The End of #dadtime Days…era closes on my last day of #sharedparentalleave. I’ll miss it.

I’m sat on the sofa, contemplating the day ahead. A day back at work, into the routine I’ve been in since I was 21. Except, it is different. I know that it is highly (astronomically) unlikely I’ll be in this situation again, potentially until I “retire” (ha, aka die on the job).

And it feels different to last time I went through this. Partly this is the experience of going back to a less ideal situation than before – I’m going back to the same job – its time for a new challenge, but haven’t got round to finding that yet…whereas last time I had something different lined up. But in large part its simply because this time has been different and somehow more, well, fun! I think partly that’s confidence, in terms of my parenting skills, but also the different personalities I’ve been dealing with. 

No.2 is just, well, delightful. She is fun, she wants to be the life and soul already, and is simply more….engaging than Junior was at this stage. Even though she is over 2 weeks younger than Junior was at this stage in the process. She has been happier to do things that don’t involve constant entertainment, and doesn’t need quite the same attention he did. Except when she tries to crawl up the stairs! 

Junior is still pretty hard work at times, as the “terrible twos” have been exactly that, but as a toddler he is starting to come into his own. His plain will to do things clearly has been and will be a major feature of his life, and he is really only now becoming able to put into practice the things this mighty willpower wants. As his potty training, eating, playing and socialising show, he is able to express and act in ways that help him make the world more how he wants it to be. A pattern that will continue, and he will only get better at. Gods help the world…

As I’ve mentioned, all parents of two+ told us that children are very different, and that these differences are obvious – but I simply didn’t believe how great and apparent they would be. I assumed that it would be small things – the age or order they did something, the food or toys they liked. But no, it is much, much more fundamental. I haven’t time now, but looking back at the personality projections I did for Junior, I think I was fairly well on the money, and can and will write the same for No.2. Using that really does show how different they are.

Anyway, as I say, this is the end of an era, and one I have enjoyed immensely. My relationship with both of them has developed. No.2 didn’t really know or care who I was before, but now I get nearly as much interest and attention as Mummy. Her smile and upstretched arms are the cutest thing on earth right now. And to Junior, while I am no Mummy, I think I became a bit more relevant, as we have got up to some fun stuff on our own, and I think I’ve helped him come to terms with No.2 a bit through my struggles to create times and activities that are clearly directed at one or the other. However as he’s now at the stage of forming memories that he will still have when he’s older, we’ll find out in a decade or two if all I’ve succeeded in doing is scarring him for life…

I’ll return later to what my key lessons are from this period, but my feelings at the moment are that 2 months on my own wasn’t long enough – unlike last time we never really got into a routine, because we didn’t need to. But this is really a minor thing, as overall I’m just so glad and grateful that I’ve got to do it. And that we all survived of course!