Have son, will travel on voyage of rediscovery

PUBLISHED : Friday, 10 June, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 10 June, 2005, 12:00am

Seeing the world anew through the eyes of your children is the thrill of parenthood

IT IS A CLICHE, but ask any parent about the birth of their first child and he or she will confirm it is a life-changing experience.

Andrew Nasskau, father of 18-month-old Ryan, said he had no concept of just how dramatically his life would change after the birth of his son, despite advance warning in the form of many hours spent with friends and their children. 'It's like leaping off a diving board for the first time,' he said. 'Until you've jumped off, you have no idea what to expect. It is trial and error, but you also rely on instinct.

'It is very enriching and very fulfilling. There are ups and there are downs, but the pleasures always outweigh the downs.'

Mr Nasskau describes parenthood as a gauge of time. He and his wife, who is Singaporean, moved to Hong Kong 18 months ago at the time Ryan was born.

'He is a measure of time passing. You appreciate time more, and you value the time you spend together.'

One of the biggest challenges in his short time as a dad has been to strike a balance between work and family life.

As general manager of one of the city's luxury five-star hotels, he knows all about responding to demands in an industry that operates 24-hours a day, seven days a week.

The desire to build a bond with his son during his formative months meant making some significant adjustments in his life. Drawing on energy reserves from previously untapped resources helped, he said.

Having found a balance that works, Mr Nasskau enjoys watching his son grow from baby to toddler. One of his favourite things about his son's progress has been the speed of development in the first six months, when the tot was learning to respond to others and beginning to show the first signs of personality.

Mr Nasskau said he enjoys the daily mental switch from interacting with colleagues during the day and interacting with his son in the evenings. He believes the father-baby interaction has also strengthened certain social skills that serve him well in his work world.

'I'll be tuned in, and then I go home and play with Ryan and his toys. It's a good thing. There are childlike qualities in most of us. The two worlds are so different.'

Now that his son has reached an inquisitive age, Mr Nasskau is beginning to realise that the toddler stage will be even more demanding.

'The early days are the easiest. The baby wakes, sleeps. Now he doesn't want to sleep so much. He wants to be everywhere.'

Mr Nasskau hopes that Ryan's background and upbringing will help him integrate into the Asian culture, especially that of China. If he can do that, he will be set up for success.

Becoming a father has helped Mr Nasskau appreciate the challenges his parents faced when they raised their four children.

'Before I became a father, Father's Day was just a day to appreciate my father. Now that appreciation is coming to me, and part of me feels a little surreal.'

mall activities

Times Square will host a Father Robot exhibition by local designer David Cow between June 12 and 19. On June 18 from 3pm children in chef's uniforms will distribute tie-shaped cookies to shoppers.

Cityplaza Ice Palace Fathers can skate free if they are accompanied by their children on Father's Day, and those keen to take up the activity as a hobby can enjoy a 25 per cent discount if they enrol in a skating course. A lucky draw will also be held.