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Small (baby) steps and a giant leap (of faith)


I will very imminently be going on paternity leave as daughter #2 is due to arrive in the coming days. I won’t lie to you, this blog was a bit of an afterthought; by ‘imminently’ I actually meant “I’m leaving the office in about 60 minutes to go on paternity leave”.

I was very keen to write something about it – but unsurprisingly my mind has for the most part been elsewhere; making sure hospital bags are packed, making sure we have child-minding cover for our 2 year old, making sure our 2 year old kind of knows what to expect, deciding on a name, working out ways we can avoid the dreaded ‘double buggy’, being amazed at the amounts of new born clothing we have, washing said mountain, getting back into that mind-set of ‘does this need sterilising? – let’s sterilise it anyway!’ and, of course, making sure my wife is happy with the levels of Häagen-Dazs in the freezer.  That, along with being at work, doesn’t leave much time to write a blog.

So, here we are, 54 minutes from leaving for 3 (or maybe 4) weeks and I’m wondering what to write about.  Actually it’s 52 minutes now as I’ve just re-read the above – and it’s hit me; uncertainty. Or rather – the joy of uncertainty.

You can attach that to anything; having a baby, work, lifestyle, sports, travel – and there is a certain beauty to not knowing an outcome.  Of course there’s a definite comfort in the safe and secure – particularly where our families or livelihoods are concerned – but in a way don’t we also live for those moments that require a bit of spontaneity? I’m not saying we abandon knowledge, due-diligence or common sense – but nothing quite compares to those times when we take a bit of a leap of faith without the security blanket.  Those slightly scary moments.

It could be the conclusion of a deal at work, the nervousness of whether you’ve beaten your PB on that half marathon, the last 20 minutes of a flight into a country you’ve never visited before or, indeed, having a baby. In fact, being a parent at all qualifies pretty well.

Reproduction is the one thing our species have always done and always will do, yet there are endless mysteries surrounding this most fundamental of human endeavours. When my wife and I get back from the hospital with our first daughter we fell onto the sofa, considered this new family member in their cot in the middle of the room, looked at each other and said ‘now what?’. And don’t even get me started on those weird black tar poos in the first 2 days – no-one told me about those!

Now, a great life example of spontaneity is not knowing the sex of a baby until they arrive – and I’ve not taken my own advice on that one. We already know it’s a girl but I have to admit, it was partly to understand in advance the levels of recycling we could do with our existing baby girl clothing, and partly that it’s just too big a piece of information to not know!  Let’s be clear, my rule doesn’t apply on that issue – it’s a step too far. I really just don’t know how people do it.

Anyway, it’s now 27 minutes to go and I really should tie up those last few lose ends. I know I’ll forget something or leave something crucial at the office which I’ll realise tomorrow – but, hey, maybe there’s a beauty in that.

- by Tariq Siraj

Posted by: Beament Leslie Thomas