There are a hundred different ways in which life is completely different once you’re a father.
One of them is that you can no longer complain that all your married friends share too many pictures of their kids.
Oh she opened her eyes… click. Look! she closed them again… click.
Nobody cares, you used to think while rolling your eyes. It’s just a baby.
So forearmed with the knowledge that people’s reactions to an incessant stream of baby photos would be polite and enthusiastic only on the surface, I set about limiting the number of images I blasted to family and friends. (Even though I took thousands for myself. If you’re going to be a dad, max out the memory on your next telephone, you’ll need it).
We settled for a photo where you couldn’t really see her because she was hiding behind a blanket with only her eyes peeking out. We put it on the cover of our Christmas card, which doubled as a birth announcement since she was born in October and the timing worked well.
Also, international postage in the UK is basically highway robbery.
We sent occasional photos to parents on both sides, since they live abroad, and a few choice pictures to a smaller circle of friends, and that was about it. Don’t over-share, don’t annoy people by being that parent.
Around six weeks after V was born, I started receiving hints from my mother.
“You never send any pictures, I hope you’re taking some!”
…and from my father…
“Your mother wants more pictures.”
Which means he wants more pictures.
Then came the family reunion. My extended family is a tribe, we need a very large space to hold them when they come with their descendants. They rounded on me one after the other:
- How come you never send any pictures?
- So glad she’s normal, since you didn’t seem to want to show her we were wondering.
- So that’s what she looks like!
- You know you’re not very good at staying in touch…
On and on… Not so much a hint as a coordinated sledgehammer blow to the cerebellum.
So my conclusion is that, as is more often the case then I like to admit, my own perception of things is not as widely shared as I thought. I’m the cantankerous grump who sees baby pictures and wonders why they’re being shared, but everyone else including all the men, are cooing happily while looking at pictures of someone else’s baby.
So now I’m sharing a bit more, and telling people that since she’s the prettiest of them all, I was holding back before because I didn’t want to rub it in.
They reply, “All dads think that.”
But in my case it’s true… no really…