Friday, 22 January 2016

22/01/16 - Stuff to do on paternity leave

Paternity leave is a brilliant, brilliant thing. All you need to do is have it off with a lady, wait nine months, and voila – two weeks off work! Ace. And there are all manner of fun things you can do with your fortnight of leisure, thumbing your nose at your colleagues who failed to display sufficient fox-like wiles to carry out such a plan and therefore have to go to work while you lounge about in your dressing gown on full pay. Things like this:

Get covered in wee and poo
Great! Some people pay good money for this sort of degrading treatment (er, apparently), but if you’ve made your own little human then… congratulations! You have full 24/7 access to an unstoppable shitting machine.
Furthermore, if you were hitherto used to the mechanics of changing girls’ nappies, then the arrival of a boy will throw a fresh and exciting new wildcard into the process: those little scamps can piss like you wouldn’t believe! Seriously, the pressure behind it, the angles, it’s incredible. I never thought this would be a piece of advice I’d be dishing out, but you really do need to remember to point the penis downward while you set about wiping up all the weird yellow faeces. Otherwise you’ll both be swapping clothes. (Swapping your respective clothes for clean ones, I mean, not swapping with each other – the situation is traumatic enough without then having to try to squeeze into a shitty babygrow.)

Stay in bed all day listening to Bowie
My son may count himself extraordinarily lucky that he existed on this Earth at the same time as David Bowie, if only for a very short overlap. But then that tragic and awful thing happened to the Starman, and we didn’t have the motivation to move, so we just stayed under the duvet and worked through Bowie’s back catalogue. It was a useful education for the lad.
Of course, you don’t need the tragic passing of a rock ‘n’ roll legend in order to do this – any day can be Staying In Bed And Listening To Bowie Day. In fact, it should be a regular occurrence.

Watch loads of films
…or, at least, plan to. With a yawning chasm of time stretching out fabulously in front of you, paternity leave seems like the ideal time in which to chip away at that pile of DVDs that’s been sitting by the TV for months on end, waiting for you to find the time to watch them. Oh, frabjous day! Carte blanche to laze around watching movies! You haven’t been this lucky since you had flu.
But you won’t actually watch any films at all, of course. Your days will be filled by the minutiae of reality – changing nappies, tidying things up, popping to the shop for biscuits, changing nappies, wiping up sick, having a bit of a kip, changing nappies… it’s amazing how quickly the time goes when you’re thinking ‘OK, I’ll just do that, then I only need to do this before I can do that. Then I’ll have a biscuit.’

Really get to know your washing machine
Strike a light, these little people can generate a lot of laundry. If you’ve already got a three year old, as we have, then you’ll be on conversational terms with the various settings on your washing machine that the kaleidoscope of disparate toddler stains demands, but throwing an additional baby into the mix (but never actually into the machine itself, that’s frowned upon) is a whole new ball game. The damn machine’s running several times a day. Where are you supposed to put all of these clothes to dry before the next load arrives?! You’ll probably need to move to a bigger house to accommodate it all. Think about that.

Finish off all the chocolate and biscuits you’ve got left over from Christmas
n.b. this only works if the baby arrives shortly after Christmas.

Eat loads of cured meats, pâté, prawns, and stinky cheeses
…because one of the really shitty things about pregnancy is that expectant mums aren’t allowed to eat those things. So when the baby finally springs forth down its crimson log flume (as is my understanding), the mother then has an insatiable appetite for salami, Roquefort and chunky, chunky pâté. Helping her to consume all of this is the least you can do, if only to stop her feeling self-conscious. Come on. Don’t be a dick.

Read online lists of ‘what to do on paternity leave’, and completely ignore them
‘Get to know other dads’. Urgh. People I already know who happen to be dads – fine. But I’m not going to seek out strangers and attempt to bond with them on the tenuous premise that we’ve got this thing in common. That would be the behaviour of a crazy person.
‘Take a nap’. Yeah, I’ll decide when I need to sleep, thank you.
‘Change nappies without having to be asked’. Alright, it’s not the 1950s. I am aware that these things need doing.
‘Register the baby’s birth.’ ‘Go for a walk.’ ‘Cook dinner.’ For goodness’ sake, these ‘what to do on paternity leave’ lists are all written by total dickheads, aren’t they?


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