Hello and welcome to the first ever post on my first ever blog. I’ve been a three time daddy for three months now and it has gone by unbelievably fast.
Becoming Three Time Daddy: Sharing the News
I remember breaking the news and being surprised how people reacted when compared to our first two children:
Child #1: ‘WOW! Congratulations!! That’s amazing news!’
Child #2: ‘WOW! Congratulations!! That’s amazing news!’
Child #3: ‘What? Another one? Was it an accident? Are you nuts??’
Rather than spreading joyous news, I felt like I was apologising for being some sort of insatiable monster obsessed with breeding: ‘Yeah, you know, we’re having ANOTHER baby. But we’re definitely done after that, I promise.
I couldn’t help but feel inadequate. What if we were being nuts? Can’t we just be happy with what we have? The world isn’t exactly in great shape right now – should we really be bringing another life into it?
What could possibly go wrong?
For the early months doubts, questions and worries endlessly circled through my mind:
Can we even afford another?
Forget about the sentimental wonder of life and the blessing of children etc etc and get straight down to affordability. Let’s face it, kids aren’t cheap. Since the introduction of child labour laws they aren’t going to pay their own way for a while. Training them up to be a footballer or famous actor is a long term strategy and it wouldn’t pay for their nursery costs and after school activities.
Will we need a bigger house?
Three kids. Three bedrooms. Two words: Bunk beds.
However a house with just one toilet felt like a bigger issue. It is hard enough going to the loo in peace as it is and they’ll be 50% more poo flying around.
Will we need a bigger car?
I’m pretty sure keeping children in the boot or on the roof rack is illegal. Packing three across the back seats of our Meriva sounded like playing some sort of Tetris style puzzle that would hardly be welcomed during the morning chaos of a rainy school run.
Will I survive the sleepless nights?
Pfft. We already have two kids. Sleep? What’s that?
How will the other two react?
Two parents, two kids. Going from two to three will mean a switch from man-to-man marking to a zonal system or a ‘I don’t know what the hell I’m doing’ style of defence.
I began to feel guilty at the prospect of not being able to dedicate as much time and attention to them. Would it mean that one of them would always feel left out?
And what about the relationship with each other? With two kids it’s simple – there’s one relationship. With three kids this triples! This means three times the arguments!
What if they are twins?
Jesus. Twins. Now, if you are a) still reading this and b) a twin, do not be offended. I like twins. Twins feature prominently on both sides of our family and it felt like we were taunting our genes by having a third child. It was bound to be our turn.
I’m not going to lie to you, I wasn’t keen on doubling our children overnight.
What about names?
Eek. If having two kids already had taught me anything, it was that I am horrendous at suggesting baby names. Give me a 1,000,001 baby name book and I would still come up with either nothing at all or a ‘joke’ name i.e Bret or Jemaine, Walter or Jesse, Bumblebee or Megatron.
To disguise this flaw I tried to adopt a policy of not wanting to think about names until we at least knew whether it was a boy or a girl.
Makes sense right? Aside from the efficiency of not wasting time on the other gender, it would cut the daunting challenge of naming another human being for the REST OF THEIR ENTIRE EXISTENCE in half.
This policy was a very unpopular with my wife, and I suspect it would be with all mums around the world.
The Big Day
Of course none of these doubts mattered when the day arrived and we met baby for the first time. The planned caesarean didn’t quite go as smoothly as we hoped and he had to go straight to the NICU to help give him a boost with his breathing and increase his blood oxygen levels.
We were unable to see him for a couple of hours and even then it was just me, in the NICU, staring at him in an incubator with all the wires and monitors. His mum was in recovery from the section and couldn’t visit him until about 12 hours later, when her epidural had worn off and she was able to actually stand up on her own.
Luckily for us, baby was fine. At the time it was scary and upsetting but looking back it is easy to see how all of this was precautionary. In the NICU there were some very premature and seriously poorly babies who were going to spend weeks, if not months, in there. In comparison, Jasper was there for about 36 hours and was home with us a day after leaving the NICU.
Sharing the news. Again
When it came to sharing the news, it surprised me just how often I had the same conversations over again, whether with friends, neighbours or passers by on the street. It felt like part of the baby routine – feed, activity, sleep… then answer one of these FAQs:
- What’s his name?
- How much did he weigh?
- Is mum well?
- Are you having another one?
In other words, ‘You’re done for good now, right?’ I even found myself discussing vasectomies with other fathers I hardly knew, which as it happens, was actually very helpful.
So here I am 13 weeks later, and we’ve all survived ‘The Early Days’. The whole experience has made me realise just how fortunate and lucky we are to have three healthy and gorgeous kids.
Some of the worries I had before may not have completely gone away, but at least now I know they don’t really matter as much as I thought they did.