Oliver Driver shares the lessons his little girl has already taught him on love and life.
I’m an expert now. I can change your nappy on the bonnet of a car, get you to sleep in the crook of my arm, feed you a bottle when your mum is not there.
I can recognise a real cry from a fake one, hear you through three walls the second you wake up, settle you without making you upset — I can make you burp in two seconds flat.
I can buckle you into the carseat with my eyes closed, fit the pram and both the dogs in the boot of our car, bath you one-handed, read to you when I’m nearly asleep and I know which toys you like best.
Baby stores don’t scare me any more, I can be in and out in two minutes with only the things I need, and none of the things I don’t.
I know all the words to Anika Moa’s songs, both in English and Te Reo, and I have become a baby stylist… babies can wear clashing patterns like nobody else on earth.
I know more about your mother’s breasts than I ever thought I would and I know how to refrigerate, freeze, defrost, heat up and deliver the milk that comes out of them.
I know how much she loves you and how much you love her and I know she would kill a wolf with her bare hands, without breaking a sweat, to protect you.
I know you scare the hell out of me because now I love something this much, I live in constant fear of losing it.
I know you smile with your whole body, your laugh is the sweetest sound I have ever heard and when you are in pain it hurts inside me too.
I know that even though I love you, sometimes I love to get away from you, for me and the first woman I truly loved to go out and drink cocktails and pretend that we are who we once were.
I know that being a father is hard: the loss of freedom, the sleepless nights, losing my lover to be your full-time mother, for a while at least. To go from two to three means that two never feels quite right any more, without the third. While this new number is stronger and richer and will last a lifetime, sometimes, selfishly, I miss being a two. I know this is worth it though. I know it in your face, your sweaty feet, the curve of your stomach and your fingernails. I know that for every missed trip to some exotic city, I will be there to experience your first steps. For every new restaurant I will never eat at, I will get to see you taste food for the first time. I get to watch you grow, discover sand and snow and ice cream, and as you do, I see myself in you and my parents in me. They did this, held me in their arms, shushed me to sleep, worried I was warm enough, safe enough, lost themselves in my every movement, dreamt of who I might one day become. By having you, I have come to know them better. I wish that they were still here, but I guess they are in me as I will be in you.
I know that this is a ride I am going to be on for the rest of my life and that there is nothing I would rather do. I love you, Baby Blue. xox
Oliver Driver mostly directs television, film and theatre but he also owns a bar, two dogs and a motorcycle. He has made many things in his life but this was his first attempt at making a child. He is pretty excited about it.