I’m slowly settling into the daily routine of being a stay-at-home Dad. In just a few weeks, my life has become scarily organised.
I now wash Toddler and Baby’s bottles last thing at night so I don’t need to rush around in the morning. Whenever I get a spare moment, I pile any dirty clothes I can find into the washing machine in the style of a basketball player performing a slam-dunk (not that I always remember to hang them up later on).
After dinner every night, I risk re-dislocating my dodgy shoulder and having my hearing aids ripped out by turning into a human climbing frame, all so I can wear the kids out in time for bed (and because it’s great fun).
I’m picking up skills I don’t know I have. I got a compliment from my father-in-law a few weeks back for the way I tucked a towel under my chin when taking Baby out of the bath, so I could safely hold her with two hands then neatly wrap it around her without getting myself wet. The way he said it made me feel as if I’d curled a free kick into the top corner of the goal from 30 yards.
That said, there’s still one area I haven’t mastered, a task I’ve come to seriously dread. Finding things. Whether it’s clothes, medicine, or a book or game, I still don’t seem to know where on earth everything is.
There’s a chest of drawers full of their clothes, but I can never locate quite the right trousers I need for Baby, or the right size of vest for Toddler. It’s getting to the stage where just the prospect of seeking out a full quota of clothes is enough to send me into a cold sweat.
Then there’s Calpol. It stares at me every time I open the cupboard but the minute I actually need it, well, you can guess the rest. And don’t get me started on the medicine spoons. We’ve had about a million of them, and presumably they’re all lost behind the fridge, because I can’t find them either.
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve got the kids ready to leave the house, coats, gloves, hats, everything, only to spend 20 minutes searching for a single shoe that I later find hiding beneath Iggle Piggle in their toy basket.
Worst of all, one night I had both kids settled and in bed when Toddler refused to go to sleep without her favourite cuddly toy – Monkey. I searched every inch of our house before finding him on the kitchen worktop leaning on some fruit, looking far more chilled out than I was feeling.
What no-one tells you about parenthood is that the biggest challenge facing a Dad (or a Mum for that matter) starting to look after their kids all day is acquiring the basic awareness their partner has spent months or maybe even years building up, of not only what stuff the kids have, but how to keep track of where it all is.
Click here to read the first Deaf Dad column.
By Charlie Swinbourne
The Limping Chicken is the world's most popular Deaf blog, and is edited by Deaf journalist and filmmaker Charlie Swinbourne.
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