I used to play basketball at quite a high level when I was younger, so being in a highly competitive battle is not something overly new to me. The test of who has the strongest will, the most drive, who wants to take out the victory more than your opponent. There’s nothing like being able to sense that victory when the battle is coming to an end.
These days my battles aren’t in the sporting arena, they are all about nap time and the importance of Ruby getting some decent sleep. As far as Ruby is concerned nap time is optional. Each day we have our routine that we try and stick to as much as we can, and every day nap time is always the most difficult time of the day. For some reason Ruby doesn’t like to nap in her cot during the day, she will be so deeply asleep in my arms but as soon as I try and put her down in her cot she wakes up and screams the house down. So the only way to get her to have a decent nap is for her to either be laying on my chest or in my arms, but that obviously can’t happen till she falls asleep.
Getting to sleep is where the real battle lies, and Ruby uses a “no holds barred” approach to trying to stop me from getting her to sleep. It usually starts with her crying and screaming, then onto her kicking, slapping, punching, and scratching, and then she turns to trying to rip out handfuls of my beard. To this I respond with playing lullabies, rocking, patting, and singing to her all with my eyes closed so she thinks I’m asleep to. I’m starting to learn her playbook now though, we will normally go through this for around half an hour and then she will be quiet for about two minutes and then start screaming again and it’s at this point that I know that I’ve got this battle won because the screaming will only last for a few more minutes before it turns into the snoring of a deep sleep. I have won, my will to get her to sleep was stronger than her will to fight the sleep.
One thing that I love is that after our great battle Ruby always wakes up so happy and chatty and seems really pleased to see me. And the best part is, even though we go through this battle a few times a day, we both always know that we love each other and that’s the most important thing!
The time has come and the change has taken place, I finished my last shift at the Children’s Hospital and came home to start the next stage of my life as “Mr. Mum”.
I don’t think there was anything I could do to prepare myself for the first day of it just being Ruby and I, no one there to ask for help, no one there to give me a bit of a break, no one there to help settle her and get her to have a nap, and no one there to watch her so I could go to the toilet by myself. It’s very safe to say that I have gained a much greater appreciation for all of the mothers out there! Who would have known that looking after your child and keeping all the housework up to date would be so hard.
Remember when you were at school and your teacher would be away and you’d get a substitute teacher for the day and everyone would muck up and try and push the boundaries as far as they could, well that’s what my first day as a stay at home dad was like. That day was filled with tears from both Ruby and I. Ruby had decided that because things were a bit different now naps would would be optional. This made for a very grumpy girl and a very frustrated daddy. Five o’clock could not come quick enough, because that meant that Dina would be home and she could work her magic and settle Ruby down. When Dina got home from work I remember telling her “I think Ruby hates me!” To which Dina reassured me that she didn’t hate me and that it was just a rough day and that tomorrow would be better. I really wanted to believe it.
Day 2 came and it was like I had a totally different little girl, she was so happy spending time with daddy. I was a bit smarter with the way I structured our day to. I had strategically planned an outing for us to have lunch with a friend, that meant that I was guaranteed of Ruby having a nap in the car to and from lunch. Because Ruby fell asleep in the car I turned a half an hour trip into an hour long car ride each way. And my plan worked a treat, she had two one hour car naps and then when we got home after having a bit of play time she even had another half hour nap. I was so stoked, I had a well rested happy girl. Day two was great, Ruby and I had a great day together and I was even able to do a load of washing, do the dishes, and cook dinner. Day two was definitely a win!
It was 18th December and I was enjoying a good sleep after doing and afternoon shift at work finishing at 11pm the night before. It’s 6:30am and in a deep sleep when I felt a gentle nudge on my arm, I opened my eyes to see Dina standing there and she tells me as calm as anything “I think I’m having contractions, they started about half an hour ago”. Instantly I was no longer tired- adrenaline had just kicked in. I sprang out of bed and put some clothes on and was ready to head to the hospital. We gave the hospital a call and they told us to just stay at home and try and relax and come in when the contractions are closer together.
