Dads of Shanghai: Pete and Theo

Follow their journey into parenthood.

by Anna Dixon | Mon, July 17, 2017

This month, Parents & Kids pays tribute to all you pappas out there and your journey into parenthood. Four Shanghai dads tell us about their children, balancing work and home life and what it means to them to be a great father.

Full name: Peter Dixon

Child's full name: Theo Anthony James Dixon

Nationality: British

Job: Entrepreneur and COO 247Tickets

Where in the city do you live: Jing'an

How long in Shanghai: 5 years

How did you feel when you found out you were going to be a dad?

Peter: We had planned way in advance to have a child. Neither of us had jobs that provided maternity insurance and we had to pay for a year before having our birth covered, so yeah, Theo had already made a financial dent before he was even conceived! What did come as a surprise was how quickly it happened. We got pregnant within a couple of weeks of trying... I thought I had at least a few months of that left!

When did it hit you that you were a father?

Peter: It still hits me in different ways at various times, even after 10 months. It certainly hits me every time he wakes up at 5am, which luckily is happening less as he grows up!

What did it feel like the first time you held your baby?

Peter: It was an emotional whirlwind! I was ecstatic to meet him, absolutely knackered from weeks of Anna being in and out of labour, still in a state after the birth and terrified about the huge change ahead. All that went away the second I held him though. I just remember falling in love straight away and knowing nothing was, nor ever would be more important to me than this gooey, weird looking little thing! (He's since become a lot less weird looking!)

Did you prepare at all? Read baby books? Attend classes?

Peter: Probably not enough! My wife and I spoke about things which helped a lot and she had the pregnancy/parent APPs that we got lots of information from, oh and I practiced putting nappies on a teddy bear once! I figured that I would learn as I went along as there's no way I'd be able to anticipate what type of baby Theo was going to be. We did attend a class at RedLeaf about the birth, which helped us a great deal in preparing for what we were in for there!

Did you feel an instant bond with your son, or did it grow and develop over time?

Peter: Instant. It has obviously developed over time as he changes and grows and I don't think it will ever stop developing.

What do you feel is the hardest part of being a dad?

Peter: I don't think I've gotten anywhere near the hardest parts yet. At the moment I'm doing a good job as long as I'm with him as much as possible, make sure he sticks to his schedule, make him laugh and change his nappy... I'm hoping if I keep it up he'll grow up to be a well-rounded, fully functioning member of society – but I'm sure there will be plenty of roadblocks along the way!

And the best part?

Peter: Same as above! Watching him grow up to be whatever he becomes and hopefully having some influence in the outcome!

How do you juggle work and home life?

Peter: It's hard – my company is young and growing quickly, so there are constantly fires to put out, events and conferences to attend and meetings to be had. I think the hardest part is that I love what I do, so for me replying to an email on a Sunday afternoon isn't a chore. At the same time I want to spend as much time with my family as possible. Luckily, Theo wakes up nice and early, so I get a couple of hours with him in the morning and then I make sure to be back to give him a bath and put him to bed at least 3 times a week, then Sundays are family time.

Did your relationship with your partner change when you became parents?

Peter: Not really although we've definitely grown up a lot. We've become more of a team and maybe appreciate each other even more than before. Having said that, we still have all our stupid in-jokes, still talk about our future and still love each other's company...the only difference is we go to sleep a lot earlier!

What’s your favorite thing to do with your son?

Peter: I just love making him laugh – it's not hard with Theo as he's almost always got a smile on his face, but there's nothing like hearing him cackle when I throw him up in the air!

How would you describe your child in one sentence?

Peter: He's a hilarious, unique, outgoing, beautiful little legend!

What advice would you give to an expectant father?

Peter: Throw yourself into it to the best of your ability and it will be the most rewarding experience of your life.