Dear Daddy…

Dear daddy,

Thanks for the hours you spend chasing me round because I think it’s hysterical. Thanks for the times you carry me when I’ve got too tired to walk. Thanks for the bedtime routine we add new things to almost every week. Thanks for the cuddles, kisses and high fives. Thanks for taking me to new places all the time like farms and parks where I can explore. Thanks for always making sure I have sauce on my dinner – yum! Thanks for letting me help with the gardening. Thanks for swinging me as high as you can at the park. Thanks for being the best daddy a little girl could ask for.

Love from Alexandra x

Dear daddy,

Thanks for the best snuggles on your chest when I’m struggling to sleep. Thanks for waking up in the night to feed me. Thanks for carrying me round in my sling so I’m really comfy. Thanks for being there for me right from day one when I was poorly. Thanks for singing to me and smiling at me all the time. Thanks for being the best daddy a boy could ask for.

Love from Max x

A Test? More Like A Marathon

My fave two faces.

My fave two faces.

In the hazy, pre-Alexandra days of our relationship when we occasionally didn’t bother to wake up until late on a Sunday or decided to pop to the pub on a whim at 10pm on a weekday evening, I don’t think I ever contemplated how much life would change with a baby. Yes, I knew my world would spin on its axis but I didn’t expect my relationship to alter at all. But the simple fact of the matter is that it did. And it’s always going to.

I’d heard all this business about a baby testing even the strongest relationship but to be honest, I didn’t think it would make a jot of difference to us and thought the only test would be if you were having a ‘band aid baby’ to try and patch up whatever problems there were between the couple. But we had no problems. I was genuinely and utterly happy (I still am…it sounds like I’m gearing up to tell you I hate Dylan now. I’m not!) and aside from the fact he’s chronically late and always messes up the cling film, I think he’s the most wonderfully perfect person. And I’m not just saying that because I know he reads these blogs.

So, I really didn’t think adding a baby into the mix would be much of a problem. I thought we’d just change up our schedules a bit and that’d be that. Oh how gloriously naïve. When you throw in bucket-loads of sick, a baby wailing for food and utter, all-consuming tiredness, it turns out a relationship is much harder. You don’t love them any less, in fact I love Dylan a whole heap more seeing how he is with our little girl and seeing how much he loves her. But we have to actually make time to cuddle now, or chat to each other about something that isn’t how many poos Alexandra has done that day. Sometimes I feel so absolutely exhausted I don’t want to talk to anyone at all and I have to remind myself that really, it’s pretty awful not to be cheerful towards a man who’s dragged himself out of bed, driven down the motorway, spent a full day working, come home and probably bathed the baby and put her to bed, all to make your life so much better.

To turn your life around from being a two to a three is such a massive adjustment and I feel like we’re still trying to get the balance right – between us having one-to-one time with Alex, us all spending time together and us actually managing to talk to each other sometimes as well! It requires planning now: not, shall we go out now? But shall we get a babysitter next week and go out? Or shall we run round the house grabbing multiple items the baby will need in the next couple of hours and then take her out too?

I know I absolutely chose to have a baby with the right person and I can’t imagine anyone else being Alexandra’s daddy – but it makes me think how awful it must be if you’re not sure and you don’t like the other person as much (or at all). To not enjoy those rare moments you do get together when one of you isn’t rushing somewhere or finishing doing some chore or another, is pretty grim. As the title of this post suggests, having a baby isn’t a relationship test, it’s like some bizarre marathon where you’ve set off never having run a metre before, the path is strewn with hurdles, challenges, and you will NEVER SLEEP SOUNDLY AGAIN. (echoey voice)

Harriet and Alexandra x

Daddy Diaries: Part One

Daddy and Alexandra.

Daddy and Alexandra.

