We are both wide awake and I look at my phone to check the time and it’s just gone six in the morning, all the early mornings waking up to head to Sally’s has got us used to waking up at this time. I quickly glance at the monitor, which has been on all night, just to check that all is okay and the boy was still fast asleep. It’s so good for him to have a lay in, but me and Rich have not slept properly as we have been in and out of his room all night just to make sure he was okay and every time he was dreaming away all snug in his cot. It’s such a strange feeling to explain, when you look down into the cot and see your son lying there, finally after all this time and the sudden new feeling of responsibility, love and constant worry have already set in. I’m so pleased he has slept through all night, as we were expecting him to wake up a few times as this was the first time, he has slept in his bedroom but it makes me smile to think that he already feels comfortable and at home here. I can hear Nutter downstairs scratching at the backdoor, so I send Rich down to let him out for his morning wee and so I sit up in bed playing the waiting game, not long before Rich comes backup and asks if he has woken up yet. We are literally now just chilling in bed, waiting in anticipation for the boy to wake up, so we can start the morning routine. Rich then puts the TV on, even against my advice, but I think he is secretly hoping the sound of it will wake up the boy as this unexpectant late wake up was not part of Richard’s plan and he isn’t great when the plan doesn’t go smoothly. I cheekily joke to Rich “well this adoption leave will be lovely if he is a lazy boy and doesn’t get up until eight everyday”, clearing jinxing myself as before I even finished my sentence, we hear a noise come from the monitor and we can see him moving around. “He is awake” Rich says excitedly and we both head into his room so he knows we are happy to see him and give him lots of attention, we both look over the cot and I say “Good morning gorgeous did you have a lovely sleep” to which he slightly smiles and stares up at us with his big blue eyes. We stay in his room for a few minutes to help him realise where he is and get his bearings, before Rich gets him out of hi growbag, gives him a little morning kiss and we all head downstairs together for the days military operation to begin, operation ‘stick to the routine’.
Here we go ‘The Breakfast Routine’ which has been planned exactly the same as Sally’s routine and we have even got it written out on the chalkboard in the kitchen, so in theory surely nothing can go wrong. “So, Rich what do you want to do, change his nappy or make his porridge?” laughing as I know exactly what he is going to say. “Babe I’ll start prepping the porridge and you can change his nappy, it can be my turn tomorrow morning” thinking he is all smart but clearly unprepared for the fact that the boy is more likely to do a poo after he has had his breakfast and is just a bit wet now. I take the boy into the front room and get a fresh nappy and baby wipes, with a tub of sudocream which my Mum has said to use if his bum is slightly red. I’ve worked out that if I sing while changing him, then he seems to lay quite still, which I will take as a compliment until he is old enough to tell me to stop singing as it’s probably so bad. Whoever invented popper buttons for kids’ clothes, obviously didn’t have children themselves, as it takes me at least two attempts to pop them back correctly. The boy is now lovely and clean, so we head back to the kitchen to see how Rich is getting on with the breakfast preparation. As we walk back into the kitchen, I can see Rich mixing a huge portion, with some blended fruit that we had pre-prepared just like Sally had shown us, so I couldn’t help myself and ask “Is he having friends over for breakfast or are we all sharing that”, I mean there was enough in this bow to feed him for a week. Rich then looking slightly embarrassed, laughs and says “well I thought it needed more milk, but then it went watery so I added more oats and it just kept getting bigger”. Yes, we know the boy does love his food, but feeding him this much would so wrong and would make him feel sick so I get rid of some out of his bowl, just in case the boy sees a huge portion and actually thinks he will be eating it all. Apart from the ridiculous portion, Rich does a great job with giving him his breakfast, he eats every single bit and seems to still be loving life in his identical highchair. Next up is his dessert, yes that’s correct a breakfast dessert, I mean I cannot believe this is even a thing but we have learnt while at Sally’s that this is his favourite part and he goes crazy as he sees Rich cutting up the blueberries and does actually let out a cute scream of excitement. It’s so good that he likes fruit and porridge with prepared crushed fruit, so we need to keep that up and but it’s only day one and I can already understand why parents want them to get to the stage of chocolate covered cereals as there is not prep work.
