Released On 22nd Jun 2021
Brendan's blog: Being a Dad at 18 months
It's been an eventful year and a bit since becoming a new dad, and the fun and new experiences that this brings for everyone involved. Each month has brought a new experience as my son's senses have developed. It has happened so quickly that it's hard to believe he is now 18 months and starting to get very chatty, so we now need to really start watching what we are saying...
The last 18 months have been the most challenging but fun of my adult life. Generally, when you are facing a challenge you might seek advice from someone with more experience, but generally you try and stand on your own two feet. There is no shortage of advice - you need to be thick skinned at times with all of the 'advice' floating around! The best thing to do is remember that not everyone is an expert just because they have managed to spawn an offspring. There are no doubt plenty of wrong ways to do things, but no right way. So feel free to completely ignore my 5 tips from the first 18 months!
The smartphone is one of the most useful tools to a new parent. You can text, email, call and order a new supply of nappies, all with the one hand. But when your 9 month old seems to know how it works, you get the sense that maybe you've been overdoing it. It might be a long shot, but I'm guessing there are more important things for a 9 month old to learn than how to pinch and zoom Google maps on a smartphone screen! So small screens are now banned around my son which has had the added benefit of proving that I don't actually need the smartphone permanently attached to my hand. In any case, there's no feeling like my son bringing me his favourite book, then sitting on my lap expectantly, like I am the greatest storyteller the world has ever seen.
Childcare selection has been one of the harder things. You want to get it right, but it's hard to know what you're looking for when you register at 3 months old for a place at a nursery your child may not attend until he is 12 months old. It pays to start the search early and have an idea of the things you don't mind compromising on (e.g. Distance from home; number of babies in the room) and those you don't. All childcare options have pluses and minuses and it depends on your own individual circumstances which type you end up going for.
Eating out with a baby was easy until around 12 months old, particularly if they are mid-nap. Make the most of it; as soon as they can walk they will either inhale their dinner in seconds or reject it altogether before wanting to run off and explore the restaurant, focusing mainly on things they can't have. Knives, candles, glasses, I'm talking about you!
There is an inverse relationship between the amount of time you spend cooking for your toddler, and the amount of time it takes him to reject the food. Don't let it upset you…he will eat when he’s hungry enough.
Enjoy time off and let your friends and family help - there are normally a few eager and willing helpers. My wife and I enjoyed our first night together away from our son recently. Waking up at a reasonable hour, followed by being able to read the Sunday papers in peace was a simple pleasure, but worth its weight in gold!
Brendan works full time as a Senior Analytics Manager. This blog was written pre-Cvoid, and his son is now growing up with a love for football, reading and Lego.