Running at sunrise to become a healthier dad Blog

Happy New Year!

Well would you look at that, 2018 is under way already!

 

I took a little break from the blog over Christmas and the New Year, as most people did. It was the most enjoyable, relaxing time spent in the great company of family. Hopefully you were able to relax and refresh over this time too.
Read more “Happy New Year!”

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Master the stairs, baby climbs stairs Blog

Master the Stairs

A few weeks ago I wrote about Hannah’s new-found love of all things terrifying. You’ll be pleased to know that her desire to explore all the dangerous things has not subsided. If anything, it has intensified!

 

This makes for interesting times in my house at the moment. Where just a few short weeks ago I was becoming complacent in my attitude towards observing Hannah’s play, I am now back to a state of close hovering. I know that makes me sound like a bit of a helicopter parent, but trust me, Hannah needs to be watched carefully at this point in time.

 

Testing the Water

Take, for example, yesterday’s antics. The three of us were upstairs. Emma and I were completing fairly mundane, adult tasks, while Hannah played with her toys. All of a sudden, Hannah stood up and headed for the stairs at a rate of knots. She navigated them safely, so I was a bit slow to follow. However, when we heard the door to the laundry (and steps of doom) click open, I was after her in a heartbeat.

I almost did myself some serious damage as my sock-clad feet struggled for traction on the carpet at the top of our stairs. Fortunately, I caught the handrail and steadied myself before becoming the first in our family to go to hospital for a stair-related injury. I had no time to contemplate my near-death experience. Hannah was, in my mind, mere steps away from her own misfortune.

I cleared the flight of stairs in three great leaps and, using the banister as a kind of turning pole I slid around 180 degrees to run to the laundry. Again my socked feet made that part slightly more hairy than it otherwise would have been, and I once again had to steady myself, to avoid coming to grief on the tiles.

After gathering my composure I set myself to take off at full speed, only to look up and stop in my tracks.

There was Hannah, standing next to the laundry door, a big smile on her face. She had obviously enjoyed the show, and may or may not have now formed a connection in her brain that tells her that if she opens the door, daddy comes running in a crazy way.

 

Becoming a Big Girl

As I have mentioned before, Hannah has long known how to navigate the stairs. She takes herself up and down with ease and perfect safety in a well-practised motion.

But that is no longer enough. Hannah is hell-bent on growing up and becoming a big kid. A key part of that in her mind right now is using the stairs in the same way that the adults do. Thankfully, a few scares early on have helped Hannah to realise that she’s not quite ready to do it by herself. Unfortunately, that means that she DEMANDS that one of us help her. Every time.

Hannah now waits at the top of the stairs and makes a big noise. As we draw near to see what all the fuss is about, she holds out her hands and steps threateningly close to the edge of the top step. This, of course, leaves us with no option but to offer a hand. As soon as one is within reach, Hannah latches on and she doesn’t let go. Her grip is amazingly strong for little girl who has only been on this planet for 18 months, and she uses it to her full advantage.

Once she has secured a parent, Hannah is in big kid heaven. She grins from ear to ear as she slowly descends the stairs in an upright, forward-facing position. She is using the stairs just as we do and it’s obviously a big thrill for her!

 

Try and Try Again

Did I mention that Hannah has a strong grip? Did I also mention that she knows how to use it to her full advantage? I did? Good.

When we reach the bottom of the stairs, Hannah does not release her captured parent. That would be a waste. After-all, who knows when the opportunity to capture one might present its self again? No, Hannah doesn’t release her parent, she merely turns them around and prepares for the journey back up the stairs.

See, Hannah’s tiny toddler brain has a more profound understanding of one of the keys to a successful life than many of us adults. It is a fact that we probably all once had a grasp of, long ago, and it really is simple. Mastery comes through repeated, deliberate practice. Failure is a part of the journey. It presents an opportunity to learn, to get better.

Hannah wants to climb the steps like a big kid, and she already knows that the only way she is going to be able to do that is be practising and practising and practising until she can master the stairs.

 

Now to You

So, grown adult, now it’s your turn to master the stairs. What daunting learning have you been putting off, because you don’t think you can do it?

In what aspect of your life do you desperately wish to be like the big kids? Who is offering you helping hand to guide you safely off the top step as you take the plunge towards your goal?

Mastery is hard work. It requires sustained effort. Failure and its inbuilt lessons are fundamental to your eventual success. Can you handle that as well as a toddler does, or have you learnt to shy away and protect yourself? Are you really ready to climb that staircase again, and again, and again, or are you just waiting for someone to pick you up and carry you down?

 

Do you want my advice?

Go on, do it! Embrace the effort. Take a page out of the toddler’s handbook. Master the stairs.

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Japan, Shibuya Crossing Blog

My Sunday Photo – Japan Flashback

My Sunday Photo for this week is a flashback to our last visit to Japan.

Why am I digging through the archives for this week’s photo? Because this week we finally took the plunge and booked our end of year trip to Japan!

