bookmark_borderHow to raise a man

Man up, sit down
Chin up, pipe down
Socks up, don’t cry
Drink up, don’t whine
“Grow some balls,” he said
“Grow some balls”

The mask
Of masculinity
Is a mask
A mask that’s wearing me
The mask, the mask, the mask

Samaritans by Idles

We want Jack to be kind, considerate, and thoughtful. We want him to be present, to live a happy life, a healthy life both physically and mentally.

These are not unique desires for a parent, I’m well aware of that, but it’s something we’ve actively discussed and as the main male presence in his life I’m already conscious of the things I say and do that could influence him.

Fundamentally I want my son to treat every person with respect, respect to their gender, their sexuality, their race, their abilities, and to understand and respect the language they use and also to know when it’s HIS feelings and issues that are the problem, and that those issues are for HIM to deal with (and that I’ll always be there to help him with those too).

That’s the goal but how do you do that?

I’m very wary of reciting advice we’ve read/heard elsewhere, or sounding like I think I know it all and this will guarantee Jack grows into a flawless adult (spoiler alert: he won’t) but there are a few simple things I am doing that, hopefully, will help lead him down a path I hope he chooses to take as he gets older:

  1. Being mindful of how I act, and what I say.
    Kids copy so much of what their parents do. How many times do you, as an adult, do something and instantly realise it’s something you’ve inherited from your Mum or Dad. It can be a small mannerism – my Dad used to tap along to music whilst driving the car, tapping his wedding ring on the gearstick, I caught myself doing it the other day – or something more nefarious.
    With the latter in mind I’ve tried to stopping making jokes about, for example, how ‘Mum’s place is in the kitchen’ as not only is it not actually funny, but I don’t want Jack to grow up thinking that attitude is ok.
  2. Acknowledging my mistakes when I make them.
    I think it’s important for Jack to know he’s allowed to make mistakes as long as he knows how to process that and learn from them. I’ll do my best to set an example for him. That means apologising to him if I lose my temper with him, or if I do something he didn’t want me to do.
    The former I’ve already done a few times, when my tiredness and a cranky toddler collide I’ve raised my voice to him and as soon as I’ve calmed down I’ve sat down with him, said I’m sorry and explained why I acted that way and that it wasn’t right for me to shout at him. I’m not sure he understands the words, but hoping he understands the sentiment.
    The latter is a tricky line to tread as whilst, for example, HE wants me to go stand far away in the playground whilst he climbs to the top of the (12 foot high, metal) stairs of the slide, he still occasionally misjudges things and falls over so, no I won’t stand where he wants as I might need to catch him! Again, in a calm voice I’ll explain why I’m not doing what he wants.
  3. Talking openly, honestly, and often.
    Hopefully this will help Jack as he grows, and with practice he’ll come to understand that he can talk to his Mum and Dad about anything, good or bad, and while we will be strict when required, he’ll always know that talking about his feelings is a good thing, and we will always love him, no matter what he brings to us.
  4. Crying.
    As my friends know, I am an emotional guy. I cry at lots of things, songs, movies, TV shows. I won’t be hiding this from Jack. And if I am upset about something, as I can get with thinking about my Dad and how he would’ve doted on Jack, I will cry and tell Jack why. I’ll smile through the tears so he knows it’s ok to feel sad sometimes, and that crying is nothing to be ashamed of.
  5. Loving.
    I tell Jack I love him every single day. I made a promise to him, and myself, that I would do this in some form or another from the day he was born and I’ve not missed a day yet. For now I get to say the words to him, but I know as he grows it might be by text message or whatever mode of communication we end up with in 2035, regardless, I will tell him I love him every day whilst I still can.
    He’ll also hear me say that to his Mum, and see me cuddle her and show affection. I think that’s important too. Love is powerful.
  6. Respecting.
    And possibly the hardest one of all, at least it seems that way, is to teach Jack to respect other people. Flying in the face of mainstream media which, whilst it is changing, is still very misogynistic, I want Jack to understand and embrace consent.
    I can’t recall which TV show I saw it on but so far the best handling of this I’ve seen was a father and son sitting in a fast food restaurant at a counter. They are eating and the father broaches the subject of consent, asking his son if he knows what it means, when the son isn’t sure, the father says it’s simple. When a sporting referee blows the whistle, everything stops. You might question the decision afterwards, you might be annoyed, you might think the referee was wrong… but you stop. That one stuck with me.

