I’ve always been what they call a ‘hands on Dad’. From changing Gracie’s first nappy to getting up for the night feeds. Changing her sicky baby grow to changing her bedding when her nappies leaked. As Mummy Hew had to have an emergancy C-Section she wasnt able to pick Gracie up out of her crib, although it’s what I wanted to do, I had no choice but to be what they call a ‘hands on Dad’. I changed pretty much every single one of Gracie’s nappies for the first 6 weeks, until I went back to work. I would get up with Gracie in the night for her feed, I would pass her to Mummy Hew. Mummy Hew would feed Gracie, I would burp her and settle her back to sleep – Gracie that is, Mummy Hew never has problems passing wind. We made a good team. After a few months Mummy Hew was able to express milk and I bottle fed it to Gracie. I’ll never forget the first bottle I gave her. I can’t explain the connection it gave us, it was more than the cuddles and burping….it’s up there with one of my favourite moments being Daddy Hew.
I’m not overly fond of the term ‘hands on Dad’. I’m just Dad. Or Daddy as I have to keep reminding Gracie, she insists on calling me Dad at the moment. Why do people insist on asking how ‘hands on’ I am?……and are then shocked when I tell them I wipe my child’s actual arse and yes I have changed a shitty nappy. WE made the decision to start a family. WE had a child. WE will bring that child up. I’m not a hands on Dad, I’m just a Dad.
Mummy Hew and I have a pretty good balance in our house. We share the house chores, we share parenting, we are a couple…..we do shit together. She’s my best friend, mother of my child, soon to be mother of Baby Hew No2, we chose this life and I bloody love it. I wouldn’t have it any other way……well I would prefer if the duvet was shared equally but that’s another story!
When Baby Hew No2 arrives I will take 5 weeks off from his/her birth and then take advantage of Shared Paretnal Leave. I’m quite fortunate that the Company I work for will pay me 19 weeks full pay! Mummy Hew and I are still finalising dates but I plan to take 10/12 weeks SPL and will be a temporary SAHD!
There are times we parent alone….normally when the other is travelling for work or, god forbid, we go out with our pals. This week Mummy Hew had to work in London on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. She had a series of meetings which meant she had to be on the train at half 6….yup you read that right… six thirty, vile isn’t it. I was sick in my mouth a little bit too when she first mentioned it! She is also due to catch up with a couple of her friends on Sunday afternoon. This means that Dolly and I have had some extra time together in the mornings/evening. We will also do something fun on Sunday!
I’ve documented each of the days below….not because I need a medal or recognition for looking after my own daughter but because it’s rare we get to spend that volume of time together alone and I thought it would be good to reflect on. On reflection we didn’t reallt do anything exciting!
05:30 the alarm goes off. Mummy Hew starts to get ready and I snooze for a bit. I get up, throw some jeans on and wake Dolly up. Surprisingly she woke up straight away and was quite happy to put her Dressy (dressing gown) on and take mummy to the station.
We drop Mummy off and when we get home make Gracie some milk, ‘warm but no too warm please Daddy’. Gracie watches an episode or two of Ben and Holly on her Amazon fire kids edition.
Gracie chose her outfit. Yellow top and Jeggins. She wanted to take a photo to send to Mummy Hew….but only if she got to stand on her stool. She did a few jumps off of her stool and she was on top of the world. We had a cuddle, we talked about Mummy Hew being on the train and made our way to nursery.
Not the most exciting morning in the world. But I enjoyed it. We got to spend some time together and she was pretty well behaved.
We picked Mummy Hew up from the station and Gracie fell asleep in the car on the way home. mummy New bought us both a pack of white MnMs which we ate sitting on the bed. Had a story and Gracie was off to bed.
Not the most exciting Monday but Dolly was pretty well behaved so couldn’t ask for much more.
Same alarm goes off…it’s rank. I didn’t sleep very well and Gracie was a little restless overnight. She has developed a chesty cough, she didn’t wake in the night but I could hear her tossing and turning. I could hear her coughing, which in reality was quite annoying. I felt sorry for her….but I need sleep too!
