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5 signs you're in Dad Mode

Updated: Feb 13


I'm in full on Dad Mode now. I'm not sure when it fully kicked in. Some say it's as soon as you leave that hospital and have had the obligatory corridor snap holding the carry cot. The steady walk back to the car in the middle of the night. Discharged after hours of skin on skin time, secret chair dozes and half a Snickers. I'm sure others will have had different epiphany moments. The moment you realised you're all in. For a good long while. Whenever it happened, I know I'm fully and beautifully absorbed now.

How do you know? What exactly do you mean? I hear you. I thought it would be a tough one to put into words, but, as I drove back from the local Adventure Farm with my wife, 2 year old and 3 month old, the faint smell of free sheep pellets wafting up from the torn bag in my coat pocket, I realised it really isn't. When you have a second to process how your life has changed, of course for the better, take some time to actually think about the small details. Say them out loud perhaps, I dare you. Here are mine.

1. I can tell you every detail about every Derbyshire softplay venue within a 30 mile radius of my house. I'm not sure I'd even heard of softplay before Noah was born. Maybe I hadn't. Maybe it never even existed. Invisible to the adult eye until you are with child. Like Santa's secret toymaking facility. I've made up for lost time now. Need to know which has the least death traps for a 2 year old? No worries. Which does the best breakfast? I'll talk you through the menu. At a glance I know which squishy rollers I can squeeze though and which are a definite no go. I choose my trousers for the occasion depending on the slide and its G-Force.

2. I'm unsure if this one is a bit niche or a universal struggle. Number 2 is the toddler transition into a nappy for the drive home snooze and transfer into bed. Picture the scene. I'm finishing up at softplay. Energy is low and emotions are high. My son is fatigued, too. He's done really well not to wee himself in the ballpit, but he has had a juice. You know, one of those he can handily grab himself as soon as he enters the establishment. Taking him to the toilet to pop a 'naptime nappy' on is a no-go when he's snoozy. He'll fight me all the way.


He's very good at squirming too. Once I tried popping him on the driver's seat with me (handbrake on) and slipping a nappy on. It worked a treat. He didn't even know it was happening. He was too busy testing my wiper blade full speed and making sure my wing mirrors were in. Then out. Then in. Since that day, this has become our routine when a danger nap is possible. Sometimes, when I'm in a car park, I have a little peek around. Just to check for excessive wipers on a dry day. I see you.

3. Pre kids, we loved our travel. Not an all inclusive in sight. I love an inclusive, don't get me wrong. It was just a different travel time of life. Travels further afield; planning exotic adventures using only TripAdvisor and a spreadsheet...there was a bit more risk involved back then. What if the tuk tuk taxi didn't show? What if the 4am driver never appeared to collect us from our jungle hut? Nowadays, I very much do not want risk. No way. For now, I want the closest airport, the shortest flight and the simplest transfer. Who knew Majorca would become our second home.


Anyway, we once visited a temple in Bangkok. Famous for its reclining Buddha statue. If you're not familiar, it's very similar to the image above. I raise it not because of any particular memory associated with it, but simply because I have realised (after being told many times) that this is the position I adopt at every toddler play session. Vehicle line ups. Puzzle solving. Reading Zog. You'll find me there. Reclining.

4. I know every creaky bit of floorboard in our house. I realised this the other night when it dawned on me that my wife very much does not. If it was an old school game where you lost a life every time you made a noise by stepping on the wrong bit of carpet, she'd be hitting continue. A lot. I wouldn't. I'm like a young Indiana Jones up there. Carefully navigating my way to the holy grail of an early night for my son. One wrong move and I've blown it.

I creep out... white noise booming, tip toeing over the safe spots, finger tips finding the door knob instinctively in the darkness. I set my balance, take a breath and gently turn the knob…

5. Pockets full. I thought this was bad when I was just a Dad to two dogs. Poo bags, treats, more poo bags. But the game has evolved. Two kids has meant more full pockets. In fact, I don’t think I ever have an empty pocket these days. As I check now, here is the contents of my current attire:

2 x emergency nappy sacks

1 x green apple lollipop. Fully wrapped. Confiscated sneakily from a Birthday party bag.

3 x breakfast snack bar wrappers. Soggy.

4 x Duplo pieces. Dropped after Noah fell asleep playing with them in the car. To lose these would be a travesty. It would prevent the successful completion of the ‘diggerator’ (excavator). And no, it would not be possible to use other pieces. He knows.

5. A snotty tissue, full of Nursery germs.

6. A folded Christmas card he made at Nursery. Stained with what appears to be butter. It’s not coming into the house.

So there you have it. 5 signs that my world has changed completely. Really fun to acknowledge, you know. I recommend you give it a go.


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