It seems like a long time ago that our Toddler was a wee baby. At the time people around us would say things like “Savour every moment because they grow up quick.” It’s only now I’m beginning to appreciate what they meant.
Toddler has started pre-school. Two and a half hours a day, five days a week, at the nursery attached to our local primary school. She has a coat peg with her name on it. It really does feel like we’re a heartbeat away from her being at school proper.
So much has changed in a relatively short space of time it feels like a much longer period has passed. And because so much has happened - not helped by yours truly switching jobs and relocating the family to the other end of the country - it’s been almost impossible to pause and take each item in. Maybe I’ll be able to do some savouring this week…
I have the next few days off work so for the first time in ages Wife-features and I will have a couple of hours a day to spend together without distractions. Writing that down feels uncomfortable. It’s as though I’m suggesting Toddler is an unwelcome distraction when of course most of the time she’s completely charming. However the truth, as I think all parents will acknowledge, is that there are times when you just want five minutes of peace and it’s not easy to occupy a little person with something that isn’t telly. The other pitfall is one parent gives the other a break but that doesn’t address the need to spend time together.
It’ll be great to spend quality time with the missus, although if I scroll back to what quality time meant for us before Toots arrived I’d probably have to concede it meant noodling in junk shops, bookshops, art galleries and walking on beaches. And eating cake. We may do a bit of that this week but I think I’m also being lined up for practical things like a dental check up and improving things like yoga and badminton.
I’ll also enjoy time this week with Toddler. Usually on a weekday all I get is a bleary-eyed chat over breakfast cereal and a knackered soaking at bath time. I tried this weekend to maximise my Toddler time with football and water table action in the garden, dominoes and card games in the house and lots of shoulder-highs. It resulted in me being zonked by teatime on Sunday and flaking out early.
A couple of times in recent months I’ve taken a call at work from Wife-features who explains Toddler wants a chat. I then get an excited voice on the line telling me about doing a pee or going swimming. It’s a great treat.
It’s also amazing to see what kind of person she is becoming. I never imagined by this age she’d be obsessed with sharks, fleet of foot with a ball, able to paint pictures of trees and sunshine, and game to have a go at pronouncing words like “complicated” and “cigarette smoke“.
Something Toddler finds frustrating at the moment is the idea that something is round a corner. For example, if we’re walking somewhere and she asks the classic question Are We There Yet I might answer with It’s Just Around The Corner. But I Can’t See It comes the reply. Any attempt to explain is futile.
My journey over the past three and bit years since becoming a dad has been wonderful and unpredictable. There is something enjoyable about not being able to see around corners. I’m sure my daughter will understand one day.