A little late with this post as Little H has now finished rapidly approaching 7 months old and has in fact left that behind… but the first time I got to sit and reflect on our first 6 months with Little H was on the plane to/from Spain!
It’s a proper rollercoaster ride, having a baby. The ups give you the highest highs, and the downs left me feeling useless and frankly a bit rubbish.
Becoming a Dad was the single most amazing and rewarding experiences of my life. It’s impossible to describe how proud you feel of your wife (or partner) when they deliver you that little bundle of joy. Just when you thought it impossible to love anyone more, your child is there, who you’ve only met seconds before and you walk through walls for.
Watching Little H grow into the little person she has become has been fascinating. I now have a bubbly and smiley little baby that I can now read, understand and react to. This means I can be, and arguably more importantly feel like a good Dad.
We have been swimming, and I have started being able to show Little H things in the world. She has no idea what I’m showing her but she is reacting and we have developed a relationship – something there have been times I thought we would never have!
It took the full amount of Little H’s first 6 months for me to get a proper giggle from her – that is just the best feeling in the world by the way. Seeing a smile spread across her little face, and break into a fit of giggles and squeals because of something you’re doing is great. Even better is the smile you get in when you walk through the door from work – no matter how bad a day you’ve had, that smile can make it all wash away in a moment.
It has not been all plain sailing of course. The down times have been really hard for me. This has then been hard for Mrs Heatho, who has been a rock throughout the whole thing.
For a lot of my earlier posts I had to consciously try and write a positive paragraph or two so as to not make it seem like I hated fatherhood. Of course I never hated it, it was just much more difficult that I could ever have imagined and my blog was a route to let those worries go by writing them down.
Breastfeeding was hard. Clearly not for me physically (!) but certainly emotionally. Talk about feeling useless. I mean, cleaning, ironing, tidying and moral support are useful I was told, but boy it did not feel like it!
Even as she was approaching her 6 month birthday, I was struggling. The “hidden leap” of Little H learning that Mummy could walk away really took its toll. The hard weeks I’d spent building confidence in being a Dad evaporated almost overnight. Little H could barely look at me, let alone be held by me or put to bed by me! Every night when I walked through the door, I basically watched her smile disappear and she became a very sad baby. That two weeks was brutal emotionally. Completely brutal. Since then, I’ve had to start building confidence again and practically re-establish a relationship from the beginning all over again.
When you ride a new rollercoaster, you don’t usually know whether you’re going up, down, right or left next. As we move past 6 months (7 now…), I don’t know what will happen next, but I actually can’t wait. My relationship with Little H is the strongest it’s ever been. We laugh, we smile, we play. I’ve been teaching her things, like how to clap (unsuccessfully so far), or wave (also unsuccessfully to date…) or like showing her monkeys! Admittedly, she won’t be actually learning anything about monkeys, but I’ve gotten past that in my head and am now just doing it because she enjoys it, rather than any material gain. Probably sounds silly, and I can’t explain why, but my head has taken this long to wake up and catch up in that regard. I seem to have lost that “uptight, not wanting to make a fool of myself” bit of my brain when it comes to Little H. Long may it remain lost 👍