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18 thoughts from my 18th month as a parent

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18 thoughts

Muppets, moving house and making animal noises. Read about all these and more in my latest monthly collection of thoughts about parenthood.

1. I may have been singing too many Muppets songs to our 16 month old son. His answer to ‘what does the cat say?’ recently was ‘mahna mahna’.

2. Despite his confusion about what cats say, our son has been getting quite good at doing animal sounds this month. His sheep and lion sounds are a bit similar but he’s getting really good at doing ‘moo’ sounds despite the relative lack of cows in our area.

3. I’m not sure if our son wants to follow in my footsteps but it certainly looks like he wants to walk in my shoes (see picture below).

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4. Our son recently helped to unpack a whole bag of shopping. I’d put in on the floor while I opened the fridge door and he then handed me all the items one after another without me even asking. I hope that this is a sign of things to come!

5. Helping to wash the dishes is another thing that our son did this month. He managed to combine this with helping to wash the kitchen floor at the same time.

6. Our son’s helpfulness this month has also included playing a role in organizing my new office.

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7. Our son’s gradually starting to understand technology although he does sometimes put the television remote control to his ear and say ‘hello’…

8. …and he also seems to occasionally confuse cutlery and technology. He recently put a plastic fork to his ear and said ‘hello’.

9. Our son has been enjoying feeding corn to our chickens recently. He’s also occasionally tried to feed them clothes pegs recently, but they’ve turned their beaks up at them.

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10. In the week before we moved house, our son started making chicken noises in the kitchen while he was sitting in his high chair. He’d noticed one of the chickens peering in the window and seemed like he was trying to say hello. I like this progress towards multilingualism.

11. I recently carried out a parenting experiment to see whether an episode of Raa Raa The Noisy Little Lion or coverage of the live televised debate on Scottish independence would get our toddler son to sleep. Two episodes of Raa Raa weren’t enough, but he was fast asleep after half an hour of the independence debate.

12. Our son took a very ‘hands on’ approach to helping to pack boxes before we moved house (see picture below). I recently wrote a blog post about this entitled Moving house with a toddler.

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13. This month, I have learned that the way to get our son out of the bath without him crying is to let the water out of the bath and then lift him out.

14. When I stood on one leg at a bank machine, our son looked a bit puzzled. I tried to explain to him that I was checking my balance.

15. Our son is getting much better at steering his toddle truck. A few months ago in our old house, he’d just push it forward and cry when he bumped into something and couldn’t push it any more. He’d then wait for someone to come and turn the toddler truck around so he could push it some more.

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16. Our son decided to get up at 7am to watch coverage of the Scottish Indepedence Referendum results with me. I’m glad to see him taking an interest in politics at such a young age.

17. On way home after three days at a conference, I discovered one of our son’s little red socks in my trouser pocket.

18. It was a lot easier when I was writing posts such as ‘7 thoughts from my 7th month as a parent’ :-) Anyway, I’ll see if I can keep going with these posts until our son turns two.

What do you think of this post and what do you remember from your first year and a half as a parent? Please feel free to share your views in the comments section below or on the ‘Dad’s The Way I Like It’ pages on Facebook or Google+.

Remember that you can also subscribe to this blog by entering your e-mail address in the box on the right of the screen and also follow this blog via BlogLovin. There’s also now a Pinterest board for this blog as well, so please feel free to pin this post if you’ve enjoyed reading it.

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I have added this post the following parent blogger link-ups:

Being a Scottish Dad

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Being a Scottish Dad

On 18th September 2014, could be an historic day for Scotland as the country’s inhabitants are today voting in a referendum that could result in Scotland becoming independent from the United Kingdom. As a Scot who now lives in Wales, I’ve been asked about how this vote will affect by relationship with the country in which I was born and brought up. Indeed, I’ve been interviewed about this matter in Welsh on Radio Cymru and on television channel S4C.

Ultimately, I don’t think that the result of the referendum will have a major impact on how I see Scotland. It will always be the country where I was born and brought up and I am sure that I’ll always enjoy returning there. As I have lived outside of Scotland since 1998 and got married and become a dad in Wales, our son is likely to have a very different relationship with Scotland to the one I have. To get a flavour of what Scotland means to me as a parent, here are some blog posts that I have written about being from Scotland and sharing Scottish culture with our son:

First family trip to Scotland This summer, we went to Scotland as a family for the first time. In this post, I explain what it was liked visiting places that had been part of my own childhood.

Will our son like haggis? Read this post to find out about vegetarian haggis and what it means to me as a Scot living outside of Wales and what it symbolizes.

