A perfect vision
We all have a vision of how those monumental occasions in our lives will play out.
We have pictured how we will react when we win the lottery and exactly how we’ll enjoy that perfect holiday in the sun.
Having spent far too long in hospital waiting for Robbie’s arrival, I had plenty of time to picture all of the big events that were to come in our lives and I thought I knew new exactly how our little family would operate.
Waking up for the first time with Robbie next us the reality kicked in that today was one of those amazing days that I will never forget, it was the first day of the football season.
This was a day that I had looked forward to for months. We had anticipated Robbie’s arrival a few weeks prior and although he cut it mighty fine, he had got here just in time. I knew exactly how the day would go. He would be sitting right with me watching his beloved Arsenal begin the campaign in glorious fashion and forever remember the day his love of football began.
There had been a minor hiccup in the preparations. Robbie had already thoroughly ‘decorated’ his first ever football kit within hours of joining us and there had been fears (from me) that it would not be ready for the big occasion. Fortunately, Supermum was on hand to ensure it was back in peak condition to get him ready with just 30 minutes until kick off. Everything was perfect.
With my New little sidekick fully uniformed and ready, the game began. This is where my perfect vision sharply changed into a huge thud of reality.
Robbie was asleep on me within five minutes of the game, meaning Dad was not allowed to shout, scream, jump or make any other kind of sound or movement. This was a test. I am not an emotional man but I had never watched football under these conditions.
Ten minutes later and the unthinkable happened, Manchester City scored a goal. They obviously had not seen my vision.
I have a defence mechanism for this scenario that has served me well throughout the years. When the goal goes in I shout and swear, then I get up and go outside for a couple of minutes to cool off before returning to my chair and not speaking to anyone until the situation is put right (Arsenal score.). This has sometimes meant the wife has been ignored for weeks on end but she has grown used to me behaving like a spoilt child over football.
On this day however, I sat perfectly still and did not make a sound. The little amount of anger going through my mind was far outweighed by the joy of having Robbie so beautifully asleep in my arms.
Half time came and I had to move. My arms and legs were both numb from my 45 statue impersonation and I couldn’t last out any longer. Carefully lifting Robbie and handing him to Sarah, he flinched. I had awoken the beast.
Desperation followed to get him back to sleep but the screams soon came. Despite the best attempts of Sarah and the two Nan’s who were so kindly taking care of everything around us why we focused our energy on our new addition, Robbie was awake and he was not happy.
It is obvious that his rage was coming from having missed the first half and seeing the score, though everyone seemed to disagree with me.
I took him back in my arms but the screaming continued. We walked around the room but still it came. Around the house, up the stairs and another guided tour of his new home. The shout came from Sarah ‘2-0.’ I didn’t care.
Football had brought me so many strong emotions over the years but at this moment it felt like meaningless game. All that mattered was Robbie’s happiness. I returned to the room with a content baby just as the game ended. I had missed it all but it hardly mattered to me.
A perfect vision is never a realistic one. Parenting is tough but every situation is better with Robbie here with me.
The dynamic duo of Nans had continued their tireless work throughout and had prepared what can only be described as a banquet. We had been salivating all day at the prospect of finally eating a meal after days of starvation.
I would have to wait. Sarah was a girl in need having done the whole giving birth thing, which she said was tough. Now was the time to take a bullet and hold Robbie whilst she got some much needed replenishment.
I didn’t have to wait long. After a few bites she realised her stomach had now shrunk to the size of pea and this fantastic meal just wouldn’t fit in. Now it was my turn.
I had no doubt I would demolish this food and feel reinvigorated. I was fully expecting the kind of effect that Popeye gets from a vegan meal, but I was to be left disappointed.
A few bites in and it hit me that Sarah was not the only one to lose her appetite. Almost all of our food was returned to the oven to wait for the next day. Back to the diet of energy drinks it is then.
As the night went on things began to feel more ‘normal.’ Visitors came and went, friends and family all keen to meet the new little man in their lives. There were nappies to change (I was learning fast,) Vomit to clean and screaming to mute but otherwise Sarah was ok.
We were beginning to feel like a family already. Through all the tiredness, hunger and mental exhaustion we were not only coping but we were loving it. Must be time for another bombshell then…
A tiny spot of red was all it took. Was this blood in his nappy and where had it come from? A call to 111 was the obvious course of action and the advice to take Robbie immediately to A&E for a check had to be followed. (This is a happy story, it was nothing to worry about in the end!)
We reached our destination only to be hit with more bad news. The department was closed for the night and we would have to travel back to Colchester hospital, the place where Robbie had already spent most of his very young life and what seemed like a second home to me now.
Time for a new plan. Robbie needed feeding before taking the far longer journey so Sarah hopped to the back seat to quench his hunger, then things became even more surreal. A loud knock on the drivers door made us all jump. The screaming lady shouting that she was going to kill us all was much scarier still.
We can only think that she had mistaken us for doctors that had treated her obvious condition as she continued to yell angrily of how we had ruined her life. Sarah was feeding Robbie and this was not the kind of situation we could talk ourselves out of so we had to lock the doors and try to pretend this wasn’t happening.
There was a small problem though. The drivers door was not fully closed and could not be locked. To open it and let her inside could be a horrific end to the story, so off we drove with the drivers door open until we had reached a safe enough distance to relax. Even then, we could still hear the screaming and the sight of the woman sprinting through the streets to catch us. Luckily For us, another unfortunate member of the public was walking nearby and her attention changed to shouting abuse at this man instead. The chase was over and we could make our way to the hospital.
The hospital staff were fantastic. Robbie was seen within minutes of arrival and after just a couple of hours we were allowed home. The spots of red in the nappy were not blood but urite crystals and were nothing to be concerned about.
We made it home at around 4am and headed straight to bed that for what turned out to be the most surreal and joyous time I may ever experience. It was time for the Daddying crash course that I had so desperately needed.
Robbie needed another nappy change. So as I got to work attempting to take of the horrifically difficult Arsenal sleepsuit I had forced him into, he vomited. Everywhere.
Sarah got to work on the cleaning as I continued with the mission to put the new nappy in place. Within seconds of my successful completion, the straining started. Prepare the next nappy.
This cycle continued for over an hour. Each nappy lasting around 5-10 minutes and a constant flow of crying for milk then quickly ejecting it. Robbie was ensuring that we knew exactly what we were doing and that we were ready for the years of cleaning that were sure to follow.
It is hard to put into words exactly how we were feeling at this time. I am so lucky to have a wife in Sarah that connects with me and finds the same great humour in situations that I do, even at 4am.
We were both in hysterics throughout. Every nappy, cry and scream just became funnier and funnier to us as we ran around the room looking for more wipes and outfits.
Eventually Robbie fell asleep and as we placed him in his Moses basket we surveyed the scene to admire the carnage that this tiny little nutter had created.
The floor was covered in soiled outfits, nappies and used wipes and our bed looked like a war zone. We removed the sheets and laid down happier than we had ever been. Our first full day together was over but will live on forever in our memories.
No nannies were harmed in the making of this blog, although many outfits sadly had to be put down. A massive thank you to both Nans for all of your help both during and in the days after Robbie’s arrival. We could not have done it without you and Robbie is so lucky to have such a wonderful team of Nans!
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