I was digging through my notebooks for something, and came across some diary entries from April - May 2022 that are about Rahi and being his father. Frankly, I found them beautiful (and in one place somewhat disgusting), and I regretted not writing more about this as it happened.

It's sad, how much of life slips through our fingers, lost to our memories. Rahi, the experience of Rahi, the daily grind and the daily magic ... this will be one of the defining areas of my life. And I remember so little of it, and it's only been 3 years.

I'm still Rahi's father, and now Anaya's father too. I will try to keep a record, writing reasonably regularly about this. And as a start, here are the diary entries that inspired this decision, given to you unedited and whole.



He woke up in my arms as I was walking him up and down the width of the bedroom. He was very sleepy. He looked at me quietly for a while, very seriously. Then he smiled, a quiet but very happy smile. I smiled back. And we walked up and down the room, smiling into each other’s eyes.

We went to the kitchen after he woke up properly. And for a while we had a very nice time together. I chopped up some sweet potatoes and celeriac for his lunch. He wandered around the kitchen - he climbed into the dishwasher, took out some spoons and put them onto the floor. He rattled a drawer, opening and closing it. He looked into the oven and tapped it with his hand. Ayyyy! Ayyyy! And I stood at the countertop, chopping, steaming, tidying. Occasionally he would look at me and smile and I would smile back and then we would carry on.

Annika was supposed to go for yoga in the afternoon. But we decided to have a family afternoon instead and walked along the river to the Augarten for his afternoon sleep. We walked and talked and held hands. I kept yawning.

You’re really tired, said Anni.

Yes I am, I said.

Then we bought coffees and a slice of cake and ate it walking back. Rahi saw us - saw Anni - and was justifiably appalled by the fact that we were eating and drinking and he wasn’t. He kept swiping at whatever Annika had in her hand. Eventually, he connected, and her cappuccino spilt to the floor.

Oh, Rahi, she said.

Annika took him to bed at 6.30 p.m. At 7 she was back standing in the doorway. Sarah and Johanna were still there. Rahi looked at all of us and smiled. And then for about 20 minutes he had a proper party. Laughing, talking, while we were talking and laughing.

At night I took him to bed. Again, walking, then I lay down and let him sleep on my chest. After a while my back began to hurt. And I texted Annika saying she should come soon. There was no reply. My back got worse and I texted her again half an hour later. Again no reply. And I became so angry. I lay there quietly, Rahi sleeping, and I got angrier and angrier. Eventually Annika came. She had left her phone in the bedroom and hadn’t realised. I was still angry and said, can you just take him, please? And then I left and tried to give my back some relief.

On the sofa, there was a tissue paper covered with little hearts. And there was a note in Annika’s handwriting saying, Geliebte, take the morning off, you need some time. Don’t worry about my online class thing, just take some time. Full of love, and me full of anger.



Violetta - daughter of an acquaintance - came, we were taking care of her for a few hours. Rahi greeted her with a huge smile, lots of excitement. But Violetta was in a bad mood and didn’t really reciprocate. So eventually Rahi got annoyed too and started being unfriendly.

We had some time under the table. He was looking at the router, the blinking lights, the plugs, the paper. Occasionally he would laugh. Sometimes he would turn and look at me.

He has discovered that a switch is connected to the light. So we switch on lights and he squeals - yowls - with delight. So we do it again and again and he keeps yowling.

Annika (and me too, but a bit less) is incredibly aware of when he is about to have a poo. He goes still, he grunts, he strains. Anni says, “Kaka.” I jump up in a panic - it’s still always a panic - and run to the bathroom where we keep steel bowls in which he does poos. Anni takes off his nappies, holds him - sometimes he’s naked anyway - and I rush back with the bowl to place under his bottom (once I was a little too late …). And then he poos. Sometimes he cries when he poos because he’s straining so hard. Johanna sat once opposite Anni and Rahi and watched, basically. I think it had a kind of grotesque fascination.

After he’s done, Anni takes him to the bathroom to clean him up and I take the bowl to the toilet to get rid of the contents. It’s somehow disgusting. The thing that makes it disgusting is that the bowl is warm to the touch, steam rising up off his little piles of shit.




The absence of notes shows as well as anything what being a father means. It’s been a hard few days, man. I don’t even remember exactly what’s happened.
Flatmate came down with corona. Anni and I alone with Rahi. Rahi developed a fever yesterday. Worrying. Extremely worrying.

We played with a kiwi. I thought he might want to eat one. Turns out he wanted to take each tiny piece - chopped with much love by an exhausted Anni - and pinch it between his fingers, squeeze, rub it on the coffee table, push, pull, mash. A few times I lifted a piece to his mouth and he laughed but didn’t eat it. And then once I dropped a piece onto the plate and he loved that. So that became the game for a while. He threw it on the plate, I threw it on the plate, and so the weary day wound on.

This morning, at breakfast, he tried to feed me some of his porridge.