JK II turns 1

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By Kabelo Mollo

A year ago Wednesday, on a mild winters day, in the midst of the worst pandemic seen in a century I became a dad. I describe it as the best thing I’ve ever done, though in truth all I did was stand by and look pretty while my amazing over achiever wife did the hard work. I’ve said before in this column that I was so overwhelmed I actually failed to cry. I knew though, as the little guy slept on my chest that nothing would ever be the same again. So what have I learned in one year of being someones dad?

The first thing I’ve learned is that I wasn’t anywhere near financially ready for this step. I had taken a number of measures that I thought were preparatory but Gee whiskers these guys are not cheap! I am grateful for the dual income household my wife and I share and continue to wonder how single parents do it. I have a new found respect for single moms and dads. I have opined many times on social media that parents with multiple children must be multi millionaires. I mean, how else are they making ends meet? And whilst on that point, my parents had four children. All of whom were fed, clothed and sent to the best schools money can buy. Did they win the lottery at some point or are my parents secretly diamond mine owners? Either way, having my own progeny has made me appreciate my folks that much more! I am eternally grateful to the both of them and my siblings to be fair who have all deputised as parents to the laat lammetjie!

The second thing I’ve learned is that parenting is a young mans sport! Really and truly! Being a first time dad at 37 is ill advised! I am traditionally a heavy sleeper who sleeps early and wakes up early. Doing two feeds a night for the baby was an interesting challenge for a man getting on in years. I’m only half laughing as I write this because I know some will be thinking 37 is very young. Maybe so, either way the middle of the night feeds were quite a thing, but fortunately I adjusted pretty quickly. What’s been tougher of late is changing this guys diaper. Often the changing has to happen on the bed meaning I have to bend my back for 5 or so minutes. Don’t laugh when I say, I come back from that holding my back crying old age! My wife seems to enjoy that more than pity, and would rather pour scorn on her poor husband. Heart wrenching!

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The third thing is managing a nanny. The house help isn’t there to relieve me but rather the primary care giver. For the first month or so I would deliver a message or instruction to our nanny and rather than carry said instruction out, she would wait to hear what her primary employer thought about the matter. If I didn’t fly off the handle in that period I never will! Which actually rakes me to the fourth and perhaps most important thing. I’m actually a generally patient person. My problem in the past has been that as soon as I lose said patience it takes a while to regain it. So having an infant who cant talk and will at times scream at the top of his lungs for an unknown reason has taught me to extend that patience even further. I am also more aware now that even when that patience has run out, I need to go to the reserve of the reserve tank. Dude will just be screaming for no good reason. On that point, more experienced parents, why don’t these guys just sleep when they’re tired?! Why must it be a whole big palava?!

And finally now that this guy is a year old and is exhibiting signs of personality I have learned to enjoy his inquisitiveness. Luckily he doesn’t talk yet so he hasn’t started asking the dreaded “why” but old boy is up and down the house sticking his fingers in stuff, eating any and everything he finds on the floor. At his grandparents house he’s been given carte blanche and goes in to every room. He loves that! Every room offers a new adventure and opportunity to play with something he’s not to supposed to. I’ve never seen a guy so adept at “ho seba” I don’t know what the translation is but my boy spots an opportunity quickly! He also acts on the opportunity without warning. The other day I absent-mindedly put my glass down in front of me, and in a flash he was there to throw it on to the tiled floor. I couldn’t even be upset because , what was I thinking putting the glass within his reach?

The privilege of being someone’s dad is not one I take lightly. I intend to be as good a role model as my old man has been to us. I will provide for dude to have his wants as well as his needs for as long as I live, and I will to the best of my ability shape the guys world so that he’s a well rounded self aware boy child. Here’s to the next year! Can’t wait to learn more!

Happy birthday JK II!