Plenty of time to make connection

Last updated 14:03 09/02/2013

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OPINION: Regular readers may recall after Zach was born, I was concerned about not having a connection with him, writes Mark Hotton in And Baby Makes Four.

I've since discovered that's quite normal for new fathers - not everyone has that tidal wave of emotions at the birth or even in the early days. In fact, many find some sort of distance remaining for several weeks, which actually makes sense.

Mums have far more opportunity to connect - perfectly logical of course. It's not usually the bloke doing the feeding and creating that bond, and they're usually back working after a few days so the time available to be spent with an awake baby is also limited.

I haven't mentioned this until now because I didn't want you to think I was simply repeating myself. But so far Piper and I haven't really got on that well.

While she's quite like Zach to look at, it's clear they have different personalities.

Zach was quite relaxed and chilled for most of his early months, while she can crack it at any point. And when she's upset about something, she wants the whole room/house/street to know about it.

With a cry that's a cross between a peacock with toothache and a demented fog horn, it can be quite a challenge to console her. Usually the best option seems to be a feed for the little guts, which of course rules out any further involvement by me.

We also don't spend that much time together, and certainly not as much as I did with Zach - understandable because he was our only focus. Now we have her and him, so instead of Suz and I being able to equally split our time with her, I have to look after Zach more. If that makes sense.

There was a week where I didn't hold her. At all. I only realised this when I picked her up and was surprised by how heavy she'd got. It was a combination of painting the renovated rooms and late nights at work - not a case of disinterest - that meant I was never there when she was awake. And we all know you never wake a sleeping baby.

But I'm less bothered about a lack of connection than I was with Zach because I know it will eventually come.

In fact, even this week it's been obvious things are improving - I'm beginning to get big toothy smiles, there's a bit of attempted conversation (from her) and she's enjoying bath/shower time with me much more, when I get a chance to do it.

But it's not easy when there are two little nippers to make sure I get enough time to share with her. When I get home from work, I try to spend time with Zach - at the moment that involves checking the chickens and getting peas for him to eat, followed by some intense rough and tumble.

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Then there's the usual challenge of getting food into him and then ready for bed. It seems a bit unfair to spend time with Piper when he's obviously wanting some attention and she's not too bothered.

I think we'll get on much better when she stops doing her peacock impersonations, too.

Mark Hotton is a journalist who is regretting accidentally teaching his son a wrestling move from Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka, because it hurts.

- The Southland Times

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