I cannot tell you how excited I am! Japan is one of my absolute, all-time favourite countries to visit. It is a place that I highly recommend everyone visits at some point in their life.

Our last trip was several years ago now, and it was before Hannah was born. We have been contemplating this adventure for a while, but we chickened out a couple of times last year because we felt that Hannah was just to young to enjoy it. This time, however, we were brave enough to give it a go!

This photo is of the famous Shibuya Crossing. It is my understanding that it is the busiest pedestrian crossing in the world. This photo gives you an indication of just how many people use it throughout the day. It was not even taken at a peak time. Click on the photo to enlarge.

Hopefully you enjoy photos of Japan, because by the end of the year, Blog Of Dad’s My Sunday Photo will be full of them!

 

Photalife
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knuckles, blood, wall Blog

Ten Things I’ve Learnt Today – Knuckles

For today’s post, I thought I would pass on a few words of wisdom. I learnt these ten knuckles-related facts the hard way, so that you don’t have to…

 

  1. Knuckles graze easily when scraped on concrete stairs.
  2. Grazed knuckles bleed. A lot.
  3. Bleeding knuckles should be tended to immediately, not left to deal with after the cleaning is done.
  4. Eventually, blood from a grazed knuckle will find its way onto the white wall.
  5. Blood should be cleaned off white walls immediately. Under no circumstances should it be left to dry a little bit while you go to find a camera because you think it will make a good photo for a blog post.
  6. Photos of knuckle-blood stained walls don’t make for good blog post photos.
  7. Babies WILL wake up from naps and immediately demand to be attended to at the exact moment that you are trying to remove dried-on blood from a wall. You really should have done something about the still-bleeding knuckle earlier.
  8. Band-Aids don’t stay stuck when placed on knuckles.
  9. I may never finish sweeping the stairs.
  10. Sweeping stairs is a crap job.
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Little baby girl, baby hand clenched fist tiny fingernails top 10 things new dads should know Blog

No Longer My Little Baby Girl

To my darling daughter,

I have come to realise something recently. It’s something that makes me feel slightly sad. Yet at the same time, it’s uplifting, exciting. I have come to realise that you are no longer my little baby girl.

I feel sadness because for the past 16 months, a tiny little helpless baby has been my whole world. I’ve adored you, I’ve soaked in your precious little features. I’ve watched and admired every little change, every development, every milestone. I’ve held you and talked to you, I’ve sung to you and played with you. All the while, you were my baby.

Now, quite clearly, you are not my baby. You are a toddler. A little girl who is very quickly growing. You have boundless energy, creativity, opinions and independence. You are in control and able to communicate your likes and your displeasure. This is all wonderful, it truly is! But a part of me will always hold dear the precious first few months of your life.

While I think back fondly to the incredible little baby you were, I also deeply love the toddler who you’ve become. You amaze me every day with something new. You freely share your smiles and laughter, and every time you do, it brightens up the world. You find pleasure in little things and you appear to enjoy the funny side of life! I hope that sticks with you as you grow. The world is already far too full of serious people doing serious things with serious looks on their faces. People who wouldn’t spot a joke if it fell on them like a grand piano – cartoon-style. But the world is a fun place and a funny place. It is yours to enjoy.

You are a great communicator. You make it clear what you want and when you want it. You are not afraid to ask for things or to put forward your opinion. Never be afraid to do these things. You express enjoyment, wonder and displeasure in the most clear ways. And you listen. I’ve never seen someone concentrate so intently on my face when I speak to them as you do. You want so much to understand every word that I say.

You love to move. The development of walking has opened up your little world and you take full advantage of it. You walk whenever you get the chance and you have no problem with covering large distances. You’ve even started moving very quickly. I feel that running is not far away.

One of your favourite things to do now that you are a toddler is read books. You climb up into my lap, on the chair in your room and you demand that I lift you up. Your eyes dart across the shelf until you find a book that takes your fancy. Your little hand shoots out and firmly grasps your prize. I lower you back into my lap and together we explore the book. Sometimes I read it to you from cover to cover. Other times you flick through the pages and we discuss the pictures. You know all sorts of animals and the sound that they make (although you still have trouble spotting the bees, even though you know what sound they make). Often, when one book is done, the request for a second is loud and immediate.

Sometimes you eat as much as I do! Your palate is fairly diverse, although you do have a tendency to favour carbs and dairy. You have excellent spoon control, although sometimes you try to fit far too much into your tiny mouth at once! I love sitting down with you and mum at meal time. I hope that as you grow, dinner will be a time to sit as a family and talk about all manner of things.

My darling girl, know that I loved the baby that you were, and the toddler that you are. Know that together we have created incredible memories, and that I appreciate every second that I have with you in the present. Little one, know that I look forward to the wide expanse of the future and all that it may hold for you. You may no longer be my little baby girl, but I will always be your dad.

Love

Dad

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