So, from my first year of daddy-dom, here are - according to Ms Candy's express wishes - 21 things I learnt while bringing up Junior. She did her's in 3 months so obviously, she is a much fast learner!
And I could manage only 17... ab, sales ke bande se 21 likhwane ke liye toh 25 ka target dena chahiye tha!
1. Your importance in the family goes down dramatically. Suddenly, your identity ceases to be anything other than the kid’s father. Actually, most people only write to you because the one-year-old does not have an email address!
2. Your tolerance for yucky stuff goes up manifold. You unflinchingly clean potty, puke and other gooey stuff without batting an eyelid. Actually, after a point, you can clean them even with your eyes closed.
3. You are deeply interested in potty – as a noun, verb and phenomenon. You discuss it with friends and strangers alike, in graphic detail irrespective of whether the kid has a problem or not.
4. You get used to millions of people (including strangers) judging whether your child looks like you or your wife or your side of the family or your wife’s side. And views of consecutive visitors will be diametrically opposite.
5. You start to wonder if you have paid your last insurance premium when your flight encounters turbulence.
6. You never tire of recounting stories about the labour and sleeplessness of the first few days. You have a group of close friends / relatives who would have heard it hundreds of times but they will not tire of it. In fact, they helpfully add details you have forgotten.
7. You and your spouse are blamed for each one of the kid’s bad traits just as your siblings / parents take credit for the good ones.
8. Your entire decoration shifts two feet upwards along with part of the electrical network. This is rendered useless by the ingenious methods used by the kid to reach live plug points and crystal decanters.
9. You will keep track of all milestones – major and minor. This includes things like ringing the bell at the mandir, breaking the space bar on dad’s laptop and lifting a girl’s skirt.
10. Your extremely strict parents (who beat the shit out of you as a kid) look on indulgently as the kid demolishes their entire drawing room. This is the same place where you were denied entry almost your entire childhood.
11. You start evaluating restaurants on the sole criterion of child friendliness and are willing to go to ones with execrable food if they have high chairs and waiters willing to carry the kid around.
12. The childhood icons on your wallpapers and screensavers are replaced with baby pictures (and updated every week).
13. Your friends who are unmarried or without kids look at you with greater respect. They also offer to help and you are surprised at their immediate expertise.
14. You end up living with a camera during all your waking hours and keep snapping. You have to get an additional hard drive to store the pictures.
15. You become completely indulgent of crying babies on flights, naughty babies in public places etc. In fact, you even wonder why the kids are crying or behaving badly (and get scared if this is your future).
16. You realize that one of the nicest sensations in the world is to stroke your own cheek with a little baby’s soft hands.
17. And finally… however much you crib about the problems, you don’t want to give it up for anything in the universe.