Unlike many dads, I was fortunate to be around when my son uttered his first words. ‘Being there’ is one of the undisputed joys of living as a stay-at-home-father. That said, as this diary entry shows, having one of something can be amazing, having a million of them can be a bit of a problem.
It all goes to show that you should be careful what you wish for. You never know, you might actually get it!
I don’t want to sound ungrateful, but… well, I’m going to, anyway.
For months, my other half and I had speculated about what it would be like when our little one started to talk.
What will he say? What will he sound like? Will we have wonderful conversations?
And then, inevitably, the first words came and the celebrations began. The family was informed (anyone on the planet with whom I might possibly share a little DNA). I hired a marching band. We contacted the national press (but they didn’t seem as excited as I did). In short, it was a big day. As a sidenote, my son’s first words are disputed. I think he said ‘Daddy’ first. My partner thinks he said ‘Flower’. Whatever the truth, the boy had language and wasn’t going to give up on it any time soon.
And now, today, those first words seem like eons ago.
Our little boy took language and ran with it. Frankly, his mum and I can’t keep up. At 2 almost 3 he’s sucking the oxygen from the room at such a pace that I’m worried he might accidentally inhale the curtains. Seriously, the boy does not shut up.
What I wouldn’t give for a moment of silence.
I don’t know who it was that invented the word ‘Why?’, but I’m not a fan of their work. Currently I must be hearing it around a thousand times a day. Really. I’m not exaggerating.
“Eat your dinner.
“Because it’ll help you grow.”
“Because it’s full of good stuff.”
It’s now got to the point where there’s no space left between the boy’s utterances for me to answer his questions. Like some Grand Slam tennis player, he serves volley after volley leaving no chance of my returning the ball.
“I don’t know my that lady’s shoes are red.”
“I’m not sure why tins of beans don’t have legs.”
“I can’t tell you why Daddy drinks so much coffee.”
The truth is, I do drink a lot of coffee. The contestants on Mastermind would drink it by the bucketload if, rather than a 2-minute stint of questions, they had to answer John Humphrys for 16 hours straight.
Don’t get me wrong. There’s something wonderful about watching a person discovering the world around them. The little fella sees wonder everywhere. My occasional frustration at his barrage of queries reflects badly on my attitudes rather than his.
Being around a child who’s just discovering the world makes me think about my own mum. Back then it was Mum doing the job that I currently am attempting – Dad would have been out at work getting a ‘rest’ from the interrogation (only joking Dad). Mum had 3 children and what I’ve always felt was the patience of a saint. The funny thing is I now understand why, when I asked a question for the 100th time Mum would say: “Because I said so”.
There’s a lot of comfort to be found in knowing there’s nothing new under the sun, that people in the past struggled with the exact same issues as we do today.
I do need to be wary though.
Mum’s conversation closer did, on occasion, slip into my school life. I remember a teacher once asking me why 4 plus 4 made 8. A question to which I answered: “Because my Mum said so.”
There was nothing my teacher could say. Mum was, of course, correct.”
Chris McGuire, Outofdepthdad.com