Breakfast is all complete and Rich starts to make ours, so I get him out of his highchair and get him a few of the toys from Sally’s and sit with him on the floor playing. We are playing with building blocks and I build a tower to which he knocks down and finds this hilarious, so I continue to do this until Rich tells me the breakfast is ready. He has gone all out and made a full English, which I’m sure was his way of celebrating our first breakfast morning. Whilst he was cooking, I did notice a few extremely proud glances at me and the boy, which I can only imagine was him having a cute ‘we have done it, we are a family’ moment. I suppose for Rich being in the closet for a number of years, this moment has an extra special relief to it, whereas as for me it was just a dream come true to be a Dad as I never thought it would happen to me. We sit up the table and both watch the boy playing and looking up at us when we speak to him which was probably far too often, as he is looking at us like we are interrupting his block building, well block destruction. Breakfast went down a treat and we all go into the living room to be more relaxed, with no plans for the day, as we were are advised to just stay in the house for a couple of days so he can get fully comfortable with his surroundings. The plan was to just take Nutter out for his walk once he was down for the night, other than that we were practically housebound. Rich starts to play a spider game moving his hand along the floor, to eventually tickling the boy which he loves and of course meant this needed to be repeated at least thirty times until he started rubbing his eyes and yawning. “Oh god is that the time already”, I say to Rich in a bit of a panic as basically his morning nap time, which was the one we were worried about the most as it wasn’t part of a bath time routine, so I get Rich to change his nappy and that I will put him down. This was the third nappy change since he had woken up and still no poo, so sneakily thinking the next one will surely be the jackpot and is again Richard’s turn. Rich give the boy a kiss now he is all clean and hands him over to me to take him upstairs for his morning nap, inside I am praying he goes down well. The room was so bright and I immediately think it is going to be a problem, so I put him gently into the growbag and give him his dummy and ‘blanky’ and whilst singing to him I stick the blackout blind onto the window to make the room nice and dark. I press his night time caterpillar and its starts to play lullabies, so I sing along with them whilst stroking his forehead. I tell him I love him and to have a lovely nap, before leaving the room clutching the monitor but stay right outside the door with my ear as close to it as possible listening in case he starts crying, I can hear Rich whispering up at me from the bottom of the stairs “is he asleep” to which I crazily gesture to him in silence for him to be quiet, even though it would have been impossible for the boy to hear. The Caterpillar music stops playing and I can see on the monitor that he is not moving, so I creep back in and he is gone, sleeping like a baby. Extremely happy with myself, I tiptoe down the stairs to tell Rich he is sleeping and we hug it out like we have just stopped disarmed a bomb or something.
While the boy is asleep, I make myself a nice strong coffee and Rich a cup of tea as he doesn’t drink coffee, which is another thing we don’t have in common but they do say opposites attract. We sit down in the living room while watching some rubbish day time television and just have a chat about how lovely it has been so far with the boy. I could so tell that Rich is absolutely loving every minute of being a Dad and I am just loving every moment of it and couldn’t wish to be sharing this amazing experience with anyone else. The thought of Rich being off for the next five weeks, enjoying times like this as a family together, really does just seem like a dream and I have to keep pinching myself to make sure I am not going to wake up and it all not be real. We really seem to get quite relaxed and for the first time don’t seem to be obsessing over the monitor, just enjoying our time having a chat but I’m sure the boy just wants to give us a false sense of security as he then wakes up and seems to be crying quite badly. He seems a little upset, so we both rush upstairs to make sure he is okay and Rich beats me to it and grabs him out of the cot to comfort him and within seconds he calms down. We head back downstairs and Rich hands him over to me “I wonder what was wrong with him” and as I take him, it hits me, literally it hits me straight in the face, the smell of what I have been waiting for all day, the filled nappy of doom. “How did you not smell that, I think you need to get your nose checked out babe” and Rich continues to claim he couldn’t smell it at all, which is either a total lie to avoid the changing or he literally cannot smell it and I am going to be the one who is going always have to flag these situations. Not forgetting that it is Rich’s turn for the nappy change, I take the boy over to his changing mat, get the wipes, cream and new nappy ready and give him a shout “come on babe, it’s your turn remember” and Rich laughs it off, as if he was always going to do it anyways. He does well with the changing and I head out into the kitchen to sort out the lunches, leaving them two to have little play together. All I can head while sorting the food was giggle after giggle from the little man, I can tell that he just so loves playing with Rich, he’s so good with him and just seems to know how to make him laugh so easily.
