I guess there is no better way to start than to proudly announce that Aicha and I are to become parents! It feels like a huge weight has been lifted now that we can finally tell people. It has been quite a challenge to keep it quiet................especially since everyone keeps asking us when we are having kids! Two weeks ago we had our first ultrasound and I am happy to report that all is ok. Actually seeing our child on the screen during the ultrasound really brought it home that we were having a baby...............it was the most amazing thing I have ever seen! Our next scan is on the 3rd June, which is when we find out whether we have a boy or a girl. Not to sound too cliche', I really don't mind what we have providing it's healthy and it doesn't talk back to me! Although I'm sure once they hit 16 I will probably wish that we'd had a boy, as I can see myself being one of those over-protective fathers who constantly worry about where their daughter is...................and more importantly, who they're with!!
Just prior to the ultrasound, we traveled to Brighton to share the news with my family. We had booked the trip to the UK in January (before we found out we were expecting) which meant that by the time we actually came to visit we were exactly 3 months pregnant, so the timing was perfect as I could tell them all in person! I had not seen them since December so I could not wait to catch up with them all.
It was however a slightly sad time for me on our arrival as my mum was in the process of selling the family home, which I had grown up in, so this visit would be the last time I would be there. We would normally stay with my mum when we visit but the house sale was to complete the day after we arrived so instead we decided to stay with our friends Chris and Julie who lived close by. When my Mum picked us up at the airport I told her to take us to the house so I could say one last goodbye. My parents moved into the house back in 1981, 3 months before I was born, so its the only family home I have ever known. We have so many memories from that house it was sad to see it go...................
|It's been emotional.................|
|Ollie & Charlie|
|Max & Ollie with Auntie Aicha|
Since then it has been non-stop with work and football. We are now four game into the football season and it has been an 'ok' start, with 2 wins and 2 defeats. The two games we won, we were by far the better side and deserved the 3 points from those games however, if I'm honest, we did deserve to lose the games we lost. The team is now definitely starting to show signs of potential and hopefully we will be up there challenging at the business end of the season.
Now that the snow has disappeared, we have finally got around to fixing up our balcony. We now have a front room just outside our front room...................just in time for the summer!!
Work has been mental as usual, even more so now that I am covering my colleague Linus' job for 3 months whilst he is on paternity leave. In Sweden, the father is entitled to 2 weeks paternity leave at the time of the birth, and then he can share some of the 15 months parental leave (which parents here are entitled to) with the mother. His son was born last summer and now that his wife is ready to go back to work, he is entitled to the remaining parental leave. In some cases this can be split 50/50 if the mother wishes to go back to work earlier. Parents also receive 80% of the salary for the entire paternity period as well! Things are so much easier here than back home! I will definitely take a few months off when the time comes, as I think its very important for the father to bond with the child just as much as the mother.
Hearing me refer to myself as a 'father' sounds weird! I still can quite believe it happening!......................even though I knew at some point in my life this time would come. Nothing can prepare you for the news and you are never quite sure how you should feel about it. Each day seems different. One day I am excited, the next I'm anxious and then the next I'm worried..................and then I realise the baby is not even here yet so how will I feel once it is! I just have to tell myself that I am no different to anybody else as I'm sure that all would-be parents felt the same way. The is no rule book for this. You have the opportunity to listen to the advice that's given to you but ultimately you learn as you go.
I know Aicha will be a great mother. She has looked after me for nearly 10 years so a baby will be a walk in the park for her! I think Aicha will be more the disciplinarian and I will be the soft touch.................but that doesn't mean I won't be firm when I need to be. My dad was always hard but fair and that is definitely a characteristic I will take on as a parent when I need to be. I know I will do everything I can to be a good dad................not only good but a cool one as well!