In the grand scheme of things, four months is no time at all but these past 17 weeks have been nothing short of life changing.
It goes without saying that the time spent looking after my baby boy, during arguably the most transforming period of his life, has been something I will cherish forever. I have already extolled the virtues of the shared parental leave scheme which was launched to much fanfare last year and yet to really take off and will continue to do so because I truly believe that it has the potential to change society’s view of parenting forever.
But I don’t intend to sit astride of my oversized equine and implore dads everywhere to toss their laptops into the air and learn how to wipe a dirty bottom and replace a nappy in 20 seconds flat. Although I think I may have inadvertently discovered a solution to the weight problems which have dogged me since I picked up my first pint of Boddingtons and discovered pork scratchings.
I have lost count of the number of compliments paid to me during my time at home - mostly due to the fact that I appeared to be less stressed, although that changed when our son learned to scale the stairs. But some kind souls told me that I looked like I lost weight, comments I dismissed as meaningless platitudes until I finally stepped onto a set of bathroom scales last week.
They had made their annual journey from the shed to the house in order for us to confirm whether our holiday suitcases really were that heavy. It was during that most tedious of chores that, out of idle curiosity, I stepped onto the scales and discovered I had lost at least a stone during my time away from the office, something I have achieved with zero effort.
Over the past 15 years I have ‘committed’ to a clutch of diets and exercise regimes only to succumb to the allure of suet puddings and Hobnobs as soon as the going got tough and I tired of steamed vegetables and working out how many points there were in a Bolognese. Not even the humiliation of breaking a theme park ride could motivate me towards sustained weight loss. If only I had known that hands-on child rearing was so good for the waistline then I would have considered having as many kids as the Von Trapps.
The beauty of this particular regime is that I haven’t a clue how I have achieved this reduction of my bulk although it is worth pointing out that I could still pass as a stunt double for one of the Roly Polys.
It must have something to do with the endless route marches into town with an overladen pram. Needless to say I fully expect to pile the pounds back on, once my sausage roll-fuelled days in the newsroom take a grip.
While there is little hope for me, the prospect of a slender physique could swing it for those dads who are in two minds about taking the plunge and looking after baby while their partners return to work.