I thought I would share my story about becoming a parent for the first time with you inspired by #dadstories and BabyBjorn and there new limited collection of baby one carriers inspired by the modern-day dad.
When we left the saftey of the hospital after Flo was born and got home the reality of parenting kicked in. The feeding (granted I just watched but still I was there), the continuous nappy changes, the amount of clothes that we went through, the amount of clothes we had to return because she was massive and they didn’t fit, the bathing, the nappy rashes……i could go on and on but to summarise it was a steep learning curve and everything came thick and fast.
What came quickest was the sleep deprivation. I was warned about this. Most seasoned parents do chip in and the general content of advice we received was that we would be nakered. I knew I would be tired but felt at 25 and not needing much sleep I would be ok. I was wrong.
Flo was colically as f**k. I mean it was relentless. I still look back at this period and shudder. I would walk through the door at 5:30 and it would kick off. Screaming non stop. No matter what we did she wouldn’t settle. We tried infacol, gripe water, the lyrically harmonies of Lennon/McCartney. No matter what we did she just wouldn’t settle. Until 11pm. Shattered the wife and I would nod off, until as just to extend our suffering Flo would wake up again at 11:30. Screaming. And it would go on all night. I battled nightly not to fall asleep after 11 as I knew what would happen but I just couldn’t. I was pooped.
Coffee wouldn’t touch the sides. Not that I didn’t try. I probably paid the yearly wages of one of the baristas at Costa Coffee. The extent of my sleep deprivation finally set in however on a cold wet Manchester December evening.
Part of my job at the time involved studying at the University of Manchester for one day a week. I loved this day. Gave me a little time off to recover. However on this particular day things went wrong. After a long day where I just about stayed awake, I walked to the train station and successfully borded my first train. I then successfully disembarked said train at the correct train station. So far so good. Then right on time ‘my next train’ pulled up to the platform. I sleepily borded and took my seat. Headphones in, feeling pretty dozzy I settled in for the 2o minute journey.
30 minutes later I was a little confused as to why it was taking so long. Because it was dark I couldn’t really see and because of my music I could hear nothing. You don’t listen to The Stone Roses quietly. You drain all external noise out with that shit. And anyway I generally planned my route off the number of stops the train took before it reached my destiniaton. So I thought I best have a nosey at the name of the next station. Bolton! Suffice to say I wasn’t expecting that. It’s miles away from where I live. I quickly disembarked. Tried to find the next train home. There wasn’t one. Buses. Not for ages. So had to drag the wife and our 3 month old baby out the house on an epic journey to save me. Right then I knew I needed sleep. I went in work the next day and booked some annual leave. Not that a got much sleep but at least I didnt have to get up and go to work which gave me time to recover.
Colic lasted until Flo was 4 months old then like it never existed it just went away. She has never been a great sleeper since but nowhere near as bad as she was during those colic laden days.
Over the years I’ve spoken to many parents going through the same thing. When they’ve asked for advice I’ve often gone with ‘it doesn’t last forever’ and ‘you sort of get used to it’. Most importantly I’ve always tried to be honest in how we experienced it. Bloody hard work, brutal at times but it was also hilarious because sleep deprived laughter is one of the greatest experiences in life.