Today is my daughter’s birthday party. She’s three years old – we managed to feed her enough nutrients and remove enough hazards for her to survive. Coming from a guy who electrocuted himself by touching a wire in Mexico “just to see if it was live”, this is pretty impressive stuff.
Kate and I decided that three was the age that we should make the effort. Throwing a party before this would be a huge waste of time – Evelyn wouldn’t remember it. Plus, let’s face it, kids’ parties are just awkward for the adults present.
Once everyone has arrived at the soft play and the kids have dumped their outer layers of autumn clothing like the little reptiles they are, it’s just us adults left. Make no mistake – this is the point at which every parent thinks “shit, I should have used that fever excuse I’ve been saving. I’m stood here alone with that stupid ‘I’m fine and happy’ grin plastered on my face”. There’s only so much encouragement you can shout at your toddler as they climb that sponge staircase before you start looking a bit needy!
“Where has the time gone?”
We’ve asked ourselves this so many times. Every parent out there knows that it flies by – it’s a cliché for a reason. But seriously, I’m three years closer to death and all I have to show for it is a functioning small human and a mortgage. Before parenthood I’d be able to take stock of time as it passed – small milestones like which year of university I was in, or which version of Call of Duty was being released that year!
Gone now are the days of making bottles, worrying about silent reflux and the mix of gravity and non-existent neck muscles. We no longer have to pack three changes of clothes for every outing. I don’t panic about sterilising things any more, and if her food drops on the floor I don’t give a shit as long as it’s picked up within five seconds.
I miss it all.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m thoroughly enjoying Evelyn at the age she is now, but I’d be lying if I said I don’t miss the baby days too. There’s a certain diminishing return that’s forced on your mindset when a toddler is developing – no milestone will quite reach that “first steps” moment. Evelyn can dress herself now but I remember being more impressed at the first time she got angry and smacked me in the eye.
Time for another?
You heard it here first – I think I want another child. Now reading the above it might be construed that I want to replace the baby that Evelyn was, but that’s not the case. I simply want more of it, on top of the joy we get from Evelyn. I think the contrast of young child and newborn will complement each other perfectly – and the age gap is spot on. We have an order of events though: debts, marriage then another child. How boringly adult of us!
If I were to list five ways my life has changed in the last three years, this would be it:
- Sleep. I get none of it, I’m The Walking Dad – I manage around 4 – 5 hours a night if I’m lucky. I hate having to sleep anyway, it’s a waste of productivity but it feels so damn good!
- Social life. There’s a whole post on this, knock yourselves out!
- Happiness. I’m happier than I’ve ever been, or ever thought I could be. Happiness is no longer winning that online game. It’s having my daughter ask me for a cuddle, when my beautiful fiancé smiles at the scene unfolding before her.
- Stability. I have a family, and a home that we own. As a child I thought this would be the anti-climax of my life, but it’s amazing.
- Antagonising emotions. I’m so very excited about my daughter’s potential and what’s in store for her, but I’m terrified about the world I’m bringing her up in. There’s a post on that coming soon…
Good morning actually, by the time this is published.
This was only ever intended to be a short post. A screen print of thoughts before Evelyn’s big day tomorrow. It’s 01:40 and I need some sleep before the soft play party (now there’s a misleading term!). It takes energy to maintain those kid-party smiles!
This is The Honest Father, signing off. Broody, excited and loved up!