After a chaotic weekend which involved three foot high snow drifts, a leak in the bathroom and a hole in the roof my parental leave began. I had done some preliminary planning with Florence about the week ahead but we were not planned for the roof to cave in - not literally but to cut a long story short, we need a new roof. So not a great start to my parental leave.
Apart from the house falling down I think I’m well prepared for them months ahead as I am quite hands-on already (I probably wouldn’t have opted to take SPL if I wasn’t) but nevertheless, Florence has given me all sorts of helpful tips and hints to try and make my life as easy as possible over the next few weeks and months. These have included practical tips around the house such as putting him in his cocoonababy when I need the loo or go for a shower to ideas of the sort of things I can do on a daily basis. The first few weeks will be a novelty but I don’t know what to expect after a month or so.
As its just the first week I have cannily agreed for my mum to stay with us for this first week as a sort of professional advisor. I’ve also planned my week nicely,
Monday; getting to grips with Leo’s daily routine, working out the practicalities of going places with a pushchair and a rucksack full of Leo’s essentials and fitting the isofix base unit into my car. If I have time I’ll go for a walk and might try take Leo out somewhere nearby. Mum arrives on Monday evening so should then be plain sailing the rest of the week.
Tuesday; Baby Cinema and a walk.
Wednesday; Florence has her day off but I have not organised my diary well and I have a meeting a the Local Authority so she is going to take Leo swimming but we’ll do something in the afternoon.
Thursday; Baby Cinema (I like the cinema) and shops
Friday; Baby development course then walk in the park.
If this is going to be a standard week then I should be ok.
To be fair Monday started well, Leo woke a little earlier than normal but I can deal with that and it gave me a chance to have breakfast with Florence before she left for work. Then I started my new routine - I am a bit/ a-lot of a geek, I love sci-fi so I’ve got a store of programmes and films to watch to try and indoctrinate Leo. A question I keep asking myself is whether we should be watching age-appropriate programmes together or whether its ok for him to be watching programmes about Game of Thrones, The Strain and The X-Files? I guess we’ll find out when he’s older if he starts having nightmares…
After an episode of The Strain we ventured out for a walk in the park, I didn’t take any provisions as its only round the corner, Leo slept throughout the whole walk and woke as soon as we got back home so no rest for the wicked! As he needed (or wanted?) attention I missed several calls from the roofer, the insurer and the plumber. The empty bottles are starting to pile up and there’s a pile of laundry I didn’t get through at the weekend as a result of the issue with the roof.
After lunch Leo gets a bit grotty but it's essentially because he is tired, he loves his pushchair and loves going in the car so I decide that I’ll venture out in the car for the first time alone. He goes in the pushchair, I’ve got my rucksack on my back and I’m struggling along with the car seat with a few spare fingers. After a few minutes of playing around with the isofix and car seat all three green lights are showing indicating that the base unit is fixed properly and the seat is secure so we’re ready to go. Leo is already asleep so I have brain wave. Instead of immediately driving off I return the calls missed. Not just a great dad, but efficient as well!
Then to the shops not to get anything in particular, just to prove to myself that I can take Leo out on my own. To treat myself we went for a coffee, I didn’t actually realise how difficult that would be. Leo started to cry as he was hungry but because he is too small for a highchair I need to hold him.This creates an issue. How do I drink my hot coffee with a squirming baby on your lap? The answer of course, is that you don’t. You distract baby as long as you can until he settles and will go back in the pushchair, you then down your cold coffee and consider whether you should have taken the opportunity to change him before heading back home. I must admit. At the moment baby changing facilities scare me a little bit. Some are situated in women’s toilets which, aside from being presumptuous and of course incredibly exist, makes it really uncomfortable for a 30 odd year old bloke to be hanging round.
Anyway the drive back home was pretty uneventful apart from the fact that Leo kicked off five minutes from home - still there was nothing I could do about that so we just had to power through and get home. When I get home I just want to sit down and veg out for an hour or so. Leo will not allow me that luxury however, he wants to play, its endearing that he craves my attention and even single laugh and smile is so worth it but I’m starting to realise just how draining parental leave can be.
Shortly after mum arrives and Florence returns shortly after. In my head a think my shift is over and I can hand over. Florence however has had a long day too and as much as she wants to help out she is just as tired so I need to power through until we go to bed. Prior to baby bedtime was 12am, it's now 10pm. In bed, I feel the stresses and strains of the day and before along I’m sound asleep, it's been a great day but I’ve never worked so hard in my life.