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War stories with my fellow soldiers

War’s funny. It involves the greatest of challenges: maintaining steely-eyed, teeth-gritting patience in the midst of a very stressful situation.
And when you have been to the front, you fight with your brothers at your side and you return, head spinning and ears ringing, back to your home.
And at home, those who haven’t been to war just don’t get it. They don’t know what you’re going through, they don’t know what you’ve been through.
I understand. I was one of them, too. I looked at soldiers and marvelled at what they’d done, and wondered from afar what it must be like to be in their shoes.
And now that I’ve been there and now that I’m being there, I talk to fellow soldiers and we wink at each other and trade war stories with big grins on our faces, overflowing with pride. We wink at each other as if to say, “Yeah, yeah, I totally know,” and move on. And we love every bit of the challenge, even if it’s hard sometimes.
This is what being a father is like. It is a test of one’s character, patience and, at times, sanity. Non-dads, sorry to say, just don’t get it. I revel in talking to other new poppas about our little YY and all the things we do in raising our boy. I revel in hearing their own experiences.
It indeed is a swapping of war stories. We’ve both been to the front, we both get it, and we both can talk to each other about it. For others, who have not been there, they’ll understand in due time. Just not now, not until they become a parent.

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Scottishness reveals its roots

Well, little YY is more than eight months old but his head is like a cannonball. Without warning, he’ll swing his head and clock you right in the sweet spot, as is the tradition of the Glasgow kiss. Begbie, Renton and company would only be so impressed – and envious, even.

A few weeks ago, he got me square on the lip as evidenced in the photo, leaving me with a nice little blood blister for a few days. Hey, I’m no MMA fighter, especially not when I’m playing with my son, so I’m not always wearing my mouthguard. Hell, I don’t even have a mouthguard.

And then this morning, I was saying goodbye to X on the balcony when little YY swung his head back and cracked her right square in the sweet spot of the nose. She immediately buckled down, pain shooting through her entire head, as I picked up a wailing YY and tried to comfort the little guy.

Needless to say, both are fine. X is still smarting, and worried that the area around her nose may be turning purple. YY is fine, as usual, but that likely comes from sporting a huge, solid noggin that we’ve learned is in the 95th percentile for head size. Considering that we’ve both been the recipients of YY’s Glasgow kiss, we’re well aware that he is definitely most half Scottish. How else can it be explained?

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Anxious separation

Little YY has been a tough little angel since being born – taking 30 hours of sweet time to make his entry into the world from X’s womb, banging his head a few times, taking vaccinations without even a flinch on his third visit to the doctor and now… all of a sudden, we are subject to sleepless nights once again.

As people have told me, once you think you have it figured out, the kid pulls out another card and surprises you with a whole pile of new challenges.

This time, little YY just couldn’t sleep more than an hour at a time without properly freaking out and crying endlessly. A very tired X would pull herself out of bed, pull herself together and march to the crib to tend to little YY, who would then stop crying as soon as he’s aware that one of us is in the room taking care of him.

We weren’t sure what was wrong but it was getting bad. He would go an hour or two without going back to sleep and this was taking its toll on both of us.

We did some Google sleuthing to find out what the hell was happening, and turns out it’s something called separation anxiety. Babies pick this up around 6 months to two years old, and it can last for a few months unless it’s nipped in the bud.

It’s quite fascinating, actually. Babies don’t have a real sense of self in the beginning. They aren’t even aware that their hands and feet are their own. Heck, they don’t even have a real memory. When you leave the room, you basically disappear from their reality.

But then something happens later on. They start to develop a sense of what’s going on. They remember that you were there a minute ago, and that you’re not there now. They don’t have the concept yet that you’re still around and that you will return.

Pretty neat. They remember things, but aren’t yet aware that these things still exist outside of their immediate reality.

Imagine how freaky that would be for little YY. The poor kid is scared shitless. He’s realizing new things all the time and its all a little overwhelming for someone just eight months old.

Independence is something that’s not natural for babies, yet we try and force it by putting them in a crib in the next room. And separation anxiety is the result, and that’s not natural.

We’ve learned the best course of action is simply to bring little YY into our bed and have him sleep with us. The collective amount of extra sleep and reduced stress all three of us gain is very worth it in the long run. We need to be together and little YY needs it most of all.