Last night my first Illiterate Infant and I started a new book. There I was, snuggled under the butterfly quilt reading about the structural implications of a poor choice in housing materials, seamlessly switching between my impression of a big bad wolf and a squealing rendition of “who’s afraid of the big bad wolf”.
For many people, this may not seem a like a big deal but I need to point out that I’ve come a long way. I can still remember the deep discomfort I felt when my wife told me we had to sing our little girl to sleep. I remember trying to lip sync along to twinkle twinkle until I received a stern dose of WTF, followed up with a glare that said “just sing!”. There I was in a darkened room cuddling our then 6 month old mumbling my way through the nightly mega-mix of Twinkle Twinkle, Baa Baa then Rock-a-bye baby to finish.
Up to that point my singing in public would have been alcohol assisted, surrounded by mates in a similar condition and probably involve lyrics about a guy called John who was a dock worker and his girlfriend Gina (first to name the song in the comments get mine and others complete admiration). I’ve vaporised from work functions at the merest hint of Karaoke, and “Milli Vanillied” my way through countless happy birthdays, funeral hymns and Christmas Carols.
For some reason, singing in public made me really uncomfortable. As did dancing, skipping, laughing loudly and anything else that drew unnecessary attention to myself.
Maybe it was the look of death from my significant other, maybe it was the trade-off I did in my head that if it made her sleep I’d try anything but that night I learnt something about being a Dad.
You see new Dads… it’s easy to step back and let your partner be the primary carer, hugger, kisser, repairer, band aid applier, tucker-inner and story-teller. If you work full-time and you’re the primary (or sole bread winner) you’ve got a pretty good reason to step back but if you do, you’ll be missing out on all the best bits about having kids.
My advice to you, new Dads is;
- If your child wakes at night – cuddle it to sleep
- Go grocery shopping with your kids without mum. It’s bonkers but you’ll have a ball and get some great stories.
- Read to your kids and use as many voices as you can.
- Take your child on adventures, just the two of you. Make some stories
- Watch their favourite television programs with them
- Sing to them – lots
In other words – get involved. No matter what hang ups you have or how silly something is or how busy you might be, at every opportunity… get. in. volved. Build your own relationships, create your own stories, give it some enthusiasm. Get. in. volved.
And don’t just focus on the fun stuff;
- Change nappies
- Give bottles
- give baths
- nurse through temperatures, colic, reflux, teething and mystery illnesses
- Cook, wash up, bake, clean
Let your child see you, a Dad being involved in everything. And while you’re at it; play silly games in public, see the world from 80cm above the ground, play horsies in shopping centres and put on that ballet tu-tu she hands you.
And when you’re tucking your nearly three year old in and she leans over she starts to sing twinkle twinkle in whispers… sing back.
Dad’s what would you advise? And Mum’s what do you think?
Sharing my Friday with Grace over at withsomegrace.com, because she’s lovely.
Like what your reading? Can’t risk missing another post? Why not keep up on all thing Illiterate via the facebook page, twitter or bloglovin?
Bon Jovi, Livin’ on a Prayer – I only know coz I’m a dill and for years thought it was my name and not Gina. I know, I’m an idiot.
Btw – i’ve started outsourcing the singing to the ipad – much easier on everyone’s ears!
We sing a lot of Incy Wincy Spider & Twinkle Twinkle in this house. Daddy & son do a great metal version of Twinkle Twinkle! 🙂 Found you via FYBF! Great site!
So true, get involved Dads, we both mumble along to the Thomas the Tank Engine soundtrack neither of us really knowing the correct words. Could we have a follow up post on how to successfully wear a tutu Kev?
Funny you should mention that 😉
Hold on – it’s coming very soon
I love hearing my hubby sing to the girls. Makes me smile every time.
Also – karaoke for the next bloggers drinks!
steady on there Ms B. Baby steps!!
Very funny! I too struggled with the singing, now I pretend I’m a member of Hi-5 or The Wiggles and give it all I’ve got. Sometimes the kids look at me crazy and tell me to get back to cooking dinner 🙂 most of the time they love it!
One of the really special times in our house is when my husband comes home and he and the kids start playing “tackled” or “dinosaur cave”, or whatever the latest made-up game is. The kids love it, my husband loves it, and I love finishing dinner to the sound of laughter rather than whinging 🙂
Absolutely with you 100%. Punky is so lucky that she has a Dad who does all of that and more… and absolutely loves every minute of it! In fact he even goes out if his way to be more involved which leaves me often feeling like the slacker parent! He puts me to shame!
Great post Kev!
Spot on! Really good hints/tips on being there and being apart of Children’s lives. My hubby has always taken on raising our sons together, and has changed many nappies over the years.
Its always good to see other Dad’s stepping up and playing an important role model to their son/daughters. That way they will grow up and do the same to their children.
And life goes by far too fast – reading to them is my favorite part of the day!
Aww shucks that is great – my hubby is a great singer, smoother and rocker to our babies, you sound like a super great dad! Especially since you help in kitchen also – A KEEPER! Em
I love listening to hubby read books to the little ones. He too, has come along way since starting to read to Miss now 12. He puts on the best voices and noone wants me at bed time anymore. He makes me dispensible
“He makes me dispensable” that’s a big wrap for a dad!
My wife used to sing to me before we even had kids – made up improvised hilarity. Our first didn’t really enjoy them, and has only started to enjoy my singing (or anyone’s, really).
Our second is three months old and LOVES to hear us sing. Personally, I recommend singing whether they like it or not, but if they tell you to stop, just stop:)