George Iordanou Politics, Philosophy and (not much) Real Life
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Fatherhood Diaries

I recently became a father of a little boy. These posts document how I experience fatherhood. Long story short, everything changed. Mostly for the better but not always. A new post giving a glimpse into our new lives and a window into my ever growing list of concerns shall be published here regularly.

Fatherhood Diaries: Complacency

This is part of a series of blog posts under the title Fatherhood Diaries. Johnny turned two today. We are all growing up, him becoming a cheerful boy and us approaching our mid-thirties. I am a different man than two years ago. Not necessarily a better man. I experienced heights of love I never thought were possible but I also developed fears for what I may be becoming — and what role model I will be for Johnny. I fear that I will become comfortable in the complacency of middle class, resolved that nothing will change, and thus not willing to fight for anything worth changing. Someone who will passively accept the status quo and who will use narrow self-interest as the only motivation for action. These considerations were prompted by the death of a Greek singer who sang a song...

Fatherhood Diaries: it takes a village

This is part of a series of blog posts under the title Fatherhood Diaries. It takes a village to raise a child, particularly in countries such as Cyprus where the operating hours of both public and private schools are based on the assumption that parents do not work, or if they do, they can afford afternoon childcare on top of school tuition, or more likely, that they have retiree grandparents willing and able to take care of the little ones past 1pm. Indicatively, my son, Johnny, who is currently attending nursery, is being picked up by my father-in-law around 3pm. From September onwards he will be attending a (different) kindergarten and he will have to be picked up at 1pm. Enter the village. I don’t profess to understand how people without family support or the means for hired...

Fatherhood Diaries: Childcare

This is part of a series of blog posts under the title Fatherhood Diaries. Now that almost two years have passed since the birth of Johnny, I am clearly a parenting expert, particularly in childcare arrangements. The paradox of childcare is as follows: taking care of a baby on a 24/7 basis in our non-communal societies is akin to an open prison, but delegating your baby’s care to a complete stranger is devastating and triggers feelings of guilt and abandonment. If you don’t have an alternative and if you research the pros and cons of private childcare these feelings can be managed. And after a couple of months of nursery/kindergarten attendance, you will start noticing the developmental benefits on your child, hopefully making up for the fact that he or she became a magnet for all sorts...

Fatherhood Diaries: Surgery

This is part of a series of blog posts under the title Fatherhood Diaries. Please note that this one is a bit outdated — the surgery took place earlier today and Johnny is well and recovering. The baby will have a small, routine operation on Wednesday and I am soliciting the considerable deflection strategies I developed over the past many years, whereby I avoided dealing with the most important issues in my life, in order to similarly avoid thinking of the (quite remote) consequences of the surgery or the full anesthesia going wrong. I wasn’t particularly successful as last night my brain went on overdrive making the most macabre of syllogisms. These dark thoughts were triggered by the Instagram pictures for Mother’s Day. I was thinking of how patronizing it is to say...

Fatherhood Diaries: Resemblance

This is part of a series of blog posts under the title Fatherhood Diaries. “You two look the same,” Sunshine replied to my text message of a selfie photo with Johnny. She is right. The baby looks a lot like me. My mum – as mums do – has a photo of Johnny and a photo of me at his age on her coffee table. I can barely tell the two of us apart. As I observe the resemblance I wonder what else might have I passed on to him through the non-intended route of biology. Last week I went on my first 5k run after a hiatus of two months nursing a running injury. Halfway through the run and noticing that the pain did not resurface, I started contemplating subscribing to a marathon. This is what I do. I immerse myself into things I like. Thankfully for me, they are harmless – books, running...

Fatherhood Diaries: Sick

This is part of a series of blog posts under the title Fatherhood Diaries.The baby is sick. He has fever, diarrhoea and a runny nose. This is more-or-less constant, a very predictable side-effect of him attending nursery since he was five months old. Apparently viruses have the time of their life at nurseries and kindergartens and there is nothing one can do about it. We got better at managing the practicalities, which are familiar to any parent who ever dealt with a simultaneous poopstorm, vomiting and high fever. Emotions are harder to manage though. It is always upsetting at varying degrees, depending on the situation, to see the little fellow unwell. And the more he grows the more upsetting it gets. I expected it to be the other way around. The more times one manages such...

Fatherhood Diaries: my parents’ grandson

This is part of a series of blog posts under the title Fatherhood Diaries. Before the birth of my son, I rarely thought of my childhood. Little did I also think of the parental qualities of my mum and dad. Any thoughts on my early years were limited to the recollection of the unprecedented and as of this day insurmountable sense of safety and security that defined my childhood. From my teen years onwards, the feeling that emerged was that of deep gratitude towards my parents whose sacrifices gave my a level of education above their pay-grade. But not much else. I am not one to romanticise childhood, and to be honest, I feel more comfortable now as an adult rather than as I ever felt as a child and even less so as a teenager. But after Johnny was born something clicked. Suddenly, I...

