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Life after birth: It's not that bad....

Stuart's guide to fatherhood for new dads

1. Does the vision of fatherhood live up to the reality?

Your new reality can take a while to take hold. I have found that nothing can truly prepare you for the onslaught of fatherhood. And that is what it is an onslaught. You cannot turn it off, you cannot have a vacation from it. It is and forever will be a huge part of what now defines you. You have an idea of this and people will warn you that you better catch up on your sleep because you won't be getting any for the next 20yrs. There is confrontation between your old carefree lifestyle and your new serious responsibilities. The comprehension and understanding of this before the minions arrive is quite different from the stark reality. In essence it comes down to stamina, you think you have it. You do not. The stamina required for weeks of solid exam preparation, the stamina required for a month of well-behaved partying on a contiki, the stamina required for months of backpacking  around South America does not even come close to the stamina required for the midgets you now cohabitate with. The reason? There is no reprieve. Almost everything else you have ever done has had an end point. Fatherhood does not. That is the scariest thing but also the greatest  thing about fatherhood. To look down into the eyes of that little minion that you have created makes your heart swell. You are responsible for this new person and you are responsible for the person they become, this brings     immense joy and is a little scary at the same time!                                          

2. What are these new noises in my house?

From dusk till dawn we can count on a constant babble of verbal diarrhea from Mika our 2yr old. It just doesn’t stop. Parroting, screaming, manic laughter, iterations of her favourite songs (the wheels on the bus and Downtown by Mackelmore) Like a finely tuned swiss watch she will wake up at 6:30 wanting out of the cot with a cry which we can bank on to give us that adrenal dump to wake us up and get us moving.                            

3. How much sleep can you bank on, either per night or per week?

 I must give Haidee huge credit and a high five for this. She is the sticky goo that keeps this family ticking over by taking one for the team and ensuring the midgets become use to a nightly routine. Haidee has always been quite studious and with all the access to information (for better or worse) she has tailored and implemented her better baby routine. She is the one up in the middle of the night. Every night. Mika sleeps through the night now, every night from 6:30 to 6:30. Magnus is slowly but surely being beat into submission. So really I shouldn’t complain about sleep…… but I will. Being a lowly male, I have a much lower tolerance to sleep deprivation than my superior female counterpart. 1 squeak from either room will send my adrenal glands into overdrive thus ending any chance of REM sleep for the rest of the night. It’s not the amount of sleep that eventually gets you, it is the quality.                                   

4. What does the dog think of the babies?

Moose is a Frug, A French bull  dog crossed with a pug. He’s not the sharpest tool in the  shed, but to his credit we could not have asked for a better companion for the minions. Moose was our first child and preceded Mika by about 6 months. We always liked the idea of our dog and child raised side by side for companionship and also the health benefits. From the relationship, Mika gains understanding about sharing and respect for animals. Moose gains a target for food at his level. It’s a very symbiotic relationship. It’s fun watching their relationship develop as Mika gets older and it will be interesting to see how the dynamics change as Magnus becomes more interactive.

5. What changesin your routine with number 2?

It's less a change in routine and more a case of switching to autopilot or more accurately zombification.  

6. Here are the tips for Dads to keep relations tip-top with their wives.

A lot of people will have lived with their partners or traveled with their partners before they have acquired minions. As most couples can attest to this is where you will    experience the realities and the true ups and downs of living with another independent being. Parenthood amplifies the peaks and troughs of this sinusoidal curve..... The peaks are much higher due to the joy the little grubbers bring and in reality the lows are much lower due to your damaged cortisol and adrenal levels which sleep deprivation has blessed you with. In essence  you will see each other at their very best and very worst, therefore in my opinion it is extremely important to continue to work on your relationship. Contraband such as Daddy bubble’s (beer), a nice bottle of wine or the occasional box of chocolates must be smuggled in and consumed secretly after the midget bedtimes. Another top tip, biff the midgets at the grandparents for an afternoon and go spend some time with each other to recharge. This comes with a caveat. Grandparents have paid their dues by putting up with your crap. They don’t have to play by the rules now. It’s their turn to have fun with the new manifestation of their genetics. Have another bag of lollies Mika….. After all when the sugar high kicks in it’s usually time to give them back……..

7. What else........

Fatherhood has enlightened me to my new purpose in life. Seeing as though I have fulfilled my genetic purpose on this planet, my genes are now superfluous to the human population as they are now residing in newer, better, smaller versions of myself. I have quickly come to the  realisation that my sole purpose in life is to provide and fend for the midgets. You get up when your kid gets up and you follow them around doing everything they need because you’re now their slave and that’s your life. I wouldn’t have it any other way. The happiness these tiny little sacks of flesh bring to my life is immeasurable.