Tuesday, 22 November 2016

What is post-fatherhood drinking really like? Part 2

generic picture depicting the drinking of grappa
I was just reading What is Post-Fatherhood Drinking Really Like?Part 1, and I realised just how long ago I must have written that piece. I mention somewhere in there that it was still the first month of little Sylvie’s life, and I haven’t really thought about all that I wrote and all that has happened since. Little Sylvie is approaching 10 months old now, so I thought it might be worthy of a part 2. Even though I promised not to talk about kids again. I think it’ll be worthwhile though, and as it’s part 2, it’s kind of the same post anyway.
So what’s been going on? What’s the 411? What are the cool jams?
Well, I wrote back in that first post about getting into a routine, and that has proved vital. Little Sylvie now has bath and bed starting at 18.45, and is usually asleep by 19.30. Then she sleeps all the way through to somewhere between 06.00 and 07.00. Mrs Cake and I are usually knackered by 22.00, so we’re in bed soon after that and sleeping better than ever. We have so little free time, and for some reason that’s ok. Back before the little girl enriched our lives we had something like 6 or more hours of free time in the evening, and it wasn’t enough. Now we get 2 and a half hours, and it’s plenty.
I suppose the thing is, when you don’t have kids and you look at parents, you don’t see time they spend with their kids as free time. You see the kids as a burden, and it’s not like that. Time with your kids is free time. It’s something that you want to do. It’s like when my golf friends (see Golfageddon) asked me if I’d be going on their annual golf holiday next year, I couldn’t really see it and I wasn’t bothered. I was a bit gutted to have had to miss the last one at first, because there was a chance Mrs Cake might be going into labour, but now I don’t really want to spend a week away from my family.
Similarly, I’ve changed the way I go out. When I go on pub crawls now, I start early and I usually aim to be heading home around 9pm. Which is good, because I’m smashed and heading home before all the pubs get too busy and too full of nobheads. Then I can be in bed around my normal time and minimise my lie in the next morning. Even though the lie in has been sanctioned, I still don’t want to spend too much time in bed, missing hanging out with my little girl.
The point is that all these things you might see as negatives – fewer lie-ins (I say fewer because they do happen), less “free time” – are not negatives.
If Mrs Cake and I got out now, we go out in the afternoon and we take the little girl with us. Mrs Cake can’t have much to drink just yet because she is still breastfeeding, but that’s down to only four times a day (that may sound like a lot, but in the first few months it could be as many as 20 times!), and that means that if she wants to, once little Sylvie’s gone to bed, she can go a bit nuts. Currently the mother-in-law is visiting, and we’ve been taking advantage of that by heading out into Urmston after little Sylvie’s bed time for a few drinks. There’s also the option of staying over somewhere and taking little Sylvie with us, like when our friends Pablo and Veronica hired a narrow boat. We just took a small inflatable bath along and Sylvie had her bath in there. Then she slept on the bed at the front of the boat.
The beer thing I talked about is still an issue from time to time – you know, where you want to enjoy a beer, but your little one requires attention meaning you can’t always drink it while it’s still cold. These days the specific reason is that little Sylvie wants to be walked around everywhere. She reaches out for your hands and groans until you take them, help her up, and then walk her around from the front of the house to the back and back again until it’s a meal time or bath time.
Occasionally you might pass within arm’s reach of your beer and you might be able to have a sip, but most times both your hands are occupied and you’ll just have to pass by. Also occasionally the little girl might stoop to pick something up and end up sitting for a bit. That’s your chance. Sadly none of this facilitates actually enjoying your beer. It’s just a collection of stolen moments, and they aren’t like forbidden fruit, it’s more like eating a rich and expensive desert too quickly.
There’s still no such thing as a nice quite sit down while she’s awake. Mrs Cake and I can’t wait till she starts crawling and playing by herself, but that no doubt will be a whole new ball game, where we need eyes in the backs of our heads. Still, as long as we can do that while sitting down…
Have there been any mishaps? Not really. There was one time I was playing with Sylvie while drinking a glass of grappa, and she jabbed out with her hand, causing me to spill it, and a drop to land in her eye. She didn’t like that very much.
Then there was one time in the middle of a beer when I had sat her on the sofa and we were playing, and she was having a lot of fun – so much fun that I got my camera out. I forgot how much she loves cameras, and was so busy trying to get some decent film that I failed to react when she leaned towards the camera to grab it and went head first on to the floor. She does this thing when she’s really upset where she does a little cry, then she stops breathing, turns pink, while you go, “breathe… breathe…”and she builds up a massive cry that she unleashes with demonic fury. Anyway, she did that.
Postscript
Not long after writing this post, little Sylvie suddenly became more self-sufficient, and will now play on her own, sometimes for as much as 40 minutes, and thus allowing her dad to sit on a comfy sofa and enjoy a beer slowly, as god intended. Happy days.

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