The joys of parenting


It has been a while since I last blogged. A whole year has passed since Casa Vokes got a turned upside down for a second time with the addition of the crazy little mini Vokes that stumbled into our household. The now not-quite-so-tiny-any-more Chloe has almost out of nowhere, somehow turned one year old, almost without us noticing! The whole child/baby thing caught us off guard a little bit, we were innocently enjoying the easy life of post honeymoon marital bliss, and suddenly a little person appears, feeling like only five minutes since we’d had the initial “should we or shouldn’t we” conversation.

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After a while the dust inevitably settles and we begin to finally get our head around parenting, and soon become aware that we really have been blessed with one of those babies that everyone hopes for, and that every other couple hates you for having. She smiles, sleeps, never cries… its literally a winning lottery ticket in the grand scheme of parenting! It has literally made parenting so easy that we have to remember, it not necessarily about any great parenting skills that we may possess, but that we just got very lucky! Sometimes in groups of other parents, when the discussion about how to stop them crying, or how to get them to sleep all night has come up, we’ve just had to nod and say nothing for fear of being lynched for being a smug git! Don’t get me wrong, we’ve got to have done something right, we didn’t get this far just by winging it, but we haven’t faced a lot of the challenges that some of our friends have!

Eventually you become accustomed to not getting the Sunday morning lie in any more, and generally needing longer to prepare before you head out the front door, sometimes needing to abort just as you’re about to step outside and lock the front due to the distinct and obvious aroma of a dirty nappy. All this starts to seem a bit more normal and routine… then eventually comes the conversation about baby number two! We were well aware that things could be… no, scrap that, WOULD be completely different, but we also knew we were, by this point, fairly well rehearsed in how to look after a little one. We also have to be mindful of the fact that as I approach 40 I don’t have a lot of time to play with if I want to have had all my children before I am 40, so hanging around wasn’t really a concept that we wanted to consider too much.

Yes, the first year of having two children is challenging, something we only got through as a team. I take my hat off to single parents everywhere, the job you do is impressive! We pulled through, and had to relearn parenting, we had found the proverbial Yin to Olivia’s Yang, the day to her night. Chloe couldn’t have been any more different unless she was a boy! It became obvious very early on that these two were complete opposites! Suddenly the house is full of crying, suddenly we are no longer sleeping through the night, suddenly even the 7:30am that Olivia used to get us up at now feels like it was a total lie in, suddenly when you put the baby down it crawls off and disappears into the distance rather than just lying there smiling at you!

Parenting has now become fun again, Olivia has turned three years old and her funny little ways make us laugh all the time, and all signs of her ever being a baby or even a toddler have long since gone, and instead, before us stands a proper bona fide little person, complete with personality, teenager attitude and everything! Its funny listening to her talk, some days you can have a full on conversation with this tiny person, and sometimes think “where did she get THAT from?” when she starts coming out with things we haven’t heard before, or said in front of her. External influences in her life start to become more obvious and suddenly you realise that the baby you brought into the world, then started to learn how to do things for herself, is now becoming influenced more and more by those around her, friends, cousins, nursery workers. Our influence is still clearly there and will still be significant for a long time, but eventually will have less and less impact as the years go by. All we can do is hope we have laid sufficient groundwork for her to make the right choices in life and become a good person.

Her little sister, on the other hand, is more likely to become a professional wrestler and argue with people who push into queues! There is nothing delicate or dainty about this one. She’s like a little energy bomb that transports herself from one part of the house to another with such speed that if you didn’t see it happen, you’d believe that there was some form of magic involved… this now includes stairs! We couldn’t have had two more different children. I really couldn’t have imagined quite how much my life would change and how much I was going to enjoy it!

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