I was invited to take part in a Guest Blogger Series as part of #FatherhoodFriday by a fellow blogger, Lisa at http://passtheproseccoplease.co.uk/. She is looking to show parenting from a dad's point of view and asked me a series of questions. Happy reading.
1. Tell us a little about you, and your family.
I’m Rory and I am married to an amazing woman named Barbara. This time last year I became a dad for the first time to my beautiful daughter, Clara. My wife was born in Germany. She moved to Ireland to improve her English but then met me and couldn’t resist my dashing good looks and my Irish charm…..she may have a slightly different version however! We live in Dublin.
- Tell us about your blog – what made you start, when did you start etc?
Why do I do anything? Because my wife tells me to!
Just kidding…..kinda. Barbara launched our baby clothing company, Clara & Carl Organic Baby Clothing, following the birth of Clara and asked that I write “The Blog”. I wasn’t too keen on the idea, if I’m honest, as I knew nothing about baby clothes and never really thought of myself as a writer/blogger. I just started typing and the blog, although still in its infancy, has become my story about what Clara gets up to and my experiences of fatherhood with some baby clothes stuff thrown in for good measure.
- How did you feel when you discovered you were going to become a daddy for the first time?
Words cannot describe the joy I felt that day when we found out that Barbara was pregnant. I actually knew my wife was pregnant before she did! A couple of weeks after we decided to start “trying for a baby”, Barbara took a pregnancy test, one Saturday morning. It was negative. Just one pink line and she came back to bed, a little deflated. I told her not to worry and gave her a cuddle. “Maybe we need more practice?”, I suggested. Wink wink, nudge nudge.
Like, two hours later…. I got up to do the same…..a morning pee that is, not take a pregnancy test!
The pregnancy test was sitting on top of the bin and I could just about make out the faintest second pink line. We were thrilled.
From that point on she milked the whole pregnancy thing and I was happy to oblige. “Oh I can’t clean the bathroom because of the chemicals in the bathroom cleaning spray”, she’d say. Or, “Will you carry out the bins babe? I’m not supposed to lift anything heavy”. Yet she had no problem carrying all those shopping bags once she began “nesting” and buying baby stuff that we never even used!
- Can you remember how you felt when your first child was born?
I remember like it was only last year! It was the most amazing day of my life. I had visions of us rushing to the maternity hospital in the middle of the night. My wife, in labour, sprawled out, screaming on the back seat of the car, beads of sweat rolling down her brow and me breaking every red light on the way, worrying about the car seats being destroyed.
It was nothing like that. Clara was breech so we were scheduled for an early morning appointment for a C-Section. No rushing, no panicking. All was calm....or so I led my wife to believe.
On the inside, however, I was nervous of the fact that Barbara had to undergo surgery. What if something went wrong? At the same time, I was excited about meeting this new human being, who I helped create with the woman I love.
I parked the car and we walked towards the maternity ward for our appointment. We were shown to our room and after some waiting around, I got changed into hospital scrubs and put on a funky hair net. Barbara was called in first for the anesthetic and then I was invited in to join the party. “Don’t touch anything”, I recall being told by one of the nurses. (Everything was sterile for the surgery and they didn’t want my grubby hands contaminating anything).
I had done my homework and had previously watched a few C-Sections on One Born every Minute. Clara was born at 1.18pm.
I did skin to skin with Clara and I sang to her too. If I’m honest, yes I did shed a tear.
I was so proud. I was so happy. I was a dad!
- What has been your biggest challenge as a dad?
I suppose the biggest challenge, at the beginning, was the lack of sleep. Not getting enough sleep led to my wife and I being irritable and cranky with each other on occasion. This in turn leads to arguments about whose turn it is to get up with the baby at night or whose turn is it to do the next nappy change. We would then have disagreements about who was doing more as if it was a competition or something.
One solution to the lack of sleep was that I would sleep in the spare room from time to time, getting some precious uninterrupted sleep. I would then take Clara early in the morning, before I’d go to work, to allow Mammy to sleep uninterrupted. It works for us.
To quote Henry Ford on Teamwork, “Coming together is the beginning. Keeping together is the progress. Working together is the success”.
I have such admiration for single parents. I don’t know how they do it on their own.
- Tell us a funny parenting story!
Clara is not walking yet and has just begun to say a few words such as “Mama” and “Dada”. I know the real fun will begin once she starts walking and talking properly. So far, it has mainly been snots, puke and explosive poos that has made us chuckle.
I was just glad that the explosion, pictured above, happened at home and not out in public. I had no idea that she could produce something so sizeable for someone so small. No amount of baby wipes could clean that up. Where would you even start? As tempting as it was to put the whole lot in the bin, baby and all, we didn’t. We opted for the power washer instead!
STOP! Put down that phone! Don’t call the child protection agency. I’m kidding!
A quick bath later and all was harmonious again…..for a while.
- How do you fit blogging in around parenting – do you have a set schedule?
I don’t really have a set schedule as such. I usually just jot down any ideas for the blog in a notebook when I think of them and with Clara’s antics, I’m rarely stuck for material. Then in the evening, when Clara is gone to bed, I take out the laptop and expand on those ideas.
- What would you say are your best qualities as a parent?
I think I am quite easy-going and patient. I have a good sense of humour and I am always messing and joking around with Clara, playing silly games, making ridiculous faces or dressing her up as an Arab!
She loves it. She has a mischievous glint in her eye and I can tell that she will be a messer, just like her daddy.
- What advice would you give any first time dads?
Well I am a first time dad myself so I am still learning. I would say treasure every moment you spend with your baby and take lots of photos. It’s always nice to look back on those pics. Time flies and babies grow and change so quickly.
In the days after your wife/partner delivers your baby, dads need to help out without having to be asked. She will be exhausted and sore and will need to rest. Take control of nappy changes, house chores and food preparation and just be there for her and your newborn baby for lots of cuddles.
Try to keep your lady happy as much as possible. I know it’s easier said than done. I wreck my wife’s head all the time but she shows no signs of leaving me just yet so I must have found the right balance between husband and head-wrecker. A happy wife is a happy life.
- Name your top three parenting essentials for new dads/parents.
1. Baby Carrier- My daughter absolutely loves being in the baby carrier. I think it really strengthens the bond between daddy and baby. You can’t beat constant cuddles while they are nestled into your chest. I guess she feels safe there, listening to my heartbeat and feeling the vibration of my voice. She will often fall asleep nuzzled into my chest when we go for walks. She can see everything from up there and is chilled out in a state of quiet alertness. My hands are free which is great in the supermarket and it makes negotiating stairs and crowds much easier compared to a buggy.
Pair of boobies -No not for me, for the baby. I know breastfeeding is not for everyone and that it’s a personal choice. My wife breastfed so when it came to night feeds, I got off lightly. It was great for the bonding between the pair of them (pardon the pun) and there was no fussing around with bottles and sterilisers etc.
Harfie - A what? A harfie is fantastic, functional hat/scarf combo. Best accessory ever! Handmade in Germany from 70% organic merino wool and 30% silk, it is extremely soft and breathable. Get one here.
[4.] Oh and coffee, lots of coffee!