For a child who, before his brother’s birth, was the world’s biggest mummy’s boy, Zac has transformed over the last three months.
Ever since he was first able to state a preference, he has always chosen his mother for just about any activity you could care to mention: feeding, play-time, doing the nursery run – all of these were very much mummy first, with daddy a poor substitute. It’s hardly surprising, given that he was breast-fed for his first nine months and indeed spent most of that period with his mother pretty much 24/7, but even so the preference has been very marked.
That’s not to say I didn’t spend any quality time with him – reading and bed-time, in particular – but until Toby’s arrival there was always a clear pecking order, and I sat some way down it. Even so, I have always enjoyed what time I had with him without any resentment on my part.
But since Toby was born things have been much more equitable. Zac has been brilliant at accepting that he can no longer monopolise his mother’s time, even to the extent of being genuinely helpful and caring around his brother. And as part of that he has started to embrace me wholeheartedly, rather than ‘settling’ for daddy. I now do the vast majority of his bed-times (while Heather is putting Toby down), we spend more time playing together, and he is now positively enthusiastic about climbing into my car, whether it is for one of our Sunday morning outings or just to go to nursery.
Perhaps the ultimate endorsement of my new-found status is the fact that, when he wakes up in the morning (typically around 5.30), he will always call specifically for “Daddy!” and greet me with a beaming smile and a cheery “Good morning” when I go to him.
That alone means the world to me. But then it’s always the little things that make the biggest difference, isn’t it?