Little Treasures - - TALK DAD -

Writer Karl Puschmann gets real about be­ing a first-time par­ent to his lit­tle tear­away tod­dler, Poppy (2).

How did you feel about be­com­ing a dad, be­fore your daugh­ter ar­rived? I felt a lot of dif­fer­ent things. It was ex­cit­ing but I also knew a daunt­ing, hugely scary amount of re­spon­si­bil­ity was com­ing my way. But, be­fore we even started try­ing for her, I’d re­alised I was as ‘ready’ to be­come a fa­ther as I was ever go­ing to be. What is fa­ther­hood re­ally like, com­pared to what you ex­pected it to be? Most of my ex­pec­ta­tions were on the neg­a­tive side of things to be hon­est. I knew the good bits weren’t worth wor­ry­ing about be­cause they would be, by def­i­ni­tion, good. The one big thing I’d un­der­es­ti­mated was how tir­ing it would be. Con­cep­tu­ally, I un­der­stood that be­ing wo­ken up three times a night for a year would be tir­ing, but the re­al­ity of that was just bru­tal. On the plus side, I had very neg­a­tive ex­pec­ta­tions to­wards chang­ing pooey nap­pies, but I’m happy to say you get used to that ex­tremely quickly and very soon you hardly even no­tice you’re chang­ing them. Apart from that one rare hun­gover morn­ing. That time was a bit much. What have been the most chal­leng­ing as­pects of be­ing a dad and how have you tack­led them? I have a lot of cre­ative projects I’m work­ing on and not hav­ing any time to ded­i­cate to them is by far the hard­est part of be­ing a dad for me. I scratch out an hour here and there to work on them in the evenings where I can, but it’s never enough, and by the time I can get started I’m of­ten tired from work and com­plet­ing Poppy’s bed­time rou­tine. I did have a plan to start get­ting up early to work on them in the morn­ings but I’m a night per­son so it didn’t re­ally work out… I’m still try­ing to fig­ure out the an­swer to this. I’ll have to get back to you. What are the best parts of be­ing a dad? Poppy and I have a lot of fun just clown­ing around. She

is very funny and cracks me up a lot. She has a fun and silly sense of hu­mour and makes very good ex­ag­ger­ated faces to go along with her jok­ing. Watch­ing her comic tim­ing grow has been a very re­ward­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. But there are lots of good parts. How would you de­scribe your style of par­ent­ing? Well, I’m shoot­ing for fun but firm. I have no idea how well that’s work­ing out… But I’m very en­gaged with her. I try to make things fun, even just driv­ing in the car or read­ing books. That said, she has re­stric­tions, which are enforced. For ex­am­ple, she gets very lim­ited screen time and has a strict 7pm bed­time. What ad­vice would you give to a fa­ther-to-be? Keep smil­ing. Fail­ing that, just do the best you can. Take a lot of pho­tos of the good bits, as well as funny pho­tos of the bad bits. They grow faster than you ex­pect. And, at the very start, don’t wuss out from cut­ting the cord. That’s the one thing you’ve got to do dur­ing the labour. All things con­sid­ered, you’re get­ting off lightly there.

Karl’s tip: Take lots of of the good pho­tos as bits, as well of funny pho­tos the bad bits.

Karl and Poppy take some time out.

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