Where did week one go?
It’s a question I’ve been asking myself. Where the hell did it go? I kind of missed it.
Last Monday was my first day in charge of Lo and Mini (you’ll notice they are never Dolores and Wilhelmina – we intentionally gave them names you could play with, tweak and manipulate) and primarily consisted of me dropping Lola at school, playing baby games with Mina for a few hours, then picking Lola up from school and taking her to her drama class. Reading that back, it sounds rather monotonous, particularly because I did pretty much the same on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. But the days whipped by in a way they never have when I’ve been sat at a nondescript desk in an office in the City.
What’s more, I loved it.
I mixed it up a little today and took Mina to the Museum of London, although it wasn’t your standard museum trip, mainly because we did the whole place in 40 minutes to accommodate feeding Mina and getting her back for her afternoon nap. In short: a flying visit with stricter deadlines than I’m used to working to in my regular 9-5.
Still, I loved it.
Who’d have thought? A father relishing the time he spends with his kids. I’m not sure I can claim that last week taught me that there’s more to life because I think I already knew that, but it certainly underlined the point in bold and in red.
There were, however, several lessons I learned during my first week holding things together at home:
(1) Babies learn exceedingly quickly. Admittedly this is no revelation, but it’s nevertheless interesting to witness it in practice. I did a little test with Mina last week to see how quickly she could master sitting up. With a bit of focus, it took less than five days. More like three. From being unable to sit up unaided last weekend. Next on the agenda: crawling. I’m giving her two weeks.
(2) I’m quite a novelty. I didn’t really anticipate this, although I probably should have done. Stay-at-home dads are few and far between in Ealing it would seem, although that probably goes for large swathes of the country, nay Western world, too. It’s still unusual to see a guy looking after his kids during working hours with no mother in sight. I’m doing this for purely personal reasons – it’s never crossed my mind that I’m any sort of trailblazer – but assuming the experience continues to be as rewarding as it has been over the past week, I won’t be able to help but be an evangelist whenever I speak to another dad who is contemplating doing it.
(3) My eldest, Lola, possesses the ability to fall over literally anywhere under any circumstances. On Friday morning she managed to take a dive like a South American winger while she was walking (yes, walking, not even running, it was closer to ambling) up the path into school, cutting her lip and giving herself a nosebleed like something out of a Wes Craven film. She was fine after the shock abated, but mums everywhere can take heart from the fact that in her ten minutes of need, even though I was there beside her, it was her mummy she wanted. Apparently I’ve not quite displaced my wife yet.
Update: Lola continues to prove so adept at having accidents that I’ve ended up writing a whole post on it. You can read about some of her “best” accidents here.
(4) Finally, and mawkish as it sounds, I’m very, very lucky. I’m in the right place at the right time, as is my wife Alix, to make this happen. We have two happy, healthy, smart girls who are fun to be with and (most of the time) easygoing. We live in a society that has begun to support the idea of dads being at home while their partners go out to win bread. The stars are in alignment you could say. That’s why it would be remiss of me not to seize the opportunity. So far, it’s been the right decision.