Raising a child is bloody hard work
I roll over to realise I’ve drifted off to sleep with our little froglet wedged between my wife and me. It’s around stupid o’clock some random Tuesday morning, around 6 weeks after our bundle of joy arrived, and the cliché of ‘Your life won’t be the same’ is ringing true in my ears.
Now comes the nerve-wracking transfer of putting her back into her bassinet. Failure at any stage can mean another settling period the last of which took over an hour and a half. I stumble out of bed, turn around and swaddle her up. Gently, oh so gently, I pick the froglet up to cradle her in my arms. At a turtles pace, I creep around to the other side of the bed where her bassinet is. Very gently and very quietly I lean in to put her into the bassinet. I’m not sure how long I stand there looking down at the bassinet and then back at my cradled arms, but it took a while for my brain to compute that she is already in the bassinet! One more confused look back into my arms and I realise I’m carrying a very tightly wrapped pillow!
It is 8 months on from that night and I’m not sure our nights are getting any less blurry. I’m the father of an 8 month old little froglet who is the centre of my life and I wouldn’t want it any other way. I’m truly blessed to have her in my life and, with chest puffed out, I can boast I’m the proudest Dad in the world.
But somewhere along the way I missed the memo that raising a child is hard work. Bloody hard work. Maybe it was in the thinly veiled cliché ‘Your life will never be the same” or maybe I put too much faith in education through movies. Or maybe, and probably more likely, I just didn’t think about it that much. Get married, have a kid, keep a good job, yep, yep, yep. If everyone else is doing it then it can’t be that hard. On all accounts, WRONG!
It’s hard getting up 7 or 8 times a night. It’s hard trying to shovel food into a mouth that imitates a moving clown face at side show alley. It’s hard donning your wrestling cape every time you want her to take a nap or changing a nappy (seriously The Rock could have learned half his moves by some of her holds and grapples!). It’s hard not feeling guilty you can’t do more to support your wife when it’s 3am and the little one has been up for an hour screaming and will only settle in mummy’s arms. It’s hard running a small business and leaving at 5pm to get home and start feeding her. It’s hard, it’s hard, it’s hard.
I know I sound like a pommy cricket player, living in 5-star accommodation, playing in the Ashes, complaining that lunch has been served without a butter knife, but after spending 8 months of not having slept more than 3 hours in a row each night I think I’m standing on solid and warranted ground.
What makes the whole process even more absurd is the little frog doesn’t seem to care. She is completely oblivious to the fact that mum and dad seem to be so tired they fall asleep whenever they get a chance (I’ve had 2 NASA naps since starting this). She’ll be crawling over every obstacle, trying at every turn to get into the rubbish bins, and pulling apart the pantry- all with a huge grin on her cheeky face! During the day there doesn’t seem to be a care in the world, which honestly makes life that much more enjoyable, and is probably the reason I almost break the speed limit on the way home from work- to catch one of those amazing smiles she gives when I get home from work. Take the good with the bad they say huh? I guess most clichés are true.