Fatherhood–The Toddler and the Thirty-Four-Year-Old Boy

Almost two years ago I composed a rather popular piece on fatherhood. It had to be done. Although I don’t define myself simply as a parent, I do recognise that I’m viewed by most as being one ahead of anything else I might perceive myself to be. That’s fine. It makes perfect sense.

Having just read through the original post again, I can confirm little has changed in terms of my feelings. Caellum is still the light of my life, time is still passing by much too quickly, and I’m still desperate to make him proud.

The majority of the changes since that post have been situational. I’m now a working man, so life has to be planned around that. I no longer live with Caellum and that impacts when and how often I see him. I’m battling to manage my finances, health (physical and mental), and fitness with varying degrees of success across each facet. All the while, I’m striving to keep things as normal as I can for Caellum so his life isn’t disrupted any more than the situation calls for.

He has been impacted by the changes though. It’s unavoidable. He’s generally such a happy little boy who wants to play and cause mischief like any other child. He’s extremely pleasant and brings smiles out of most people who see him. There’s a curiosity in him that strikes a chord with me, not to mention a silly streak I definitely relate to.

Underneath all of that is a very under confident lad who’s scared of his own shadow and not willing to try much of his own accord. He can’t stand being far away from either me or his mum. Half of the mornings he’s taken to nursery involve him saying how much he doesn’t want to go and then crying when he’s left there. His diet is far from expansive and he’s not prepared to try most new things he’s introduced to.

It hurts to see the ways in which he struggles. He’s a human being, so it stands to reason he’ll have idiosyncrasies that are more negative than others; however, some of them make me worry for him as he grows up. I’ve always struggled with self-confidence and I know how debilitating it can be. Like Caellum does with nursery, I convince myself I don’t like doing certain things or going to certain places and it ultimately grows into a fear of whatever/wherever it is. These are little things I didn’t want my boy to suffer, but it would appear he’s either contracted them inherently or through watching the way I am.

That makes me feel bad. I don’t want to put anything negative into him. I want him to be confident and daring. A hint of wariness is fine. Flat out not trying things because you fear the unknown isn’t. Caellum deserves to have the confidence to do things without thinking too much about them and concentrating too heavily on the potential negatives. It’s up to me to instil him with that confidence.

I’ve always been extremely honest about parenthood. If I could have chosen then I’d never have been a father. It wasn’t what I wanted at all. Now that I am a father I wouldn’t change it. I’ve never known love like this in my entire life. I can—and often do—sit there and just watch him with a huge smile on my face. When he sleeps, I’ll look at him and it feels like my heart could actually explode with all the love in it. I swear there simply isn’t enough space in my body to contain all the love. That might be why I don’t appear to be losing my beer gut despite the improved diet. Is the love storing itself in my stomach?

One thing I struggle to get my head around is the fact my baby isn’t a baby anymore. He’s a little boy who plays independently, feeds himself, forms coherent sentences, brushes his teeth, and a host of other things a fully functioning person might do. His latest accomplishment is learning to use the toilet (most of the time!). I see photos of him as the helpless, chubby little thing he once was. My initial reaction is one of immense affection. It’s immediately followed by pure grief. How I crave to hold that tiny human in my arms again. It hurts so much that I never will. That isn’t, in any way, my way of saying I’d like to sire another child. I most definitely do not! It’s Caellum I want to be a baby. I don’t want to create another life just to enjoy that feeling again. Besides, there’s so much about the here and now I love more than when he was a baby. Having conversations with him is arguably my favourite thing, not including the kisses, cuddles, and his continuing obsession with playing with my hair using either his hands or feet!

Seeing how seriously he takes his playtime brings me out in big smiles too. Watching him become—and truly believe he is—one of the Power Rangers with his sword and ninja moves transports me to my own youth. A simple walk to the shops becomes an episode of Blaze and the Monster Machines. I hear the words “Wet’s Bwaze (Let’s Blaze)” and know I’m about to go on a leisurely jog whether I want to or not! It’s all so serious and fun at the same time to him. I know it is because I’ve been there and I remember it well. Play is a child’s work.

The days I’m in work and not seeing him drag so badly. I fill my spare time with writing or simply allowing my mind a rest from a life that seems completely nonstop at present. I’m having to adapt to some big changes just as much as Caellum is, which is taking somewhat longer than I thought it would. There’s also that niggling feeling that I’m unable to progress in the way I want to owing simply to the fact I’m not earning enough money. This is important to me as I yearn for a place of my own that Caellum can treat as his own too. In order for this to happen I need more money. The pressure is on to make that happen, yet my life is already so busy that I genuinely can’t find the time to put time into pursuing my desired goals. Am I remiss to reference the rock and hard place scenario? I mean I know I have it far better than many out there.

I don’t feel bad for wanting more out of my life; it’s for Caellum’s sake that I want more. He deserves it even if I don’t. He’s too young to go out and get more, so I’ll have to. At some point I know I’ll need to sit down and take stock of everything before creating a solid plan that I don’t deviate from even if it’s really hard. I have no excuse not to once things settle down for me a little. Even if I did have excuses, not one of them would be as big or as important as my little boy. Next to him, everything pales into virtual insignificance!

21 thoughts on “Fatherhood–The Toddler and the Thirty-Four-Year-Old Boy

    1. Haha. He wouldn’t try it on himself, so the burden fell to me.

      He actually looks a lot like his mum and brother as well. Obviously I’m biased, but we created a handsome little bugger, even if he does have a tendency to drop a resting retard face 😂


  1. What a sweetheart! This is an absolutely wonderful post and as someone who is helping raise two nephews and a niece, I agree with you on so many levels. If I’d been given the choice, I would have said no, but now, I wouldn’t change a thing.
    Your love for him is incredibly evident… he’s a very lucky boy to have you has his dad. (:

    Liked by 1 person

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