So late, but how on earth is Peppa Pig not affected by the Cancel culture yet? The list of outdated triggers is endless: the constant fat shaming of Daddy Pig, the predictable archetyping of Mummy Pig — not to mention the subtle gaslighting of Peppa for being a bossy talker.
Then there are the zero-hour contracts under which the indefatigable Miss Rabbit works, Mr. Bull’s polluting building practices, and poor planning of individual housing that clearly fuel car dependency. How do we allow children to be exposed to such off-sound programs? Ultimately, however, one tends to park the serious analysis, because the pig personality gives one ten minutes of peace.
When Cian came into the world of parents two years ago, it was a steep learning curve when it came to diapers, nutrition and care. Becoming a father in your 40s changes the rules of the game, except it makes you wonder if you can keep up with the pace of the pitch.
When my partner Jane got pregnant, it felt exhilarating—yet there were concerns about being physically able to raise a child once the fitness-best days of the 20’s and 30’s are over.
Sleep was certainly the obvious immediate effect. As a night owl, staying up late, reading, or working was a comfortable existence. The birth of Cian meant waking up suddenly in the middle of the night to feed, cry, change or just check in, which every anxious first-time parent will confess.
About six weeks after he was born, the system collapsed and was struggling to adjust to the new regime when a tired flu hit. The body wanted to catch up. And doubts arose as to whether the gear change was feasible.
However, after that the adjustment was complete and I have never felt better. It’s a welcome change. Resetting the internal clock was noticeable. Switching to being an early riser has been a tremendously positive experience that has completely transformed my energy levels, attitude and diet.
The structure around his day disciplined my own routine. You have to adapt to his regime. Although what he ate was obviously different, there were set meal times, and counting helped. As a result, not eating late at night helped with digestion and weight.
The desire to go to bed early to recharge your batteries and be prepared for the unforeseen is revitalizing. When a baby is younger, the naps they take systematically provide an opportunity to rest. Sometimes, especially on weekends, you just lie next to him, watch him sleep peacefully and regenerate.
A sleepless night for a baby is a sleepless night for parents, too, except they nap in the morning and you often don’t. Ultimate Hell Week’s ex-Army Ranger instructors, who torment their recruits with sleep deprivation and sudden awakenings, don’t mind a fever baby crying in the middle of the night. You have to get up and get in there twice as fast.
Human alarm clock calling at 6am is now an adorable sound. The smile is worth it. It was always possible to be one of the early risers, but there was no incentive. It also means I can spend time with Cian early in the day when he’s full of life, so I have to be ready to keep up with his enthusiasm.
Traveling to the Ukrainian border earlier this year to cover the refugee crisis in Poland following the Russian invasion was emotionally draining and definitely tiring, traveling late at night and early in the morning. It was difficult to get by on a few hours of sleep every night – but I found that it was a heavy sleep without the possibility of disruption. It felt like old times not being woken up. And yet I don’t miss the unbroken nights of the past.
Well, a space-traveling bounty hunter who lives by strict beliefs is an unlikely character to identify with. But seeing the eponymous character in The Mandalorian give up his code when a child comes into his world actually made a galaxy far, far away seem strangely close to home.
Identifying with a laser-armed warrior who will do whatever it takes to protect the child he has bonded with seemed fair enough to me after the birth of Cian. “The Dadalorian” is written on the t-shirt that Jane gave me for Christmas after he was born. This is the way.
Reality literally crashed to the ground a year ago when a clumsy trip down a footpath curb landed us both in the emergency room. Cian was in my arms when we took a bad fall. We hit the ground and he got off worse, spent the night in the hospital and got a cast on his broken little arm. Delayed by Covid-19, his christening was three weeks later, so for posterity the photos show him holding his arm up in a blue cast.
Aside from the guilt, shock, and bruises, the trips and falls immediately raised doubts: would reflexes and reaction time have been sharper and quicker at a younger age?
Priorities change when you become a middle-aged father. The concept of weekends has changed. When you have to get up bright and early on a Saturday morning for toddlers’ soccer and Sunday morning for swim lessons, you really don’t want to be out late the night before. However, there is no point in FOMO unless you go to dinner, concerts, or the movies. I know already. Not being there for those moments would really be the fear of missing out. The goal is not to become those parents who later in life say they wished they had been more present with their child when they were younger.
The arguments against having children when you reach a certain age include a fear of not being there to support your child’s adult activities.
Canadian President Justin Trudeau has hailed the benefits of being born to an older father, although Pierre Trudeau was in his mid-50s when his sons were born. His point was that his father was already established in life and they benefited from his experience. However, the discordant note was struck by the observation that his late father, in his 30s, was not there to see his performances. But on the other hand, you never know when the time is up, so there’s no point in getting worked up about it.
If anything, starting over as a parent makes you more aware of your weaknesses and pushes you to make lifestyle changes to ensure you stay fit, healthy, and happy.
They begin to worry more about the physical decline that will inevitably occur as they age. Reading the phone in the dark while Cian takes a nap is certainly not the best way to treat my eyes. However, normal degradation makes me wonder if I’ll need glasses in a few years. No big deal. However, the risk of arthritis over the next 15 years is a concern, as it would affect the ability to participate in activities with him as he grows. When he reaches adulthood I will be in my sixties.
Ironically, when Cian was born, it led to an increased level of physical activity. Whether it’s fresh air or just a nap, regular, steady pushing of the stroller in the morning or afternoon was a constant in any weather – hiking boots and waterproof raincoats were used more than ever during the winter months. But it also increased exercise levels as there was no excuse not to go out. He had to be taken out.
Strangely, once he started walking, the pace slowed to a stroll, but it quickly transitioned to stooping, crouching, and catching on the playground. The eyes you need in the back of your mind became an instinct. Never boring. Keeping up will be the challenge. But it’s worth it and I love it.
https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/life/family/becoming-a-father-in-your-forties-is-a-game-changer-and-ive-never-felt-better-42111723.html Becoming a father in your 40s changes everything – and I’ve never felt better