When everything goes right

When you've got little ones, the days often blur into each other.

Groundhog Day is a fair description of that daily grind - getting them up, dressed, fed, off to preschool, then collecting them, feeding time, baths and bed. Sure, in between all that there is time for fun and frivolity, but generally those are the main things you need to achieve each day.

Routine is so important to my two because it gives them structure and helps bring some level of order to the house and, while it's great to sometimes bump the routine for some craziness, generally those steps are rigidly set in stone. I find it reduces our stress because they know what's happening and what the next step will be, and it means fewer tears and tantrums.

Occasionally you'll have a day where something out of the norm happens, which can make it more memorable. And that's good because without those days, you're just going through the motions and it can get a bit depressing.

Thursday is a day I'll probably remember for a long time, if not forever. It was a good day - a "win" day if you like.

Getting them to preschool was fairly uneventful until someone lost a sock. How she managed to do it has baffled me for more than 24 hours - logic says it must be in the car because it was under her shoe and on her foot when she went in the car . . . but it wasn't there when she got out.

So apart from Sockgate (could she have eaten it? stuffed it under her top just to spite me? secreted it into some crevice in the car I can't see?), the morning was like most mornings.

But after work, things got interesting. No sock though. Not even a hint of where it might have gone.

I got home from work to find their mother all excited because Piper had finally taken some unsupported steps. Allegedly. She's been walking behind things and around things since her first birthday, but these were her first real steps. It's only a smattering of paces into the beanbag, but she's certainly not far away.

Which is something I've been looking forward to for some time.

I love holding my children's hands and walking with them. I can't explain why, but it's probably one of my most favourite things . . . behind smacking a golf ball 300m that is (only done once too). I love having to lean to one side slightly to reach their hands, and the feeling of their little paw in my average- sized mitt. Even if it means walking at their pace, which can be agonisingly slow.

But that wasn't the only thing that made Thursday special, although on it's own it would probably make the day memorable.

Dinner time was also double-trouble- free. Between them, they ate all the food that was prepared for them. This has never happened before. Vegetables - gone. Spuds - gone. Fish - gone.

Zach ate, without being cajoled or forced, all his vegetables. That doesn't happen. But he did, and there were no tears or whinging.

And Piper ate her meal well. Devoured it all, constantly stuffing morsel after morsel into her mouth. In fact, she ate like a boa constrictor.

Ever seen a snake eat large prey? There's no chewing and just when you think it can't get anything else into the mouth, it cracks open a bit more and more gets sucked in.

If I'd offered her an antelope I think she'd have managed to squeeze it in.

Ah, good memories.

Mark Hotton is a fulltime journalist/ fulltime dad who last weekend walked 65km, without training, in just over 15 hours and, despite the resulting pain throughout his body, still gave his son horsey-rides to bed. You're thinking "martyr", and you'd be right.

The Southland Times