Parenthood – The Joy and Pain
This much I have learned as I sail past 39 and a couple of years. Parenthood is about joy and pain. Having new twins is a joy, an unblemished joy. From the gurgles and snuggles that greet a cuddle at 3am, to the smile that at eight weeks is still wind, to the redecoration of every piece of clothing with semi-digested milk.
To know that I have sailed past 39 and its neighbours and knowing I hopefully have another near two decades of this is a genuine joy. That said, it makes me glad I wasted my 20s and most of my 30s on a hedonistic epicurean career that means I can enjoy sharing my next two decades with the Didsbury Son and the dynamic duo. Their first signs of personality look interesting – it’s going to be noisy.
That’s the joy, what of the pain? The pain of parenthood is not about the worry the day the roundest head in babydom went yellow and spent 24 hours in a blindfold under a lamp. It is not about the moment Didsbury Son gave me instructions that if I saw him at the bus stop I was in no way to kiss, hug, hair ruffle or call him pet names; from now on its dad not daddy. Its not even the nights spent agonising over minutiae. Tough, but not the pain of parenthood.
At over 40 the joy of being a new parent is magnified and the pain is all physical. Everything hurts. My shoulders are locked from carrying both twins together, my elbows feel as though they’ve been kicked repeatedly, my ears are ringing, the bags under my eyes have compartments and my stomach is shot from 8 weeks of cold tea, congealed food and no gym visits. Childbirth, it’s just the start. The pain of parenthood needs Ranitidine, Ibuprofen, a decent masseur and has to solve the riddle of the sphinx.
Why – when winding a baby do you always burp first?