My wife gave birth two and a half months ago to our first child and his ten week anniversary had me thinking about ten things that I do now that I never thought I would do even when I became a father.
1. KISSING ON THE MOUTH
Growing up, kissing on the mouth was something that you rarely saw in public. When I moved to South Africa, I found it somewhat strange that when two couples would meet, a man would plant his lips on his pal's wife to say hello. Thirty year old men receive quick lipstick kisses from their grandmothers in local culture. So kissing my son on my mouth was something I would previously have dismissed as incestuously gay and yet he is so adorable the occasional smack on the mouth just happens naturally.
2. SUCKING MUCOUS
I always admired mothers for taking their saliva and cleaning kids mouths, on the odd occasion licking something off. I never thought I would ever be caught doing that let alone sucking mucous from the baby's nose to enable him to breath easily. And yet here I am.
3. CATCHING SALIVA AND PEE
It is an unforgettable father-son bonding moment when I am holding my lad half-standing on my chest, looking down at me. Drooling is his speciality and as I observe him with glee, I am frequently surprised by a splash of spit heading straight into my mouth. And my shocked reaction amuses him making it even harder to put him down. Then while changing him, a stream of straight-shooting pee will be launched unannounced and you will have to cusp your hands at it and reach for a cloth before it spreads everywhere.
4. COMMENDING "UNCOUTH" BEHAVIOUR
When my little man belches like a drunk in a bar or farts like a toddler in a jumping castle, we are quick to give him a pat on the back. A good belch especially after breast-feeding gets rid of uncomfortable air and a nice loud fart, especially one that equates to the expulsion of liquid-solid-gas, is a confirmation of a working digestive system.
5. DOMINATING CONVERSATIONS
To be frank, I always found it boring and predictable the way parents would want to make conversations with fellow adults about their kids. Now I find myself launching into a lengthy monologue whenever someone asks me about my little boy.
They always say that it is not polite to stare. I literally have to pull myself away when I catch myself standing over the little boys crib watching him sleeping and thanking my maker. Then when he is awake, I hold the chap up and we enter into this staring match which he inevitably wins when I surrender a massive smile.
7. SHARING PICTURES
My wife has always been the one to bring out family albums when we have visitors. Now I find myself reminding her to do so and often am the one bringing out our baby shoot DVD and joining in with all the ooh and aahs when an adorable photo of my little one light up the screen.
8. SPOILING THE CHILD
I have always had the view of spare the rod, spoil the child. While neither parent is smacking this tiny bundle of joy, some things indicate that his father may be reluctant to set him off on the hard but right path. I had to debate the notion that he needs to sleep in his own bed and off ours.
9. SACRIFICING SLEEP
The rule in my house is that I should never be woken up on a weekend morning unless there is a fire in the house...and the fire is spreading.... and it is spreading towards where I am sleeping. That all changed when the lad was born. He is happiest in the mornings and I find myself chasing his giggle at 5.30 am on an easy Sunday morning.
10. LOVING MY WIFE MORE
I have obsessed about the woman I married since the day I met her. I used to daydream and write her name on numerous pages in my campus classes. In spite of several rejections, I kept chasing and I have always thought I could never love her more. But going through the process of planning and trying for a baby, the news we were expecting, the nausea, the cravings...and the great mother she is proving to be - this family, just like this article, starts and ends with her.
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