Hello and a very warm welcome to my newly relaunched blog. I'm Paul a 40 year old family man from the UK. In this complex, information overload 21st century world, too often we lose sight of what's really important. Here I want to celebrate life, share inspirational stories, throw the spotlight on charities and causes close to my heart. Looking forward to sharing this journey with you all.
Wednesday, 24 March 2010
The seven ages of our little man
Never mind the seven ages of man, today I'm going to take you on a little tour of the seven phases of our little man, which his mummy and I are truly blessed to share in each and every day. He's very close to his 3rd birthday now, so this is my chance to look back and savour his journey to the peak of toddlerdom......
1. "Sweeney" Toddler
Before you get too concerned, the Sweeney I'm referring to here is in no way connected to the infamous butchering barber of Fleet Street, it's in fact a tribute to the iconic all-action 70's cop classic, and the fact that from the very first minute he wakes up in the morning, our little chap is constantly on the go, like a human dynamo.
His no nonsense approach takes a bit of getting used to, but he takes firm charge of us sleepy ones, his "shall we get up now?" is rarely optional, and usually followed up with a friendly arm drag out of bed, leading the chosen one safely down the stairs, and getting straight to business on his potty. Scarcely pausing for breath he drums out the morning routine- "granny will make the breakfast, daddy you will have shreddies today, mummy will get up in a bit". Yes guv!
Foodwise, again he definitely knows what he likes, heaven forbid if you try and mix things in together. "I don't like meat" is his main battlecry, but the good news for us is that doesn't exclude chicken or fish, and he's really good at eating his veg, always happy to get extra portions of things like broccoli and carrots. They say tastebuds start to evolve and change at this age so we're hoping he'll start to take to the red meats and a bit more fresh fruit, but we certainly can't complain on that score.
2. "Speakeasy" Toddler
I remember when he was coming up to around 15 months old, he regularly treated us to the most elaborate sounding babbling, rather like listening to a badly tuned foreign language radio broadcast, you kind of get the gist but can't quite make sense of it. Not one to settle for "Dadda" or "Bye Bye", he carried on in the same vain and by 18 months he was already rolling proper sentences together - out at the zoo "Monkey needs to get down", "The airplane is going on holiday to nice Scar-bor-ough."
One of our pet theories on this is that it owes much to his fantastic Geordie Grannie, who on her day a week looking after him from a very early age would always make sure she chatted away all day long about everything they were doing, playing, reading, even though as a gurgling baba he could never really reply back.
It's so nice to hear him be so confident with his speech, at times it's like he's providing a running commentary on anything and everything around and about, language just seems to come so naturally to him.
Only the other day out and about in our favourite Scarborough eaterie, he watches me get up from the table and nonchalantly announces to the room "My father is going for a wee wee!". Mind you, he can be a real charmer, take for example in a restaurant, he gets his food and you do the old - "what do you say?", he'd always throw in a bit extra for good measure "thank you pret-ty lady", always guaranteed us great service!
3. "Smiley" Toddler
For all you hear about the terrible two's , tantrums and other delights, we are very fortunate that in terms of his basic outlook on things he's essentially a very contented soul pretty much all day long. Like any of his peers, he definitely has his moments particularly later in the day as tiredness or hunger take effect, but I've yet to see him do the whole lie down banging the hands on the floor routine.
He really loves to laugh, is a huge fan of the whole slapstick TV comedy scene, clip shows like you've been framed, Harry Hill with the silly peoples falling down are watched over and over in our house. His absolute favourite though is the almost unfathomably daft "Takeshi's castle", basically reruns of a madcap 80's Japanese game show, he just can't get enough of their crazy , bone crushing challenges!
Running around, jumping about the place, can keep him amused for hours and that cheeky chappy smile is never too far from his grubby little face. In any play fight, you can't beat a bit of tickling under the arms - gets him in complete giggling hysterics, and though he can be stubborn at times, he never seems to dwell on anything for long, there's always a way to get him to snap out of it quickly.
4. "Sporty" Toddler
When it came to walking, our little chap was really in no rush, it seemed as though he'd worked out that he was much faster at crawling so that was the way to go. By the time he eventually did start walking at around 16 months, he basically skipped a stage, and got straight into his running.
