Dear Daddy, a letter from your newborn son

Ben and Flynn

Well only one thing dominates this post- the birth of our first grandchild. New life. A positive pointer in the right direction.

To celebrate his arrival and the evolving parent, grandparent and great-grandparenthood in progress I thought I’d repost a blog I wrote a little while ago. You’ll soon see why it’s so relevant.

Welcome to the world little man. Can’t wait to get to know you.

Dear Daddy,

For the last nine months or so I’ve been growing inside my gorgeous Mummy’s tummy and you’ve both been chatting about me, wondering what or who I’ll look like and what changes I’m going to make to your lives. I’ve been thinking the same. Who will I have drawn in the parent lottery?

My guess is that you’ve found it harder to imagine what life might be like with me and that my physical arrival has brought this more clearly and somewhat bewilderingly into focus. The last few hours may not have been the most pleasant in your life.

So I am here and I am staying. I’m checking in for the long haul. Get used to it. You may need to move over in the popularity stakes. You will need to move over for sure.

As I said, whilst you’ve been wondering about me, I’ve been making a list of my requirements of you and I thought since we’ve just met that now is as good a time as any to clarify my expectations.

  1. I want you to be a full part of my life. I know that in these next few months, the ones where you and Mummy will wonder if sleep is a distant dream and whether you were really ready to take on the responsibility of a little thing like me who manages to totally dictate your days and nights, you might hand over most of my practical care to the curvier milk producing one. That might leave you with the not such interesting jobs and chores such as preparing meals and puzzling over wash cycles. That’s great, those things need to be done but, I need to feel you next to me, I need to be held and cuddled by you and I need you to gaze at my tiny fingers and toes in awe just as much as everyone else, in fact more. This is how we will get to know each other and those introductory moments are going to stay in my memory bank forever. By the way, the washing and hoovering thing? Don’t wait to be asked, just do it. Mind reading is not in anyone’s new normal.

  1. I know that pregnancy and birth stories are endlessly fascinating and typically a topic of female conversations, but I want you to butt in occasionally and share your thoughts and experiences. You went through it too, so add your voice to this. It might help settle some of the queries you have or help you understand why you sometimes feel overwhelmed or changed.

  1. I’ve mentioned sleep already and it’s going to become a central topic of conversation and fantasy over the next few years so I may as well add in a few insightful comments of my own. Know this- it’s not helpful, clever or appropriate to joke about you sleeping through all the noise and demands that I am going to be making on a regular basis and waking up in the morning not knowing what’s gone on. That’s a sure fire way to crumble someone’s sleep deprived sense of rationale and you will be accused of not being supportive. However tired you are you need to know that virtually everyone else in the house is more tired than you. Do not risk injury by gloating. I expect to see you at night, when it’s dark but I’m awake. It’s going to take me a while to sort out this nightime sleeping thing and just when you think I’ve got it, I’ll throw in a few variances. You have been advised.

  1. Tell me you love me, often. At home and when we’re out. Never be embarrassed to be proud of me, even if I become embarrassed about you and your choice of clothes or incompetency with modern technology in the future.

  1. Tell Mummy you love her often. I know that I am responsible for making her feel that her body is currently leaky, saggy and possibly stretched from my extended occupancy there. She did a great job and sometimes she forgets that, so remind her of that often and tell her just how wonderful and pretty we both think she is. If it’s hard to say the words, a cuddle can share the same sentiment.

  1. When you and I are spending time together on our own, particularly if Mummy’s out, don’t call it babysitting. I live with you, permanently. You’re not doing anyone a favour by looking after me. I’m yours 24/7. Get over it.

  1. I know I’m small and look helpless and vulnerable (and don’t imagine I don’t know that and sometimes use it to get my own way) but don’t approach becoming a Dad by wearing a regulation high viz jacket all the time that stops me doing anything that might possibly cause me harm. I know that in the first few years we’re all going to get things wrong; you’ll underestimate how fast I can crawl and get to the dogs food quicker than you’d ever imagined. But I do need to take a few tumbles to work out how not to tumble. So when I do that forgive yourself and don’t construct a completely tumble free environment for me because I’ll grow up scared of doing anything for myself and really whilst you can’t envisage it today whilst you’re loved up at the sight of me, there will come a time in the future when you’ll want to live with just Mummy again. Believe me.

  1. Talk to other Dad’s about being a Dad. It’s ok. They may be surprised to start off with, but get you being a trend setter! Just because your Dad did things in a certain way, rest assured you can be the type of Dad you want to be, you really can. Be aware that I may not acknowledge how great you are in the ways you want me to. Don’t always decide ‘Mum knows best’ but tread carefully. I want to hear your involved voice.

  1. Say goodbye to Mummy, well the Mummy you used to know, for a time. I know that for the past nine months you’ve been all lovely dovey, planning, experiencing mega togetherness and so on. There have been times when I’ve felt quite nauseous whilst this has been happening and the only thing that has kept it at bay for me was the thought that soon I would be contesting this popularity contest successfully. Whilst I’ve recommended that you become a trend setter, know that I am a shift changer. Your relationship needs to flex a little to let little old me squeeze in. Don’t see me as competition, see me as a companion but one with more urgent needs than yours (!) and remember I’m not yet able to help myself to what I need so I initially need to scream to inform you. Sorry about that. The more you’re involved with me, the faster I’ll stop screaming when you hold me and that will win you points to get back in the running.

  1. I’m cute and I know it. Mother nature really is the worlds most talented designer. My big eyes, soft fluffy hair, the way I grip your finger, even my facial expressions when I’m occasionally sleeping will make you melt. And you’re meant to, that’s how this parenting thing works. You’re going to be tempted to photograph me endlessly and share those images on that plastic oblong thing I see you staring at pretty regularly for long periods of time. When your best friend lost their plastic oblong recently and declared their ‘whole life was on that thing’ it seemed to me a strange statement to make. Life is here, right now in front of you. Please don’t make that plastic oblong as precious as a family member. I don’t need that type of competition because I need you to show me how to be so that I can grow up just like you.

I already know I love you,

Your newborn, Flynn.

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