Saturday October 1st 2022

Dads Anonymous : Alan The Dad

I’ve always considered myself to be very child friendly. We frequently have my nephews to stay for the weekend, and at big gatherings children flock to me like loose women to Tiger Woods.

So when my missus told me we were going to have a sprog of our own, I thought “Brilliant. How hard could it be!” Hi. My name is Alan, and I’m a dad.

Cut to ten months later and it’s 2am, I’m in my boxers, jiggling a small human, and wondering whether a drop of whisky might do any good – for me, for the baby, for anyone really! I know this is not what James would like to hear, but honestly, being a dad is hard work.

In a lot of ways, having a new baby in the house is like being in student digs all over again. There are things in the fridge that you aren’t allowed to touch. You are frequently told to keep quiet because someone is sleeping. The house is filled with noise at all hours of night and day. Frantic dashes to the 24 hour garage shop are an almost daily occurrence. Also, the hottest woman in the house is far more likely to be in someone else’s bedroom than yours, and yet you’re still the one who has to entertain her over breakfast.

There are several things I wish I’d known before the first months of fatherhood. They are, in no particular order: when in doubt, offer to go shopping or make tea; it is not possible to tell your missus often enough that she is beautiful and you love her; it’s okay to sometimes wish your alien spawn would evaporate into thin air, this does not make you an evil monster; your  baby is a tricksy thing, and will always win.

Because that’s the clincher – unlike students, babies only get cuter with each passing day. For example, that night at 2am, when I was wishing I was anywhere else, even watching the Gunners lose, that little creature looked at me, stopped crying, and smiled. A great big bursting smile. A smile that said “you are MINE, sucker”.

I woke my missus. She grouched, but eventually my cries of “He can smile! He can smile! He’s a genius!” brought her downstairs. At the sight of his mum, the creature grinned again. And there we three sat, in wonderment. The missus and I staring at this beautiful human being that we had made, that was somehow, miraculously, OUR doing. He smiled at us. We smiled at him. And for a peaceful half an hour in North London, I understood the meaning of my life, I cried happy tears, and I knew that really, it couldn’t be that hard, not with that much love in the room.

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