Saturday, 27 December 2008

The easy life

One thing I've learnt about being a working father is that, at weekends and on days off, the truth of what it's really like to look after a baby quickly kicks in.

During a normal week, I tend to breeze into the house around 6pm to be greeted by a big smile from my boy. Then, after 10 minutes of playing, I take him for his bath if it's bath night or wipe him down if it's not, get him into his sleepsuit and give him his last feed. Finally, at 7pm, it's time to put him in his cot or - if he's being particularly restless - hand him to Vanessa to do the job for me.

My role is not that difficult at all.

However, on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, my elevated status as joint full-time babyminder is something of a rude awakening - particularly when Vanessa nips out for an hour like she did this morning.

As she left to see what delights she could find in the Marks & Spencer sale, Jamie was showing off his new trick of playing with a toy whilst sitting up unaided. What a talented boy he is.

But, as soon as Mummy had departed the scene, moderate carnage ensued.

Daddy had hoped to get showered and changed. Unfortunately, this didn't particularly suit Jamie who wanted absolute attention. Every time Daddy made to leave the room or even looked away, angel boy made clear that this was way below standard and certainly unacceptable to him.

In the end, I had to make to do with a facewash and a quick change into my gym stuff ready for a visit to Pudsey Leisure Centre later in the day.

Whilst I wasn't entitled to a proper wash, Jamie very much was - courtesy of Daddy - plus massage, new clothes, face moisturiser and hair brush. Young men should expect to look their best.

Then it was downstairs for a play. I produced several toys but none were greeted with much enthusiasm. Indeed, one was greeted with some vomit - all over Daddy.

I then tried him in his walker and this worked. However, the living room was quickly found to be too small so, for the next 20-odd minutes, he raced up and down the hallway instead, loving every minute, before suddenly deciding he'd had enough and wanted out.

The reason was obviously as he had tiredness written all over his face. But, as I say, I've never been very good at getting him to nod off when he's not in the best of form so it was going to be a bit of an effort. Plus, I was ever so slightly terrified

Thankfully, a combination of the dimming of lights, his mobile, whispering and sheer exhaustion on his part saw him finally go to sleep after about 15 minutes - slightly before Vanessa walked back in the door.

But it's still true - daddies like me have it easy.

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