We put her Dressy on and made our way down stairs. Mummy Hew bought Gracie a magazine and left it on the dining room table. Gracie’s face lit up when she saw it. I explained that Mummy was going to be back after bedtime so bought her the magazine to play with after nursery.
Dolly fell asleep on the way home from the station but soon woke up when I told her there was milk to be drank. We got dressed, obvs Gracie picked her own outfit. Owl jumper and black leggings! We packed her nursery bag and remembered it was show and tell at nursery. Gracie wanted to take the ‘new baby’ sign which is currently on the stairs, I decided it probably was more appropriate to take a toy and she took Margret in.
I picked Gracie up from Nursery and we made our way home. We played with Margret and Gracie made me some ice cream from her Ice Cream Cart – best Christmas present ever! I told Gracie she could have some smarties as a treat, sat her on the side and said I needed to close the curtains in the dining room. I turned my back for 2 seconds and the cheeky monkey was standing on the side trying to get to the smarties…
We opened the magazine Mummy Hew bought; We played with the lipstick and bracelets that came attached to the front. It was all going so well…..until Gracie snapped the bracelet…….fucking beads flying everywhere. Child screaming. That was fun!
It took a full ten minutes to calm her down…..but she carried on crying. We ran a bath, whilst she was crying. We put her swimming costume on….it’s her new thing to do in the bath, she carried on crying. We played with her bath toys and inbetween giggles she cried. She was traumatised. When she got out of the bath we just sat for a bit. She didn’t want to read a bed time book or play with any toys. I think the early mornings have taken it out of her.
As a treat I let her watch her kindle in bed for 10 minutes. We’ve never done this so I wasn’t sure how it was going to go. But when I told her it was bed time and needed to turn it off she turned over and went straight to sleep. I was pretty surprised, I was expecting a tantrum. She gave me a kiss good night and went straight to sleep.
last morning of 6am starts! Dolly was less happy to get up! She jumped straight back into bed and pretended to be asleep when I got her up. I reminded her hat Mummy was home and she jumped out of bed. She gave the biggest cuddle to Mummy Hew and kept calling out ‘Mummy Bum’. She was so happy to see her Mummy home. We made the same trip to the train station and back home. Same warm milk….but not too warm. Dolly watched the same episode of Ben and Holly she’s seen about 700 times.
We picked out Gracie’s outfit. This was a bit more difficult than earlier in the week. She wanted to wear black leggings and her Lady and the Tramp jumper. I told her that she didn’t have any black leggings and they were in the wash. She cried. Shouted. Stamped her feet. She told me she has LOTS of black leggings, she’s right but I was fucked if I was getting the iron out. I persevered and eventually it was agreed that she could wear her tutu skirt and tights. I put her tights on back to front, bold as brass she says ‘where’s mummy when we need her’….hands on Dad, not me!
I wanted to take a photo of Dolly to send to Mummy Hew but someone was reluctant. We could only take a photo if we played catch with Peter Bunny. Several times. And then balanced him on my head. It’s bloody hard to take a photo when your playing catch!
We went downstairs to put our shoes and coats on……the ironing was on the sofa, ready to be taken upstairs. And there they were, the black leggings. Right at the top of the pile. All 27 pairs. Calling out to Gracie. We had a little discussion about how great Gracie’s outfit was and that she could wear leggings another day.
After nursery I picked Gracie up and we made our way across town to pick Mummy Hew up from the station. Gracie told me she was warm and insisted on driving the whole way to the station with the window open. She noticed my new glasses when we were waiting at the train station and told me I looked lovely, she’s such a cutie at times, literally melts my heart.
When we got home Dolly wanted to show Mummy Hew her stuff from the front of the Magazine. I was told to stay in the kitchen and to cook mummy’s dinner, by Gracie rather than Mummy on this occasion! Mummy Hew read 4(!) books before bed and Gracie was straight to sleep!
I’ve enjoyed having the extra time with Dolly this week. We missed Mummy Hew and glad we don’t have to do this everyday. I’m also looking forward to the alarms being a bit later tomorrow!