147 days of being a Dad

June 17, 2015, Article by Beau Merchant in Culture

This Sunday is Father’s Day. It also marks exactly 5 calender months since I became a Dad for the first time to Albie.

Labour was terrifying, surreal and dreamlike (for my wife, too), but also utterly joyous because we were parents to what was the sweetest and most beautiful thing I had ever seen – even though he looked like a cross between a wrinkled old man and a mole.

Eventually we were discharged and we were at home, alone, with this tiny little human who was relying on us for all his needs. Yikes.

During pregnancy, everyone was very quick to point out in a smug way how it’ll all be awful, with endless warnings about “sleepless nights” and “nappy duties”, but they’re wrong. Those first few weeks were a joy. Every exploding nappy was a chance to perfect my changing technique and speed (I’m now like a well-oiled F1 pit crew in getting his bum clean and a new nappy put on), each burping session was an edge-of-your-seat game of “will he/won’t he vomit?”, and every feed in the middle of the night meant I could catch up on everything Netflix has ever released. I also saw my wife turn into Supermum overnight. When I panicked and flapped like a deranged duck over the smallest thing, she was the one who kept things sane.

I’ve also noticed the changes in me as a man. Whereas before I spent my money on music, DVDs and got pumped about the latest Nike trainers, I now find myself giddy with excitement at the latest bit of baby kit in Mothercare. It felt like Christmas when I came home from work last week and my wife had bought a Jump-a-roo. What have I become?

Albie’s grown in to a real happy little chap, laughing all the time, singing to himself (I think it’s singing), and he’s been Instagrammed more than a hipster’s lunch.

I can’t wait for his first steps, his first words, to take him to his first Arsenal match, read great books to him, and to sit down and watch all the films I loved as a kid with him. The only downside… I can’t look at chip shop curry in the same way.

So Happy Father’s Day to all Dads out there. I’m psyched to have joined the club.