I’ve been thinking about how to capture of all this for a while. In my head the title of this post is actually, how NOT to raise a rapist which isn’t far from the truth. I know there will be difficult conversations ahead, one of which will be about rape and how it’s up to MEN to sort that problem out (and presuming he continues to identify as a man then he’ll need to be part of the solution).

I have, of course, no idea how all of this will turn out, I have hope because Becca and I think the same way about all of these things, have personal experiences to bear out our advice, and because we both believe that the more we talk about these things with Jack, and the earlier we start, the more likely it is that he will grow into a good man, that Jack will turn out to be just that.

Which strikes me as something I’ve mentioned before about another man, he was a good man too, so here’s hoping some of him is passed down through me to my own son.

bookmark_borderThe Disappearing Dad

And here we are, half past three in the morning.

I’m the only one awake, in my lap my son is gently snoring, my wife is asleep in our bed, the dogs are asleep on the sofa downstairs. The dark is punctured by a night light, the stillness outside broken occasionally by a car, it feels like the world has retreated, stepped away from this place where I sit alone.

There is nothing wrong with being alone, or feeling alone. In fact I quite like time to myself alone and always have. My sister was born about 7 and half years after me so until she showed up I was an only child, content with my solitude. Then everything changed. Babies have a habit of doing that.

When my niece Lucy was born she was, to me, an amazing tiny bundle of wonder. The first few times I held her I remember instantly feeling very protective towards her, she seemed so small and vulnerable in my big arms. It was the same when her sister Daisy was born; holding these tiny little people made me realise the responsibility of being an adult in their world.

Of course they weren’t my kids so whilst I love them and dote on them when I can, I was always aware that the responsibility I felt towards them was relatively small. While they will always be important to me, their arrival didn’t impact my busy life; with so many places to visit, bands to watch, new foods to try, friends to catch up with, cycling routes to plan, and events to attend that visiting my nieces just slotted into my schedule as and when it could.

I’ve always been a planner, always had a schedule of sorts in my head (or in my calendar because my memory is shockingly bad). It’s safe to say I’m the type of person who likes to be busy, scratch that, I like to be focussed. That can be on any manner of things, a new hobby, watching a movie, or reading a book, but I’m not one to sit too long whiling away the hours doing nothing much so my free time was usually planned out to some extent, even if I did have to include planning days ‘off’ to make sure I found the time to do nothing (harder than it sounds!). The joys of perfectionism and all that.

Then I met Becca and my busy life was suddenly even richer; long wanders together, hills to climb, my love for the great outdoors was fed like never before and as we spent more and more time together my heart grew and grew. We talked often about our hopes and dreams for the future, honestly and openly, including having kids together. Life was good and with our future together agreed, we both knew it was soon going to get even better.

And so it did when along came our beautiful boy, our son Jack.

Having a child is, rightly, life changing. It’s the single biggest commitment I’ve ever had and I can still remember the whirlwind of thoughts and worries that raced through my brain in the weeks leading up to his birth. We’d (skim) read some of the books, taken both an ante-natal class and a hypno-birthing one, so the birth itself was pretty well covered and we had a fair idea of what to expect in the first few weeks once we brought him home but, after that, it all started to be a little vague.

The sense of responsibility for a newborn feels huge, almost overwhelming. How do you figure out if the baby is hungry, or tired, or sore, or… or… or…. the old joke of there being no manual for having a kid holds true and the fact that so much of parenthood turns out to be guess work is, frankly, a little scary. We were lucky that Jack took to breastfeeding straight away, and adjusted our home routines to make sure Mum was always available for a very hungry boy, and (touch wood) he’s been a very calm and settled boy from the off.