About two hours had past now since calling the hospital and the contractions seem to be coming along faster and stronger, so we decided that it was time to go. By the time we got to the hospital the contractions were pretty much back to back as soon as one finished the next one started. We headed up to the maternity ward got admitted and shown to our birthing suite but it was so busy that day that it was about an hour before we had a midwife come in to check on us. By now Dina has been in labor for around five hours and our lovely midwife has finally gotten a chance to come in and see us. She got Dina to hop up on the bed so she can assess how the labor is progressing and much to our surprise she tells us that she’s not going anywhere because Dina was 10cm dilated and we were ready to have our baby! The fact that Dina was already 10cm dilated came as a massive surprise to me because we were only five hours into labor and being our first baby I was expecting to have something like a 20hr labor.
At 12:47pm on 18th December 2014 all our dreams had come true as we welcomed Ruby Harper Shaw into the world and I can undoubtedly say that for me it was love at first sight! For me the whole birthing experience was made so much more special because under the supervision of our midwife I was given the opportunity to actually deliver Ruby and to be the first person ever to hold her and to announce to the room that we had a girl.
As soon as Ruby had been born I passed Ruby over to Dina so they could have some precious skin to skin bonding time and Ruby’s first feed. Unfortunately after a little while of bonding time, Dina had to be taken away to the operating theatre to be put back together due to some small complications that occurred during the birth. While Dina was in theatre it was my turn to have some skin to skin bonding with Ruby. I held Ruby against my chest underneath my t-shirt to keep her warm and I sat there for about an hour just staring in awe of our beautiful little girl. Eventually our midwife came back in to clean Ruby up and make her look all nice for when Dina came out of surgery. When I lifted my shirt up so the midwife could take Ruby we discovered that without me realising, Ruby had taken her first ever poop all over my stomach and chest and much to my surprise, it didn’t even creep me out. The hardest part about the whole poop situation was trying to get my shirt off to clean myself up without smearing it all through my beard and all over my face! I was just so glad that I had packed a spare t-shirt for myself in Dina’s hospital bag, so then I could put on a nice fresh clean shirt. Because of that poopy incident I’ve decided that I’m going to give that t-shirt that Ruby pooped all over to her on 18th birthday as a bit of joke/keepsake (and yes incase you’re wondering, the t-shirt has been washed).
Eventually after what seemed like forever Dina came back from surgery and we just took about an hour to ourselves to just sit together and enjoy our first moments together as a family before we started to let all our family and friends know of the safe arrival of our beautiful bundle of joy Ruby Harper Shaw.
This is a blog about me being a stay at home day with my beautiful daughter Ruby. A blog about the fun times, the trials, and adventures we have as we start this journey of life side by side.
I guess I should start from the beginning. My name is Aaron, and together with my wife Dina we are first time parents to a beautiful little girl named Ruby.
I have always felt like I was born to be a father, ever since I can remember I’ve always loved kids and couldn’t wait to have some of my own. Being the youngest of 7 kids I always tried to be a pretty hands on kind of uncle so with my siblings kids I’d try and get in and help out with nappy changes, feeding, and baiting. And all the time looking forward to when I’d be able to do all those things with my own child one day.
Dina and I decided that it after we had spent the first two years of our marriage as just the two of us and doing things like overseas travel and whatever else we wanted to do, that it was time to take our little family from two to three. Little did we know that it was going to take us quite some time to fall pregnant due to a combination of a few different medical conditions. After four years of trying to fall pregnant I had pretty much given up all hope of us ever being able to have children of our own. Until one day Dina comes home from work and then disappears for a little while and then returns to the lounge room and exclaims “we’re having a baby!”. I was in shock, I couldn’t believe it! I got her to take four more pregnancy tests just to make sure there wasn’t something wrong with the first test, and yep sure enough they all came back positive. But even though we had four positive tests there I still didn’t want to get to excited until we had the conformation from the doctor and it was one of the happiest days of my life when the doctor confirmed that yes we were having a baby.
For me the pregnancy felt like it took forever, I was just so excited that we were finally going to be having a baby. I remember on many occasions talking to Dina’s tummy giving baby pep talks and telling it to feel free to come out whenever it liked. But our little Ruby decided to make us wait an extra 10 days past her due date to finally grace us with her presence, but she was definitely worth the wait!