Eat a mountain of pumpkins – DadMan’s top 10 tips for expectant parents
Seriously, go to the supermarket, get all the pumpkins (yes, “all the pumpkins”) and eat as many as humanly possible. Why? We’ll get to that.
So, you’re expecting a baby huh? No doubt you’ll be a mixture of emotions – dread, excitement, impatient, hungry (that goes for both the expecting mum who will no doubt be eating more, and the poor dad who will be suffering with smaller portion sizes).
Well, preparation is the key. So without further ado, here are DadMan’s top ten tips that will hopefully prepare you for when your baby arrives.
1. Perfect the art of fetching cold flannels
Seriously. When your partner goes into labour, it will seem like she’s been possessed. Your performance will be judged on your ability to fetch cold flannels. Note, they need to be exactly the right temperature and moisture consistency. Anything less than optimal and you’re done for and cussing shall ensue. So practice, practice, practice. Well, either that or take noise-cancelling headphones to the birth.
2. Go to antenatal classes
If you’re anything like me (i.e. a man), you’ll have avoided watching the TV shows One born every minute or Call the midwife in favour of watching cricket, rugby, hell even badminton. You will, therefore, have the sum total of zero knowledge about childbirth and what you are supposed to do with a little human once they are living in your house. In my opinion antenatal classes are the way to go. Gents, just to clarify antenatal means “before birth; during or relating to pregnancy”, it isn’t the South African province where the Sharks rugby team are from.
You’ll get to meet people in the same boat as you, get hands on advice and feel comfortable asking ridiculous questions like “do babies sleep with a pillow?”. What kind of idiot would ask that? To be fair to myself, I didn’t know that before having kids. It seems ludicrous now. The answer is “no” in case you don’t want to make the same mistake.
If you’re on the fence about antenatal classes, just know that typically the guys all get to go the pub on the last night.
3. Don’t discuss potential names with anyone
Well, apart from your partner of course. It’d be weird if you just did that on the day. And, as the father, your bargaining power would be reduced to zero on the baby’s arrival date as your partner will have just gone through that whole “childbirth thing”. Anyway, the point here is that you should decide with your partner and not talk about it with anyone else. Especially other expecting parents. Because what happens when you tell them that you like the name Chardonnay and then all of a sudden they have their baby first and call them Chardonnay? I’ll tell you what happens. Carnage. Pregnant women are quite hormonal, ain’t no need to fuel that fire.
I bet you want to call your kid Chardonnay now, don’t you? It’s ok, I’ll let you have it just this once.
4. Start DIYing now. You’re gonna nest like a motherf…er
It may seem weird, but even if you are an incompetent chimp with minimal do-it-yourself home reno skills (this may or may not be a self-deprecating statement), you’ll still have an urge to nest. One day you’ll simply walk into Bunnings and purchase half the store. As the male you’ll want your house to be in perfect condition for your new addition. I didn’t realise just how bad I had it until I found myself vigorously cleaning the top of the fridge. Who actually does that? And what kind of gigantic super baby is going to be able to see above the fridge. They can’t even see past two feet when they are born.
Anyway, my advice is start early because it’s worse when you’re on a tight deadline. Oh, and don’t even get me started on when you have a second child. Your window of opportunity for DIY shrinks massively down to when everyone is napping or sleeping. And God help you if you wake anyone up, so best get all your structural stuff done asap so you can focus on painting.
5. Wait for the sales
So, now that you’ve got pregnant you’ll be needing some new stuff for babies. I’m presuming you don’t have that stuff already, because it’d be a bit odd and creepy. Your urge will be to spend all of your fortune on your child, unfortunately you will have already spent a bulk of it in Bunnings as noted above. You will therefore want to look for sales on baby stuff. My best advice is to wait for the Boxing Day sales or look out for the Farmers nursery and kids sales which they do quite regularly. Actually, my best advice is to whinge to your parents about how expensive kids strollers/cots/car seats are these days and see if they take the hint to dust the wallet off.
p.s. Thanks Mum and Dad
6. Take notes
Even though some days will seem like they last for an eternity when you can’t get your baby to sleep, or there’s an excess of tears (some of them may even be your baby’s), the months will fly. However, because you’re a sleep-deprived-drooling-zombie-mess-thing you’ll wake up one day and think what the hell happened over the past six months. Therefore, when you get the micro pauses keep notes on all the weird and wonderful things that your kids get up to. If not for you, do it for me so you can comment on these blog posts with all the weird crap that’ll make people laugh.
7. Get out of the house while you still can
No, it’s not that bad. You’ll be able to get out of the house once bubba comes. Just not together. Not until your kids can babysit themselves. So if you have a desire to go to the movies together, go for walks after the kids are asleep or have a romantic restaurant meal then ring and book it now.
8. Go to one of Nathan Wallis’s talks
Sure, some of the things on this list are a bit tongue and cheek, but this one you should pay attention to. I highly recommend going to see Nathan Wallis (or a similar neuroscience educator on the development of the brain). Nathan is an engaging speaker who enables dunces like myself to understand how the brain works and how crucial the first 1000 days of a baby’s life are. It’s amazing how our interactions with children can play such a critical role in defining later outcomes for our children.
One of your biggest challenges as a new parent will be to decide upon which parenting advice you pay attention to. You will get so many different conflicting views. Each child is so different so it’s impossible to write one guide that covers everything. I like Nathan’s talks because they aren’t preaching what to do, but educating you on how the brain develops and condenses over 25 years of research and learning into a couple of hours.
9. Live in the moment
Blink and you’ll miss it. If you meet parents with teenage kids or older, they’ll tell you that one second their kids were crawling around in nappies and then the next second they had teenagers. A wise man once said “it’s all about the journey not the destination”. I can’t take all the credit though, I’m pretty sure I may have heard it somewhere else before. What I mean by that is try and be present and soak it all in. Sure there will be some pretty testing times, but it’s key to try and enjoy the experience of it all. I have a few regrets that you can learn from. You really don’t have a newborn baby for long at all, so appreciate the sh!t out of it. I think I was too focused on work and DIY when Jasmine, our second child, arrived that I didn’t spend time to marvel at how amazing a newborn is.
10. Eat pumpkins
Okay, and now for the pumpkin thing… Admittedly I’ve left you in suspense, so you are in all likelihood desperate to know why you should eat a great many amount of pumpkins. Okay, I’ll tell you, but it ain’t pretty. One of the downsides of parenting is changing nappies and dealing with your kid’s number twos. In order to prepare you for this, your midwife and antenatal teachers alike will provide you with rather vivid explanations, and in some instances diagrams, of what to expect. Unfortunately, in order to do this they need to compare it to something that you already know. Spoiler alert, in most cases this turns out to be food. So, before you are subjected to these food associations I suggest you stock up on pumpkins. I apologise in advance but I have to at least give you my favourite example below. Say goodbye, simultaneously, to a dairy product and condiment from your shopping list for the rest of time. #sorrynotsorry
“BREASTFED POO CAN LOOK LIKE MUSTARD-COLOURED COTTAGE CHEESE”