Caring for babies is by its nature a two-human job.
When you’re dripping in freshly-produced spew, with the muslin just out of reach, it helps to have someone else on hand to chuck it to you.
When your baby’s produced a stinky package and has just found his bits and pieces – naturally covered in the brown stuff, it’s handy to have an extra pair of hands to shackle dinky fingers.
And when the tiny mish-mash of your genes is having a hard time processing the madness of a noisy birthday party and you’ve yet to purchase baby ear defenders, it’s nice to share the impossible task of comforting them.
I hate to conform to the stereotypes but Hanna is way more of an expert when it comes to parenting than I. After all, she studied child development and had a week’s practice of mothering a plastic baby at school. She reportedly cried when she had to return it!
As a result, I like to employ the two-parents-at-all-times rule wherever possible. If things go pear-shaped, Hanna will be on hand to help.
Being left to my own devices for a few hours at home is a doddle now – but thought of a lone parenting day out fills me with anxiety.
So when it transpired that I would be taking Albie to his first wedding alone on Saturday, I can’t say I was totally on board with the idea.
With Hanna unable to attend, I would have to negotiate a two-hour drive, a full day of wedding engagements, dinner (why do they call it ‘breakfast’ at weddings?!) and evening shenanigans before departing for a return journey.
Things didn’t start well as Albie woke from a peaceful slumber somewhere in the New Forest, where horses were walking across the road and trying to eat the car in front’s wing mirror, and sounded like he was pooing.
Running fashionably late, there was no chance of stopping, so I was relieved to arrive at the venue 45 minutes later to discover the suspicious strains were little more than a dry run for the two he would present me later.
Most of my friends were witnessing Albie and I together for the first time, so there was a fair bit of ‘dadxiety’ on my part. I secretly decided that not dropping Albie and ending the day without any social services referrals was about the best that could be expected.
I was all too aware that Albie, fresh from physio confirming he found sitting boring, was unlikely to keep quiet during the key moments.
He had a lot to get through, from the ceremony to speeches. But apart from a few groans in the ceremony and tiredness setting in during the speeches, leading to a 45-minute baby-carrying bicep exercise in what felt like Hot Yoga conditions (I imagine), the boy was a star. I’m sure his whines were unrelated to the best man’s jokes!
With a bit of planning, we avoided the ‘Daddy has food, so where is mine’ tantrums, navigated nap times around key moments and cut our losses at about the right time, before risking round two of ‘Albie versus DJ hell’.
Support from friends was also a great help, not only because their keenness for cuddles gave my arms precious rest but kind words about Albie’s behaviour and encouragement for a job reasonably well done was a confidence boost.
Thinking back, we had a beautiful day celebrating my good friends’ marriage with people I don’t get enough time to catch-up with these days and overcame the ‘dadxiety’ to have some great bonding time together.
Congratulations, Tom and Laura. Thanks for inviting us to share your special day.