So I’ve spoken a number of times about how your life changes completely when you become a parent, plus listing out the different things that remind you that you’re a Dad now (here), but I haven’t really spoken about things that I have learnt since my little princess came into this world, and there really is so much! But, rather than make an excessively long post about it, I’ve tried to narrow it down to just 7.

Shall we get started?

Calling NHS111 Is Better Than Going Straight To A&E

Now, this one is a bit of touchy subject for many parents, I’m sure. In fact, when my daughter was ill the first few times, we jumped in the car and rushed to A&E. But you know what? The waiting times are horrendous! We typically waited 2 to 3 hours before being seen in Triage, let along getting through to the doctors… And even then, once we had been through Triage, it could be 4 to 6 hours until the doctor is available to actually check over my daughter.

Now, this is by no means a problem with the NHS; they do a great job! No, this is an issue with the fact that A&E have to go through all of the patients that come in. And there are a lot of people who go to the hospital for just a slight cough or a bruise…

So, if you want to make sure your little one gets the help needed in a timely fashion, I’ve found it better to call NHS111, go through the questions they ask you, and request an out of hours GP appointment. Why? Because 9 times out of 10, your GP will be able to diagnose whatever your little one is suffering from an advise a treatment, and it can all be done with 1 to 2 hours.

Not only does your little one get checked quicker, but you don’t have to wait in the hospital, potentially exposing them to other germs and viruses. Plus, it means that there is one less person for A&E to deal with, making their lives easier too! Everybody wins, right?

It’s better to just buy own brand nappies rather than pampers

Okay, so when my wife was pregnant, we were looking around at all of the different brands of nappies that you could buy… There’s loads of them! And everyone keeps recommending to go for Pampers, or some other big name brand, because they are certain that these brands are better for your baby. We actually did try Pampers out for a bit, as well, falling into that same trap.

But do you know what we found after a bit of playing around and testing other brands? Lidl and Tesco’s own brands actually worked better! They absorbed more, kept my daughter drier, and she scratched at them less (so I assume they were more comfortable).

Add all of this to the fact that they are just under half the price of Pampers, plus Tesco usually have a 3 for £10 deal, and it’s awesome! Especially when you consider the fact that they will only be warn for a few hours at best… Buying Pampers, at least for my daughter, makes her more uncomfortable and is basically throwing money into the nappy bag.

Don’t worry about buying expensive toys

And by that heading, I mean really don’t bother! We’ve bought our daughter loads of different, expensive and pretty damn cool toys, and they’ve all ended up broken or gathering dust. For example, she loves My Little Pony (as mentioned here) so when we found a cuddly Rainbow Dash that lights up and plays music when you push her tummy, we thought it would be perfect! It wasn’t.

In actuallity, it lasted all of four days before my daughter managed to stop the light working and break the music player. And the really funny thing? She prefers the wooden shape toys that we bought her for a tenth of the price… So don’t get fooled into buying these expensive toys… See what sort of toys your little one likes the most, and stick with that sort of thing for a while. Your little one’s tastes will change eventually, and that’s when you can start with the cooler toys.

Books don’t last long

Similar to, and following on from the last point; kids books won’t last very long either… Now, my daughter loves books already, which is awesome! So we bought her a load of toddler books, ranging from really nice, hand drawn stories to the typical things like MLP and Paw Patrol.

The longest a single book has lasted so far is about 3 weeks, before she tears it to pieces. Not on purpose, mind you, but just because she is still getting used to turning pages and understanding her own strength. So yeah, don’t buy books expecting them to last… Definitely buy them! But be prepared to replace them very often.

Kids pick up everything you do

And I mean everyting! From the way you sit, to the expressions on your face, to even the sound of your yawn and sigh… It’s pretty remarkable how much they can learn from you, without you actually teaching it to them. For example, my daughter has learnt that, when she closes the living room door with one of us on the other side, if she knocks then someone will open the door.

Now, we haven’t taught her this because, let’s face it, it isn’t something she needs to know right now. But she learnt it anyway!

Of course, this is the same for language, but you need to be careful how you act around your child, because they will start to copy you and learn to behave the same way.

You have to become a bedtime ninja

Before becoming a parent, I really bought in to that old saying “sleep like a baby”… Boy, was that saying wrong! Picture the scene; your little one is tired, closing their eyes and yawning. You take them upstairs, go through the bedtime routine you have established, and put them down to sleep. Everything seems fine so you go downstairs again and continue whatever it is that you were doing.

You give them, maybe, 45 minutes to fully fall asleep before going to check on them. I mean, that’s more than enough, right? So you slowly open their bedroom door, just letting the tiniest bit of light into the room… They’re eyes are open! They’re still awake! And if they see you, then they’ll want to stay up! What do you do? You drop to floor, hands out stretched to get yourself out of their line of sight as silently as possible. Then you crawl or roll back out of the room as though nothing happened.

It’s a skill I never had before, but one that I have since mastered.

Don’t expect people to respect the Parenting Parking rules

And finally, it is important to note that other people (without kids) will not respect the Parenting Parking rules. So many times, I have had to argue with some young man or woman with an Audi, BMW, Merc or something else, who decided to use the Parenting Parking section because “they were just going to be in and out”.

In fact, I’ve even been argued at because I wanted to use it, with my daughter in the car with me. I was once told that “parents should stop being so lazy and walk like the rest of us”… Some people are very, very selfish and don’t think about the fact that those spaces aren’t for the parents, but for the children.

I never truly noticed how selfish people can be until I became a parent…

And That’s All Folks

Those are 7 things I have learnt since becoming a Dad. What have you learnt since becoming a parent? Do you agree with any of these? Let me know in the comments below.