The rest of the day seems to fly past, the time really does seem to have gone so quickly which is one sense is great as we have clearly had fun but also is also a bit rubbish, as it’s already nearly his dinner time, which means he will soon be bathed and ready for his bottle and bed. He must be quite tired though, as he has been playing nonstop all day and has kept us both on our feet constantly with his cruising from sofa to arm chair and back again. The main thing that sticks in my mind today is how Rich and the boy are already the best of friends, it’s quite emotional thinking about the connection that they have. I couldn’t wish for anymore for Rich, as I know he wouldn’t admit this, but that would be everything he would want with his own boy as that is exactly what he has with his own Dad. They literally call each other every single day and are much more than just father and son, they are really like best mates and when the football season is on, they are literally on the phone about a hundred times a day telling each other about the goal that they both just watched together, something I have never understood but at the same time it’s quite cute how excited he gets about it. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little jealous of how Rich is building such a bond so easily, but I know mine will come. I just need to keep a focus on all the practical things first, making sure he is settled and has everything he needs. I’m just striving to be the best parent I can possibly be and am already feeling the pressure that I am putting myself under, just to make sure that nobody could ever see me making a mistake. At the same time, I am feeling good that we have actually made it through the day unscathed and our wonderful son is still in one piece. I felt that I needed some time one on one with the boy, so tell Rich to head up for a shower while I give the boy his dinner and it’s lovely, not that I don’t want Rich there, but it really felt like we were making a bit of a connection and he was reliant only on me which felt great.
Rich comes down after one of his ever lasting showers and he is surprised to see that the boy has eaten all of his dinner, so he gets some cuddles while I head upstairs to run the boys bath and setup the all important bubble machine, as it was such a winner last night. Rich brings him upstairs and again we kind of bath him jointly, clearly none of us wanting to miss out on the fun and it all goes smooth. The boy tonight though does seem to be really tired, so we get him out a bit sooner today and get him ready for bed. Rich is going to give him his night time bottle tonight and take him up for the bedtime routine, which seemed to go well last night for me, so I am really hoping it goes the same for him tonight. Rich relaxes on the sofa with him, starts giving him his bottle and he takes it no problem but seems to be closing his eyes while drinking it. Rich has a little panic about him sleeping and drinking, but I reassure him that this is absolutely fine, secretly wishing that I was giving him his bottle tonight as I think he is going to fall asleep in his arms, which at the end of the bottle he did. Rich was so chuffed, saying to me quietly “look babe, he’s fallen asleep on me” and I go and sit right next to them both for a little snuggle for a few minutes, before Rich takes him up to put him down in his cot which was simple tonight as he was already asleep and transferred really well. Rich comes back down and I already have Nutter ready with his lead on and give Rich my order for the takeaway that we were having tonight, as there was no way we would be cooking but before leaving the house with my mobile, I give him very clear instructions to call me straight back if there is any movement from the boy. I usually take the dog out with my headphones in and just sort of dance around the streets, but tonight I didn’t need any music. I had so many positive moments to look back on from today, that I was simply walking along smiling and giggling to myself most of the way and feeling so excited about the moment when we can actually introduce him to my Mum. I mean I speak to her every single day and would tell her anything and everything, so it’s quite weird to think that we have a son and she has not yet seen him or heard his voice in person. As we get back near home, I end up totally losing the plot and ask Nutter “so Nuts, what do you think of him so far, he’s amazing isn’t he” but obviously he didn’t even look round at me or acknowledge the question, but I know that even he is loving this amazing journey that we have just begun and I certainly cannot wait to see where it takes us as a family.