How soon is too soon? well it depends what we’re talking about doesn’t it. How soon is too soon to reveal to your new girlfriend that the immaculate bedroom that you are in and have been sharing for the best part of a month is in fact the bedroom of an immaculate flatmate and your new boyfriend is in fact the proud owner of the cess pit next door, a gentleman never reveals (but more than a week, less than a month). How soon is too soon to take your new girlfriend on a holiday to Prague only to realise (at the airport, I hasten to add) you have no money in the bank and she will in fact have to fund the entire trip, in my case this was about 3 months, fortunately Anna is an incredibly understanding person and we have since married, prenups were not necessary. How soon is too soon to tell your new girlfriend that the man at the airport by the telephone is in fact your father who has come to pick you up and you should probably introduce yourself while I carry the bags, watching said new girlfriend try to embrace a complete stranger remains one of life’s absolute highlights – just over 3 months in my case but the real answer is that it’s never too soon.
I however am talking specifically about how soon is it too soon to start trying for a second child, so ignore the above examples and focus solely on that if you will. A good friend recently shared that his wife was expecting their second child. My brain proceeded to take me on a journey with 3 distinct destinations; Destination 1 was Surprise “but you already have one, what use could you possibly have with another?” closely followed by Destination 2 Contemplation “they are actually genuinely good fun aren’t they babies? Who else would jam a finger up your nostril just to see if anything happens” before completing a thoroughly shallow journey at Destination 3 Envy “I instinctively want things that other people have……….I want another one too!” I think joy and happiness were signposted along the way but it was a whistlestop tour.
I always had the notion that I wanted two children, one son and one daughter. The son is to be older and his main purpose is to scare off any prospective boyfriends that may be sniffing around his younger sister and to provide an outlet for my competitive nature (be it Monopoly, arm wrestling, etc) and a daughter whose purpose is to counteract her brother’s boyishness largely through baking cupcakes and putting on dance performances – I am halfway to achieving my fantasy family team.
There are definitely days when I have questioned whether Max will have a sister to protect from predatory boys, surely not all only children turn out to be needy and greedy with deep rooted psychological issues and psychotic tendencies? Fortunately these days are few and far between and usually occur when the bastard cocktail of baby illness and sleep deprivation are mixed. The general consensus is (and I beleive research has shown) that babies are good, great even. Max you have nothing to worry about, baby Glamour Ross will be with us soon, your purpose will be complete.
You may have picked up from previous Posts that I like to share some of the more challenging aspects of fatherhood, cold hearted readers amongst you might even call it whinging, but I will persevere with sharing. Blogging is just another avenue for whinging, I mean sharing.
I spend a large proportion of my leisure time trying to get sympathy/gratitude/approval/money from Anna for the challenging nature of my work, it is work isn’t it? In a worrying development I have even started referring to myself in the first person as “poor old daddy”. For example, “poor old daddy had to spend all morning in a cafe with his adorable son” or “poor old daddy is sick of all the parks he has to visit”.
But do I actually have anything to whinge about? Should I dismount the high horse I am perched upon? Is it time to shimmy on down the pedestal? Have my dad sized boots got a bit too big? Should I stop asking these inane questions and get to the point? Okay, this might be a bit tenuous but bear with me.
Take Emperor Penguins (don’t literally take them, their wild animals and can’t be domesticated), the expectant father stands for two months shivering his feathery arse off with an egg on his not so happy feet as he is battered and bruised by the Antarctic winter. During this time no food passes his beak and he doesn’t get a wink of penguin sleep. Mum on the other hand sneaks off to have a grand old time with the girls, getting fat on fish. She waddles back into town when she can’t physically eat another shrimp and finds dad who is showing signs of Rigamortis and generally looking a bit hacked off. Without so much as a sicked up fish supper by way of thanks, Mum instigates a clumsy eggschange (sorry) and inevitably the egg ends up scrambled on the ice. Rather than hold up an apologetic flipper, Mum shoots Dad a withering look as if to say “look what you did, that was your fault you bastard”. I sometimes wonder if Anna was an Emperor Penguin in a former life, she’s got that look down.
I tried putting Max on my feet earlier today, just to see if it was something I would be able accomplish myself. I only lasted a couple of minutes before I got hungry and had an acute case of pins and needles causing me to abort mission and retire to the comfort of an armchair for a cheese sandwich and a foot rub.
So to conclude this most incoherent of Posts, I am no Emperor Penguin, just in case anyone was wondering.
Every single time I change Max’s nappy I find myself fantasising about a day when he can take care of ‘business’ himself. It’s not just the rancid odour that devours your nostrils, the unavoidable splodge of pooh that seeks out the crevice of your finger nails, the strained expression that alerts you to a “code brown”, the noisy protest that accompanies each and every nappy change, the relentlessness with which nappies are filled or the contorting baby doing its best to avoid your clutches – it’s all of these things wrapped up into a stinky little package that makes nappy changing so, excuse my French, f@#*ing excruciating!
I am nostalgic for the inoffensive little raisin pellets that Max used to reward us with in the glory days of nappy changes. I ponder on why at child care he is blissfully happy for a complete stranger to change his nappy, even smiling I’ve been told, but when I do it it’s as if I’m performing a crude surgical operation, traitorous swine! And his ability to wriggle out of every hold, grapple and pin, eluding the offending nappy with consummate ease (combined with an ample physique and a love of lycra), will surely set him up for a promising wrestling career one day, but at this point in time its not helpful.
For those of you who are uninitiated in the joys of pooh pouches or perhaps enough time has past that you look back with nappy tinted glasses, you will be reading this thinking to yourself “suck it up big guy, how bad can it be?” Things have got so bad that I took the radical step of fast tracking Max’s potty training recently which resulted in me peeing on my son (don’t tell mum). In another moment of weakness I took pity on the poor little darling and let him enjoy an au natural culinary experience, nude food if you will, he repaid my trust by depositing the meal I had only just served up on the seat of his high chair, never again.
Most parents get on with this inevitable baby by-product but I feel well within my rights to kick up a stink (pun intended).