Richard Herring: Who’s the daddy? Eek, that’s me
Wednesday 15 Oct 2014
Back in July, I took my wife to hospital. She was having a scan, which is always a little nerve-wracking. We looked at the monitor, with its flickering black and white image pulsating back and forth, resembling the opening titles of a 1960s episode of Doctor Who.
But instead of the face of William Hartnell emerging from the gloom, what appeared was a tiny human being that has been living inside my wife. I don’t know how it got in there and I sure as hell don’t know how it is going to get out.
Even with all the advances of modern medicine, we were told that they would not be able to remove this parasite until the beginning of February, which seems a bit tough on my wife. But she’s been taking it quite well and has even been going out to buy clothes for this unwelcome visitor. I guess it’s Stockholm syndrome.
So yes, what I am telling you, in my own inimitable/annoying style, is that I am going to be a father for the first time. At the age of 47 and seven months, which coincidentally is almost to the day how old my dad was when he first became a grandfather, which speaks volumes about the different priorities of our generations.
I worry about being an older dad. As my loin-fruit enters its teenage years I will be nearly 60 and if my child is as lackadaisical at reproducing as me then I won’t be a grandad until I am 94. This also means that I will be celebrating my 141st birthday before I see my first great-grandchild.
But I suppose spawning at this relatively late age will keep me young. Either that, or it will make me very old, very quickly.There are more immediate concerns to focus on though, like keeping the baby alive. I hope I do better with a baby than I have with every plant I’ve ever owned. All logic dictates that a plant is easier to look after than a tiny, defenceless human being, so I am not very optimistic.
And I am properly freaked out by it all. I know this has happened billions of times before but think about it for a minute. You can grow a whole new person inside another person? And they’re made out of a minuscule egg and an even tinier little tadpole thing that used to live in my nadgers? And they fuse and create a single cell that divides again and again and evolves from a tiny little prawn thing into a kind of ratty thing. Then it will evolve into a pudgy hairless monkey that will in time grow into an autonomous human being that will love me unquestioningly – before resenting me and saying that it never asked to be born, to then become President of Earth and the greatest human being that has ever lived? It sounds like something dreamt up by Adam Sandler.
At the moment none of it seems quite real. I’ve felt the baby kicking and I’ve seen it dancing around on that tiny TV screen but I don’t think reality is going to hit until I’m holding it in my arms and it starts crying and vomiting and defecating all over me.
The wait to meet this brand new person seems interminable. The anticipation outweighs the blind panic. I’m utterly thrilled already and I know that this is going to be the best thing that has ever happened to me.For my child’s sake though, I only hope it inherits the beauty of its mother and the brains of its mother.For Richard’s live dates, see richardherring.com