Alternative gift ideas for the Dad-to-be

les-anderson-175603-e1500455486270.jpgEveryone else will buy them a baby grow, toy or book, and they’re great. But here are some dad-centric, left field is that may bring a laugh or at least a curious look out of him.

Batteries

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His kid will have a lot of things that go beep and flash. They all need batteries! Mostly AA or AAA and they need a little Phillips head screwdriver to put them in. Before the baby I only ever needed batteries for remotes, now I have so many of them I have a constant charger going.

Drugs

infacolFor the baby. The best gift we got was an emergency kit from my sister of things that people don’t realise they may need. It saved me a trip to the 24hr Tesco more than once! It consisted of Infant Calpol and Infacol importantly, as well as Lanolin Cream and some less nice Mumthings, maternity pads and such.  I think there was also baby shampoo and baby bath.

Proper Coffee

coffee-cupSoon, drinking instant coffee will be as useful as putting an Elastoplast on a leg amputation.  Buy him beans, or ground and something to make it in! Aeropresses are an amazingly cheap way to make good home coffee.

A Box / Cup

21so2bjmkgelDad’s get kicked in the nuts more often than chance would suggest is reasonable. Babies kick and wriggle and so many of those flailing legs land uncomfortably.  Especially when changing the kid on the floor.

Graeco-Roman Wrestling lessons

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Babies are strong mother-knackerers. Seriously! I can imagine that having some wrestling training would be really useful when trying to put a nappy on an 8-month-old who’s determined to roll off the changing station and hit the floor 4ft below.

 

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Remember that time when you were a couple?

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A friend of a friend said to a friend “You put everything you’ve got into caring for this baby. Then a year or 18 months later you work out if you’ve still got a relationship with your wife.”

He’s divorced now.

Whilst it seems like a big mistake, what he said does ring some truths that I can relate to. He’s totally right that it’s so easy to spend all of your time caring for your new child that you don’t pay attention to your partner. We’ve been guilty of this for a few days at a time, a week or so at most, I can imagine that if that rolls on and on for months to years that a relationship could be in serious trouble.

On top of all the extra duties you now have as a father, I believe you have to work harder than ever to remain a couple.  So what can you do?

Date Nights

An extremely popular option is to set up a regular date night with your partner.  Nothing too flashy, but if you can leave the baby behind for a night, or a day, and go do something for you. Something to keep you going for the next month.

1 Minute Hugs

This came up in our NCT classes. Try to hug for one minute a day. It releases Serotonin, the happy hormone.  I mean, obviously, do it when the kid is asleep! I can’t imagine you’ll find one whole minute to do it when he’s awake!

Talk About Something Else

Anything! There are other things out there. Trust me, I’ve seen them.  Or I heard about them once, on the news.

Make Them Happy

Work out what makes your partner happy and do it. Even if you don’t love it too, or it’s hard work. This is not necessarily about sex.

Baby Rhythms

clem-onojeghuo-122041.jpgMinimalist and Progressive.

After the brutal chaos of the first 6 weeks, finally your baby develops a rhythm to life. Some people deliberately work their baby into schedules, others just wait for the baby to establish their own. I don’t really believe that actively trying to establish a pattern (usually from a bloody celebrity mum’s book) helps. Or gets you your your baby into a healthy pattern earlier. It just seems to cause stress during the establishment.  But either way, a baby will get a daily pattern.

The thing to remember is, I have found, is that this pattern is somewhat fluid, but it’s definitely there and within an hour or so you can expect the same sleep and feed points every day. On numerous occasions my wife and I have been frustrated that our boy is half and hour, an hour, later to bed than the day or two before hand.  This frustration is a massive waste of stress and energy. Since we have mostly learned to deal with the fluidity things have gotten better.

The pattern is progressive.

Slowly, without you really noticing it, it’ll change on a weekly, then monthly basis. Currently, our boy, who previously went to sleep quite easily, now needs to be walked at 8pm to actually go down. It took us a few days to embrace it and to stop even trying the old story-cuddle-cot system.  It’s a shame, the walk is a lot harder to face at the end of a long days work, especially in the rain!  Looking on the bright side, I’m thinking this will be different (and hopefully indoor based) again in a couple of weeks!

 

It’s a small world

small-world

… after all. I’m regretting this headline already. I’ll be humming it for a week. If you’ve never heard the song, your life is better than mine. Don’t YouTube it.

Little things become really important during your baby’s first few weeks. You’re so focused on the baby and yourselves that nothing else matters and the world just passes you by. If you can take a mental step back from how goddamn tired you are it’s quite a nice sensation.

But then paternity leave ends and the real world comes crashing or seeping back in to your life.  Thing is, that doesn’t happen for your partner, or at least nowhere nearly as quickly.

For a while – and I’m right in this zone now – you go out and deal with the world and come back and deal with your world, but those worlds don’t really talk to each other. Not on a level of any understanding. Nothing you say about your work or job will feel important to your partner. Conversely, things that seem pretty small to you are your partner’s big event.

This is a true story my wife told me (truly).  “I was walking to rhyme time and I saw that the salvation army shop had a rack of clothes for 50p. I thought one of the tops looked really cool and thought I’d get it on my way back.  When I went to get it, it wasn’t very nice. So I didn’t get it.”  I mean… what am I meant to say to that?!

Or a conversation at dinner may go like this:

Dad: I absolutely nailed my PowerPoint presentation today and that earned the company twenty-five gazillion pounds!*

Mum: That’s nice dear… Kiddo went 4 hours in the same nappy and Jane’s son across the road rolled over.

*I don’t actually have a businessy office job. I imagine that’s what it’s basically like everyday, right? Water-coolers and stuff? Jeff in accounting said what?!

I’m talking about things for the parents here, not the baby. Everything your baby does new is genuinely amazing, but your partner is also going to get excited by some pretty mundane shit. Occasionally literally.

Finding a nice feeding room in town (probably John Lewis) is a big deal. Walking to the supermarket and not having the child scream the roof off the place is a big deal. Drinking an entire cup of tea whilst it’s still an acceptable temperature is a big deal. You know what’s not a big deal? What Jeff in accounting said.

I don’t mind admitting that I’ve become inwardly frustrated at this conversational stalemate once or twice. I want to chat about things that are on my mind from my job and whilst she does participate, I know it’s not really registering.  That’s cool. The world will come back in time but it’s currently full of something too big to allow for anything else.

Great thing is that your child will provide enough conversation topics for a long time