This is the last time I will refer to “the two-year-old Egg” in this column, as my daughter turns three on Sunday.
She has her birthday party at a popular family restaurant tomorrow and I have a bit of advice for all less-experienced parents. Never consider anything else.
For those of you who don’t know, Egg is my second child – she is 22 years younger than her brother. And milestones such as this birthday force me to reflect on the changes parenting has suffered during the decades since my first attempt at fatherhood.
In those dark days, we had nothing more than backyard parties and they were terrible. Parents had to prepare all the snacks themselves, break up fights over toys and clean up afterwards.
And the worst of all: we didn’t have smartphones, so we had to endure regular uncomfortable eye contact with other parents.
Not that parenting in itself has changed that much in almost a quarter of a century. It’s still mostly about making empty threats and stepping on small, sharp toys with your bare feet.
Children still kick off their diet of solids on mashed Trump-coloured stuff, followed by a preference for the exact brand of snacks which you don’t have. And when you buy it, they still refuse to eat it and throw it in your car.
Parenting still makes your shoulders pain. Picking up the same toys is still a big part of the experience. And three-year-olds still think I’m great fun and they don’t agree with their mothers that I’m immature.
Which brings me to the most important similarity between parenthood today and parenthood in the nineties.
Four years ago Egg’s mother started nagging me for a child. I was very much in favour of the manufacturing process, but having and raising the brat … not so much. I thought it was one of the stupidest ideas ever.
I was so wrong.
Parenthood is still the most fulfilling and rewarding journey any human being can experience.
You can love a woman. Hell, you can probably fall in love with four women a week. But it’s always conditional. It is only when you have a child that you get to know the wonderful fears of real, unconditional love.
Exactly as it was a quarter of a century ago.