Now I admit it, I'm very heavily into my sports, and naturally when it comes to active play time I'm in my absolute element with him. But it really has astounded me how not only has he taken to trying a whole range of sports for himself, but he has also managed to learn all the different names of all the main stars in those sports. Take cricket for example, now we just have to watch for 5 minutes worth and we're in the corridor with his plastic bat and ball -"Mummy you will be umpire, daddy will be Freddy bowling (or it could be Naughty Aussie Brett, Yuvraj, Ntini), , I will be Straussy batting, (or it could be Cooky, Belly, Colly, Naughty Aussie Ricky).
Then after a few minutes we'll switch to tennis (I'll be Roger he's from Switzerland, you will be Nadally, or Andy Murray and James Blake, Djokovic or naughty Nalbandian), then golf (naughty Monty or Padraig), snooker (Marco Fu or rocket Ronnie), football - Van Der Sar and poor John Terry, complete with a re-enactment of his tearful penalty miss - priceless!
The best example so far of his enthusiasm for all things sporty came over Christmas when we watched the World's Strongest Man competition. He watched each event avidly, and before you knew it he was wanting to do his own version. So we got the 4 pinters of milk from the fridge and he carried them up and down the lounge, we tied a rope to his biggest toy truck and did the truck pull, then for the iconic Atlas stones finale we got the veg rack and 5 progressively bigger sized balls and he lifted each one in turn onto the rack then dashed over to my (one and only) golf trophy and lifted aloft in joyous celebration!!
5. "Splashy" Toddler
Like most little boys, the simple words "Hair wash" are enough to strike fear into our precious, but other than that he's really a big fan of his bath time. At the end of a working day, it's a great Dad and son bonding time for us, and with a big old corner bath and an endless cast of bathroom characters to call on from rubber ducks to dinosaurs, from winnie the pooh to Scooby doo, it's not just bath time , it's full on story time. I christened it "Frog mill pond" and basically every night I start the story going and he takes us through a new adventure.
He's also creating a splash of a different kind as he continues to get the hang of his potty training. Although he's probably been ready to start for a while, we wanted to make sure we were settled in our new house first so only started just after Christmas. Certainly had plenty of disasters over the first couple of days, but although he's not quite got the hang of always asking when he needs to go, he's pretty much got it sussed. Must admit, we probably went a bit over board giving him little choccy rewards for every success in the early days, but happily he's content with a round of applause and a chorus of well dones now, so that's a bonus. We made a point of getting a really comfortable seat for him, sometimes it's hard to prise him of there!
The third kind of splashing is a remarkable talent he seems to have for producing floods of tears almost in an instant, which often as not, just as quickly fade away. Hopefully fans of Peppa Pig reading this will recognise the character of little George, who suddenly erupts into full blown Gazza Italia 90 mode, and then within a few seconds is back smiling again. He can be ultra sensitive at times when it doesn't go his way, but once the tears have flowed, a cuddle and a carry or the like is more than enough to get him back on track. He's happy enough to follow the naughty corner routine and is always quick to say his sorrys, once he knows what he did wrong. He certainly doesn't like to upset anyone, it's just not in his nature.
6. "Sleepy" Toddler
I wish!! As I described at the outset, he's always been a lively character, as my wife will tell you throughout her labour he pretty much kicked all day and everyday, and this has been reflected in his sleeping habits since day one. It's no exaggeration to say he's only actually slept through the night on a handful of occasions, but he does his best, and he's very loving with it all.
He's always fine going to sleep in his own bed, but always manages to wake up once in the night, typically somewhere between 2 and 3am. At this age, we're happy enough to take him in with us, the only thing is at times he can be a real wriggler, with a proper kung fu kicking action on him, so if I've got work the next morning I sometimes find I have to retreat to the spare bedroom. We've tried a whole range of tactics, sleeping alongside him in his bedroom, leaving lights on , but haven't quite cracked the routine yet, but hey nobody's perfect, and he's awfully cute sitting up in bed with his cuddly monkey and dragon in his arms chirping "Daddy please will you will take me to my mother's bed"
7. "Special" Toddler
As I'm sure you can tell, I'm an extremely proud father and for me every single day of the toddler period has been an absolute treasure. Most importantly we've been blessed not to have had many health scares in that time, even things like Chicken Pox he seemed to take in his stride. He really is a special character and with just one smile can put the whole stupid world to rights in an instant.
In such a short space of time, he's managed to teach me far more than I ever managed to learn in the previous 35 years of my existence and I am so looking forward to sharing and enjoying all that is to come, as my little man starts to find his place in this big old world.