When you’ve walked a zillion steps, carried lots of kohatu, discovered patches of sand to rub between your fingers, been bemused by Kaka, spotted Robin, laughed at the Koromiko having a bath, watched your cousins making houses for crabs, tried to lift big rocks so you too can find crabs, nibbled on Kawakawa leaves, entertained the crowds, watched Manaaki’s helicopter doing acrobatic flights… you’re ready for miraka and a nap.
– Saturday email from my mum with these pictures of you on the island;
For the last week you’ve been on holiday with your mater & koko/my mum & dad on Kapiti Island and at home in Otaki. That’s quite a big deal for new parents like me and your mum – for the last 18 months most of our life and routine has been set up around you, and our lives before you are recent enough that we can still remember them. Sometimes for a split second in the middle of scrubbing bibs and big stains on tiny, tiny pants, or when I’m pouring my fifth coffee at work – there’s aspects of it I miss, and while this isn’t the first time we’ve spent time away from you, the other couple of times we’ve done it have been way out of our normal routine (on holiday or away for work).
When I told mates we had a ‘baby holiday’ for the week, the reaction was like I told them I’d won a jackpot on the pokies (or the lotto, I’ll tell you about pokies later). I wasn’t sure it was going to be that awesome though, and now that it’s been nearly a week I thought I’d weigh up the good and the bad from your time away, from a selfish dad’s perspective:
- On Monday night me and your mum went to the movies, without planning it 3 weeks in advance. We didn’t even need to plan dinner – we just timed it with when our stomachs were shouting the loudest, crazy.
- Friday’s rubbish smelled a lot better than usual with no nappies. If we’re lucky enough to bring a brother/sister for you into this world you’ll understand what I mean – till then, just trust me when I say week old nappies aren’t something you want to hang out with. It’s worse in the summer.
- Mum got to sleep in. She usually only gets a couple of those a month.
- We got more done on Saturday and Sunday than the last 2 months worth of weekends combined.
- I stayed at work for a beer that wasn’t organised before I left in the morning.
- We had mates around for dinner and didn’t have to turn the Apple Music volume down after 7.
- I could write music at 9pm without whispering into my notebook like a weirdo.
- On Monday and Tuesday I didn’t get the start of day smile I usually have after saying good morning with a kiss, picking you up out of your cot, and reading you a book while you drink your morning milk.
- I didn’t get to laugh at you putting on my shoes instead of yours once I’d dressed you after breakfast.
- On Wednesday and Thursday I went straight home from work instead of turning off the road into day-care, seeing your face come to life when I popped my head over the gate and watching you go into ‘must-play-with-everything’ overdrive before carrying you off to the car.
- We didn’t get to borrow the neighbours trampoline after day care, watching how much you love jumping on the tramp gets rid of any work stress I might still have at 5pm.
- I didn’t get to watch you figure out how to use your words to tell me how your day went, and then sit beside your cot reading to you as you fell asleep.
- The mornings I wasn’t on drop off/get-ready I was still listening out to hear you crying, in case I got an extra cuddle in the morning before I leave for work.
- No park before swimming on Sunday morning – while miles away from what I thought I would be spending my Sunday mornings doing 3 years ago, this is my favourite way to end the week.
Before I became a dad I wouldn’t have been able to write that second list without it sounding like a bunch of jobs that took me away from hanging out, writing music, making something, or my other, money-paying job. But I can easily say they’re the most rewarding hours of investment I make in any given week. I never thought I would miss the little things like settling you at 4am and trying to snatch another hour or two of sleep before getting up properly – but I do. And it’s only been a week. I’ve got crazy respect for my mates out there living separated from their kids’ mums and only getting to see their babies every second weekend. Stuff that.
Overall while me and your mum probably got a few extra things done, hung out with friends more often than we normally would, and I learnt a few more chords on the ukulele – missing your cheeky little face as it figures out the world and not getting to start/finish my day with you there meant it was definitely a holiday for you, not us. You remind us that sometimes the simplest things in life are the best.
See you on Wednesday.