Sometime in February 2011 my wife showed me a little plastic rod with a little window on in it. As is often the case when my wife shows (or tells) me something, nothing really clicked for a while. There may have been white noise, not really sure. But as I stared blankly at the little window, slowly I started to recognise the two unbroken blue lines of dye it displayed.
Realisation dawned upon me. Shit! She's pregnant....
Whilst some may say this is a stereotypical reaction, and I suppose it is, it wasn't for those reasons that my first thought was one of shock. No, quite simply I had forgotten we were trying to have a child. You see, my life was pretty good, things had been going along swimingly (no pun intended), life had been pleasantly meandering along. My wife and I are pretty easy going types, and in this case, very much of a like mind in thinking, what will happen, will happen. There was no pressure and there was no real fixed point where we decided we're trying for our third child, it was more of a decision to stop not trying to have a child. So yeah, I was surprised, simply because I had forgotten about it.
After my moment of shock I was embraced by the pure joy of knowledge. Knowledge that my beloved was pregnant and we were going to have a new born in the house again. I can't think of too many feelings better than that, although that first sip of red after a long day has to be close.
The downer of course, was that the trip to Europe was now out the window. Damnit!
At the start of July, about three months out from the due date in early October, which the obstetrician assured me would be after the AFL Grand Final (I still harboured dreams that the Hawks, and I, would be busy that day) I had an epiphany: Why can't I be the full time Dad? Sure money is an issue, and yes I would have to clear it with the wife, but what was really stopping me? Why couldn't I do it? Well, nothing except the fear of the unknown.
I've never been a fulltime parent before. Parenting, sure, no worries, been doing that for ten years and I think I do ok, well at least the kids tell me I do so that's at least a little reassuring. But I've never had the responsibility of fulltime parenting, especially of the kids when they were little, the wife always handled that. The whole maternity leave thing really made it an obvious choice.
This time however, due to our wonderful Australian Government, I could tag team with my wife. She could take the first eight months and then I could take over and take the next eight months. She could go back to full time work for the first time in ten years, no worries, I'm sure she wouldn't mind, and I'll get to experience something I've never done before, looking after our baby (and the other two) full time.
And thus, a plan was formed.