Witnessing the birth of a baby is an experience of a lifetime. Nothing and nobody prepares you for the pain that you will witness your wife going through. Nobody warns about the blood and all the fatty tissue that your child will come encased in. And more importantly, nobody prepares you for the helplessness you are going to feel when the small one starts crying in the middle of the night. Helpless not just because you cannot do anything about it, but mostly because you have no idea as to what the problem may be.
Welcome to the world of parenting, as seen through the eyes of a first time father.
The little red cross on the plastic window of the test kit will send a wave of emotions through your heart. But there are also lots of things that only the experience will teach you. First of all, parenting is hard. Very hard. There will be a lot of times in the middle of changing the third diaper at night where you will be asking yourself whether you made the correct choices in life. There is no manual and no straight answers. Much of the things you do will be done out of sheer intuition and guess-work. But don’t let desperation get the best of you. They grow up quick and routines start showing up at the second week.
There is no wisdom in asking any parent about when “number 2” is coming. Or when Junior will be getting a sibling. I totally now understand why a lot of people end up winding up the factory immediately after the first baby rolls off the production line.
One thing I realised early in being a parent is tht babies cry. A lot. A whole lot more. Feed me. Change me. Cuddle me. Cry with me. It seems as though their tiny brains tell them “I can cry – so I will cry.” There is need to quickly develop a thick skin to resist some of those cries. Otherwise your little one will surely manipulate your life. Then you end up miserable. Babies have a way of detecting miserable parents. And when they see you miserable, guess what they end up doing? You guessed right: cry some more! I see you are learning quickly. And so a vicious cycle that will be unless one breaks out
Two years have passed since I started drafting this article. One thing led to another and before I knew it, so much time went by. But I decided to leave the initial part of the article as it was. Sentimental value, perhaps? In all that while, I realised that indeed time flies. Toddler has started speaking. The US has a new government and so has The Netherlands. Oh, and I now speak Dutch. Hoerah!