Baby, it’s Cold Outside


I will always remember where I was on February 20th 2012. That day is burned on my brain like 9/11 or when Prince Edward announced his engagement to PR professional Sophie Rhys-Jones back in 1999.

It was dark outside when I woke that Monday morning and something immediately felt different. I went through my usual pre-bed evacuation routine of enjoying the detailed stitching on my Spidey jim-jams before rising to open the blinds.

Overnight, Paris had been transformed into a modulating, glitter eiderdown of snow and the usual background hum of traffic was absent. Susie joined me by the window and we looked out across the now unfamiliar city. The scene before us was beautiful but our eyes fixed on just one small, closed shop opposite our apartment. The lights in the window display flickered on so we got dressed and made our way over to make a purchase. There was no need to say much as we had done a lot of talking about this moment at the weekend. It was only as we were about to step in to the chemists that I thought to ask Susie if she knew what the French was for ‘pregnancy test’.

I feel like I should really bring you up to speed. Recent blog posts have covered my run-ins with furniture and disappointing tourist attractions but have not mentioned a very important decision. The possibility of having children had been discussed over the years and we agreed that we would try at some point. The only problem was neither of us were getting any younger despite injecting industrial quantities of Oil of Olay into our pituitary glands on a daily basis. It seemed ‘at some point’ had morphed into ‘pretty much now’ and both of us felt ready to start a family.

The statisticians will tell you that a couple in their 30’s may take an average of 6-9 months to conceive with a year being normal. They are probably just saying that to get you into bed ladies so be careful, yeah? Our plan was that Susie would grow round with child at about the time our Paris flat contract ran out. Judging by the stats this meant we should begin trying in January. However, about 30 seconds after laying on my best moves ie. removing my spectacles and my socks, Susie announced she felt a bit pregnant. We thought we’d leave it over the weekend to make sure my beloved wasn’t simply suffering from immense intestinal gas but the symptoms persisted and it was time to take a test.

Safely back in the apartment, Susie set about adding the magical ingredient of urine to our little plastic rectangle of destiny. The instructions said two stripes would indicate a positive result. One stripe meant you had just wasted €15 and engaged bladder functions unnecessarily. Neither of us looked in the direction of the test as we agreed we would find out together. After two minutes it was time to check. We held hands and peered down.

It showed one stripe.

Plus another very, very, very faint stripe which conclusively proved we weren’t sure. The instructions were no help so we turned to the internet. After a short Google search we had our answer. It was definite. Susie was completely pregnant.

Pregnancy test

I neglected to take a photo of the moment so two weeks later hired a couple of models (Rod and Tawni) to accurately recreate the scene. Great job guys!!! Are we still on for brunch?

I sat down heavily. This is what we wanted yet for those first few seconds I felt winded and the world swam. The idea that I was to be an actual Dad seemed so unlikely. Dads had lofts and took a genuine interest in what they contained. They kept an eye on the boiler to make sure the central heating was running to optimum capacity. None of these things applied to me ergo Susie couldn’t be pregnant (actually Ergo is quite a good name for a boy). Yet her urine told a very different story.

Fortunately I quickly remembered this moment was not just about me and sensed now was not the time to whine “God, I feel so vulnerable” before bursting into tears. Susie looked a little pale and seemed slightly shellshocked but was smiling broadly. I knew my role was supposed to involve boiling a kettle and providing damp cloths at some point but for now opted for a big ol’ hug instead. My emotions were a heaving nappy full of joy, anxiety and relief but as the snow continued to fall outside our tiny Parisian apartment, my overriding feeling was one of luck that I would get to share this new adventure with Susie.

Despite the icy conditions, the flat was almost unbearably warm. I glanced at the thermostat, which was set to the normal temperature. Something didn’t quite add up so I made a mental note to check the boiler later. My transformation into a Dad had begun.


4 Responses to “Baby, it’s Cold Outside”

  1. Dave! I’m just catching up on your blog – congrats!! That is so amazing and awesome and a little scary I’m sure but you guys have the appropriate 9 (well, now 3?) months to prepare! Will you stay in Paris? What’s next? Congrats!!

  2. Congratulations man!!

  3. Congratulations to you both. Have you resolved the question of what nationality to bless the baby with?

    Being a dad is not just about lofts and boilers. I recently did up the bathroom up and fixed the washing machine as well!

  4. 4 davexxxx

    Thanking you all!

    Mark, it’s a relief to hear being a Dad involves that kind of butch glamour. The child will be a citizen of the world like their father and embrace their cosmopolitan heritage. But not French. Never French.

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