New dad: The highlights

My last post detailed the birth of our daughter, Amber, but what happened next? Here are the extended highlights…



Amber-Words-SmallMomentous occasion performed by me: Cutting her cord. I’m now available to open supermarkets.

First pang of jealousy: Seeing Amber having mummy time on her chest for what seems a lifetime before I got to hold her.

First ever nappy: Midwife: “You’ve got the nappy on upside down.” NewDadScore = -1.

Most weird and interesting thing I’ve ever seen: A full tour and explanation of the placenta given to me by the midwife. I declined to take home any souvenirs, though.

Most inappropriate simile never vocalised: Midwife performing essential post-birth maintenance on my wife like a mechanic repairing an engine.

Moment most felt like we were totally incapable of looking after a baby: First night, 12am, exhausted and when we just couldn’t work out how to stop Amber crying. Emergency call to Shell’s parents saved the day and our sanity.

Moment I felt I was best dad ever: Getting Amber off to sleep in my arms after a massive crying fit. I’m the man, I’m the man, I’m the man…

First true bonding moment: Amber in her Moses basket staring up at me, looking straight into my eyes for ages. Yeah, you ma girl.

Worst nappy change: The first few black tar ones that make you question the logic of input v output.

First hat-trick: Soiled nappy. 1-0. Change. Immediate reply in new nappy. 2-0. Clean up. Wee everywhere. 3-0. Well played, lady, well played.

First Father’s Day. Finally I get to receive a card and present!

Biggest screaming fit: The first bath. I expected Scotland Yard to break down the door at any moment to arrest the suspected infant torturers.

First time I thought we’d taken home a baby piranha instead of a baby human: A starving Amber gumming my shoulder like crazy. Maybe I really should have named her after a Liverpool player.


Things I’ve learned since becoming a dad

Amber-Andy-Close-SmallI can make up random repetitive tunes at will to soothe her to sleep.

I know the words of very few songs, but can do a good mashup of “The Wheels on the Bus” and “Old MacDonald Had a Farm”

Cats can be very jealous. No more cooing on the bus for two unfortunate pigeons in our garden.

I can invent new rhyming words, such as “Pjamba”.

I can both celebrate wildly and swear profusely completely in silence whilst watching an England game with a sleeping baby.

There are times when you’d rather die from dehydration than disturb a sleeping baby in your arms by trying to get your glass that is inches out of your reach.

Anyone who has ever done this as a single parent deserves to be fast-tracked for an MBE.

Anyone who has ever done this for twins or more could probably do a good job in running the country.

If – as I’ve been frequently told – I myself screamed the house down for 6 months solid when I was born, then I now realise that I can never apologise enough to my parents even if I live for two hundred years.

Our parents are awesome.

People love giving cute baby girl outfits. Thanks to you all!

It’s not only Liverpool that can give me sleepless nights and reduce me to a sobbing mess.

Compared to the slicing ability of a baby’s fingernails when it is being cuddled past its feed time, Wolverine has nothing.

Playing “Express Yourself” and “Theme from S-Express” on your iPhone’s loudspeaker when Shell is performing a certain maternal activity for the first time is not welcome.


I wonder how we’ll look back on these first few weeks as Amber gets older. Will our tears, fears and desperation be forgotten as we move onto the next stages of her life? Well at least I’ve documented them here as a reminder. I’m sure there will be tougher times ahead (and I suspect some parents reading this are nodding vigorously thinking about teething/terrible twos/teenage strops/hormonal rages that may lie ahead) so for now I’ll just enjoy my time with a brand new daughter, as I know this time as a first-time dad will never be experienced by me again.


Which is just as well – I’m exhausted…


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