Flying solo with your baby for the first time is exciting. I couldn't wait for my wife to leave the house.
Much like Top Gun’s Maverick, I’ve always been confident in my own abilities. I don’t let new challenges faze me too much, and I like to think that I’ll always step up when required.
My newborn son was three weeks old, and so far I’d considered myself to be a hands-on dad. I’d been changing nappies, cleaning up vomit and some truly horrendous poo explosions, sharing lots of daddy cuddles and had become a master at rocking him to sleep.
So when my wife asked if I would stay home with our little guy while she had lunch with her girlfriends, I was pumped and ready for action. Now, for the first time, she was handing over full control.
Preparing for take off
We decided the key to a successful solo mission would be preparation. Unfortunately our bub was anti-bottle – for him, it was boob or bust. So my wife gave him a good feed to keep him going while I assembled nappies, wipes, onesies, some jingly toys, and made sure the Top Gun DVD was locked and loaded.
Once we were as organised as we could hope to be, she lowered our sleeping son into the bassinet, gave us both a kiss, and – just like that – she was gone.
This is it, Cam
The first 45 minutes went smoothly. I was half-watching Top Gun at a barely-audible volume and responding to frequent texts from my wife asking if the baby was still breathing.
My son, oblivious to Maverick and Goose’s truly excellent rendition of You’ve Lost that Loving Feeling, softly snored his way through a full sleep cycle.
When he woke up, I changed his nappy, before spending some tummy time on the play mat. Cooing at each other, we watched Maverick and Goose give Iceman and Slider a beach volleyball lesson.
My dad-confidence was growing by the second as I revelled in our first father-son one-on-one, marvelling at the ease of it all.
That is, until the crying started. At first it was a gentle grizzle, but it soon escalated.
I remained calm and ran through the standard baby checklist:
- Nappy – clean and dry.
- Comforter – present.
- Room temperature – within acceptable range.
That left only one possible cause… Hunger.
And there was nothing I could do about it except wait for my wing-man to arrive home with the goods.
Keep calm and don’t call her
As I rocked, cuddled and shushed him as best as I could, I briefly contemplated asking my wife to come home and put me out of my misery, but quickly dismissed the notion.
It would be like admitting that my ego was writing cheques that my body couldn’t cash. No way was I going to let that happen.
It felt like forever. In reality, it probably wasn’t more than 15 minutes before my wife pulled into the driveway. I suppressed the urge to thrust the baby in her arms before curling up in a foetal position.
Instead, I put on my best Maverick-like swagger, gently handed our son over to her, and nonchalantly said: “He just started crying a minute ago. I think he might be hungry.”