A Scottish dad’s thoughts about St. Andrew’s Day I wrote this post to coincide with St. Andrew’s Day (30th November) last year and discuss my own relationship with haggis.

Seamus Heaney, haggis and Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau Shortly after the death of the Irish poet Seamus Heaney, I wrote this post in which I discussed having Irish roots, growing up

Have you ever been to Scotland? What sorts of traditions from your childhood do you try to share with your kids? Please feel free to share your views in the comments section below or on the ‘Dad’s The Way I Like It’ pages on Facebook or Google+.

Remember that you can also subscribe to this blog by entering your e-mail address in the box on the right of the screen and also follow this blog via BlogLovin. There’s also now a Pinterest board for this blog as well, so please feel free to pin this post if you’ve enjoyed reading it.

I’ve added this post to the following parenting blog link-ups:

Moving house with a toddler

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Moving house

Due to moving house, I’ve taken a bit of a break from blogging recently. Now that we’ve been in our new place for just over two weeks, we’re feeling settled in our new abode even if we haven’t quite finished the unpacking yet. Our son seems to be enjoying having a bit more space inside and out in which to run around and appears to be fascinated by our garden shed.

In years to come, I’m not sure what – if anything – our son’s going to remember of the house that we recently moved out of. It’ll always  be a special place for my wife and me as it’s where we got engaged and also the place we took our son home to after he left hospital. It may well be that our son will only really become familiar with our old house through photos that we show him in coming years rather than memories of what it was like.

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We’ve spent a lot of the last few weeks surrounded by boxes. First of all, we spent a lot of time packing things up at our house and then we had to unpack them all at our new house. Our son seemed to like playing in the boxes and even played a small role in helping with the packing. Preparing for the move was made a lot easier thanks to several of our friends looking after our son or taking him out while we got on with tidying up our old house.

Think we've packed everything now, but where's out son got to?
Think we’ve packed everything, but where’s our son gone?

Our son can be quite helpful around the house at times and often likes nothing more than to walk around with a little brush and sweep the floor. As the picture below shows, he’s also been kind enough to help me tidy my office as well recently.

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One of the best things about being in a new house is having more space for our son to get his toys out. At our last place, the living room space could feel quite small when he had his ball pool out. Now, we can keep the ball pool out in our living room and not worry about it getting in the way. That said, he has recently been spending a bit of time walking around our new living room with a measuring tape as if he has some grand plans to make a few changes.

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It’s also great to have larger garden where our son is able to run around and have fun in the open air. He’s recently had a lot of fun feeding corn to our two chickens Dorothy and Myfanwy. Until recently, he’d normally drop the corn just outside the chicken run but just this weekend he’s actually managed to start throwing the corn into the run. Our two chickens are grateful for this improved standard of catering provision.

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For the first few nights after we moved, our son seemed to sleep less well than normal. This involved a triple whammy of not going to bed as early as normal, waking up during the night and getting up really early. Part of this might have been due to teething or having recently caught chicken pox (…not sure whether Dorothy or Myfanwy is to blame). He’s now sleeping a lot more and seems to be quite happy despite having chicken pox. We’ve got our fingers crossed that everything will be back to normal soon as we get used to life in our new house.

Have you ever moved house with your kids? Do you remember moving house when you were a child? Please feel free to share your views in the comments section below or on the ‘Dad’s The Way I Like It’ pages on Facebook or Google+.

Remember that you can also subscribe to this blog by entering your e-mail address in the box on the right of the screen and also follow this blog via BlogLovin. There’s also now a Pinterest board for this blog as well, so please feel free to pin this post if you’ve enjoyed reading it.

I’ve added this post to the following parent blogger link-ups where you can read lots of other posts about parenting:

17 thoughts from my 17th month as a parent

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17 thoughts

It’s time for another monthly list of thoughts about parenthood. This month’s compilation covers topics such as food, children’s television and monkey impressions.

1. Our son is currently conducting an experiment. He’s trying to find out how many blueberries he needs to eat before he turns into a blueberry himself.

2. Today I got slightly annoyed while watching a television programme for kids as a shape singing ‘I am a rectangle’ was clearly a cuboid. I tried to explain this to our son, but I’m not sure if he understood.

3. I think it’ll probably be a few years before my son and I have problems telling our shoes apart.

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4. 16 month old son has been walking around front room touching his nose and going ‘beep’ recently.

5. My son and I recently managed to keep ourselves entertained for about 20 minutes just by throwing a green sock at each other. It was a very enjoyable 20 minutes.

