Despite what you might have read in my previous posts (if you’ve read them), there is some enjoyment in fatherhood and I love my kids dearly. In my first post I wrote that despite everyone saying how wonderful everything is, about 20% of years 0-2 is magic. Whilst I’m mostly about telling the story of the food-puking, house-breaking, relationship-destroying 80%, here’s one on some of the more magical moments.
Because there are things that are truly magic, and they must be milked for every ounce of joy if you are to cope with the less enjoyable things like removing dog shit from your son’s face, dealing with an unintended (yet committed) elbow to the ‘peanuts’, realizing that your 3 year old can beat you at bowling or trying to convince someone that your screaming child is, in fact, yours and you’re not trying to abduct it. Here are just 3:
- You revel in being childish. Whilst I disagree that kids make you feel young (their relentless energy can make you feel like this), I often find myself revisiting the simple pleasures of my own youth – air-guitaring to Bullet Blue Sky, crisp butties (“Is that crisps up your bottom, Daddy?”) and Star Wars (“Is he a baddy or a goody, Daddy?”, cue frustrating philosophical debate). Turns out that despite living off rice for 4 years and studying Machiavelli, Hobbes and Locke and (more recently) pretending to like Opera, Beckett plays and Loach films, there’s nothing I like better than discussing Mr Bonkhead and Mrs Boobies with two under 5s and teaching them the finer points of Dutch Ovens and never crossing streams at the urinal.
- [Father of Sons klaxon – may not apply to Fathers of Daughters who prefer cartwheeling to playing with balls]. I get to watch ALL THE SPORT: I now justify Sky’s exorbitant (and it is exorbitant, Rupert you bastard, I’m paying £140 a month) sports fees by paying them out of the ‘education’ wallet. As with most fathers, I am looking to redress my sporting mediocrity through turning my kids into multi-sport, retirement-funding super-champions. To this end, I believe they need to watch as much sporting genius from an early age as they can get their eyes on – so whether it’s the US Open, the Lions Tour, the Women’s Cricket World Cup Final (a gender equality bonus, right there) or the Darts, I now watch more sport than I’ve ever watched in my life, GUILT-FREE.
- Unexpected outbursts: I suspect I have never laughed so much as I do when my kids say either inappropriate or ludicrous things – from the rolling-on-the-floor tantrum my eldest had in Waitrose (“I NEED my [Waitrose Essential] PISTACHIOS, daddy!” – the most middle class tantrum ever?) to his loudly shouted “Daddy that tickles my willy!” as the plane landed a little too quickly in France (to much male laughter), there is much joy to be had as your kids get to grips with the language – although it can get a bit awkward when they remark on the state of a blind man’s eyes, a commuter’s “fat tummy, he’s got a REALLY FAT TUMMY DADDY!” or stop to tell an aggressive-looking builder “Your gate’s RUBBISH”.
So when you’re scraping poo off your bottom lip because, somehow, your little darling got his toe stuck in the nappy and, like a miniature Messi with his back to goal, defied the laws of physics to flick it there or when you’ve been woken up for the 5th time in the night because the spiders are coming (THEY’RE COMING DADDY AND THEY HAVE CROCODILE HEADS, HELP!), take some comfort in the fact that a) we’ve all (mostly) been there and b) that there are better things to come.