My initial thoughts of a couple of blogs a month is looking wildly optimistic now. Mid November and only three entries? Pretty poor effort really. The enormity of the task of switching around parental occupations (i.e. main breadwinner and principal childcarer) has really landed over the last few weeks, half term now a distant memory and Christmas seeming even further away. This is not to suggest I am wishing my time away – far from it – but I think it will take a year for me (and all of the family) to be completely settled with the new roles assumed by both parents. Unfortunately this will also be the time when I will hopefully be going back to work (TBC, please forward and ideas or job offers), so the upheaval will begin yet again. At the moment this does seem a long way away, but as the weeks slip by at an alarming rate it will surely come around very fast indeed. The transition this time has had a significant effect on both parents, especially so in mum who has returned to full time teaching after 3 1/2 years away, but the kids seem to have taken it all in their stride. The resilience of children is always spoken about and is undoubtedly true in many respects, and I only hope that the transition is good for their confidence and adaptability as they grow older. But impossible to know without a control group I suppose.
By now I think I am fully “in” my year of daddy day care – we have a good routine established, the days tend to roll into each other and it is a challenge to try and make each day different. The lure of the TV is always there, and it is certainly the easiest option to plonk them in front of it and then get on with all the stuff (laundry) that needs sorting out. I am not trying to be parochial about screen time but I do try and minimise it to 30 minutes maximum per day. Happily both girls seem to prefer nursery rhymes on YouTube and I have no problem believing the supposed language benefits that accompany such rhymes. Where possible I get outdoors with the girls, often using my bike if practicable (not easy in Calne, possibly the least accessible town I have ever been to). I did a cross-country ride over to Pewsey recently, incredibly muddy and pretty hard work for us both but such a great opportunity to spend some uninterrupted time with a clever little three year old. She seemed to enjoy it anyway.
Visits to various groups continue and there does seem to be a greater level of acceptance amongst the mothers’ union, or some members of it at least. However, this month brings the annual facial hair fest of Movember, which I have been forbidden from participating in for the last 17 years due to the Royal Navy’s ban on moustaches (you can have a beard, but not a mo). I cannot imagine a moutachioed dad at Tots and Dots or Rhyme Time is going to further my cause for male acceptance; I will post a picture when I have finished growing, but don’t expect too much as I realised that not shaving for two years (due to beard) has somewhat reduced my growth rate. So a few wispy bits of bum-fluff it will probably be, coupled to the short haircut will make me look decidedly dodgy and probably a bit American (and a Trump voter at that, stereotype tick).
In any case, time is marching incessantly and it is barely four weeks until Christmas holidays (in the independent school sector anyway). In some ways this is fantastic news as we will have a decent chunk of time together and the chance to do some of the nice things we want to. On the other hand, this interlude will mark an effective third of my time as Deputy Dad(d) and another step closer to having to find a job and going back to work (boo). All the more reason to try and enjoy my time and never feel like complaining about spending another hour, day or week with the girls.