Tuesday, August 21, 2018

17 months of being a father

After nearly 17 months of being a father, I think I have that little bit of experience to talk about the changes that happened to me. The changes are significant enough that sometimes me and wife will say BC and AC, which stands for Before Child and After Child.

"Oh, we used to be able to watch movies in the cinema BC 2012...", laments the wife.

"This is AC 2018, I don't think we can afford to have a late lunch at Tim Ho Wan at 2pm anymore...", I complained.

Of course, mothers and fathers experienced the changes differently, but I think we seldom hear about the fathers' side to the story. I'm here to share.

1. I am much more expressive now. I didn't know I can smile so much. This little boy of mine is like a second ray of sunlight. The first is, of course, my wife. I think my life will be so much blander without them.

2. I didn't know I can survive so long without proper sleep for so long. After a few days of less than 5 hours of sleep, every day starts to feel the same. Everything is like the copy of a copy of a copy. In my line of work as a tutor, I sometimes feel the merging of weekdays and weekends. I might be eating lunch and I'll suddenly pop a question, asking which day it is today. This effect seems to be exacerbated by lack of sleep. On the flip side, I think my insomnia is cured temporarily.

3. Before having a kid, I thought my life was very good already. I don't think how having a child can make my life any better; I seriously thought so. After having a kid, I didn't know how I could live my life without one. Every little thing seems to take in more meaning. I think my life before having a kid seems too indulgent. Too much time wasted on frivolous things. Of course, back then, it didn't feel like that.

4. I never stopped worrying for my kid. Before he was born, I'm worried he might have genetic flaws. After he was born, I'm worried that his hearing might have some issues. After a few months, I'm worried about his jaundice. When he still hasn't started crawling, I worried maybe there are some issues with this mobility. Up till now, he is a little slower than the median month where kids are already speaking, so I'm worried if there is anything wrong.

So you can't imagine how relieved (and proud) when he started calling very clearly, papa and mama, just a day ago. I think I'll never stop worrying about him. That's parenthood.

5. I don't know how to fly a kite, but I think it's similar to parenting. There are times you must let go and times you must rein the kite in. Hold too tightly, the kite won't fly high. Held too loosely, the kite will drop too quickly.

Is it all worth it? I guess that question depends on how quickly you shed your role as an individual or as a couple living together. The sooner you accept that your life will never be the same again, the faster you can adapt to the new one that is thrust straight to you. I think it'll be a very long time until I can sleep for 8 hours, or I can just go out on a whim around midnight to Mustafa to go grocery shopping. Those times are fun and memorable, but they are over.

A new season dawns on me, and I think it will also have its own beautiful scenery to admire.


Jes said...

Hi LP,

Seems like I can identify with all the points. Your part being more expressive applies to my husband too! I like this sentence a lot " After having a kid, I didn't know how I could live my life without one. Every little thing seems to take in more meaning. I think my life before having a kid seems too indulgent." Nodding my head because that's exactly what I told me husband.

I think you need to take your wife to the movies. Show some love to her please, LOL! :P

Singapore Dividend Collector said...

Well said sir. My wife and are talking about having our first kid and I've been thinking about many of the issues you raise in this blog. Namely, what will life be like with less sleep?

Presently, I need about 8 hours at night...and 4 during the day, so I've no idea how having a screaming kid is going to work. Also, another issue that hangs over my head is whether life will be better with a kid.

I suppose to answer this question you have to define 'better'. I suppose you never know until you hold a little kid in your arms. You can't buy that feeling.

Anyway, good for you my friend. Life is a funny old game, full of surprises.

I wish you all the best, and, perhaps, in a year's time I'll be relaying stories to you of how how I felt the moment I made eye contact with my little bundle of giggles.


la papillion said...

Hi Singapore dividend collector,

Trust me, I have the same thinking before having a kid. After a kid, I was wondering what I had been doing all my life. You'll be able to push through these issues because you'll want to do it. Coincidentally, me and Jes will be giving a talk soon on parenthood for 1st time parents, around end of Sept. Check out DBS nav classes for more details :)

Might be able to meet you and hopefully answer any queries you have.

Kate said...

A sweet one :) And indeed, life will never be the same again. I think collectively, the couple needs to recognize that changes needs to be made in their lifestyle decisions needs to be compromised to a certain extent. If we are always harping about how we used to be able to do this and that and can't anymore, that is a recipe for potential depression and rocky marriage but hey, we can turn this around ourselves!

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