Fatherhood Diaries: Holidays

This is part of a series of blog posts under the title Fatherhood Diaries. “It’s the first time that I truly feel like I need a break,” I told colleagues at work on the last day before my summer holidays. “This is what you always say,” was their reply before they wished me a good break. The plan was to take a week and a half off in order to spend some time with the baby whose nursery was closed for the whole month of August. We planned to spend three days in Sunshine’s village up in the mountains and three days in Protaras, which is a coastal, touristy place in the south-eastern part of the island, famous for its blue-flagged, crystal clear waters. Although this sounds like a holiday, and despite our best efforts to make it feel like one, the primary objective was to take care of the baby...

Fatherhood Diaries: Religion

This is part of a series of blog posts under the title Fatherhood Diaries. In this post I want to discuss the difficult decision to christen our baby. Difficult because although my wife is religious, I avoid any dealings with either theism or spirituality. If anything, I have in the past been anti-religious, though recently I have turned, much like G.A.Cohen, anti-anti-religious; that is, a non-religious person with a growing adversity towards militant atheists. In any case, it is my firm belief that this world would have been a better place had religion never been invented. Yet I conceded to christening our son. Let me give you some background here. I have always been an atheist and my wife has always been a religious person who grew up in a deeply religious family. That much we knew...

Fatherhood Diaries: Everywhere

This is part of a series of blog posts under the title Fatherhood Diaries, which will be published here every Monday (for the foreseeable future). Enjoy. Ever since the birth of my baby boy I see his face in all the children who find themselves in harm’s way. I see his face on the refugee children who flee the violence in Syria either with their parents and family members or completely unaccompanied. I see him in the children who are abused by monstrous adults who find it in them to scar little children inside and out forever. I see his face on the dead bodies of little babies less lucky than him paraded on our social media feeds by organizations looking for donations. I also see myself on the faces of their parents. I feel the desperation of the father who does not have the money...

Fatherhood Diaries: Inadequate

This is part of a series of blog posts under the title Fatherhood Diaries, which will be published here every Monday (for the foreseeable future). Enjoy. These days I am constantly exhausted. My work days are longer than they should, my nights are sleepless, my Monday and Wednesday evenings are dedicated to learning french, and my weekends are full. Busy-ness is not something to feel proud about. We should not fetishise what is a essentially a failure of prioritization and an inability to say the occasional ‘NO’. That said, being busy is not a first for me but the accompanied feelings of guilt and inadequacy are. When I am at work I feel guilty for not being with the baby and not helping at home. When I leave the office at a reasonable time, I feel guilty for not staying...

Fatherhood Diaries: Friendships

This is part of a series of blog posts under the title Fatherhood Diaries, which will be published here every Monday (for the foreseeable future). Enjoy. The birth of our baby has tested our friendships. Though some didn’t make it to the other side, our closest friendships are now stronger. Admittedly talking about baby-related topics — his naps, his appetite and you-know-what — can get really boring exceedingly fast and so does refusing most invitations that involve us getting out of the house. Being among the first of our friends to have children immediately rendered our lives incompatible with theirs. The joint life that Sunshine and I led over the past decade, and up until a couple of years ago, was that of the academic nomad. We moved cities every couple of years, from...

Fatherhood Diaries: Normality

This is part of a series of blog posts under the title Fatherhood Diaries, which will be published here every Monday (for the foreseeable future). Enjoy. Five months into parenthood. I am grateful for a couple of things. First, we now know how to address most of our baby’s needs. It is unlikely that he will be crying his lungs out without us being able to do something about it or at least understand the reasons for his discontent. Second, he is healthy and has started to interact with us. This brings us a totally primitive sense of joy. But we are still taking it one day at the time. Every day he survives is a win. There is no plan. We have no plan, at least not one we can stick to. Each day is different irrespective of our consistent efforts to adopt a spartan routine that babies...

Fatherhood Diaries: Expectations

This is part of a series of blog posts under the title Fatherhood Diaries, which will be published here every Monday (for the foreseeable future). Enjoy.  If you recently had a child, you must absolutely be happy and content. A slight digression is allowed but only just, and only due to the tiredness of sleepless nights that you are expected to have. The happiness of having a newborn ought to make up for everything physical as well as emotional. Such are the social expectations for new parents, which although for the most part true, they can be suffocating. It was about two weeks after we brought the newborn home from the hospital. He was neither eating nor sleeping, and we were both exhausted and concerned — concerned for the baby, concerned with our exhaustion and exhausted from...

Fatherhood Diaries: Separation

Every time I leave the baby is a small separation, ranging from midly upsetting to full-on heartbreaking. The most difficult of separations was during my return to work following the lapse of my job’s (rather generous) paternity leave. It was hard leaving him and his mum alone, knowing full well that she was not confident enough to become his sole caregiver during the ten or so hours that I would be away from home. I am one of those few lucky people who like their job and who get fulfillment out of it. But the first couple of days back in the office felt like an assault; as if someone was forcing me to be away from where my heart and instincs were urging me to be, like a forced separation. I have since then realised that my instincts and my feelings are not objective determinants of...

George Iordanou Politics, Philosophy and (not much) Real Life

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