So last week I began the six weeks of summer where […]
So last week I began the six weeks of summer where I get to spend some quality time one-on-one with my little boy (as my partner’s maternity leave has sadly run out). And it wasn’t the greatest start—we had the builders in redecorating the bathroom, which created chaos.
You’ll be happy to know that the chaos has now passed. The house is calm, and Ben’s routine has returned to normal.
Well, not quite normal. I’ve noticed this week that two things are different, and the first one is this … Ben is on the move!
It’s something he has been showing signs of for the last few weeks. He’s been happier to be on his front (before he hated it), he has been bringing his knees up, and his arm strength has improved dramatically. Then at the beginning of last week, I put him down to play with some toys whilst I tidied (check me out, domestic god!), and when I looked up he wasn’t where I put him—but a few feet away on his tummy. So I stopped and watched, and I saw my little boy pushing himself backwards across the living room rug. It was incredible to watch, and when he saw me watching he gave me a massive smile as if to say “look at me, daddy!”
Yet another very proud dad moment. … Then I realized I needed to finish babyproofing—and quickly! If you want some advice lads, don’t wait till they are on the move; it will happen quicker than you plan for!
The second thing that is different this week isn’t quite so obvious to the outside eye. I mean, starting to crawl (even backwards) will take the spotlight away from most things, unless he busted some breakdancing moves of course, but this subtle thing is a huge deal for me.
Ever since Ben was born, he has had an incredible bond with his mummy, and rightly so. She carried him to term (and 13 days beyond) and has breastfed, which has kept that bond incredibly tight. Of course, for us dads it’s a little different. We don’t get to do those things; therefore, it’s a different bond created with our little ones. If I’m honest I’ve been able to make Ben laugh his socks off for a long, long time, and although I know he loves me, he’s not expressed it in the same way he does with my partner.
In the last two weeks that has changed. Ben seems to be more affectionate. He gives me cuddles—and not just when he is tired, and he likes to sit close, even hold my hand.
Thursday we went for a long walk at our local nature reserve, and on route we stopped by a river to watch the birds flying and occasional fish roll. I sat beside him in his buggy, when I noticed he wasn’t looking at the water but at me, and when I looked back he smiled. It wasn’t a ‘daddy is funny and silly’ smile but an ‘I love my daddy’ smile. Don’t ask me how I know the difference; I just did. His little smile filled me with such happiness I can barely contain it even now as I write.
(I’ve included two pics this week that I think shows the bond we are developing, but please focus on Ben. I look ridiculous!)
It may be that Ben has learned to express himself with me more in the last few weeks as his emotional intelligence continues to develop, or it could be that our time together has brought it out of him. It might even be that it has always been there, but I’ve not seen it because of how hectic working life can be—and now I am on a break I can notice more?
I suspect it’s a combination of all three, and if I could give anything to any new dads from this it would be: Give as much time as you can face to face, and they’ll see how much you love them and maybe learn a way to show you. Who knows, maybe Ben has been waiting for me to stop, so he can open up to me?