Watching your child do or say something for the first time has to be one of the most exciting things about being a new parent.
This little being that you brought into the world, and was once the size of a pea on the hospital TV screen, is now acting like a real life human being.
There have been so many heart-warming moments that have made me feel proud and given me a big emotional lump in my throat.
My daughter Caitlin leaning across the sofa to give me a kiss on the cheek for the first time was one of those moments. Another was when I sneezed and she responded with: ‘Bless you Daddy.’
Such simple things will no doubt happen thousands of times, but witnessing the birth of these moments creates an everlasting memory in the mind.
I now have another first-time moment to add to the list and this one tops them all.
We were sitting in the living room the other day. I was flicking through the TV channels and Caitlin was playing with the Play Doh she got for Christmas.
She abandoned it for a few seconds, walked over to me, looked up and spoke those four words that could melt the most manly of man’s heart.
She said: ‘I love you Daddy.’
This great moment was slightly demoted down the special moments list though when just hours later she walked over to the kitchen bin to discard her empty yoghurt pot and spoke those special words again.
This time the words weren’t directed at me but the white waste container, complete with tea bag drips on its lid.
‘I love you bin,’ she said.
I agree that the bin in our kitchen does a valuable job. It sits there discreetly within reach, ready to collect waste that’s not needed. But I wouldn’t describe my affection for it as love. Would anyone?
Of course, at two years old, Caitlin doesn’t really know what the word means.
She’s at an age where she’s watching the world and copying what she sees.
She hears me direct the words at her and has repeated them back to me.
In fact, in the last few days there have been many new objects of her affection. So far, she’s declared her love for her slippers, her duvet and even a chocolate biscuit.
But still, when she says those words to me, it gives me that proud feeling and a lump in my throat.
I imagine that it’s her way of thanking me for all those sleepless nights, nappy changes and bedtime stories.
I don’t mind that I have to share her affection with non-human objects.
And to be honest, I love chocolate biscuits too.