2020

Turns out, newborns are hard work! Who knew?

You may have noticed that things have been a little quiet around here recently. That is mainly due to all my efforts in 2019 being placed into what I can only describe as “keeping my head above the water”. A new baby and significant work commitments meant the blog had to take a backseat for a little while.

But now it’s 2020! Time to give Blog of Dad some love again.

What have I missed?

Many wise people tried to warn me that the quiet, sleep-gifted first child exists for the sole purpose of suckering you into having a second. They said that the second child will not be the same.

My smug self chose to ignore this advice completely, confident that my superior parenting ability would overcome any challenges that a second child could throw my way.

I now feel it is my duty to warn you, dear reader, that THE QUIET, SLEEP-GIFTED FIRST CHILD EXISTS FOR THE SOLE PURPOSE OF SUCKERING YOU INTO HAVING A SECOND CHILD.

The warning signs were there the moment our new baby boy (herein known as “Monty”) entered the world. Within moments of his arrival, he had his head up and he was looking around. This well-and-truly took me by surprise, as Hannah spent the first six months of her life fast asleep and barely interested in the world around her. But here was Monty, looking around and trying to figure it all out, right from the start.

Nine-ish months later, he is the most active, terrifying and adorable little ball of energy I’ve ever seen. He DOES NOT STOP moving, exploring, trying new (and extremely dangerous) things, and screaming. When I say screaming, I don’t mean in an angry or upset way, I mean in a trying to communicate at the top of his tiny-but-mighty lungs kinda way.

Monty knows no fear. He believes his head is a god-given battering ram, to be used forcefully in his pursuit of whatever happens to be on the other side of any obstacle. Face-first is the only way – it is how one climbs off a change table, or down the stairs, or off play equipment, for example. His latest, and most favourite game, is to climb half-way up the staircase at full speed, then throw himself backwards with gay abandon. He is either completely trusting that his father will always be there to catch him, unaware of the danger, or so thrilled by the feeling of freefalling that he doesn’t in any way care what consequences it brings. My suspicion is that it is a mixture of all three. (In completely unrelated news, I have developed a taste for whiskey in the evening after the kids have gone to bed…)

He is relentless in his determination to explore all things dangerous in the house, including chords, power points, sharp objects… the list goes on. Everything must be tasted to be appreciated.

Monty’s boisterous energy is unparalleled. Earlier today I watched as he completely intimidated a much older boy (he must have been at least 4) in a tunnel in some play equipment. Monty’s enthusiastic attempts at (screamed) communication and physical interaction were met with first shock, and then terrified retreat by the older boy.

The worst is still to come. He is incredibly eager to walk and I have little doubt that he has the determination to pull it off. Soon. I can see it in his face, every time he pulls himself to standing. His amazing (terrifying) brain and growing muscles are putting it all together. I will be that dad, madly sprinting after the gleeful toddler who, in the blink of an eye, has jettisoned all his clothes and is running at full speed towards the nearest shark and crocodile-infested body of water. Laughing.

The Big Sister

Hannah is a wonderful big sister. She adores Monty, and he adores her. She looks out for him, often providing the necessary tackle/cuddle as he lunges towards the most dangerous thing in the room. She plays with him in the most caring and charming ways. Hannah reads to Monty and she sings him songs when he is upset.

Hannah has grown into a fully-fledged pre-schooler. She is articulate, thoughtful, full of questions and in love with books and her bike. Yesterday I walked into her room after naptime to find her fast asleep on her reading chair, cuddling a library book.

The Laughs

Monty may have presented us with more challenges sleep-wise (and energy-wise) than Hannah ever did, but I wouldn’t change anything for all the money in the world. From the moment Monty first let a little giggle escape his lips, the aim of the game has been to make him laugh. It’s not a hard game, he easily cracks a smile and the laughter quickly follows. Hannah and Monty giggling together is the greatest sound in the world.

I’m thrilled that in 2020 I will once again have the opportunity to spend more time at home and enjoy these precious early memories.

One thing Hannah has taught me is that they grow up so damned fast.

Happy new year!

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