Of course there were challenges to get through but it was all manageable, even with the stresses and worries that came along for the ride. Most of these we half-expected from chatting to the various parents we knew – I cannot emphasis the benefits we got from the NCT Ante-natal classes, not just what we learned but having a group of new parents to lean on was a huge bonus – however if you fall into the ‘over protective’ category of parenting, which I do, you may be more prone to worrying about things that might happen and spend a little too much energy trying to plan against those things and, well, let’s just say that I found the first few months of being a parent a little stressful. It feels like I spent most of that time veering between utter joy and delight, and something akin to crippling fear and despair.

With those thoughts in mind, as I recently finished reading The World According to Garp, I found a lot of the thoughts and worries played out in the novel seemed to reflect my own. The outlandish freak accidents that COULD befall my son might as well have had me chasing down speeding cars in our neighbourhood a la Garp. For those who haven’t read the book it is partly “about a man who is so fearful of bad things happening to his loved ones that he creates an atmosphere of such tension that bad things are almost certain to occur.”.

I don’t think I’m that tense nor as overbearingly protective, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that there is always that low level fear in my mind. I joke about wrapping Jack up in cotton wool to make sure he comes to no harm but the truth is if there was some way to guarantee he’d never get hurt I’d take it in a heartbeat., Oh yes, it’s quite a transition from spending your every day not thinking about things that could hurt or maim a child, to spending every second with your son as he charges around the living room keeping half an eye on the corner of the coffee table, or the hard edge of the marble hearth that looks ripe to inflict damage on my precious boy as he stumbles face first on to it.

The nurse handed Jack to me the minute he was born, all wrapped up in a towel that he was already chomping on and I immediately, if slowly, started to dissolve. Looking down at my son, I was at once deliriously happy that he and Becca were safe, full of wonder that he was in my arms, and terrified that I wouldn’t be a good Dad, or be able to protect him from EVERYTHING BAD THING IN THE WORLD EVER. A perfectly rational response, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Of course there is more to looking after a child, and we very quickly realised that finding a routine is everything. My usually week day goes something like this: Wake up, get Jack out of bed, have breakfast, take some time to sit and play before I have to go to work (upstairs). Depending on my day I might have an hour or so free time in the afternoon but mostly I won’t see him until I finish working, then it’s play, dinner, play, bath time, and in bed by 7:30pm. I’ve been the one putting him to bed each night and I cherish that time, sitting quietly with my boy in my arms as he drifts off to sleep.

It seems like a long time ago that going to bed around 11pm was the norm, most nights I’m lucky to make it to 10pm, but I love every minute, but between making sure the routine is kept as well as we can, and making sure Jack is clean, and fed, and stimulated, and safe, it very quickly (and rightly) becomes an all consuming job.

And so, without even realising, life as you used to know it has receded. Your world has shrunk.

You’ve started to disappear.

Disappearing isn’t something you do with a mighty gesture, as tempting as that might be sometimes. Instead it seems to be a slow process with little changes here and there, decisions made with a different mindset than you’ve had in the past, and all with an eye through this new view you have of the world. At some point, months later, you look around and realise you are somewhere entirely new, and you are not the same person you once were.

And it’s wonderful, simply because you have a tiny bundle of smiles and energy that lights up your heart each and every single day (even when he’s having a meltdown because you won’t let him eat his own shoe).

It’s not always easy though and perhaps it’s through the hardest times, the darkest hours of the night, that the disappearing takes it’s true form. It’s just you and your poorly child who wants nothing more than to be in your arms all night, and so you settle in to the chair holding his tiny squirming body and hope that you manage to at least nap. Or the nights when he just won’t sleep and both parents are frazzled and nothing seems to help.

Those times make disappearing from your life to solely focus on the thing that needs you the most the easiest and most obvious decision in the world. It’s what you should do, it’s what is needed, it’s what is right. The rest of the world, the rest of your life can wait a while.