6. Our son’s been getting to know our two chickens a bit better recently and enjoys collecting the eggs from the chicken house (see picture below).

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7. I think our son had even more fun running around a furniture shop recently than he did last time we took him to a soft play centre. I think we’ve now discovered a new local free outing option for families for toddlers. Local parents – let’s try to not all go to the same shop at the same time, OK? :-)

8. Despite being 17 months old, our son still hasn’t worked out that it’s best not to try to eat porridge using his hands.

9. I really don’t want to be an overly competitive dad but I recently convincingly beat a five year old in a game of ‘Guess Who’ despite trying my best to lose.

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10. Our son has a lot of bath toys, but his favourite one at the moment is a light blue plastic spoon.

11. We’ve cut our son’s fringe twice but he hasn’t had a proper haircut yet and his hair is getting quite long at the back. Given that he has quite a few tie-dyed baby grows, he could soon end up looking like an early 1990s Andre Agassi.

12. One of our son’s favourite things at the moment is climbing up steps. Sometimes he puts on his frog trousers and hops all the way from the bottom step to the top step.

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13. Our son is getting good at copying animal noises and I had a real proud dad moment when he copied my chimpanzee impression.

14. Working at home is a lot harder than it used to be now that our son is getting so active. His new tactic is to start putting his toys on the table next to me when I’m busily working away. He recently tried to distract me with a knitted dinosaur while I was in the middle of marking a dissertation.

15. I have now decided to put 50p in our son’s money box any time that I swear while he is within earshot. I hope that this doesn’t make him rich and that he doesn’t try to get me to swear in order to receive more money from me.

16. Our son recently got really excited about a new dustpan and brush that we bought. Goodness knows what he’ll do if we get a new hoover.

17. It’s not just the dustpan and brush that our son’s fascinated by, it’s also our paintbrush and paint rollers. We’re going to be painting the front of our house soon, so maybe he’ll help us out :-)

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What do you mean I’m too young to be allowed to help paint the house?

What do you think of this post and what do you remember from your first year and a half as a parent? Please feel free to share your views in the comments section below or on the ‘Dad’s The Way I Like It’ pages on Facebook or Google+.

Remember that you can also subscribe to this blog by entering your e-mail address in the box on the right of the screen and also follow this blog via BlogLovin. There’s also now a Pinterest board for this blog as well, so please feel free to pin this post if you’ve enjoyed reading it.

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I’ve added this post to the following parent blogger link-ups, check them out to see a range of posts by fellow parent bloggers:

First family trip to Scotland

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First family trip to Scotland

We visited my native Scotland earlier this summer on our first trip with our then 15 month old son. Just as I had wondered how he would react to his first taste of vegetarian haggis back in January, I was eager to see how he’d respond to visiting the land where I grew up. In fact, he started letting out some little happy noises just after we told him that we’d crossed the border into Scotland.

Our son may well have a very different relation to Scotland to the one that I had. I was born in Scotland and lived there until I left to study at Leeds University when I was eighteen. Our son was born here in Wales last year and this may mean that his relationship to Scotland ends up being similar to my own connection with Ireland, the land where both my parents were born. By virtue of my wife being from England, our son would be eligible to play football for Wales, Scotland, England, Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland.

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I had been slightly worried about our son making a bit of a mess at my parents’ house as it is a lot tidier and neater than our own house, in part due to the less frequent presence of food-throwing toddlers. He did have a go at re-arranging most of the contents of the spice shelf in one of the kitchen cupboards and ‘re-organizing’ a bookshelf (see 16 thoughts from my 16th month as a parent and Like father, like son), but thankfully my parents didn’t seem to mind. Indeed, he showed quite a commitment to tidiness by spending quite a bit of time playing with a mop as well as a dustpan and brush.

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It was great fun going on a family trips to places that I’d been to regularly as a child, even when it was only the local play park. I particularly enjoyed our trip to Craigtoun Country Park near St. Andrews, somewhere that had been a real favourite of mine when I was primary school age. I’d been sad to see that it was threatened with closure within the last few years, but thankfully it was saved by a community group that largely took over the running of it.

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The park’s attractions include a boating lake, crazy golf, trampolines, a play park, train rides and lots of space for having picnics and running around. I had worried that it would not live up to my expectations given how much I’d enjoyed it as a child but found that the play park had grown a lot bigger and that the track for the train ride was much longer than it had been. The train rides had been one of my favourite parts of the park as a kid and apparently I once insisted on going on something like eight or nine train rides in a row. Perhaps for this reason, the park now has a different ticketing system which involves buying tickets for a set number of rides (…although there is an unlimited day pass option).

