So I’ve been a “retired” schoolteacher for almost two weeks now and the new lease of life is certainly taking its toll…on Sophie and Harry!
This time two weeks ago I was in my classroom pondering if paternity leave would ever start.
My wife was a week overdue, I’d unexpectedly returned from half term to my class of children who were just as surprised to see me as I them.
Fourteen days later, amidst the whirlwind of Harry’s arrival and settling down, the time has come for me to return.
And I’m gutted to be saying bye to my family, for the daytimes at least.
The moment we told Sophie back in April she was going to be a big sister was really special.
“Is that OK, Sophie?”
“That’s fine.” Aww.
Since then, we’ve been busily preparing her for the major changes that she would face when her little baby brother or sister arrived on the scene. And she’s been very excited – even if her ideas for baby names consisted merely of “Baby” and “Sophie”. Not particularly original…
We’d always said we wanted her to be the first person aside from us to meet the latest addition to our family.
Tuesday lunchtime, just four and a half hours after he arrived, she got her opportunity…
When I suggested broadcasting my wife’s labour on Facebook Live, I assumed she’d share my opinion that this was staying in touch with current trends.
I thought she’d love it.
Sadly though for those of you who stayed up on Monday night in anticipation, the idea was unequivocally vetoed and this blog post will have to be the next best thing!
Good news is infectious.
It’s something you want to share with other people, it makes you smile when you think of it and it brightens up your day.
With that in mind then, I am delighted to be sharing with you that my wife is pregnant again and Sophie is going to be a big sister.
On this day a year ago, I sat in the dining room of my friend Martin’s house and tried to decode HTML! With a bit of encouragement and a lot of expertise on his part, we set up daddyjoeblogs.com and my blogging journey had begun.
135 posts later (over 1 every three days!), this online journal plays a key part in my life and I am so grateful to everyone who has helped get it up and running and for all those who have supported it!
Sophie’s come a long way since the first days of this blog. Back then, she was an utterly dependent, immobile, speechless beautiful little baby…
Our original plan for Sophie wasn’t nursery.
In fact, if I’m perfectly honest, I really wasn’t up for it at all. I was worried that it was schooling her too soon (in terms of development targets, Ofsted and all the rest) and I wanted her to go to a childminder in order to almost have a surrogate family.
When we were faced with nursery as the best and really only option, I initially struggled to cope with it. Dropping her off two weeks ago for her first full day in nursery, I was just about ready but incredibly nervous.
Where would you find a baby alpaca called Dennis, an overpregnant cow called Louise and three mischievous little rodents racing up and down?
I’m not talking about a sequel to the horrendous Alvin and the Chipmunks – on a farm of course! And our trip to Smithills Open Farm recently with Sophie was such a great experience.
Being off for six weeks is apparently not unusual for teachers.
In fact, if some rhetoric was to be believed, we have half the year off on paid leave, work from 9-3 every day and are simply the biggest slackers going.
Not that I’m entering into that debate.
However, after handing my class over to someone else for six weeks and literally detaching completely from work, it has been very strange going back into school this week.
As the clock ticked towards 3.20pm on Friday and the storm clouds started to gather, it struck me that my 6 weeks of paternity leave and “full-time Daddy” work was over.
It had been 42 days since I’d walked out of school to become a stay-at-home Dad and I have absolutely loved (almost) every moment of it.
However, now it’s back to reality and normality as I will be heading into work on Monday to carry on the life I pressed pause on six weeks ago.
It’s worth reflecting then on the leave period I’ve experienced. Was it what I expected? Do I feel as satisfied with how I’ve used it as to how excited I was as I began it? What next for my relationship with Sophie?