But it does mean that, at times, I’ve caught myself feeling irritated that things aren’t as easy as they used to be and, for someone who can be grumpy at best when he’s sleep deprived, I’ll admit there were times I questioned a lot of things. Being the only person lying awake in the dark, unable to sleep, is an oddly lonely feeling and makes you realise just how far you have retreated from your life, how transparent you have become in your disappearance.

I do wonder how much my feelings of isolation were impacted by the fact I work from home these days, my interactions with others limited to a few moments before and after meetings, and there are some days I don’t even make it outside. Add that to the gigs missed, catchups postponed, my bicycle gathering dust in the shed… it’s no wonder there have been some dark days.

Ohh but you can’t say any of this, no no, you are a new parent and everything must be ‘wonderful’ with this beautiful ‘gift’ you have been given! You can’t talk about it being hard, or depressing, especially as you are just the Dad, it’s Mum who’s done all the hard work!!

And with those thoughts permeating social media, and society at large, it feels harder still to put a voice to the many worries there are to contend with, each day bringing something new to consider to make sure we are doing the very best we can for our son, and I admit I struggled in the early days whenever something didn’t go right, or I made a mistake, the magnifying glass of parenthood meaning I regularly had thoughts of failing our son, failing at fatherhood.

Some days were a struggle, but I am proud that I always showed up and did my best and I know, deep down, that I’m a good Dad and, no matter what, I will be there for Jack and Becca whenever and however they need me. They are my focus, they come first. I’m lucky that throughout all of this I’ve had such a strong, supportive partner, who had helped guide me when I faltered, and is relentless in her desire to make all our lives better and happier. Seriously, the woman is a powerhouse of amazing positivity who has been such a rock for our little family, and I have no doubt Jack is the bright eyed, curious, vibrant and cheeky little boy because of her efforts to nourish his body, heart, brain and soul.

In the darker moments I used to catch myself looking at my life through the lens of the past and wonder when I’ll get back to that busy, easy life I enjoyed. Yet more and more I’ve come to look at the slow dissolution of what I value spending my time doing with a gentle smile. As the changes to my life made themselves apparent I realised that I didn’t miss the things I used to do, at least not as much as I thought I would. Instead they’ve been replaced with new sources of joy, getting a kiss from my son, the way he laughs when I say ‘silly Dad’ and most recently when he points at me and says ‘Dada’.

In an instant my heart is full of joy and whilst I’m not really sure what the rest of the world is up to, I’m confident it is still out there waiting for me, as and when I decide to return to it.

I still can’t really figure out if it was me who disappeared or if the rest of the world that quietly retreated; either way it feels like it was a necessity, a way of creating space to figure out how to live as a father, to reevaluate how to best care for my wife and son. It’s taken almost 18 months but I think we are in a good place, Jack is flourishing, growing, learning, and I feel happy that I am doing the best I can for him.

I am content. I am a good Dad.

And with that I am starting to lift my head and look around again, trying to figure out how to reappear into life. I know it won’t be the same life I had, how could it, but it I know however it turns out I’ll have new perspectives and a different focus. Yes, I think it’s time to look forward, time to add myself to the list of people I care about, and figure out what my new life could look like, as a father, as a husband, a new(ish) me.

I can’t wait.


And yes, I’ve touched on some of this already…

bookmark_borderWelcoming Jack

Hello Jack, my son,

You arrived early, but safely, and the last few weeks we’ve been getting to know you, figuring out your needs and wants, and mostly just gazing at you in utter adoration.

You seem to be settling into life well, and I think your Mum and I are doing a pretty good job of keeping you happy, safe, warm, clean, and fed. The latter is all down to your Mum right now but that means I get to hang out with you, hold you in my arms and, so far, you don’t seem to be bored of my chat although admittedly it’s mostly been silly noises.

You’ve met the family already, Granny Morna, Grandpa Liam and Uncle Robbie were all thrilled to say hello, your Auntie Jen (keeping the family tradition going) had a special t-shirt to wear the first time you met, your cousin Lucy has had a squish and, well, your cousin Daisy is only 9 months old herself so it’s safe to say that neither of you were that aware of each other but that’ll change!

