Well, here we are. The final day of my epic daddy daycare adventures. Emily was obviously keen to make the most of it because she kindly woke me up at 1:11. I arrived at her cot to find her wrestling two soft toys. It wasn’t
obvious who was winning but I thought it best to break up the scuffle and settle her back down. Unfortunately this took the best part of an hour, but I do recall thinking that this might give us a bit of a late start in the morning. Of course,
that wasn’t the case. It was Sarah’s turn but I was aware enough to see that the first number on the clock was a 5. She settled down for a short time but was soon calling out again so she came in with us for a few minutes before Sarah
had to get up. As is often the case in a morning, Emily wants her mummy and so one Sarah got up for a shower she became grouchy. Fortunately though, she spotted her shadow on the wall and seemed to be quite happy waving at it for a while.
In time we were all up and having breakfast. Emily opted for Ready Brek and had a decent sized portion after her toast to set herself up nicely for our final day of fun. Big sisters arrive home at 7:30, just in time for mummy to do their hair for
school before she headed off to work. Big sisters and Emily had time for a bit of play together, which was very pleasing for all three after being apart for the weekend, before it was time for us to head out. The last task before we left was to
brush teeth, and big sisters took great pleasure in seeing Emily brush hers at the same time as theirs. The walk to school was chilly but without incident and including an impromptu visit to Grandma & Grandad W’s on the way past; big sisters
were insistent on knocking on the door because the garage door was open and they wanted to make sure they knew. After our brief stop we rendezvoused with the usual suspects and headed down to school, taking a slight detour to the doctors for a prescription
and the chemist for lip balms for big sisters. Both bought one each last week but within two days they had both lost them. I didn’t hold out much hope for the replacements lasting much longer. We had a bit of an emotional final drop
off with big sisters and I had to peel big sister 1 off me to go into class when the bell went. The final school run completed, something else I’ll really miss doing. Emily and I headed home, and after sleeping all the way to school was full
of beans & smiles on the return leg. We cracked straight on with the morning bottle then had a little play before making our final walk down to Guiseley. As if planned, who should we cross paths with on the way down but jaunty hat man who we
haven’t heard from since much earlier in my diary. The first thing I noticed was his hat. Not quite so jaunty on this occasion but definitely not right, in fact it was pulled down so low it was almost over his nose. He was walking with
his head tipped back to see where he was going, and was carrying his trusty carrier bag. As he passed, I glanced at the contents, expecting to see some cans of beer and perhaps being offered one as on the previous occasion. Today though, he was
obviously thinking more about food as he had 3 or 4 tins of Spam. Nothing else that I could see, just Spam. Mrs jaunty hat is a lucky lady. The remainder of the walk to Guiseley presented nothing of note, and we headed straight to Next for
a final foray into Costa. Emily had dropped off to sleep so I enjoyed a coffee and breakfast bloomer in peace before heading downstairs to collect a parcel that was waiting for Sarah. Mission complete, we did the rounds of the other shops, picking
up a few birthday bits for big sisters along the way. Emily stirred but remained on good form, so we got the shopping done and headed home before she started demanding lunch. Slightly behind schedule we got back to base and Emily tucked straight
into some finger food snacks whilst I warmed up some cheesy thing for her lunch. She wolfed both down and enjoyed a banana petits filous for dessert. We followed lunch with a brisk walk to Morrisons for some tea ingredients and followed that up
with some play in the lounge. Emily was on great form and we had some good giggles before we had a visit from our next door neighbour. At first Emily was a bit shy but was soon showing off her standing up skills. Tea came around quickly and
I started her off with a jam sandwich for a bit of variety. She was very suspicious of it at first, then alternated between tasting it and playing with it. She favoured playing with it in the end so I moved on and gave her the remainder of the
cheese –based pouch from lunchtime and followed that up with a fruit pouch. Everything was devoured with gusto. With dinner a success, I popped Emily into her playpen whilst I prepared some tea for myself. With Sofia the First on the
TV she was more than happy, and mixed watching with playing as I cooked and ate my tea and then ran her bath. With big sisters at their final Rainbows session and mummy picking them up from there, we followed the bath with some more lounge play and the
evening mini-bottle as I tried to keep her cheery for when the rest of the family came home. She was flagging but just in the nick of time the car pulled up. Emily was excited to see them all and there were cuddles all round. Before long
it was time for bed. Mummy settled Emily down and we were both able to settle big sisters down for the night. So far so good, with no disturbances.
So that’s it. 3 months of Shared Parental Leave, 2 of which have been on my own
with Emily. It’s been a challenge, but great fun too. Without a doubt we have created a strong bond with the time we’ve spent together and I’m under no illusions as to how lucky I am to have been able to have this time with her.
Would I recommend it to others? Of course. The challenge, I imagine, is convincing the mother to go back to work earlier than she might otherwise do. I have learned to appreciate just how hard it to do some otherwise simple tasks when travelling
with a baby, either on foot or in the car. It’s given me a greater appreciation of how efficient a parent Sarah is, and to think she did all this with twins the first time around is pretty amazing. I’ve also enjoyed the spin-off opportunity
to walk to school with big sisters so often. We’ve had fun along the way and they have had the extended opportunity to bond with Emily as they walk down, push her along the school path, etc. They are clearly so proud to show off their little
sister and I’ve been lucky enough to watch that unfold. Of course there are also times when I have craved some adult company. Balamory and the like are good to a point but you start to go a bit crazy after a while. To say I’m
looking forward to returning to work in the morning is probably pushing things a bit far, but I am looking forward to balancing out my child time with adult time a bit more.
Hopefully this has been an enjoyable read. It’s evolved as I’ve
progressed through the period of leave, and some days have been more entertaining than others. If I had to choose the most entertaining day it would probably be the events surrounding Mavis’ visit to the vet, and it’s possibly fair to say
that was where this diary peaked. Every day can’t be entertaining though. I’ve tried to keep it light-hearted and hopefully it is something Emily will enjoy reading when she’s older.
If you’re still reading this,
thanks very much for following my exploits!