It starts with a quiet, insistent licking of lips. I can hear her at the end of the bed. Her head rubbing against the sheets and she moves from side to side, quicker and quicker and then, the first “uh!”. I open my eyes and see a big red 2 at the front of the alarm clock display. “uh….uh….” I can hear her getting agitated now. “uh…UH…waaAAA!”
It’s wrong but I’m annoyed that I am awake. I’ve already done the maths to the minute, calculating how much sleep I have left before I wake up in the morning. I lay there in my frustration as my wife rolls out of bed, puts on her dressing gown and takes our month old baby into the dimly lit lounge room to feed. I roll over, wrap the warm blanket around me and drift back to sleep.
I don’t wake 30 minutes later when my wife comes back in, lays her down to sleep, wrapped up like a tic tac with a face, putting up a bit of fight before drifting off. I don’t stir as my wife climbs back into bed with one of her ears open for signs of an infant still awake or distressed. I do wake at 6, go out to the lounge room after my hot, long shower and check the diary my wife keeps of feeds;
2:45am: Left breast 15 minutes, right breast 10 minutes
And at that moment, like every other morning since I returned to work I remember my top , number one reason I’m glad I’m not a Mum – breast feeding at ridiculous-O’clock!
A very close second is the actual act of breast feeding. Sure it’s all magical at the start and yes there’s those misty-lensed moments from TV commercials when the mother looks into her daughters eyes as the infant drifts into milk-drunken euphoria… but then the kid goes completely mental, thrashing their head from side to side because the milks not coming quick enough, or too fast or its the wrong flavour etc etc etc.
And its all the time!!! 6, 8 even 10 times per day life stops as you sit and wait for your offspring to feed. Pinned to the lounge as you watch your older, wiser, cleverer, more devious daughter take advantage of the fact you can’t stop her going into the cupboard to pull snacks out, or jump up on the dining table and start tearing up the bank statements you still need to file or going into the babies room and pushing down the tops of the lotion dispensers…
My third reason is the whinging. I’m pretty good at screaming, crying, wailing and howling. The first nine months of my first daughters life conditioned me well but a grizzling new born and a whining 2 3/4 year old is the proverbial “nails down a blackboard”. As a weekend-weeknight dad I leave a peaceful house early in the morning and come home to one girl in the bath and another asleep but I’m all too aware of the chorus of complaints I didn’t have to manage for the entire day.
My fourth reason involves getting stuff done, or not, in a stay-at-home-mum’s case. I’m well known to have an inability to stay still for more then 10 minutes at a time. Every Saturday morning it’s the same “what are we doing today?”, “where are we going”, “can we leave yet”, “lets do a project (but not necessarily finish it)”. My wife on the other hand wakes each morning in the full knowledge that today all she will accomplish is 6 – 8 breastfeeds, managing two whinging kids and maybe, if she’s lucky a load of washing.
My fifth and final reason I am glad to be a Dad, is weeing. Alone. By myself. In a toilet with a closed door. On weekends I have been known to hold on until I can get to shopping centre or to a friends house so I don’t have to stand there, one hand controlling the aim, the other pushing my inquisitive 2-and-three-quarter-year-old’s hand away as she asks “why are you standing up daddy?” “What’s that?”, “What are you holding?”, “Why are your wees yellow?”
So Dad’s what are your top reasons? And Mum’s, what do you think your Dad’s top reasons are?
ps: Thanks to Mrs Illiterate Infant who’s not only been doing the seriously hard yards for the last month but also inspired this post.
Sharing with Jess over at EssentiallyJess.com for I Blog on Tuesday