It begins, as it does for all of us, with a birth. Prior to this joyous and alarmingly medical event things were different.
You were probably bumbling along with life. You had free time and money to spend. You weren’t required to get anyone but yourself to the end of each day alive and well.
Chances are you’d never found yourself in a bathroom at 3am wiping poo off your wrists.
Not sober, anyway.
Then the alarmingly medical event happened. And at first, it was straightforward. Feed-burp-cuddle-cry-sleep-poo-feed – you soon got into the rhythm of things.
Then it changed.
The burping and the changing of nappies has stopped, but there seems to be a lot of rushing around completing menial tasks. And you still have to find time to complete your own, personal admin, too; getting yourself dressed; feeding yourself; wiping your own bum.
Then they start talking, and thinking, and learning, and getting the measure of you, and it gets complex.
At some point, the really difficult questions are going to come.
“Daddy…when you gave mummy one of your special cuddles, how exactly did that make a baby?”
Note the use of the word exactly.
“Daddy…how come you tell me to be polite and nice to people? Because, I don’t think the name you call Jonathan’s dad is polite or nice at all…”
And, the one I’m really dreading:
“Daddy…what were you doing in your twenties?”
“Oh…erm…right, let me think,” I’d bumble unconvincingly.
If I were being honest, I would crack open a beer, pour him a stiff Ribena, and dive right in.
“Well son, my twenties were a shambles.
For bits of them I had a lot of fun, and at other times I existed for days on end on a diet of plain pasta. I remember highs, and lows, and not much in between.
It’s really nothing more than blind-luck that I emerged the other side with something resembling a successful life.”
But that’s not going to help.
If I’m going to provide them with the little pearls of wisdom and hard earned life lessons they need, I’ll have to lie.
And definitely change some of the names.
I learnt things – that’s what your twenties are for, after all – but not necessarily things I would like to pass on to my offspring.
I was never a bad person, but I was a naughty boy.
And if that gets out, any authority I currently wield in the dad|THEORY house will disappear quicker than a big bag o’ Haribo at a sleep-over.