Part Three. Walking and Talking
Welcome to my third and final part of my mini guide to fatherhood, final only because I am still only at this stage myself, I believe after this it’s all plain sailing, right…right?
Now that your little one is up and about, its all a bit easier to manage right, wrong. Your toddler is now a walking-talking accident waiting to happen. You will, probably overnight, become Mr health and safety, seeing dangers in every minute of every day. Who knew plug sockets were more than just something that powered your toaster, who knew that glass table was anything more than a place to rest your cup of tea. Every day objects will become hazards that you probably wont see until your heart is jumping out of your chest as you dive in to save the day. Stairs, they used to be something that I used to go up or down a level, they now, more than anything else, haunt my every nightmare. I’m still pretty certain I wont be able to trust my boys on stairs until they are least of eighteen years old. Toddlers are unpredictable, one of my first realisations of this was when Ruben, my oldest, saw Thomas the Tank Engine on my 42” plasma screen and, well I guess decided he wanted to join him in there. He ran full speed into my beloved television, it was broken beyond repair only a week before the World Cup.
Up to now your baby has been pretty routine; sleep, cry, eat, cry, smile, cry, eat, sleep, blow raspberries, cry. It’s very easy to feel like your not involved too much, but now he or she is a toddler, it’s your time to shine Daddy. Why, because as men we will never really grow up, there will always be this big kid inside dying to get out, I swear I’m more into Ruben’s Brio train set than he is. Studies have actually shown that a toddler who spends a lot of time with their father will develop well in certain areas of their lives, including behaviour and social skills. I personally don’t agree with this to a certain degree, every child is different and who-ever the parent or guardian is, as long as they love and spend time with their child, they should grow up to be just fine. Time, quality time that is, is very important, already as a father you will become less and less selfish, but now is the time to really make sure your around as much as possible. There is no denying there is a bit of a gym fad among men at the present, it’s great that you would want to keep in shape and look your best, I will be the first to admit I could lose a couple of pounds. However, unfortunately I’ve seen and heard of so many broken families just because of a guys obsession with the gym. Now I can’t speak on behalf of every mother of course, but where she may have fallen for those ‘Guns’ to begin with, she may now actually find you being a great father a lot more sexier than someone who can now lift an extra few kg’s – after-all, post pregnancy a lot of mothers will become very self-conscious about their bodies, it might not help when you come in looking like a topless Brad Pitt.
Hey, You Look Like Me
Unless your a natural replacement for the Eastenders’ Mitchell brothers, there aren’t going to be that many similarities between you and your baby. You will however hear things like ‘She has your nose’ but a lot of the time you wont start seeing this until they become a little toddler. Certain expressions and key visual features will begin to appear that will sometimes frighten the life out of you. I’m often bemused when I see my little one pull the exact same ‘angry’ face that I do when I don’t get my way. Speaking of not getting your way, it smoothly brings me onto the tantrums. To say a toddler’s tantrums are not usually over anything important, is one big understatement. Although they can now walk and talk on their own, there will be plenty that will frustrate them, plenty that they wont understand. Why his parents don’t wish to see Despicable Me for the third time today, I guess its a mystery of life. I’ve found one of the best ways to combat tantrums is to quickly change their thoughts rather than to just say no. Their attention span is short, so if you can muster up another activity to focus their mind on, they will soon forget you just turned off the DVD player and chucked the film out of the window. We are human after all and there will be times you simply have to let them have their paddy, try not to vent anger at them and instead ignore; it’s the attention they are after.
Toddler’s minds are expanding all the time, they are taking in every surrounding, now is the time to look at what you are saying and doing and deciding what you want your little one to not pick up. I find I’m not a natural swearer anyway so I haven’t had the ‘hilarity’ of hearing him repeat a swear word, I would probably suggest to not react when they do, because if you do, you may find it quickly becomes part of their everyday vocabulary. I must say my toddler still speaks a language like no other, my wife is usually his interpretor. It’s not just words that little one will pick up, they will look to you, therefore showing affection and kindness towards your partner could play a major role in their later life.
In The End
There is nothing in the world that can take away the warmth in your heart when your toddler wants a big, long cuddle. It’s moments like these that you will hold onto for the rest of your life. You will plant the seeds for an unbreakable bond, a love like no other. Love your children and you can do no wrong.
– To finish up my mini guide to fatherhood, I put forward a question to my fellow Daddy Bloggers, the response was incredible, here are a few of the best.
Q: What is your one major piece of advice you would give to any first time father?
– Deep breaths! They are not logical creatures yet. As frustrated as you will get with a situation, take a deep breath and know that as they have no idea what they are doing.
– Do what YOU think is right based on information gathered, and ignore the naysayers.
– Despite what it may seem like, relish each and every moment. When you look back, the time you have with your kids will have passed like the blink of an eye.
– Always carry an extra diaper in your back pocket. And a plastic bag. And wipes. Trust me.
– Hugging, whispering, and forgiving is always better than spanking, yelling and punishing.
– Forgive yourself and your kids for the mistakes you and they are going to make. No one is a perfect dad and you are bound to mess up many times. You are both going to learn along the way, so don’t be so hard on yourself.
Happy parenting everyone!
Written by MojoDad Jim, author, husband and father of two
– Aspiring to Inspire
Follow Jim on Twitter @lstoftheauthors