And of course Granny McLean was delighted to meet her first grandson, she’ll definitely spoil you rotten (although I think Granny Morna is up for the challenge). I am a little sad that you won’t get to meet Grandpa McLean, but trust me when I say he would’ve adored you every bit as much as I do.

I’ll roll out some cliches now because they are all true (or they wouldn’t be cliches); since the minute the nurse handed me to you, all swaddled up, I couldn’t take my eyes off you. I’ll happily confess that I cried, tears of joy streaming down my face as I looked at you, and I knew instantly that I’d do anything for you. Anything.

Since you arrived it’s been a whirlwind of feeding, napping, and changing. Ohh and noises and wriggling and smooshes. Lots of those. Cannot get enough of you, holding you, gazing at you… I may have said that already.

You are putting on weight well, feeding well (and often) and so far seem to be very chilled out, laidback little person. It’s fascinating to watch you already becoming a small boy, losing that newborn baby face, and those big eyes (just like your Mum) starting to take in the world around you. You’ve made friends with the dogs too, although right now they aren’t interested at all as you can’t play with them or give them food.

I’m your Dad.

What a sentence that is, so short but so utterly life changing in the most wonderful of ways.

I apologise now for all the bad jokes, but everything else is yours to discover. Your Mum and I will be there every step of the way as you grow, and we can’t wait to meet the adult you, regardless of what choices you make. We will be there for you, and just want you to be safe and sensible, although neither of us are sure how we will help you achieve any level of “being sensible” as, as you’ll find out soon enough, we are both a bit daft.

But we love you. More than I realised was possible.

My gorgeous boy,

Your Dad x

P.S. We have decided not to share many photos of you on social media. Only abstracts for the main part, as we want that to be your decision when you grow up.

bookmark_borderNOT more to life than this

At present, I really only have three topics of conversation.

1. The dogs.
2. The baby.
3. Cycling.

And no, they aren’t in a specific order.

Of course, there is more to life than those three things (apparently?) – those on my Instagram can attest that I’m still treating myself well with delicious foodstuffs if nothing else – and yes I read the news, and yes I watch football and F1, and yes I read books (and yes some of those books are ones about bringing up a child).

I even watched a movie the other day! Tenet if you are interested, an interestingly baffling almost good movie.

Outside of that, with the baby due in 4 weeks, I’m trying to do the rounds of seeing my friends and making sure our home is as ready as it can be for when our child arrives. We’ve sensibly ‘retained’ our dog sitter and the dogs will stay with her for a few days so we can have that time, just me and Becca and the wee smush, to adjust to being home before team chaos return to investigate this small smelly noisy thing that will be turning their lives upside down.

We aren’t worried about the dogs and how they will react. Actually, that’s not entirely true, we do worry that Sasha will use her usual sign of affection and sit ON the baby which, I’m sure you will agree, is less than ideal. Dave we think will either be in protector mode and never leave the baby’s side or will be completely disinterested.

We’ve just finished our wonderful NCT course too and, between that and the amazing hypnobirthing classes, we feel as well prepared as we can be, with the full realisation that we will still be learning a lot as we go.

And there I go again, talking about the baby.

On the other hand, I haven’t mentioned my bikes, one of which has two new tyres and a new chain needing to be sorted, and the other is going to be out and about on Sunday for another FLAB Social Ride. I missed not being out on my bike this last week or so – I managed to hurt my back and was laid up for most of last week – so it’ll be good to be out in the fresh air.

I’m also harbouring ideas, now that the weather is turning, to get back out running with a long-standing ‘do a ParkRun’ goal possibly being realised before the year is out. All part of my secret ‘Fit for Fifty’ plan that is slowly (very slowly at times!) having a positive effect on my physical fitness and my mental health. Hopefully, that means I can take Dave out with me on a run now and then too, which will be good for him as well!

So there you have it, try as I might – I did mention I watched a movie, and I’ve been reading some books too, right? – the topics remain the same.

