Full Time Father
over three years ago myself and the missus took delivery of our first
bundle of joy - Joseph Daniel Smith. I know it's a cliche but it really
was the best thing I've ever seen. Unfortunately due to some complications
with the birth he was a bit yellow when he came out. Not Bart Simpson
yellow, just a bit 'Sunny Delight', and as a result he spent a few days
under what can only be described as an infant sunbed. And so began the
rollercoaster ride that I've now come to understand as parenthood.
At the time of his birth I was working for an IT company,
being paid fuck all for doing, well...fuck all. They were so badly run it
was no surprise when they went bust a few months later. Fortunately, by
this time I'd taken the bold step into a new career - a full time Dad,
professional parent, house-husband. It made financial sense, not only from
a security point of view but also because the missus was offered a job
which paid a fair bit more than me. With all those nappies and stuff to
buy we made the sensible decision.
Three years on I've created what can only be described as a
miniature version of myself. Where other kids sing about Humpty Dumpty
falling off a wall (the clumsy get), my little lad has just perfected a
little ditty to the tune of "tequila" - an homage to Stockport
County's promising centre forward Adam Le Fondre. This is roughly the 18th
song he knows. He's also very good at singing the theme tunes to Balamory,
Come Outside and various other annoyingly fun songs from the CBeebies
stable. All in all, it's great fun. I hadn't known job satisfaction until
I saw my son kick a size five football really fucking hard, then pull his
shirt over his head and run off celebrating.
Don't get me wrong though. It's not all a big party. The
first eighteen months was made difficult by the other half being made
redundant from that well paid job she'd taken, only to be made redundant
twice more in the next year. There's bad luck and there's bad luck.
Thankfully that instability is over now but for a few months we were
living off beans on toast and even worse, I couldn't buy any new trainers.
For a man with over 30 pairs of adidas, you'll understand this was pretty
much unbearable. The shitty nappies and the sleepless nights I could deal
with, but there were times I'd habitually check eBay, wistfully passing up
bargains as I went.
We've gradually settled into a routine now. Its great not
having to drag myself out of bed during GMTV but I do make the effort to
have us both washed and dressed in time to see Jeremy Kyle shout at thick
people. The television generally provides the soundtrack to the day. We
start off with Jeremy, followed by a bit of This Morning. I even sometimes
watch Loose Women and find myself nodding as they discuss
relationships/handbags. In the afternoons I usually make the effort to do
something a little more strenuous than watching telly and telling Joe how
great his latest lego creation is (Him:"Look Dad!"...Me:"What
is it? A house?"...Him(confused): "No! It's a pussy cat!".)
If the weather is ok I can somtimes be found at the local
park of an afternoon, doing an unintentional impression of that
competitive Dad character in the Fast Show ("No Joseph, kick with the
side of your foot..WILL YOU NEVER LEARN!!"). There's a mini football
pitch there and if we get there before the kids come out of school we get
the whole thing to ourselves. This usually means I can do a bit of showing
off in front of the Crown Green bowlers, congratulating myself inwardly as
I brilliant curl the ball past the non-existant Peter Shilton. I bet they
think I'm a right berk. While I perfect my ball juggling, Joe plays in the
puddles. In fact, no he jumps in the puddles, making a right mess of his
trainers but loving every bloody minute. Inbetween getting himself dirty
he does a repeatedly follows his Dad's example by kicking a ball into an
empty net and getting dead excited about it. Unlike me though, he tends to
punch the air and run in circles.
Anyone who has visited the footballing mecca that is
might be familiar with the local shopping street (
), which is full of what I like to call 'Old mens pubs' as well as fast
food outlets and pound shops. This is where I can sometimes be found,
buying a white-hot pastie from Greggs, tutting at the scally mums. There's
some grafitti just off
that proclaims a local girl to be a "bad fucked up gimp" as well
as a "bucket biff". In truth, the latter could apply to a lot of
the local mothers judging by the amount of offspring they seem to cart
around. Over the last few years I've become familiar with the local faces.
There's the woman in her late 20s who I always see walking really fast
with her arms folded. One day she'll trip up and with her arms still
folded she'll take the skin off her face. At least I hope so. Then there's
the lady in Somerfield who has a face that looks like a toasted rodent.
She desperately changes her hair colour every couple of weeks, each new
colour more fucking disgusting than it's predecessor. Across from
Somerfield there is the skinny fruit and veg man with snow white hair.
He's like Peter Kay's 'Leonard De Tompkinson' character but thin. He
always wears fingerless gloves which I'd normally find quite unhygeinic
but his shop seems to be merely an extension of his allotment so as long
as I wash the apples I sometimes buy from him I don't mind so much. Next
door to him is my favourite shop. It's a pound shop just like every other
pound shop. Asian owner, lots of cleaning products and cheap toys. The
best thing about this shop though is the way he labels his items. For
example if you need a new pillow, he offers "bouncy fillo 2 pound
fifty". He also sells "blech" and "washing
Other than stocking up the freezer and perfecting my corner
taking techniques I'll sometimes spend an afternoon at the local community
centre where they have a kids nursery once a week. Whether I'm strictly
allowed to attend is another matter, what with it being called "Mums
n' Tots". They've never questioned me. Maybe my ever increasing
development of man breasts has fooled them into thinking I actually am a
woman? You'd think the stubble would make up for that though. Joe is
generally pretty shy. That's another thing he's picked up from me. I was
painfully shy as a child, though these days I prefer to disguise my
shyness as ignorance. It makes me seem a bit cooler. Hopefully once he
goes to school he won't be so bad. Recently a brash toddler half Joseph's
size waltzed up to him and demanded he get off the truck he was riding.
Joe looked scared shitless, as if he'd just been told the other kid had a
gun and wasn't afraid to use it. In fairness, looking at the other kid he
probably did have some form or weapon tucked in his pocket, the scruffy
This brings me onto my next point though. Whilst I've
really bonded with my son, I've come to despise other peoples children.
They're rubbish. I find myself having to grit my teeth to stop myself from
shouting at them, or worse. At Alphabet Zoo the other week one of them
kept throwing plastic balls at my head. I laughed playfully at first but
after about four of them had hit me I had to be dragged away by security.
I didn't really. They've always got a runny nose aswell. Plus a
forlorn-looking mother desperately clasping a cup of coffee nearby,
occasionally telling their monster of a child to "stop stabbing that
little girl in the eye". In summary, other people's kids are shit,
and that's swearing.
This 3 year odyssey is soon to end though. As from the end
of April or thereabouts, Joe will have a new playmate when the missus pops
out our latest creation. As a result she's on maternity leave for a few
months while I shall be taking my first steps into the big wide world once
again. It's like I've just left sixth form, only I'm 2 stone heavier and
have a better wardrobe. During the last three years I've learnt more about
myself and the world in general than I think I could ever have picked up
in the career I was persuing at the time. The plan at the moment is for me
to do something temporary until the other half returns to work but if I
enjoy whatever job I land I might just stick with it and put Joe and his
new brother or sister into permanent childcare.
Whether I'll get used to spending my
days without the playful chat and the out of tune bellowing of the Adam Le
Fondre song is an entirely different matter. I expect time will tell.