Surviving two years as a dad: tired, proud, happier than ever

Surviving two years as a dad: tired, proud, happier than ever

Somehow we’ve survived two years in the parenthood trenches. As hard as everyone said? Probably. Exhausting? Definitely. Enjoyable? Big-time. Would I change a single thing? Hell no! 

My little boy Sonny turned two years old today.

That’s 24 months of going to bed every night nervous of what torture the next eight hours will bring.

730 days of wiping astonishingly filthy bum cheeks and disposing of foul-stenching nappies.

17,520 hours of laughter, tantrums, tears and unpredictable emotions that have left my nerves dangling by a very thin thread.

1,051,200 minutes of watching a defenceless newborn baby grow into the happiest, craziest, most loving, and outrageously handsome little boy I could ever imagine.

And 63,115,200 seconds of being so unbelievably happy and proud that I get to spend every day with an insane little toddler who’s now challenging my dog as the biggest legend I’ve ever met.

I can honestly say that after two full years I still don’t know if I’m any good at being a dad. Or if we’ve actually done anything right as parents at all. But what I do know is it’s been the most enjoyable and challenging thing I’ve ever done. There have been times it’s felt easy, times it’s felt impossible, times I’ve felt so happy I didn’t want the day to end, and times I’ve been so shattered and empty I couldn’t wait to crawl under the covers at night and hide away from everyone and everything.

But it’s all been worth it. If my first year as a dad was the best year of my life, then this past 12 months has probably been the happiest and most exciting. It’s almost as though someone flicked a turbo-charge button on Sonny once he learned to walk last summer. And although I didn’t think it was possible he suddenly became even more bubbly and energetic, even more up for it, and even more fun to be around.

surviving two years as a dad

I write a lot about the outdoorsy stuff we do together on this blog – and I’m so proud of how much Sonny loves being outside – but in truth it’s the most simple things about him that really get me. Like his cheeky little grin when he scoffs a banana in bed every morning; when he hugs and kisses our grumpy old Jack Russell terrier every time he sees him; how he disappears into his bedroom to play with his cars; the way he waves at every passing cyclist and bus driver with a dopey smile on his face; how he cuddles up to me on the sofa to watch Disney movies; how we dance to crappy pop songs in the kitchen every night; how much he loves reading books before he goes to bed; and how he calls us into his room last thing at night to lie on the floor and look at the stars on his bedroom ceiling.

If I’d written down all the things I wanted in a two-year-old son before he was born, I’m pretty sure I couldn’t have some up with a little dude as perfect as Sonny. He’s funny, happy, cheeky, boisterous, adventurous, loving, polite (when he wants to be), and to top it all off he absolutely loves football! The only black mark against him right now is that he’s way better looking than me, to the point that I’m starting to get a little bit worried.

If I could rewind time to April 10th 2016, my advice to my pre-parent self would be to savour every second of these first two years. Each day brings new challenges and new personality traits. I’ve never spent enough time around kids before to realise how much they grow and change in front of you every day, and without trying to sound too cheesy it’s been an absolute privilege to watch my son (it still feels weird calling him that) transform into the little champ he is today.

I still don’t have enough time in each day, enough money in the bank, or enough hours of sleep each night, but holy shit I’m happy. My little family means everything to me and although they all drive me mad in different ways (Gemma because she’s smarter than me and enjoys reminding me every day, Sonny because he knows how to sleep through the night but chooses not to just to piss me off, and Mario because he’s such a lunatic dog I don’t even know where to start) I honestly couldn’t imagine my life without any of them.

So thanks for being awesome Sonny. Surviving two years as a dad has been way less horrible than I feared it might be, and I’ve got a sneaky feeling this next 12 months might just be even better…

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