So far everything has been incredibly…. Normal…

Pip is 17 days old today. And so far, everything has been… exactly as I expected.

I’m no stranger to babies and infants. I’m a member of not one but two enormous extended families. My mother was one of six, my father one of four. I have about thirty two cousins, many of whom are old enough to be reproducing themselves. My “little” brother (now 27 and 6 foot 6) is 14 years younger than me, so I was changing his nappies and helping raise him when I was a teenager. And I have a three year old niece. Lets just say I’ve been around a lot of babies and kids!

So little Pip has so far presented no surprises. I helped him be squeezed out early one morning after an incredibly normal 38 week and two day pregnancy. The labour was incredibly normal, requiring no intervention and no pain relief. And life since has been exactly as expected. Pip feeds every two to four hours, is asleep for most of the rest of the time, except for maybe two fifteen minute periods awake a day when he’s not actively hungry. He poos his nappy about six times a day. He drank too much and got a bit colicky, and has managed to pee in his own face about four times. The perils of owning a penis!

Like I said, all incredibly normal. They tested his hearing in the hospital – it was normal. He lost some weight after birth, also normal, then started putting it back on hand over fist, which is, you guessed it, normal.

We’re both tired, in the last couple of weeks the longest uninterrupted block of sleep D has gotten was three and half hours. I’ve been tending to stay up late just watching him so she can sleep. But again, this is more or less exactly as I expected. Even the occasional poo accident, such as today where his nappy leaked all over D’s belly, was on the agenda months ago.

We had his two week checkup yesterday. There’s a simple list of things he’s supposed to have “achieved” by now such grasping fingers, look at sources of light, all of which he’s doing. If this keeps up I’ll have nothing to blog about!

Going Gently into That Good Parenthood

Do not go gentle into that good night – Dylan Thomas

So, that poem is a bit more morbid than this entry deserves, it is after all about death. But I just love that line so much.

I’m probably an older dad. I say probably because at the birth classes we went to in December, there were a lot of cracking knees when we had to get off the floor after one exercise. I’m 41 and Pip is my first child. My father was 26 when I was born, and my mother 31 – which was quite old for a first child back in 1971. In fact, my father was this age when his third child was born.

But there’s something to be said for being an older dad. Being a parent involves a lot of sitting around at home, looking after a kid and one’s partner. Which is, you know, kinda similar to what I was doing before Pip came along. My days of going out late drinking or spending evenings in disreputable bars listening to live music were already over before I had a kid. And I don’t mind, I’ve done a lot of stuff in the twenty three or so years I’ve been an adult.

Some examples. In February 1997, I saw Something for Kate’s 4th ever gig. In late 1990, early 1991 I spent three weeks at a party in Hobart (of all places). I’ve traveled around the world – literally – MEL-SYD-LAX then Washington, NY, London, Paris, Berlin, Prague, Lausanne Switzerland, Phnom Penh. I’ve seen the inside of the United Nations building, including the security council chamber. I’ve barbecued snake at a restaurant in Siem Reap, ridden the NY subways, stood outside the White House. I’ve been to concerts by Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson, Iggy Pop, Kraftwerk, Ben Harper, Primus, The Melvin’s, Public Enemy (6 times over 20 years), Bob Dylan, Devo, and hosts of other bands like TISM, Blood Duster, The Beasts of Bourbon, Regurgitator, and Pre_Shrunk. I’ve seen the stage at the old Punters Club set on fire by some fire-breathing gone wrong. I once carried a small Japanese singer on my shoulders at a gig at the Tote.

I’ve acquired a huge collection of music and books, I’ve been in eight or so major relationships, I’ve lived in five share houses over 13 years, I’ve hosted many a party and been to probably hundreds more. I’ve made (and lost) more friends than I can keep track of, and had what must be thousands of conversations over the years. I’ve had my own radio show on a student-run radio station, I ran a small group of direct-action activists for a period, met the artist Vali Myers, been interviewed on the radio by Red Symons, got married in front of a cardboard TARDIS, ridden a bike through the Burnley Tunnel and… Well, you get the idea, I’ve done stuff.

And I suspect if I tried to relive any of this stuff, I’d be disappointed. I suspect that if I dragged myself to one of my old favourite music haunts, I’d probably find the bands reminiscent of something I’d heard years before.

So, now, I’m pretty content to be at home with my new and interesting hobby – staring at a small baby.

Some days I do think of things I haven’t done and would like to. The band Einst├╝rzende Neubauten, whom I have been listening to since about 1991, are doing a very rare Australian tour. They’ll be in my town in a few weeks. I’ve never seen them play live, but this early in Pip’s life, I can’t spare the time. More importantly, I can’t leave D here alone for a whole night just to go to a gig. And…. I suspect I’d be disappointed. The band has changed a lot over the years, and what I really want is to see them playing under a highway underpass in 1982. So if anyone has a time machine…. I will probably still get a tattoo of their logo.