Wonky Daddy Day Care Diary

Switching from full-time breadwinner to primary carer of my two pre-school age sons was always going to be challenging. Two days after I resigned from my job, I fell out of a wheelie bin and broke my right wrist in six places. One metal plate, nine screws and a week and a half later, my wife returned to work full-time, leaving me alone at home with The Complicated One and The Big Fella. That's when things got a whole lot harder.

This is the captain’s log of daddy’s day care service with the wonky wrist. My mission is to bravely go to playgroups and swimming lessons, explore new parks and reserves, to seek out new air-conditioned shopping centres in summer and new indoor play centres on rainy days, to boldly go where no wonky daddy has gone before.

I learn how to mop up wee and poo, use positive parenting to tame toddler tantrums, and rediscover the joys of cooking (or at least re-heating) food. Days of despair are balanced with moments of great joy at sharing life up close with my boys.

I post my week's adventures every weekend.

The Complicated One

Son No. 1 is four and half years old. He's the shy sensitive one who will talk all day provided he knows you well (and all night if we let him). He has brown eyes, usually with dark rings under them. He never slept as a baby, nor as a toddler. There was an 18-month period spanning two winters where he and I usually began our day at 4.20am. We watched a lot of Wiggles and Play School together in those two and half hours before the sun rose. He first slept regularly past 5am at age three and half. We recall the day fondly. It was about three weeks before Son No. 2 decided he’d become our problem sleeper instead.

The Complicated One loves craft – colouring, painting, and creating things from the useful box. He’s a collector, with boxes and draws full of cars and shells and feathers and shiny things. He likes nothing better than to sit in his bedroom, pull out his collections, examine each item carefully, re-sort them, and then pack them away. He’s the family pack rat. It sounds like he’s not sporty, but that would be stereotyping. Other parents frequently remark on what a great climber he is, and he loves doing gymnastics on the trampoline.

The Big Fella

Son No. 2 is two and a half years old. He’s the solidly built outgoing one with blue eyes, blonde hair and a winning smile that he already knows will get him far in life (and hopefully with the women - or men, if that’s his thing.) He loves playing with cars and trains, in the same way The Complicated One will spend hours playing with his collections of special things. The Big Fella slept like a dream as a baby. It was only at about the age of 18 months that he got difficult to put to bed, and hard to keep asleep in the second part of the night. He’s much more physical than Son No. 1. He likes to run and wrestle and jump off things for no apparent reason. Once Son No.1 sees Son No. 2 jump off something, he’ll do it too - and enjoy it. But the desire run and wrestle seems hard-wired into The Big Fella.

There’s a 22-month age gap, but only a 5kg weight difference. His nickname is not a tribute to John Wayne, although he could grow up to resemble him physically. But let’s hope he doesn’t adopt the Duke’s politics.