OPINION: I've felt a bit sorry for Zach this week, writes Mark Hotton in And Baby Makes Four.
He's had a tough time during the past fortnight - his back molars are finally coming through and it's obviously causing him some pain. Two are through, so another two to go.
But that's not really been the main cause of his angst. The cause of that will create hardship for him for some time.
You see, his little sister has become mobile and, even though she's only moving ever so slightly, it's enough to cause him consternation.
She's worked out that crawling backwards gets her nowhere, so she's found a way to go forward. Well, sort of that is. It's not what you'd describe as textbook perfect. She gets up on all fours, moves her legs forward and then seems to collapse again, before moving her arms. But she's only days away from getting it all sussed.
Then the fun will really start.
Even this week I've spotted Zach sitting on the floor reading a book, only to have Piper come - tortoise-like - over to annoy him. He's got up and moved away, with a touch of huffing and puffing, only to find her beside him again, grabbing at his stuff, a short time later.
Little does he know that this is just the start of having an annoying little sister. He thinks it's been tough having to wait for us while we feed her. He's not going to know what hit him.
We've tried explaining that she'll be doing more of this and if he doesn't want her to play with his toys, then he'll need to put them away, but I doubt that logic has registered, although it would be nice for us.
Piper has also had an interesting week. It appears not only has she started crawling forward, but she has cut her first tooth as well. (Yes, two little ones cutting teeth at the same time. That's been fun.)
But she also got to go on a road trip with her dad to catch up with an old university mate who was in the country for a short time, and after that trip, I can no longer refer to her as Li'l Miss Grumpy Pants.
We darted up to Queenstown one morning - she slept most of the way - and then pottered around Arrowtown. She was cooped up in her pram or car seat for most of the time, before we headed home in the afternoon, when she managed to sleep most of the way again.
I expected tears and tantrums the whole time, but she took it in her stride. Of course, it was the enjoyable company (me that is) that made it fun for her.
But the trip reminded me how surprisingly adaptable little ones can be. As long as she was fed, had a clean nappy and wasn't ignored, she remained pretty placid. Not at all what I expected.
Unfortunately, it's going to be her big brother who is going to have to become more adaptable with a mobile sister. That's just part of growing up and adapting - much like how we've adapted to less sleep thanks to new teeth. We don't like it, but it's just the way it is. Still, I'm sure Zach will appreciate having a sister when he's in his teens.
Mark Hotton is a full-time work-from-home journalist/full-time dad and occasional road tripper who is enjoying his chilled daughter more than he expected.
- © Fairfax NZ News