This makes sense, this is my life, after all, I am the one who made the decisions that brought me here. And I have no complaints, just the realisation that my life is beautifully focused and simple now, there is very little in the way of negativity that can creep in, and I spend the vast. majority of my time on things I love.

I guess my life can be seen to be simple and viewed through the lens of this blog and my other social media channels it certainly appears that way, but that is no bad thing. There are many things you don’t see, things I don’t mention, passions that I retain for myself, and my life feels all the richer for it.

I’ve blogged before about ‘minimalism’ and the like, but perhaps that’s not, or should not, best viewed through the lens of commerce and possessions, perhaps the simpler more minimal life is one where your passions and desires align and bring you riches of happiness every day. Perhaps this is what I’ve been striving for all along and the slow reduction of physical clutter (which needs to happen again soon) has maybe let me pause and breathe and relax into who I am, and what my life has become.

The fact I can boil it down to mostly three things, three things that make me happy every single day, is probably the most telling of all. This simple life.


I’d be remiss if I didn’t conclude this without mentioning the glaring omission, the one constant support these past few years, the one who encourages me, listens to me and is going to be the most amazing mother to our child. Without her, my life would be empty. I am very lucky to be part of her life and so so very grateful we found each other.

bookmark_borderBecoming Dad

Nope. Even writing that title seems weird. I’m not ‘Dad’.

Not yet.

But soon and I guess I’m already starting to feel paternal, I guess this is common for most parents to be with a baby arriving in 2 months, I guess we all go through these same thoughts.

Hopes that the baby will be healthy, that we will be able to keep it safe and loved, and give it all the support and nurturing it needs to be comfortable with whoever they grow up to be.

Fears that something I do will have a negative impact somewhere along the line, and some understanding that that is going to happen to some degree.

As we approach the time when the baby is likely to start thinking about making an appearance, so we are finalising all the little things we need to do and consider. We’ve made most of the decisions we need to make, bought the things we will need (not as many as social media makes out by the way, don’t fall for it!), and the final pieces of prepping are falling into place.

We’ve completed a hypnobirthing course – highly recommended, it was informative, realistic, and definitely has us both thinking calmly about the birthing experience (thanks Katy!) – and have just started antenatal classes which are, thankfully, backing up a lot of what Katy talked us through. We feel as prepared as we can be.

I know life will change.

I know I will cry when I meet our child for the first time.

I know I will change.

And the single word that springs to mind when anyone asks how I’m feeling about becoming a Dad is excited.

I’m not scared or anxious, and whilst there are always the ‘what ifs’ we know we now have enough knowledge to make informed decisions as and when needed, decisions that will hopefully make the birthing process calm and safe for everyone involved.

I’ve learned a LOT these past few months, and will learn more. Not just about birth, or the early days of parenting, but about myself. I’m realising what kind of Dad I will be, as well as the Dad I want to be. I’m understanding where I may fall short and where I need to be mindful of my own actions, as much as where I feel comfortable and secure in what type of parents we want to be. I will make mistakes. I will learn.

As simple as it sounds, as I already know that the world we are bringing this baby into is so full of negative messages, that I will strive to instil a sense of positivity and wonder in our child and, if nothing else, I know I will do every single thing I can to make sure they feel loved, supported and safe.

I/we are also keen to remember who we are during all of this, keen to retain our own sense of identity. I will continue to find time to meditate, to get out on my bike, to go to the gym, to see friends, just as I will support Becca going for a spot of wild swimming, and getting back out on her bike, back to her gym. We work well as a team already.

So I won’t just be ‘Dad’, I will be the ‘me’ I have been learning to be all these years, I just have a little more learning to do, and that will come from our child.

And I can’t wait.

bookmark_borderB-A-B-Y

We aren’t the kind of couple who do grandiose events for such things, my recent proposal would’ve been much the same as it was despite COVID restrictions (in fact it would’ve been exactly the same except we’d have been in a different place and likely had the dogs with us).

