by Kojo Baffoe , editor of DESTINY Man magazine, a father, a son, a brother, a husband, a friend, a poet, a writer on a quest to make sense of this reality, with words. Author of Evolutionary
When my son – the Prince, as he is known on Twitter – was born, I found my rhythm quite quickly. I was zombie-like, in sleep-deprived shock most of the time, but I was able to get a handle on his personality and rhythms relatively comfortably. Of course, parenting puts you in a state of constant turmoil with the rules always changing, because babies often seek to do the opposite of what the books you happened to read said, but I did alright. I went through the possible permutations anytime he cried – hungry, wet, tired or just plain cranky – and even started to get a sense of why he was crying without even checking. The Prince and I were good.
And then, at the age of 4, he decided to throw me a curveball by having a sister, the Angel. The timing was perfect, the age gap exactly how we would have hoped. The Prince, while not fully cognisant of the mechanics was old enough to understand that he was going to have a baby brother or sister. We took him to a couple of doctor visits, he saw the scans, helped choose things like cots, clothes and toys and asked constantly when his sister would come out of mommy’s tummy.
I went into theatre loudly confident. I had done this before. It was the same doctor, anaesthetist, nurses, hospital, etc. Another caesarean, I knew the deal … where to look, where not to look, what nearly made me pass out the first time, etc. I was good. 30 minutes later, I’m sitting on the cold, hard floor in the brace position. I got up twice to hold my daughter, marvelled at her and then had to sit right back down. A sign of what was to come.
I had become a bit too comfortable with the Prince. I knew how to be a father to him. Now, there was someone new with her own unique personality. I won’t lie – it felt like she cried for the first couple of months. I’d pick her up, she’d cry. I’d put her down, she’d cry. I just couldn’t find a rhythm. The Angel came into the world and staked her claim as baby-in-charge of my household. Any illusions any of us had of being the centre of attraction was brutally screamed out of the window.
She will be a year old next month and her brother will be 5 the month after and I have gradually found my place within my family. Once I took a step back and tried less to impose what works for her brother on her, we started to find a rhythm. I have learned that, in the same way that we are all different, our children need to be engaged with on the basis of their unique personalities. The love may be as intense and complete for one as it is for the other but, when it comes to being a parent of more than one, one size does not fit all.
It is still early days but I am grateful that my children chose me to be their father. I am up to the responsibility and hope that I shall always do best for them.
Read other articles by Kojo about fatherhood on our blog.