An A-Z of new fatherhood

Young(ish) dad Sam Parker Bowles used to be irritated by unpuffed cushions on the sofa. No amount of antenatal classes could prepare him for life with a child. Now, with a two-year-old daughter and another baby on the way, here is his A-Z of new fatherhood:

ASPIRATIONS

Little Martha can count to six – she is going to be the CEO of Goldman Sachs. Arthur kept most of the paint on the page – he is the next David Hockney. Max kicked a ball – captain of Arsenal. Dreaming up our children’s start-studded future is one of the perks of fatherhood.

BABY SITTING

Nights out just aren’t as enjoyable any more, as you either need to rush back before another £10 hour kicks in or you feel guilty keeping your mother waiting up late.

CAR SEATS

These things get disgusting. Place a folded tea towel under the car seat to capture all stray raisins, crumbs and other spillages. I’m not being OCD-ish about this; your child will be using one of these things until he or she is about 18 so it’s important to keep it clean.

DORA THE EXPLORER

A young and annoying lesbian who talks to imaginary people and has a pet monkey called Boots, because of his footwear. Clever. At the end of every episode she sings, “We did it”. Not with Diego you didn’t Dora…

EVENINGS

Once a time spent in a bar, cinema or just relaxing at home. Now spent squeezing that black stuff out of rubber ducks, replacing the batteries in a toy that annoys you and looking everywhere for Dolly (or the Playmobil man’s) hat .

FLEETING

Nothing your child does lasts forever. Not even that tantrum in the household products aisle of Waitrose when they have been told they can’t have that can of Mr. Muscle. Remember this when your toddler is up at 5am for the fifth morning in a row.

GIGGLES

My daughter in hysterics from a tickle attack is still my favourite sound in the whole world. Sorry, ice cream van siren; you are out.

HANGOVERS

They were pretty bad as a student, bearable as an adult, but a whole new level as a parent. Un-fun. If you have a full time job it is definitely best to get drunk during the working week rather than when you’re “on duty” at the weekend.

INTERCOM

When the baby monitor starts squawking at 3am , that’s what the ‘mute’ button is for right?

JELLYCATS

The company you wished you owned. Every child has about four of these toys. Not including replacements. Our child has had the exact same bunny since birth. No honestly…

samandpoppy

KISSES AND CUDDLES

Nothing is better than unexpected affection from your darling child. It puts everything into perspective (and reminds you how unbelievably sentimental you’ve got since you became a parent).

LEFTOVERS

Can be hidden under pasta or fish fingers. Just make sure it is not last night’s vindaloo or anything too garlicky. A toddler with garlic breath is a bad look.

MESS

Un-puffed sofa cushions used to upset me. Then I had a child.  The toy box in our sitting room is like a blender without a lid!

NEGOTIATION

The dream: “If you are good girl with Granny today, I will read you an extra chapter of The Secret Garden tonight”. The reality: “Get in the bloody buggy and I’ll give you some Kinder Bueno and a sticker!”

ON DEMAND

This one is really important. You need to get as much of your child’s preferred viewing on your hard-drive for emergency screenings. You were never going to watch that one off documentary on Buzz Aldrin anyway.

POTTY TRAINING

Sh1t happens. It really does.

QUEUING

You’ll need to get used to standing in line be it at the soft play with an impatient child, at the chemist laden with nappies, and at the A&E – but hopefully not too often.

RAISINS

The second best thing to happen to grapes.

STEALTH

Left something in your child’s room after they have gone to sleep? You soon learn where all the squeaky floorboards are and how to navigate the room with just the soft light under the door.

TANTRUMS

Come from absolutely nowhere, make a lot of noise, cause a scene in public and then just vanish again. But you know another will appear in the near future to torment us. A little like X-Factor winners.

UNSAFE

Everything and everywhere is a potential hazard. That OKA coffee table – dagger corners. That bottle of Detol spray – poison. And then there’s the three hours of sleep a night you’re expected to survive on – nervous breakdown.

VELCRO

Why are Velcro shoes limited to kids’ shoes? I’d have it that all their clothes fastened that way. But not like a stripper.

WALKING

The worry that your child is late to learn, which turns to relief when they start to walk, which turns to regret when they are waddling towards the road with their laces untied…

X-RAY

Well, ultrasound. Such amazing technology, but we are all shown the same image of the same child, aren’t we?

YES

Comes into their vocabulary so much later than No, no, no, no and NO!

ZZZZZ

Catching up on sleep is now the best part of any stag weekend. Or business trip.

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