Sunday 15 December 2013

Decade Blogs - Feyi Fawehinmi - Daddy 2.0

Decade Blogs
Feyi has a blog that covers issues from a very informed and well-thought through perspective, anything he writes especially on Nigeria is required reading.
He willingly honoured my request to write a blog for my Decade of Blogging when I asked. Thank you.
Here, he touches on the everyday and long-term issues of fatherhood and the process of rearing children, something many can fully understand.
I sometimes wake up in a cold sweat having dreamt of my own family, my wife and two kids then wonder as I come to. how all that could have happened without my knowing. My vivid imagination has taken me to places I have never thought possible.
Yet, I could easily have been a father or even a grandfather and though I have never borne those responsibilities, I celebrate the joy of family, the fun of children and the miracle of change that sees them grow into amazing, talented, creative and wonderful people.
In Daddy 2.0, you get to the end and realise it is all worth it, it brings purpose and much else, enjoy this microcosm of life and happiness.
Feyi Fawehinmi runs a blog at Agùntáọọ́lò.com and goes by the Twitter handle @DoubleEph.
Daddy 2.0
The arguments lasted for the better part of one year. I was not keen. She was. But the odds are stacked up against a man in these things in such a way that you are guaranteed to lose.
F2 would be four by the time he turned up. I complained to anyone who would listen. Kids are expensive. Life was settled, as it was, why disrupt it? But I have a very strong Nigerian circle and community around me, so these complaints sounded like an abomination bordering on heresy.
Nobody ever has one child. ‘Oloun o ni se e ni olomo kan o’ [God will not make you a one-child parent, in Yoruba.], making it clear that having only one child was something God reserved as a punishment for those who had asked for it, one way or the other, by their relentless sinfulness or something like that.
Kids are hard work. Say you were given the bill for having a child in advance along with all the work to go along with raising the said child, do you reckon you’d still say ‘Yeah, I’ll have one of those’?
Then there is the relentless obsession with ‘standards’. It is trite law, apparently, that you must give your child a better education than you had. Often this means nothing more complicated than spending more money on education. The line where it stops being about the child and about you, the parent, is very blurred.
On the day F3 was born, caught on the hop as we were by his earlier than expected arrival, we didn’t have so much as a box of nappies in the house. So, I was hopping from store to store buying clothes and supplies. Then a cot came later (many things had been given away. At some point, I really did think I was going to win the argument).
I had completely forgotten everything about being a dad to a newborn child. 4 years is a long time. Then there is the whole rearrangement that takes place in your life after the second child. A first child tends to slot in seamlessly into your life, which then fools you into thinking the second child might be the same.
My car suddenly became much smaller. Luckily, we had moved to a bigger place before he was born but everything still felt smaller and more complicated. People tell you these things, but you never quite know how it works out until it happens. I complained to my friend who has two daughters spaced two years apart saying it felt like starting all over again. He retorted that spacing his kids 2 years apart felt like he never got the chance to catch his breath before the second child came.
Being the sort who likes to worry about the future, sometimes at the expense of the present, I have been ‘spoilt for choice’ since F3 turned up with the sheer amount of things I now have to worry about. How do we cope when his Mum goes back to work? How do we organize (and pay for) holidays for the four of us – a mini logistics operation of unspeakable complexity? How do we ensure we still have a life and are not just zombies constantly running after and attending to the needs of two children, boys for that matter? How do we pay for the lifestyle we have somewhat gotten used to given the bigger bills?
The answers to these questions are floating in the wind. The only answer to the holidays is to pay for them – slowly. You can apparently take a baby to the cinema in the mornings. Small mercies. Wages are stagnant these days so you cut back in some areas and try to find a pay rise somewhere, anywhere. All very boring stuff with no game changing answers. For all other things, you pray as hard as you can.
He is a good kid though. Sleeps well and F2 is a proud big brother, although I worry he might smother him one day in the name of showing his love. But I am not adding that to my worry list.
Because as I type this, I am looking at him, and he is smiling, waving his arms excitedly at me. That alone is well worth the price of the ticket as they say.
Ignore my earlier whining.
It has been 10 years since I moved to the UK permanently. So much has happened to me in that time – mistakes, blind luck, good fortune. I am amazed that Akin has been blogging the whole time. It sounds easy, but I know it is not. I can count 2 or 3 years when I could not possibly have blogged at all if it had been me. To keep at it for a decade is truly remarkable.
Very well done Mr Akintayo. Here is to the next 10 years.

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