So Sam just turned one.
No, I can’t believe it either. He’s an entire year old. That’s 12 months of nappies, no sleep, naps and nasty niffs.
We made it!
When Sam was born, friends kept saying to me that the first year was the hardest. I reminded them of this during the birthday celebrations, and was told that year three was much tougher.
Thanks guys, talk about moving the goalposts!
Who knows what’s true? All I know is we managed to take our son on a complete rotation around the sun without doing anything monumentally stupid (well not much).
Here’s my highlights of the first year, I’m sorry I don’t remember when any of these things happened (my mind is a sieve) other than they all took place in the last 365 days…
The first smile.
As Sam was a premature baby this arrived a little later than many might expect. But when it came, seriously, it made my millennium. I’ve a theory that nature withholds the nicer moments of a baby’s development until they’re really needed. For Sam’s mum and I, we were exhausted and emotional after months of hard work, pushed to breaking, then like an oasis on the horizon, he flashed us a smile. A proper smile, not wind. I’ll take that moment with me to my grave.
I knew there and then that I’d do anything for that little boy.
Sharing a joke.
Humour is hugely important to me. I bond with those I love through laughter. Generating peals of giggles is one of the most pleasurable things I think any of us can do. So when Sam and I shared our first joke it was magical. It wasn’t that funny really, what happened. I put a pair of his trousers on my head and he laughed, but to me it was pure unadulterated joy. To hear that laugh for the first time was blissful. Sam can’t talk yet, but we communicated through laughter at a very deep level. In an instant I forgot about the sleepless nights.
Poo up the wall
I know this sounds like a negative rather than a positive – but for me it was a highlight of the year. I was changing a nappy and I mistimed it somehow and… well… an explosive poo splattered all over the nursery wall. It’s the type of thing where you just have to laugh at the absurdity of it all. But why was it a highlight? For some reason, when this happened, I felt like I’d been properly inducted into the guild of parenthood. I’d heard, throughout the pregnancy, all these horror stories of scatological incidents that occur with babies. Now at last I had my own, I was part of the funny anecdote club. I had a great story to embarrass Sam with when he was 30.
I wouldn’t want to have to clean massive amounts of poo off wallpaper, furniture, skirting board and carpet every day – but this one incident was a time I’ll remember for the funny side.
A shoulder to cry on…
For most of Sam’s year, his mum was exclusively the person he wanted when upset. That was fine with me, I was eager that Sam’s mum and he bonded, even if that meant I was relegated in the relationship to a fetcher and carrier role. That’s the way (in my mind) it should be, babies go first response is go to their mother for comfort.
In the last few months however, I’ve been allowed by Sam to act as a stand in. Don’t get me wrong, I am very much the substitute teacher of comforting cuddles, but even so, it would seem that daddy has the ability to make it all better.
This is a great, hugely rewarding, responsibility that I cherish.
I loved the little party we had for Sam to celebrate his first birthday and (although he had no idea what was going on) he loved all the attention. In fact, I enjoyed the whole birthday thing so much that I’ve decided we should do it all again next year!
The Out of Depth Dad