When I first started this blog way back in April 2015 (okay, so it’s slightly less than a year but it feels like absolutely yonks!), I spoke to Dylan and suggested he perhaps write a post or two. Something about preparing for parenthood the third time round, or advice for new dads, whatever took his fancy really. After all, he’s a former journalist and he still works in the communications sector so he should be able to put together a few words. However, life has this funny habit of constantly getting in the way of things like this! And whilst I had my pregnancy to type away, and then have had the odd moment while Alexandra’s asleep to post a few things (I tend to write four or five posts in one go and stack them up for future weeks), he’s been busy going to work and, you know, keeping everything together and looking after the baby for quite a while when I was ‘having a rest in hospital’ as we often refer to it. So now I’ve grabbed ten minutes with him while he’s eating his dinner (poor bloke can’t even do that in peace) to quiz him about the first six months or so of life as a third-time daddy:

“I suppose although I’d be described as a veteran having had two kids before, the main advantage is you’re not phased by situations which perhaps a first-time father might find daunting such as actually handling the child. I think there’s a genuine fear when you become a father for the first time that your baby’s going to come apart in your hands; however, I think I certainly forgot how exhausting it is.

“No matter how much experience you’ve got, nothing really prepares you for the tiredness and general disruption to your routine caused by the arrival of a newborn. I think it would have been tiring for anybody but effectively becoming Mr Mom due to circumstances for the first couple of months and having to do the lion’s share of night feeds and everything else that goes hand in hand with a baby was a massive shock to the system.

“I think had I not had that previous experience I wouldn’t have coped with that. I was extremely fortunate to have a brilliant network of family, extended family and friends chipping in which enabled me to catch that second wind, however there were times when I felt ill through a combination of the demands of looking after Alex and also juggling with the stress of hospital visits in the most trying of circumstances.

“Apart from the determination of wanting to live up to my responsibilities and not wanting to let Alex or anyone else down, what kept me going was the daily rewards of seeing Alex respond and having a closer relationship with her than I perhaps would have done had I gone straight back to work. There were simple pleasures like being able to bring her into bed every morning for a cuddle and even choosing her clothes and dressing her for the day. I felt very proud of the way she was turned out and that people commented on that, I took pride in making sure she was regularly bathed and trying to establish a feeding and bedtime routine.

“In one sense I was pleased to go back to work in November because it signalled a return to the ‘normal’ family life that we’d originally envisaged but it was still a wrench handing over Alex’s daily care. I think on reflection I was privileged to have that experience and that close relationship with her, particularly as I won’t ever have that chance again and it’s an opportunity that few new fathers get. For all the dark moments, there were plenty of bright ones. It really was ‘glass half full’ to use a cliché.

“Now, I think the bond I have with Alex is a lot stronger for us having lived through that together. I think my experiences at the moment are similar to most fathers who come home from work each day. It’s incredible to see that rapid development like the first recognisable sounds which are going to make up her first words, those looks for understanding, the smiles and the laughter.

“Those memories are priceless and I have a wealth of them.”

Harriet, Dylan and Alexandra x

Daddy Appreciation

Phone pics 2015 137Warning: this post may be a little sickly sweet and vomit inducing!

I’m immensely lucky to have found someone who I know will make a fantastic father to our daughter, partly because of his experience already as a dad and partly from his personality and attributes. You read so much about wayward parents that it’s very reassuring not to be stressing about how your partner will act after the baby’s here. Although I’m never going to agree that the hardship of pregnancy has been shared 50/50 between us, I do appreciate the little things Dylan has done and how much he’s been there for me while I’ve been growing our baby. So as we look forward to our wedding as well as the new arrival, I wanted to thank him for those things:

– Thank you for putting up with my moaning, hormones and grumpiness since January so graciously.

– Thank you for holding my hand during our scans and for being as excited as I was when we found out we were having a little girl!

– Thank you for occasionally reminding me our baby probably doesn’t need a million outfits!

– Thank you for getting the nursery looking so amazing.

– Thank you for all the back rubs and cuddles when I’ve been feeling rough.

– Thank you for not minding when I couldn’t eat dinner with you all those nights because of the sickness.

– Thank you for letting me choose our girl’s middle name because you knew how important this name is to me.

– Thank you for all those amazing moments when you’ve talked to baby through my belly button.

– Thank you for going on this parenthood journey with me and for being there beside me every step of the way.

– Thank you for already being the best daddy to our baby girl.

Harriet and bump xxx