Dan Mac is in his seventh week of fatherhood. And he’s captivated by all of it.
I’m in the business of re-creating wombs. It’s my default position; when you’re crying I make you feel like you’re back in the uterus. Disclaimer: it’s what the midwives told me (anyway, it seems to work).
You’re my beautiful six-week-old son. Anna and I are your doting parents. We adore you. The womb I’m trying to replicate is your mum’s…just in case you were wondering…and no, I’m not sure what it looks like, which is probably why you always have those concerned creases across your forehead.
So, Freddy, you’re in your seventh week of life. That means I’m in my seventh week of fatherhood, parenthood, untold responsibility. I’d love for you to tell me how I’m doing, but I’ll take your lack of crying as a sign I’m going OK. Somehow, I’ve muddled my way to this point in time.
It all started well enough…
… you popped out at 11.34 on June 11. Your entrance captivated me; I was absorbed. How could I not be? I had a front-row seat to the beginning of life. As your head appeared, crown to ground, and you opened your eyes for the first time in my direction, I felt privileged that the first thing you could have seen was your dad. When a father’s biological input into the carrying, delivering and feeding of his child is minimal, I assume he treasures all the unique experiences he can.
But don’t get me wrong I have a ton of input—I cook, I clean, you and I bond over baths and the midnight bottle, the money I earn puts a roof over your head and pays for the heating bills.
… And I change nappies. Hundreds of them. I can do a wee change in 60 seconds—from undressing to re-dressing—and a complete post-poo reconstruction in about 1 minute 40.
I am already so proud of you. In the first six weeks of life you have graduated from an addiction to silicon to feed from the natural source (I didn’t know whether you would get there). You have hit every growth milestone “the health book” expects of you. You have worked out that smiling triggers displays of love and affection from your parents. You have a portrait gallery of faces to draw on—one for every crisis, every pleasure, every thought.
But I have a few simple hopes for you. I hope you feel comfortable, in every environment, to be who you want to be; love who you want to love; and, strive for what you want to achieve. I hope you are happy in your own skin; but I hope you can feel all kinds of emotions. Though I have the responsibility of parenting you, I hope we are mates. And I hope you can, one day, experience the pride, responsibility, purpose and bond for your child, as I have with you.
Dan MacDonald is CBO (chief blogging officer) for The Dad Department, where he writes about all the facts, friction and dummy spits of his journey through fatherhood. He lives in Melbourne with his wife, Anna, and son Freddy. Read Dan's blog at thedaddepartment.blogspot.com.au, or follow him on Twitter @thedaddept