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Our on wasn’t all that bothered about the train ride and almost nodded off to sleep during the circuit of the park. However, he did seem to really enjoy riding on some tricycles in an area where there was a perhaps misplaced sign telling visitors ‘no backflips or somersaults to be attempted’ and managed to restrain his gymnastic inclinations. Back home at my parents’ house, there were plenty of other things to enjoy (…such as being able to relax and being cooked for!). It was also great to see our son playing with some of my favourite toys from my toddler days. These included a set of plastic stacking cups that my parents have now kept for over thirty years.

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It was also great to go on trips with not just my wife and son, but also my parents. There was something special about three generations of our family going places together. These included Kinshaldy Beach, which is on the coast of North East Fife. Although it was a bit blustery, we all managed to have a paddle and build some sandcastles (…as well as take turns trying to prevent our son from eating sand).

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As we’ll soon be moving house, our trip to Scotland has been our only real trip away this summer. This trip home involved visiting many familiar places and these places became all the more special again as they took me back to my own childhood and I loved seeing our son enjoy them too. I’m not sure if he’ll remember his first trip to Scotland in years to come, so I might just have to show him this blog post!

Do you remember taking your kid(s) to places that you visited as a child? Did the places live up to expectations and what did your kid(s) think? Please feel free to share your views in the comments section below or on the ‘Dad’s The Way I Like It’ pages on Facebook or Google+.

Remember that you can also subscribe to this blog by entering your e-mail address in the box on the right of the screen and also follow this blog via BlogLovin. There’s also now a Pinterest board for this blog as well, so please feel free to pin this post if you’ve enjoyed reading it.

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I’ve added this post to the following parent blogger link-ups:

Being a bilingual family in Wales

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Being a bilingual family in Wales

Wales’s Eisteddfod Genedlaethol (National Eisteddfod) is an annual week-long Welsh language cultural festival that takes place at the start of August. Last year, we went to the event as a family for the first time when our son was three and a half months old. As this year’s Eisteddfod is a bit far to comfortably visit in a day trip, this week I’ll be looking back on last year’s event.

I started learning Welsh in 2007, the year I moved to Wales to begin a job as lecturer in French at Bangor University. After I’d been learning Welsh for just under two years, I went to the Eisteddfod Genedlaethol for the first time when it was in Bala in 2009. I wasn’t sure what it would be like being at a Welsh language event while I was a relative beginner with the language and I was a bit nervous. My nerves weren’t exactly helped when I accidentally knocked over a display stand holding leaflets in the reception area, but I was kindly given help to put the stand together again by a friendly clown who said that it was the stand’s fault.

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The Eisteddfod’s main pavilion

Although I wasn’t able to fully understand everything going on around me at my first Eisteddfod, especially when I went into the main pavilion to see one of the big ceremonies at which a literary prize was being presented, it was great being there. There was a lot of live music and I ended up bumping into quite a few people I knew.

By the time the Eisteddfod was back in North Wales in 2011, my Welsh had improved. During my trip to the 2011 Eisteddfod Genedlaethol in Wrexham I recorded several interviews for a Welsh language football podcast that I was running at the time. I also managed to understand more of what was going on and went to a few talks.

Last year, when the Eisteddfod was in Denbigh, I visited it with my wife and son. Despite being under four months old, our son seemed to quite enjoy the event even though he thought that some people were clapping too loudly for his liking at some events. He managed to sit through a clog dancing performance but just didn’t like the noise of the applause at the end of it, so we had to leave the tent in which the dance competitions were taking place.

2013-08-07 13.02.55Thankfully, our son was more at home in the large tent of the organisation Twf. Twf’s slogan is ‘two languages from day one’ and they are an organisation who provide support and resources for parents who want to use Welsh with their kids. So far, they have provided us with several free CDs of Welsh nursery rhymes and we’ve been able to attend several of their events in our local area. They also ran a parent and baby Welsh course that my wife was able to attend with our son during his first few months. As a result, she learned a lot of useful phrases to use when talking to babies.

At last year’s Eisteddfod, I was able to attend and understand events where experts were discussing topics like the music industry in Wales and how the Welsh language is being affected by the rise of e-publishing. Although the main language of the Eisteddfod is very much Welsh, it is always visited by quite a lot of people who do not speak Welsh. On several visits, I have seen tourists from a range of different countries. Translation headsets are also available for many of the events that take place in the main pavilion.

Personalized signage for a performer named Allan who is renowned for arriving late. Apparently some think that this is just an exit sign as 'allan' is Welsh for 'out'.

