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When Life Becomes ‘A Beautiful Mind’

2 min read

Two trains leave a station at the same time. One travels at 90km the other at 120km…

The sudden need to have the brain of Russell Crowe from A Beautiful Mind has never been more necessary and I wish I’d paid more attention in high school during maths.  I need it now. While I don’t really care about train destinations, I could definitely apply that knowledge when leaving the house with a baby.

Now the question takes a different form; if I leave the house at 10.30am and travel for 40 minutes – what snacks am I going to need within easy reach? If I remain at my destination for 2 to 3 hours, how many bottles are required? Do I add the variable of sleep and carry the teddy?

All this pinballs around your brain before you’ve even decided to go anywhere.

It boils down to a Risk vs. Reward internal debate. Throw in the Potential Screaming Child card and any debate usually ends there.  There are those among us that love a challenge and will still harness the baby in the back of the car to chase adventure… or drop them at your parents and go to the pub for a blissful half an hour.

The weather apps are checked, clothing layers are carefully selected and the journey map plotted in your head (and to be safe, your phone too). The amount of effort to get out of the front door can be insurmountable.

On an overcast day I took my baby son, barely conscious to this world, for a walk while my wife slept. I swaddled him to perfection and wrapped him in a nice little sheepskin to top it off. Away we went into the disappearing winter. I had my eyes confidently squinted to the bracing wind as we turned corner after corner toward the park. We arrived and I took a moment to view nature as a new father.

He squirmed slightly and without any further warning, began to squeal.  But I was self-assured. I got this.

I reached to the nappy bag to pull out a bottle. Shit! No Bottle… SHIT!! NO BAG!! My body began to seize up. Never has my body gone colder than that moment. I pulled a hamstring racing back home and must have looked as if I’d just stolen a baby.

Since that day I pack an army ruck-sack to counter any event, I’m yet to use the canned beans I set aside for an apocalyptic future, but better to have and not need, am I right?

The terror-fuelled lesson I learned is that while it’s easy to stay at home and not venture much further than a cartoon rope’s length from the house, you’ll end up a weird creepy shut in and your kid will look like Nosferatu.

Go out and odds are the baby will be fine; you just have to learn when that dam will crack and you’ll feel the full impact of those raging waters. You will get better each time and so will the baby. There’ll be a realisation they may not want that rattle toy anymore or you’ve forgotten the Bribe Biscuits, don’t worry, you’ll just never do it again after listening to a banshee scream all the way down the freeway.

While you’re finding both still finding your feet, pack it all like a Kardashian on holiday. Your eardrums will thank you.

Cam Mann

Written by Cam Mann

Cam has been attempting to write anything anyone would want to read for a few years now. Trying his hand at small film scripts and sports articles, but once his son, Billy, was born he found his niche writing about the ridiculousness of Fatherhood. As he watches his kid enter each Developmental Leap (and Developmental Face Plant) he will look to avoid the ever-present terror we all know and wring out inappropriate laughs wherever he can.

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