There’s a joke that parents of toddlers the world over are in-on. It’s the one where none of them tell their friends that haven’t had kids yet about the 2 years of sleep deprivation, 12 different types of vomit and the disappearance of their spontaneous, hip and up-past-10pm lifestyles. There’s also the first poo, all the other poos, the first time being woken up at 5:30am after drinking until 2am and the realisation that parts of your partner (if you’re on my side of the gender divide) are now primarily for the enjoyment of someone else.
For a many of us, it’s not until your child makes it to about 2 that you understand the joke. It’s at this point you understand what your friends with kids, your parents, grand parents etc went through to. So it is with great surprise (I’m sure that’s not quite the word my wife is thinking of at the moment) that the Illiterate Infant household is about to embark on the journey that is having a new born… again. That’s right, we’re officially 6 months away from another 24 months of upheaval as we do our best to discern hungry from tired cries, fit lives around sleeps (theirs and ours) and try and predict where the next bit of vomit will land on the couch.
The biggest surprise however is that we are both elated. A surprise because even with us now being “in” on the joke and one of us being overcome by nausea 24 hours a day we’re both walking around with the expectant parent glow. So how did we get here? How did we get to the point when we decided “what the hell, let’s do it again”?.
There’s a lot of research about hormones like Oxytocin that are thought to contribute to women “forgetting” the pain of labour but, even if that’s the case, what helps them forget trudging down the hall to a crying baby at 2, 3, 4 and 5am night after night? There’s also a lot of research about parents and their children bonding at a level similar to when a couple first fall in love (more Oxytocin), but does this explain overlooking the 12 month mark when your young child can stand well enough to hang off the open DVD player, throw their pasta and tomato sauce all over the carpet and have their third learned word being NO?
No, there has to be something else and I think, for every parent it’s a little bit different. For me it was one Sunday afternoon when the three of us spent the afternoon at the park. My daughter was giggling away as she ran around, my wife was happy and I couldn’t help but feel that all of a sudden a space had opened up. That the three of us, as good a team as we had become were missing another piece, another face at the dinner table, another giggle when we rumbled, another squeal of delight when we ran around the park.
My wife came to the same perspective in her own way, at a similar time and before long, there it was. Two pink lines, two very surprised faces and now 7 weeks (so far) of one of us feeling rubbish. So, when did you decide? Did you decide? Were you excited or too busy with your others?
Another illiterate infant is on the way. Stay tuned for updates from a Dad’s perspective…
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