The Paternal Short Stick.

June 11, 2012

I seem to be writing a lot of baby related stuff lately….I hope to God I don’t become one of those people that always talks about their babies but I really haven’t been doing that much to fuel the inspiration. Mister H and I had gastro in the week and I really must draw the line at blogging about diarrhoea. So, if you’re thinking ‘oh crap, she’s about to bang on about her kids again’ then perhaps every time I use the words baby, offspring or any other child related word then just replace it with something like gorilla, or chinchilla. Should spice it up for you.

Has anyone noticed what an endless, thankless task it is looking after a newborn (gorilla/chinchilla)? It can’t just be me. Surely.

I would liken it to having a rock band come and stay in your boutique hotel. There’s all night raging that disturbs the other guests (management gets plenty of complaints but our hands are tied!). Piles of washing for housekeeping, all of it with incredibly suspect looking stains and no word of apology. You have out of hours ordering of room service with not one single tip, hell, I haven’t even got a smile for my troubles yet. This goes on for seemingly endless days, that turn into weeks that meld into months.

Once your offspring begins to smile, it definitely gets a bit better. There’s an acknowledgment that they remember that you’re that safe, warm lady with the yummy jubblies stuffed in your top. By the time you hear a giggle, you’re so grateful for some interaction it feels like you’ve had a revelatory discussion about quantum physics. All I can say, really, is that Mother Nature had a smashing idea when she gave us oxytocin. That sweet, sweet, mild stone that comes over me as my baby (don’t use gorilla here, too weird) suckles at my breast makes everything go soft focus and I forget about all the poo smeared onesies glaring at me from the laundry floor. Thankfully, it lasts for a little while, too, so 10 minutes later when that same milk projectiles a la The Exorcist, I can coo and purr at my little one rather than gag as I wipe the yoghurt mess from my hair.

I think the first 6 months is really tough gig on the Dad side of things. They aren’t blessed with boobs (man boobs do not count for anything in this equation, or any equation, except perhaps The Biggest Loser), they don’t get the gushy hormone rush, so when there’s a red faced, toothless, shit monster screaming in their face, it’s a little daunting to say the least. As the Mama Bear, if all our shooshing, rocking and patting fails, we can pull out a nork and everything is calm again (we pray), but Dad’s don’t have a fail safe fall back plan. In those early stages of eat/sleep/poo and do it all again, it would be understandable if Dad’s felt a little left out because the baby is really not that interested in that old, flat chested dude. I mentioned I was thinking of popping out for a couple of hours and leaving the sproglets behind. His eyes filled with terror, and I could smell his fear. I took the little one and left the boys to do Big Boy Things in the garden. The sigh was audible two suburbs away.

I can’t speak for all fathers, of course, but I see Mister H’s big man hands trying to wrangle this floppy, squalling creature and I think perhaps it doesn’t look quite as natural as when he’s wrestling D Man on the grass, carrying him upside down by one leg or pinning him down to blow raspberries on his wriggling tummy (pfff, I just envisaged him wrestling and raspberry-ing a gorilla belly). I think the mere fact that the woman grows the little person and expels it from her body creates an instant bond, whereas fathers have to grow the actual bond. It can take time to form a relationship, especially with someone demanding who just lays around and craps their pants.

It does grow, though, into a beautiful thing to behold. In the meantime, I’ll just top of my oxytocin with a glass of wine and get a double buzz on. Chin chin, and all that!

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