the soft cocoon.

It’s at these moments you have to remember that babies are actually far more robust than we give them credit for. They’re not made of paper, they are actually quite tough.

Once these thoughts have seeped into the control room (Inside Out again) you can concentrate on halting the rows between Righty and Lefty. They are no doubt being competitive over their abilities again now that baby is sound asleep and they are left to their own devices.