1. Despite our Mara's early arrival she is the most tenacious, fearless, determined, strong-willed little girl I have ever met. The fact that she is all of this and I get to call her my daughter makes me even happier.
2. Caroline has taken to being a mummy like a duck to water. She is so natural and gentle with Mara, I can't help but love her more than I already do. Keep it up honey, only another 17 years* before you can show her how to sink a shot like a pro! (*Legally 17, but if Mara is anything like us it'll be more like 14!)
3. People take great offence when you tell them that your child rearing skills are different to theirs. While you are comfortable trying X, Y & Z they would never dream of doing that because... blah blah blah. What works for us, works for us, so keep those opinions to yourself and don't question how we do things!
4. I used to sleep so soundly that nothing could wake me. We live in a townhouse in a quite a high up area of West Lothian, and when its windy here our house literally shakes. Sometimes it can be quite scary, according to Caz anyway, I sleep through it. Nowadays, if Mara breathes ever so slightly differently than what I'm used to, I'm awake. Its amazing how being a parent changes you, even in the most basic ways.
5. I've become a master at multi-tasking. Right this second, as I type this, the laptop is balancing on my lap while Mara is fast asleep laying across me. I think the movement of my fingers typing is enough to keep her sound asleep for now.
6. The amount of toys and teddies we now have in our home is insane, and every one is larger than the last. I'm considering getting in touch with the Disney Store, Hamleys, Mothercare et al to see if they would be interested in some sort of buy back scheme.
7. I have become much more relaxed and chilled out. I'll be the first to tell you that I used to be a miserable, moody bastard and I definitely won't be the last. Family drama after family drama had a huge impact on me for a long time and it used to leave me feeling really angry. I felt like I was constantly on edge and two moves away from imploding. Don't get me wrong, I occasionally have my moments but becoming a dad has changed me for the better. I'm over feeling sorry for myself and have instead channelled all those angry feelings into being the best daddy I can possibly be. I never meant to become a serious blogger, it was only supposed to be for fun and something Mara could look back on in years to come, but its been therapeutic too!
8. Caroline and I will be eternally grateful to the NHS, and more importantly the teams in the delivery suite and SCBU at St Johns Hospital, for everything they did for our family back in February. I still remember every detail of the day she was born like it was yesterday, I don't think I'll ever forget it! The weather, the smells, even the beeps of the machines in SCBU. Like every other new parents, she was always going to be special to us, but because she was so premature it makes her even more so in our eyes. Add to this the great friendship we managed to create with Stephen, Keren and Joshua - possibly the only boy Mara might ever be allowed to date - who we spent a short time with in SCBU, we've loads to be thankful for.
9. Only the best parents are allowed to call themselves Grandparents. Marie and George a.k.a Grannie & Papa G have been absolutely brilliant over the past 10 months. There's no way we can repay you both for your time and help since Mara was born, except to offer you unlimited babysitting!
10. Mara gives me endless material to write about and zero time to write it, but I wouldn't change it for the world!
There's no feeling quite like being a parent, and I'm so glad I get raise this wonderful little girl as my daughter with Caroline by my side.
Happy New Year to you all when it comes, I hope your 2017 can be as great as this last year has been for us!
I'm a new dad to Mara, sharing his views on being a modern dad. Also a nominee in the UK Blog Awards for 2017. There's no filter with me, I kinda just tell it how it is. Please click HERE to head to our Facebook page and give us a like, or HERE to head to our Instagram (don't forget to follow us there and turn on your post notifications so you never miss a photo) and here on Google+!!)