Daddy Day: A walk in the park

A young boy runs down a woodland path.

As I mentioned a couple of posts back, I will soon be taking five months paternity leave to care for our two sons when my wife, Anisa, returns to work after her own block of maternity leave.

Yesterday was the practice day. Anisa went into work for the day, to reacquaint herself with the surroundings, so I used a little annual leave so I could look after the boys for the day.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself – and I think the boys enjoyed themselves too – but I can’t remember feeling so tired at the end of a day! I’m going to blame the switch to British Summer Time and the fact I got up at 05:30 to help Anisa prepare for school.

Getting up before the boys rise does have its advantages: I was able to make for myself – and consume uninterrupted – a decent espresso and a couple of slices of toast. In exchange for a lift to work, Anisa offered to prepare packed lunches for everyone, so I was able to focus on getting the boys ready to face the world.

I had a plan – and the day did basically go to plan – which was to load everyone into the car, drop Anisa at work, then head out to Clumber Park to go for a run around and, maybe, feed some ducks. Once we’d had our fill of that, we’d come home and play for a short while, have some lunch, them head out to the local toddler group/toy library. We would then round off the day with more play at home, teatime, bathtime then bedtime.

One complication this morning was the weather: we have had glorious sunshine these last few days, but the morning air is close to freezing. How to dress the boys (and myself) was going to be a challenge, but I found a solution involving shorts and thick jumpers!

A further complication, of an emotional rather than logistical nature, occurred later in the day. When I explained to Seb (our eldest son, 2¼ years) that we were going to the toy library, he began to get a little agitated. Before Anisa began maternity leave, Seb would go to a childminder every day – and still goes once or twice a week – who is involved in running the toddler group. Poor Seb got a little confused about going there with me, and declared we must be going to the book library, not the toy library, because it wasn’t a P__ (childminder) day. In the end we agreed we were going to Daddy’s toy library, but P__ may be there with some different children. I also had to concede to his demand to sit next to him at all times (I was going to anyway; I needed him to protect me from the other parents!).

All in all, the day went well and I am still looking forward to my leave proper. But I think I’m glad to be working again today. I never doubted it before, but I can confirm that being responsible for a baby and a toddler is a full-time job in itself. It is certainly no walk in the park, even when you do go for a real walk in a real park. I am also aware that yesterday was definitely a honeymoon period. I would love for every day to go like that, but a whole day playing with Daddy will not remain a novelty for long. Wish me luck!

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