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Diary of a First Time Dad Early arrivals, packing bags and last hurrahs

With our first baby due in October, my wife and I are revelling in everyday events like going for a walk together or having weekend lie-ins, writes Patrick McCarry.

I PROMISED CAT, my wife, that I would refrain from the baby countdown until we were just about ready to go. My final diary piece, I proclaimed, would be dictated over a speaker phone as our 11-year-old Volvo hurtled down the M7, towards parenthood.

However, the early arrival of our friends’ little boy has finally rooted us towards that most necessary of evils: packing the bag.

I received this tweet [below] from a friend of mine while Cat and I were gorging ourselves at a one-year anniversary meal. This from a man who was expecting his first child in November:

imageNice use of the Roy Keane maxim, my friend.

It is a good thing he was semi-prepared as their child, a boy, shot into the world 10 weeks early. Making plans for a life-changer in November and the dial is shunted to late August. We paid them a congratulatory visit last week and while their newborn remains healthy but monitored in hospital, they bore the signs of new parents: shell-shocked, delighted, spent.

Amid the tales of waters breaking, emergency buttons, ‘get a grip’ scoldings and shaky knees, I was left with this finger wag from my childhood friend: “You may think you’re prepared, that you’re ready, but you’re not. You’ll never be.”

The early arrival drama had an opposite effect on the two of us. Our laissez-faire take, on the drive home, was ‘Sure let’s just enjoy these last few weeks and not stress too much as we’re in for a smack up-side the head any day soon’.

Final encore(s)

We’re living ebbing, halcyon moments this month and revelling in everyday events like going for a walk together or having weekend lie-ins. I sit down to watch a recording of Suits [my guilty TV pleasure] and wonder if I will even care when the next season airs, or remember I ever once watched it.

Cat and I have both set ourselves little tasks and goals that we feel a need to accomplish, as if our old lives will be filled with helium and released until they becomes dots. I’m staging a comedy play at The Sugar Club, tonight and tomorrow, while Cat is finally embracing the art of nesting. The oven is cleaner than it has ever been an awaits our child’s inspection.

imagePlaying a former boyband star in Moonshine Travellers. Any excuse to wear a wig. (Photo: Linda McCarry)

Another task she jumped into was going back on about eight years’ worth of digital photos, which were saved on laptops, USBs, CDs and on old social media accounts. The print-outs arrived in box-loads and every conceivable photo-frame has been filled. Life pre-baby has been officially collated.

Has anyone’s partner ever done likewise or should I start to worry?

Packing the bag

After our earlier wedding misadventures, back when Cat wasn’t carrying a hillock about, we were at a weekend service where the bump had company. Two more friends are expectant mothers while others had left their children with their babysitting grandparents.

All were appalled that we had yet to pack an overnight bag [we're five weeks away and counting down]. Cat has bagsied the bag for upcoming Hen weekend and a best friend’s wedding at the end of the month but peer pressure is getting to me.

If I win the tug of war, we’ll be packing the bag this Thursday. I’d love your tips and advice on the essential items… S.O.S flare, yes or no?

Patrick McCarry is sports reporter for Happily married for 13 months and counting. His comedy show, Moonshine Travellers, will be staged tonight and Wednesday night at The Sugar Club in Dublin.

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