Dear 10-months ago self,
You’re pretty scared right now. Your daughter is 2 and a half weeks old. Your son is 21 years and 11 months old. You poor poor thing. You’d just gotten into the groove of one, and now there are two. I wanted to share a story with you that might help you get through the coming weeks and months. I won’t detail the struggles, you’ll find out about those yourself. Instead let me tell you about what happened this morning.
The Mamanator had to run a couple of errands in town. Our son got his gumboots swapped with another kid while out and about yesterday, they are identical to his boots, just a size smaller. So she was going to swap them back, then buy some stuff to make jam and come home. She left the kids at home with me.
I was unphased. No seriously, I didn’t find it a bother at all. You may find that amazing…. Our son is toilet training right now, so he was running around with no pants and no nappy on. It was hilarious, and at times awkward (skin touches skin in peculiar ways when there are no pants….). Our daughter, who crawls now, scoots around happily most of the time and is rarely malcontented.
The Mamanator gave the girl a top up feed before leaving to ensure I wouldn’t be faced with a hungry child who doesn’t eat much solid food yet, and away she went. I was still in my pyjamas, and had Stoically accepted that was not going to change. It was okay, the only people I had to impress were the kids and they don’t care what I wear.
So she left and we played. We played and played. We played with trains. Then before we started playing with the next toy I made The Lad pack up the trains. Yes, you can do that now, you are pretty awesome.
The Lad has this game at the moment where I set up a “forest” using some wooden trees that came with that train set and then, he then smashes them down with his toy recycle truck. I’ve tried to point out the irony more than once, but he just doesn’t get it. One day…..
I read him a book. The same book. 3 times. In a row. It’s about a bunch of animals that DEFINITELY DO NOT LIVE IN WIND IN THE WILLOWS, no they live in “Ferny Hollow”, a completely different WASPy English village occupied by a toad, a badger, foxes and other assorted creatures. It’s COMPLETELY DIFFERENT.
The Lass was pretty content most of the time. She played with that felt doll you got for The Mamanator when she was pregnant. She played with blocks and soft toys. She tried to eat all the trains and then she beat the crap out of the cats. She had a great time (she’s an independent little thing).
There were scuffles. She pulled apart the train track. She wanted to eat the fire engine. She knocked over the forest. But none of this lead to a major meltdown, The Lad doesn’t arc up generally, provided you don’t arc up.
After about an hour and a half of this The Mamantor called with a flustered apology for taking so long, she was still in town. Guess what you said. See if you can pick:
a.) Oh my god, the kids are on fire get back as quickly as you can before we all die.
b.) That’s okay, take your time. I’ve locked myself in a room to get away from it and I’m feeling very peaceful. No idea what the kids are doing.
c.) SDF:LKHGE:DSLKDHF:SDLKFH (the point being that you have lost the power of speech and simply spluttered down the line).
or d.) What? It hasn’t been that long, has it?
It was d. Somehow and in someway this morning things just clicked. Sure the house was a mess, sure you were in your pyjamas, but you were dad and being dad was your job. Don’t worry, you still got stuff done. You changed nappies, got your daughter dressed and managed to unload/reload the washing machine (with nappies no less). So The Mamanator got to do this:
You also got The Lad to do a poo on the potty, had no toileting accidents and used the Internet to teach yourself the chords for “On Top of Spaghetti” on the ukulele. Seriously, you will pick it up and start playing with it soon. And you know what? It was fun. You enjoyed your kids and you were there for them. You made the time and the loved you for it.
So here’s what I want you to remember:
- If you can’t get to a kid the second they start bawling don’t worry. Their head’s don’t explode, and the will learn to wait.
- You can’t be in 2 places at once, and you can’t do 2 things at once. Accept it, do what you can and move on.
- Your kid’s won’t accept your explanations, but keep making them. One day they will understand.
- Playing “Upside down” with The Lad when he is completely pantsless is an awkward view… Very awkward….
- It get’s easier. It’s never “easy” but it get’s easier.
- They don’t share. They just don’t. The best you get is The Lad will snatch something off The Lass and then throw a soft toy at her head saying “Here, you can play with this one!” or similar. I’m sure he’ll get it one day….
- There will come a day when getting the kids to help will actually make a task take less time. (I don’t know when that is, but I’m sure it will happen one day).
- You’re a dad of 2, you lucky bastard.
Anyway, I’ll leave you to discover what the coming months hold. I just wanted you to know that you will find your feet. Even if it’s only for a morning, because who knows what tomorrow will bring? Enjoy watching them grow. The Dadinator (from the present).