The Dad Diaries: Stuart Hall, freelance film producer – Day 4

Stuart Hall and Etta in the park

“Easter Sunday. A time for celebration, family fun and of course lots of chocolate. Not in the Hall household. We had a time of tantrums, relentless crying and our darling daughter turning back into a demon child.” Oh dear…

The Dad Diaries: Day 4

Easter Sunday. A time for celebration, family fun and of course lots of chocolate. Not in the Hall household. We had a time of tantrums, relentless crying and our darling daughter turning back into a demon child. We were surfing the wave of emotional turmoil and barely keeping our heads above water.

For the next 12 hours, we got so caught up in the emotions and relentlessness of the day that we were having the most absurd thoughts. Is this what she is going to be like from now on? Has she changed her personality completely to be this weeping wreck? What could we have done differently as parents? Is it too late to change her start date at nursery and bring it forward?

We thought it would be a great idea to get her out of the house and take her to a soft play in Kentish Town. She loves to practice standing now but does have a fear of falling over or just falling, so we thought that lovely, soft, springy mats would help her transition. Obviously not. Going down a slide and then crawling onto a soft mat was the end of the world. It was as if somebody had made her walk across hot coals or a bed of nails. So that soft play journey lasted a whole 20mins before she was screaming so hard we had to leave.

After a hideous bath time, a scream filled ‘In The Night Garden’ and a tear-stained bedtime book reading I managed to get her to fall asleep

After a quick pit stop at Primrose Hill to get some fresh air and hopefully tire the little beast out some more, she did fall asleep. We tried to get into three pubs so we could all have a nice relaxing alcohol beverage but the universe had a different idea and everywhere was chock-a-block. We drove home and Etta was still asleep. We didn’t want to wake her up as she obviously needed it. Maybe her brain was rewiring as per The Leap? I ended up sat in the car with her for an hour and she slept for 2.5 hours. Surely when she wakes up, she’ll be in a better mood. The answer to that is HELL NO!

The evening then consisted of more tears, not wanting to be comforted by anybody other than me. Which made my wife feel useless and I felt terrible. Sinead is her one constant in this ever-changing and evolving life of hers. Why wouldn’t she want to be comforted by her? If it was the other way around, I would have no issue whatsoever. Instead I was tasked with the sole responsibility of dealing with the current situation. I’m not going to lie, I was scared of her in this mood. Not fearful for my life, but scared she might not ever come back to being our smiling bundle of joy.

After a hideous bath time, a scream filled ‘In The Night Garden’ and a tear-stained bedtime book reading I managed to get her to fall asleep. What would tomorrow bring? More cloudy dark times or perhaps a few rays of sunshine breaking through.

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