Dad Chat

By 2018-12-20 23:26:08

Welcome to our monthly WeChat exchange, where we reach out to a Shanghai dad to discuss family, life and being a father

This month, Lennart van Vlerken talks about traveling before and after parenthood, the simple things and holding your child for the very first time.

When did it first register that you were actually a father and what did you start doing differently?

I truly felt like a father when seeing the first scan and hearing her heartbeat. On finding out that we were having a baby, we decided to do lots of things we wouldn’t be able to do as often, or as easily, once Nahla arrived. We went to India, went out late with friends, and slept in super late on weekends. We still travel now that Nahla is here, but tend to go to more relaxed, easily traveled countries like Thailand and the Philippines.

How has fatherhood changed you?

I find that I’m more excited by little things. Every milestone Nahla reaches is really thrilling. Watching her roll, play with toys, sit up on her own, and eat her first food have all been way more fun than I ever thought something so simple could be. Since becoming a father, I am much more content at home. Pre-fatherhood I was constantly on the go, and now a quiet night in with my daughter and wife is where you can find me on the weekends. I’ve happily given up some things, like my regularly scheduled gym sessions and nights out with the boys, to spend more time with Nahla.

What has been your worst parenting moment?

Nahla’s very first day of life was the hardest. She was born early in the morning and we were up all day with visitors and family. At night when we were ready to sleep, Nahla was not only awake, but incessantly crying. I was desperate for sleep and hadn’t known what to expect with a new baby. I’ve been learning ever since, and it’s only getting better each day.

What is one of your most memorable parenting moments?

When the nurse handed her to me to hold for the first time was a moment I’ll never forget. I had waited so long to be a father and see what she would look like. Holding her in my arms felt so good. At first I was a bit nervous to hold such a tiny baby, but once she was in my arms, I didn’t want to put her down. I felt such an immense amount of pride and couldn’t wait to share her with our friends and family.

In what way is your child similar to you?

Nahla’s still so small, but I hope she will eventually share my love of football. For now she has my chin