A Dad’s Crazy Four Hours

I have had many crazy moments in my life. Especially since I became a parent. The craziest day of them all may well be the one that took place on February 28th, 2014.

It was a Thursday, so you could say this post is a throwback Thursday post.

The time was 8:09 AM. I saw my chic and primly dressed wife, Njeb to the door – she was on her way to a four- or five-hour meeting. After she stepped out, I closed the door to witness, not as a spectator, but an actor, a frenzy of activities that put my ability to multitask to shame. That day I corrected the notion that I am good at multitasking.

I stepped into the living room to resume the work I was doing on my laptop before I stopped to see Njeb out. The deadline was that day. But ShanNom, our son is in my arms, lying comfortably with his head on my shoulders. He was enjoying my cooing, but refusing to fall asleep. So here I am, my left hand numb from balancing and holding my 8.5kg son, and my right laboring over the laptop’s keyboard.

As if the situation was not bad enough, electricity was interrupted.

Thirty minutes later ShanNom slept off. With arms numb and aching, I placed him in his cot and prayed desperately that this sleep will not be the snooze he is typical of.

Furiously, I continued my work, hammering at the keys to produce the financial report that was due that day. Even with two hands available to work with, only little progress was made – the battery ran out. I couldn’t turn on the generator for power since the fuel was exhausted the night before. I could go out and buy some fuel, but ShanNom should not be left alone.

As the reality of an unmet deadline was dawning, my mind torturously dredged up another deadline: finish reading Francine Rivers’ As Sure As the Dawn. As part of my personal development, I read two books per month. The goal was met in January, but that February it seemed failure wanted a tie with my previous success.

The mental torture increased as I remembered I offered to help Njeb cream margarine and sugar in preparation for a cake meant for a meeting that will hold in our home later that evening. I got up to start creaming, then noticed my untouched breakfast.

So with a plastic bowl balanced in the crook of my left arm, and with a turnstick in my right, I mixed the sugar-margarine content using circular motions, and managed to eat. With the cold breakfast out of the way I picked up Rivers’ book, opened to where the page marker is and resumed reading while creaming. I managed this by holding down both sides of the book with sugar and milk containers. Phew!

Its 10:47 AM. Creaming is done. I continued reading until 11 AM. Reluctantly, I stopped to start making lunch. As I stepped away from the cooker, I froze in midstride. I thought I heard the sound of a baby’s cry.

It’s a baby’s cry alright. I wished fervently that its not ShanNom but my neighbour’s baby. I heard the cry again, the unmistakable wail from my boy. Muttering under my breath I picked him from his cot, not as gently as I normally would. After five minutes I had him squealing in delight by throwing him in the air. Baby’s having fun while daddy’s arm muscles are worn.

My lady came back from her meeting by 12:15 PM. Oh thank God! That was my delightful response when I got the door and found it was Njeb. Mercifully, it was not a visitor who wants a slice of the time I do not have.

She relieved me of ShanNom while I focused on fixing lunch.

At the end of the day, my Accounting deadline was unmet, we enjoyed a tasty lunch, the meeting in our home held (we had a quality time!), I finished the book and my arms no longer hurts.

This may not be my craziest moment, but I remember it vividly.

I bet you’ve had crazy moments. What was your craziest moment like?

5 Ways to Support Your Pregnant Wife

Ballet MoveI have struggled to with the notion of publishing this post since May, 2014. You are reading it not because I, the husband of a woman who has been pregnant twice, and a father of one, know everything about how to support a pregnant woman, but because I believe that at least one person will find sharing from my experience, albeit brief, beneficial.

Pregnancy is a wonderful time but one replete with anxieties. It is a period of ambivalence – nine months checkered with, fears and excitement; the worry of whether the unborn is healthy and will turn out fine etc. alternating with the awe of carrying and growing another human! Because a pregnant woman, in addition to worry, has to deal with back pain, swelling (edema), stretch marks, nausea (morning sickness) and fatigue, she needs support, emotionally, physically and intellectually.

Without being insensitive to the plight of single or unmarried pregnant women, I write the following points to show how a husband can and should support his wife.

  • Accompany her to ante-natal appointments as many times as possible: Be there when the Obstetrician is seeing her. She will find your presence encouraging. Also, she will need you to help queue up to pay hospital fees or even to hold her handbag, especially when she is far along.
  • Give domestic assistance: Because of symptoms like back pain, fatigue and nausea your wife will not be as active as before. So, intentionally, do some chores. If you can cook, make some meals for her – even if you have a cook. If you cannot cook, and you have a house help, do something. At least you can serve the food another has made.
  • Be patient and understanding: Be an active listener to her complaints and fears (both real and imagined) and do not make light of them. Satisfy her food cravings as much as you can, and as long as it is healthy for her and the baby. It won’t come easy, but resolve to accept, not tolerate, the mood swings and irritations. For instance, I had to polish my shoes outside the house; we had to give up deodorant and air freshener, change washing and bathing soap, and toothpaste several times because the smell and taste upset my wife. This was easier written than experienced, by far!
  • Educate yourself: Especially if you are having the pregnancy experience for the first time. I recommend these two sites: www.whattoexpect.com & www.babycenter.com. Register for the pregnancy calendar on these sites to receive enlightening and encouraging weekly updates about your wife and your unborn child. Check out the sites with her, or share what you are learning. She’ll ‘feel’ your partnership in the pregnancy experience. My wife and I had fun reading and discussing the articles.
  • Adjust to your wife’s sexual appetite: Some women’s sexual drive goes high during pregnancy, while for others it dips. I had to cope with the latter. It was tough! Be ready to adjust. Also, you may have to change or adapt your sex positions, for the baby’s safety and the convenience of the both of you. Read about it here.

It is important to know that your wife is not acting up or overdoing her symptoms. The hormones are the culprits. Also, remember that the pregnancy experience varies for different people, as a result, the extent of your support is determined by your wife’s unique experience and your, ability, availability and understanding. Whatever your experience, it is a worthy price to pay to be a father. You can check out a week by week outline of what is expected of you as an expectant dad here.

What will you add to these five points?