bookmark_borderDay of boxes

Twas the day after Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even our boy Jack (he’s just gone down for his nap).

What a lovely day we had yesterday, picked up my Mum late morning and visited my sister and her family. My adorable nieces Lucy and Daisy – who got utterly spoiled by Santa – were still riding the high of Christmas morning, and it was nice to just hang out for a couple of hours and let the kids play. Jack is coming more and more into his own and seems to the type of toddler who takes most things in his stride and after a few minutes of shyness he was soon stealing toys, and charging around the living room.

Ahh yes, I said toddler! A few days ago our wonderful son took his first unaided steps and then spent 20 mins racing back and forth between Mum and Dad, he hasn’t looked back since! All of a sudden there is a little boy in our house, stoating about on wobbly legs but, for the most part, pretty confident and sure of himself. Next thing he’ll be driving a car! We decided to keep it quiet from the family so it was an extra special Christmas present for everyone!

We came home mid-afternoon to get ready for Becca’s family who were all coming over for Christmas dinner, 9 adults in total and despite the potential for stress it all went off without a hitch (to be fair, we don’t really do stress in our house) with everyone well fed and watered and, obviously, Jack was the star of the show throughout.

All in all it was a great day, Jack received lots of gifts (but not too many!) and we will slowly introduce them in the coming weeks as we rotate out other toys – we are keen to not have too many out at a time so he can learn to concentrate on one or two things at a time – but we already have some new favourites so we are counting the day as a success all round!

And now it’s Boxing Day, I’ve had my traditional bowl of leftover trifle for breakfast (and about to have another) and already I’m thinking ahead to next year, we will be in a new house but we’d love to build some more traditions for Jack. This year was a bit early, he’s not really sure about the whole Christmas/Santa thing so we have time to think about what memories and traditions we want to leave him with as he grows. Yes, if that means trifle for breakfast I’ll let him have some, I suppose.

Aside from that we have no plans today. In the coming week we will catch up with friends, see family again no doubt, but by and large the days will be quiet, relaxed, and spent with our wonderful boy. The best Christmas present!

Overall I think we’ve managed a good balance this year, we’ve not spent a fortune on presents that aren’t really needed, we’ve not cleared the shelves of the local supermarkets, and we’ve focused on memories for Jack rather than things. In years to come he’ll remember who was here, not which toy the bought him, and for us that’s the most important gift we can give him.

I hope you all had a good day, however you chose to spend it.

bookmark_borderFinding a way

Our son is almost 14 months old (no I don’t know when you stop counting in months) and thriving. We are adapting to his needs as best we can and overall we have each day down to a pretty regular routine. Recently we’ve started to realise we both need to carve time out for ourselves as we’ve gotten a bit lost in enjoying and learning our roles as parents; we are both still a little amazed we have managed to keep this sturdy, bright, curious, cheeky boy alive for over a year now but it’s time to look ahead at 2023 and figure how we get a little more ‘me’ time for each of us.

With that in mind we decided every Sunday we will take turns to have an ‘me’ morning; a morning where we can do whatever we choose as long as it’s just for ourselves, sleep, sit in a cafe and read a book, exercise, anything that takes our fancy. We’ve not managed it every Sunday (hello toddler at nursery and the many ills that now blight this house!) but Becca has managed to go for a wild swim with her friend, and I managed to get out on my bike again for the first time since April. It felt good to be out in the fresh air plodding along; I’ll admit that I was torn between the desire to switch my brain off completely and just sit quietly somewhere for a while, or being a bit better to my body (and mind) and doing some form of exercise so I’m glad (for once) that I chose the latter.

I find it intriguing how quickly we have adapted throughout the past year, from the first terrifying few weeks with a tiny baby, through feeding changes, sleep pattern changes, a house move, the first mornings at nursery, a naming ceremony/wedding day, and somehow we’ve managed to find a new normal every time, a new routine to help Jack flourish.

I’ll be honest, there have been some dark days, raising Jack is THE single most important thing I’ve ever been part of and I take any little thing that hasn’t been quite right to heart as I want nothing but the best for him. I know I’ve been a bit hard on myself at times too, letting myself hide away behind the ‘being a Dad’ facade and putting all my own needs last but, as we slowly (re)establish a routine and I return to habits that have served me well in the past, I am starting to feel like I’m finding my way… well… not back per se, but certainly finding a new version of me, one that is not that much different from the old me, but who just happens to be a Dad as well!

And you know what, I wouldn’t change a thing. I’ve been so so lucky, Jack is a wonderfully laid back little boy, Becca is the most nurturing and caring mother and wife, and I just feel so lucky and blessed to be part of their lives. As ever I’ll still be looking for ways to improve things for them, and me, as regardless of what else happens life is still very much Happily Imperfect after all.