Every morning when I wake up and see Min laying next to me it’s like I’m seeing her for the first time. It’s incredible, being reminded I’m actually someone’s dad.
I guess it’s still early days, and it’s such a massive change that my brain still hasn’t quite adjusted. It’s kind of like when you were younger and you slept at a friends house, when you woke in the morning, for a split second you’d have absolutely no idea where you were.
As I turn to look at Min, before I get halfway through saying ‘Good Morning’ she gives me the most beautiful smile. These started bang on 6 weeks which some sources say is when new borns can first start properly smiling.
I’m so lucky that she hasn’t stopped beaming, every morning without fail she is there to greet me with that angelic grin.
-I’ve slept with a camera next to my pillow twice to try and film her morning response to me, but I haven’t had the heart to interrupt her, Hopefully I’ll catch it before she grows out of it.
It’s been an incredible first few months.
After her arrival Min and Mum were kept in hospital for a few days as Mum was quite poorly after the birth.
It was a strange feeling, almost like living a double life, I’d spend the whole day with my new family on the ward and then come the end of visiting hours I’d return home alone to our empty house.
I couldn’t find comfort by imagining having Min at home because it was too much for my brain to compute, this was my life now…hospital at 10am, home alone at 8pm.
After a few days it felt like the norm but Mum was struggling on the ward, her blood pressure was still far too high to leave, but the nurses observed that the anxiety of still being in hospital and the stress of not getting home could be what was tipping her over.
Finally after 4 days the hospital allowed us to leave but would be sending round a nurse once a day to check Mum’s pressure.
We arrived home late in the evening, I’d hung some bunting up through the kitchen and out on the terrace during my stint as ‘Goodnight Sweetheart’* but we spent the following 4 days camped out downstairs in the smallest room of our house (Min’s room). We didn’t have the capacity to do much else other than stare at our little bundle of joy, occasionally admitting to each other that it felt like someone could turn up any minute and ask for her back!
Friends and family came to visit and we were all sat on cushions huddled round the baby on the floor (why didn’t someone remind us we had a whole house?!).
Shopping lists took hours to compile “….nappies, yeh we’ve got that…ummmm, more wipes, yep…have we said nappies?!”
and we quickly realised we could only attempt one errand a day. ‘We’ve got to send out thank you cards, we need to write them out, then we’ll need to buy some stamps, and we’ll need to post them’ That took 5 gruelling days, 2 of those were just thinking about doing it!).
Wow, those first days at home seem like a lifetime ago now. I was literally on cloud 9, so full of love and positivity, it was amazing. We were absolutely bowled over with the response to Min’s arrival from all of our friends. Everyone we know took the time to send over their best wishes and were all so eager for news on how she was getting on.
We had a knock on the door from the postman every morning for 3 weeks to deliver letters, cards and parcels full of presents for Min. We were truly spoilt, and extremely grateful!
This early on both me and Mum couldn’t trust ourselves to be asleep when Min was so I took the night shift.
I would sit with Min in my arms from around 10pm at night right through to 9am the next day. Slowly cradling her back and forth, keeping her tiny little hands wrapped in her blanket and stroking the frown out of her little forehead…and occasionally shouting her name in a panic and nudging her when she had fallen in to such a deep sleep that I couldn’t tell whether she was still breathing. I still do this now, whenever I check on her when she’s asleep I have to disturb her until she moves, then I know she’s still alive, poor thing!
It was a mix of all our friends and these night shifts that spurred me on to start editing the footage of Min in to short films.
Throughout the days I would naturally have my camera within arms reach at all times and had started to accumulate a fair bit of footage, but what would I do with hours of close ups of Min’s little fingers and toes?
I started with Min’s first bath at the hospital. As the nurse explained to us how she should be washed (and advised ‘Don’t use a hair drier on ‘um, I did on mine and she went all red!’) I stood beside the little tub and filmed Min as she wriggled in the water for the very first time, toes stretched out and fingers clenched into tiny fists. I set it to some music and ‘hey presto’ the first Minnie vid was made.
The response to all the films has been lovely. It’s so nice that people have taken the time to watch them and have enjoyed them. Not only that, they’ve then gone to the bother of writing to us to let us know they’ve watched them. That’s just ace, and really spurs me on to keep going with them. Thank you very much!!!
I’ve continued to film like mad and I hope to keep going as Minnie grows, but I’m also very conscious not to miss out on actually ‘being there’ and experiencing things first hand. It’s a fine balance between checking that Minnie is in focus and actually looking right into Min’s eyes and letting her know I’m there with her, listening to her little gargles and squeaks.
As much as I’d love to catch those first words or her very first steps on film I will unfortunately have both my hands completely full, poised and ready to catch my giddy little girl as she comes hurtling towards me
…Then I’ll get her to do it again straight away for the camera
*A British sitcom where the main character has a double life, one set in the present day and the other in WW2