Ever since my wife fell pregnant, I’ve felt pretty bloody useless. It all started with the morning sickness during the early days, with my wife chucking up the previous night’s meal and me standing there like a spare part. Then there was the actual labour, when once again, I just stood there wincing. Now it’s the breastfeeding. I’ve never felt more insignificant. Which I why I decided to take on and master all the daily parenting routines and tasks. Here are five standard dad tasks that I’ve made my own.
The art of the nappy
It’s a cliche – and one that doesn’t do us dads’ image many favours – but there really is a delicate art to wrapping your baby’s arse in a disposable nappy. Get it wrong, and both you and baby are quite literally in the shit. If the nappy is too tight, you’ll soon know about it – too loose and you’ve got baby excrement up her front and back. Over these past months, I’ve managed to turn a routine task into an absolute craft, jumping up at the slightest whiff or sound of a loose fart – nailing every change.
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Every parent is different, but I handle the baby bath, usually in the morning while my wife catches up on some sleep. During the first few weeks, it became my job to dunk the little one in the bath after she’d rudely awoken me with the sound of a strain-and-follow-through combo – my lovely little daughter filling her nappy and cot with liquid shite. Now her daily bath is one of the highlights of our day. We’ve even got our own song, sung during the daily ritual –”Splashy Splashy Time” – composed by me. She bloody loves that song.
Steering the pram
I’ve only been out on my own with the baby once, but even when I’m with family members, including my wife, I always push the pram. There are no words exchanged, no arguments, or comments offered. I am the one who will parade my daughter around the town or supermarket. It’s a matter of fatherly pride.
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I’m not much of a driver, but it’s become my duty to get wife and child safely from points A to B. I will get the bag together, take the pram downstairs, and secure my daughter in the car seat. This all started when my wife wasn’t able to drive post-caesarean, but now, even after a few months have passed, daddy still takes the wheel as a matter of parental responsibility.
Getting the baby to sleep
The last thing my daughter wants to do straight after her night feed is go to sleep, but over the past few weeks, I have absolutely mastered the daddy dance and physical motions to coerce her into unconsciousness. It’s very often a time we spend alone, sometimes in front of late-night TV, but sometimes just sat on the sofa in silence. What started off as a nightly hours-long struggle, has become one of those golden moments, waiting for her to drift off, safe in the knowledge that in just a few hours, I’ll be tuning up my voice for another rendition of ‘Splashy-Splashy Time’.