Personalized signage for a performer named Allan who is renowned for arriving late. Apparently some think that this is just an exit sign as ‘allan’ is Welsh for ‘out’.

The Eisteddfod Genedlaethol is a focal point for Welsh language culture and I hope that it’s an event that our son will come to enjoy as he grows up. I hope that he will become confident in both Welsh and English and realise the benefits that come from speaking more than one language and also the range of cultural events that take place in Welsh. There is a national Welsh language television channel and radio station here in Wales and there are many Welsh language plays and music festivals that take place in our local area.

Attending the Eisteddfod has provided me with plenty of reasons to keep on learning Welsh and learning about Welsh culture. Over the last few years I have done several live radio interviews in Welsh. It is also a language that I use almost daily at work, and I have now given several lectures and conference papers in Welsh.

I often think about the crucial issue of language exposure when it comes to bringing up our son bilingually. I speak to him exclusively in Welsh and my wife generally speaks to him in English. As my wife spends more time with him at the moment, I do wonder how this will affect his confidence in Welsh. I’m hoping that the Welsh language events in our area that take place in local libraries and community centres will help to bridge the gap and that we’ll be able to enjoy plenty more trips to the Eisteddfod in years to come.

 

Are you bringing up your kids bilingually? How important do you think it is to speak different languages? Please feel free to share your views in the comments section below or on the ‘Dad’s The Way I Like It’ pages on Facebook or Google+.

Remember that you can also subscribe to this blog by entering your e-mail address in the box on the right of the screen and also follow this blog via BlogLovin. There’s also now a Pinterest board for this blog as well, so please feel free to pin this post if you’ve enjoyed reading it.

 

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I’ve added this post to the following parent blogger link-ups:

16 thoughts from my 16th month as a parent

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16 thoughts

Here are some highlights from my last month of parenthood, which include thoughts on sport, camping and reading…

 

1. Our son seems to like trying to put all sorts of different things into his bath at the moment. I recently heard my wife saying to him “no, you cannot put my shoes in the bath”.

2. Our son wasn’t very interested in the recent football World Cup, but it was an excuse to get in some more training so as he’s ready to play in the 2034 tournament.

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3. I had a proud dad moment last week. I did a monkey impression and our son tried to copy.

4. ‘Mum, why’s there a cloud in the sink?’

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5. Clothes pegs in the watering can are a clear sign that our son has been ‘helping out in the garden’.

6. He’s a bit better at helping out in the kitchen and has already got quite attached to our dustpan and brush…

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7. …and he’s also tried to re-arrange granny and granddad’s spice rack .

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8. Our son really likes trips to the beach, but he’s not quite learned the lesson that you’re not supposed to try to eat sand yet.

9. I think that our son may be trying to drop a few hints that he thinks it’s time to go on holiday…

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10. I had an anecdote about a boomerang that I was going to share in this blog post but I can’t remember it. Maybe it will come back to me.

11. On a recent camping trip, our son decided that jumping in puddles was nowhere near as much fun as sitting in puddles.

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12. Our son recently tried to feed some wool to a neigbour’s cat. The cat’s fine although I think it might have mittens soon.

13. At the age of fifteen months, our son has decided that it’s time to make the step up from picture books to proper novels.

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14. When we were about to go out for a walk recently, our son walked up to me with both my shoes. I wonder how long this junior butler service will last :-)

15. Our son’s got some great clothes, but I’m not sure if any of them quite match this hand-knitted outfit that I wore back in the very early 1980s.

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16. If coming up with more and more thoughts about parenting each month gets a bit challenging, maybe I could try throwing in a few dad jokes from time to time and see if anyone notices.

 

What do you think of this post and what do you remember from your first year and a bit as a parent? Please feel free to share your views in the comments section below or on the ‘Dad’s The Way I Like It’ pages on Facebook or Google+.

Remember that you can also subscribe to this blog by entering your e-mail address in the box on the right of the screen and also follow this blog via BlogLovin. There’s also now a Pinterest board for this blog as well, so please feel free to pin this post if you’ve enjoyed reading it.

 

Similar posts

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8 thoughts from my 8th month as a parent

9 thoughts from my 9th month as a parent

10 thoughts from my 10th month as a parent

11 thoughts from my 11th month as a parent

12 thoughts from my 12th month as a parent

13 thoughts from my 13th month as a parent

14 thoughts from my 14th month as a parent

15 thoughts from my 15th month as a parent

Baby’s first year in 12 photos

 

I’ve added this post to the following parent blogger link-ups, check them out to see a range of posts by fellow parent bloggers:

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