I am not the world's best father.
I get frustrated far too quickly, I swear too much and I can still be a little selfish if I'm honest. But hell, I am trying and as my son’s second birthday and Father’s Day rapidly approach, I am starting to see some improvements.
I have come to terms with the fact that my time is no longer only mine. I have begun to share my food (granted only with my son, but I believe in baby steps) and I no longer feel like my head will explode when Gabe begins to whine, cry or scream.
So I am getting there.
As a dad, the second year has definitely been a lot more interesting as Gabe has begun to become a person in his own right. That’s not to say the first year was a snooze-fest (we barely slept at all), because my son has always been a bundle of energy, but this year his personality has really come to the fore and the kid is a riot.
He loves cars (I have now watched the Cars movie enough times to commit it to memory), fish (ditto for Finding Nemo), bubbles, his soccer and rugby balls, rough-housing and feeding the dogs. Gabe finds a bouncing ball hilarious, laughs when I throw him in the air and kills himself when we fall over. He also has the craziest laugh I have ever heard…
Gabe hates it when we have to leave in the morning (heart-wrenching) and fights us when he has to go to bed. But that all points to a strong will, something I am happy to nurture.
He is unable to sit still for a second and everything is absolutely extraordinary to him – from a snail to an airplane, the wonder in his face is always the same.
He is picking up new words every day and while he cannot hold a conversation, it will not be long before he can. Though we still need to work on his pronunciation of the word "fox", because his version might not be considered polite conversation… we might need to steer clear of "frog" for now as well.
He continues to grow out of his clothes and he is getting stronger with each passing day. In short, year two has been extraordinary for all of us.
My first year as a dad was a tough one. I have never shied away from admitting that, nor have I attempted to disguise just how many times I fell short of deserving a Father’s Day card. But I like to think I have lifted my game this year and as the weekend approaches, I look forward to my Old Spice and soap-on-a-rope.
Yes, I know that it is not my son signing off on the card, and it’s pretty obvious he doesn’t have the cash to shell out on a gift, but seeing how excited the kid gets when I arrive home after work, and watching him go to bed with the rugby ball I bought for him, I reckon I’m getting a passing grade from the one who matters.
And really – bear with me, because I allow myself some sentiment at least once a year – the only gift I really need on Sunday is some time with my kid.
Read Rob Peters's previous So this is fatherhood columns here.