New Dad Diaries 28: Thea visits her cousins




Chronicling life as a new father to his beautiful firstborn child – daughter Thea – Chris Kerr’s goal is to provide all men experiencing fatherhood for the first time with some invaluable tips and tricks as they are learned – the hard way. This week – Thea spends time with her cousins, Esther and Ebony.

For the best part of eleven years, I have loved being an uncle to my nieces Esther and Ebony.  In fact, I have taught them both all I know about mischief (which is, according to my wife, a lot). Some of my sister Sara’s most challenging parenting moments can be directly attributed back to me (and to be fair, my two brothers Mathew and David). From supplying a then three-year-old Esther with a pen which led to a Banksy-style design all over my sister’s wall, to Ebony throwing a full pint glass of water over her Grandad, my brothers and I are very proud of our work.

A teacher knows his work is really done when his pupils begin to use their own initiative, and I am delighted to say that Esther and Ebony have definitely reached that stage. For example, completely unprompted by us, Esther put her mum’s keys in a large glass of water, turned it upside down and left it in the middle of the kitchen floor. My longsuffering sister had no choice but to drench her kitchen carpet retrieving said keys. A proud moment for all the uncles.   

It was also the moment my pride turned to fear. My nieces were no longer the pupils. They were the teachers, and guess who is first in line for their Mischief 101 class? That’s right: Thea. And that folks is how this has come back to royally kick me up the backside. Well played Sara, well played.   

Of particular concern is the fact that Thea is already showing signs of mischief. Whenever I tell her not to throw her food on the floor, she looks me in the eyes, smiles and launches it as far as she can anyway. Perhaps it is genetic. In that case, full blame must go to my grandpa whose tales of misbehaviour as a Magistrates Clerk are legendary on the Torquay circuit (it would have made an excellent book).

Thea and Esther

The truth is, I hope Esther and Ebony do teach Thea some things as she grows up. They have a lot to offer, after all. Neither of them has had an easy start to life. Their mum is amazing, but others have let them down immensely. That is not their fault, and I hope they know that. I also want them to know that I could not be prouder of them. Esther may be mischievous, but she has a heart of gold. Her compassion and emotional intelligence is off the charts for someone her age, and I could tell you countless stories to demonstrate that – like the time she saw a homeless man sitting down in the street and insisted she go home and bake him a cake, or the time she chopped her hair off for charity. She really is a force for good.  

Ebony also has a wonderful heart. What always amazes me about Ebony is her courage. No matter how tough her day has been at school or whether somebody has been mean to her, she always finds a way to overcome her fear and go back in. No challenge beats her. From taking on swimming lessons and feeding seals at Longleat, she is always so brave. She will go far in life with that inner strength.

Thea equally excited with Ebony

So, forgive me dear reader for taking a liberty mid-column, but I want to say the same thing to both of them that I will say to Thea:  I love you and I will always be there for you both, no matter what life brings your way.

So, yes, whilst the odd phone will get buried in the back garden (true story – just ask my other sister Becki) and the chocolate from Grandma’s drawer will magically disappear (also a true story), Thea really does have two amazing cousins to look up to. Sure, there is going to be some pain coming my way, probably in the form of water, slime, mud, paint or permanent marker. But Thea is really fortunate to have two wonderful older cousins in her life, to guide her along the way.   

TIP OF THE WEEK: Think big picture. Do you have nieces and nephews? Are you planning to have your own children one day? You reap what you sow

Chris Kerr

Chris is a husband to Alicia and father to Thea, who is the subject of his columns on Fatherhood for Sorted.  In his spare time he works for a national law firm in an executive capacity and provides crisis leadership consultancy support for non-profits across the UK.  He attends Urban Crofters Church in Cardiff.  A keen weekend adventurer, Chris is regularly spotted in the sea or on mountains.

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