And so it was when Becca wandered into our “home office” (aka spare room) one morning, asked how I was, waited for me to babble about nothing of importance, and then, when I asked how she was, paused and simply said, “I’m pregnant”.

We’d been trying for a while so the tears that instantly formed in my eyes were ones of joy and relief.

Since then, the realisation has set in and I’ll admit there is no small amount of terror as well, I mean I’ve barely figured out how to be an adult and now I have to be responsible for a child! Don’t get me wrong, the dogs take some looking after but for most of the day their main concern is how to find the perfect sleeping spot – for those interested, Dave favours lying on the sofa with his head and neck hanging off the edge whereas Sasha is happiest following the sun through the day and then disappearing under a blanket at night.

I digress. We are pregnant. We’ve known for a few weeks now, as have our families, but we are now at the point that we can tell the world.

And I’m so excited and so happy, and while this will come as no surprise to the parents among you, I’m already starting to see the world through different eyes. There is so much to do!

When Becca and I first got together we talked about long-term plans and hers definitely included a baby or two (one at a time!); she’s a few years younger than me but didn’t want to wait too much longer. She was very clear on this and so I had some serious thinking and soul searching to do.

When I was married before, my ex-wife Louise and I discussed having kids but both decided it wasn’t for us (perhaps because even subconsciously at that point we knew things weren’t quite right?) and had told both our families as much. It was the right decision for us and neither of us had any regrets. We reasoned that as neither of us had pushed to have kids despite having been married for several years, and with our lives nicely comfortable, why would we change that? It didn’t feel like we were missing out, it wasn’t something I secretly went along with, I was genuinely quite happy and content with that decision for many years.

So when Becca asserted her desire, a desire I already knew to be fair, it forced me to think about the decision I’d made some 13 odd years ago, did I really want to have kids? Clearly, the answer was yes, and in a way that conversation has been a silent driving force behind a lot of my other decisions over the last couple of years, during which I’ve felt more and more like I’ve found my place in the world, discovered the man I truly am, a man who every day feels lucky, feels loved and supported and who (finally) feels ready to build a family.

I guess all it took was finding the right person to have a baby with to make that decision an easy one. I went for a walk one sunny afternoon and by the time I got home, it was clear in my mind. This is the person I want to be with, the person I want to build a family with. Better late than never!

I’m 47 as I write this and will likely just have turned 48 by the time the baby emerges into the world (they are due to appear at the end of October). I don’t feel my age, just like Becca and I don’t feel the age gap between us, and all my initial worries and fears of being ‘old’ have withered and faded away as I watch this amazing woman grow a new life, watch her deal with the day to day struggles of being pregnant (she’s spent the first trimester constantly nauseous and exhausted) all whilst she runs her own business, is in the midst of creating a new one, and is already clear on a whole raft of things concerning how we will bring up our child.

She is more than ready and capable of being a wonderful, loving, nurturing mother – to paraphrase a certain TV show, Becca was already a mother without a baby to love – and her quiet confidence makes me feel ready and capable of being the best Dad I can.

I think I’ll be alright at it, and whilst there is always the sadness that my own Dad won’t see his latest grandchild, I know he will never be all that far from my thoughts as I already know a lot of the Dad that I will become was borne from the Dad he was to me.

And if nothing else, it’s a whole new subject around which I can get my geek on! What’s the best cot to buy? Do we need a baby monitor with a camera? How do we bring up a baby as ethically as possible? How many nappies do we really need? It is ok to play Queen, and Foo Fighters, and The Chemical Brothers to them from day one? What if they pick up a dog toy and chew on it? (I’m ok with this one, given there are pictures of me chewing my dog’s bone and hey, I turned out ok, right?)

OH MY GOD!! What happens if they take after their mother and DON’T LIKE ICE CREAM!

These and a bazillion other questions rattle around my head on a daily basis, alongside more practical matters like when do we need to start thinking about booking them into a local nursery, which local school is the best option and, if we buy rusks how many am I allowed eat?

We are having a baby.

I can’t wait.