I'm sorry if banging on about kids is boring, I guess it is. Funnily enough I remember, in the days when I used to moderate focus groups more, going mental with parents who couldn't talk about anything without seeing it through their kids' eyes. It's remembering stuff like that ensures I'm determined for myself and Mrs Northern to always have some part of me and us that remains just that. We were two people who wanted to be together way before children and still do.
But, oh, they make you happy. From 4 month olf Evie laughing for the first time this weekend, to 2 year old Will going sledging for the first time on the same day. From him nearly exploding when he got a beleated Christmans present in the form of Lighting McQueen and Mac to Evie pulling at my arm if I dare to talk to someone else when I'm holding her.
I realised something this weekend also. As much as we like to think we educate our children, they do a pretty good job of teaching us things, or at least re-learning them.
For example, it's so much more fun to give than receive when you get older. Every blue moon, something comes along that excites me, that really captures my imagination and makes me really happy (but I have my eye on a new bike). But nothing like it did when I was a child, or even ten years ago. But when you make or buy stuff, or just think of things to do with children, you get outrageously excited for them, or with them and the reaction you get is worth a thousand Prada bags or limited edition trainers.
But despite this, kids are the purest evidence that doing stuff always trumps having stuff. Will always goes back to his little box of metal cars, no matter what we buy him, but nothing will ever match what he was like going to an aquarium for the first time, or the bi-weekly visits to the pet store to see the parrots, or just walking in the park looking for sticks to throw in the river. And as for going swimming.........
Will doesn't know anything about status or fashion, he doesn't even suspect that people are not all nice. The only clothes he really loves are anything that has Thomas the Tank Engine on or Cars. He doesn't second guess anyone or anything. He just gets on with it. One day he'll suffer the same insecurities as the rest of it, but he still reminds me how superficial image and status really are and how liberating it is to see the best in everyone rather than the worst.
Finally, he reminds me that defining yourself by your work is really stupid. To him his Mum and I are just Mummy and Daddy, his world basically (though Evie is creeping into his affections). I like what I dom but it's impossible to take it seriously next to the feeling of being his (and her Father). Nobody needs me like they do. Nothing matter more than being able to hold him when he falls. And I'll tell you something else, the feeling of satisfaction when you win a pitch, see your work run and stuff pales next to seeing him wolfing down the food you cooked or learning to throw.
I've felt other things as keenly as the things I feel around them, but you get more jaded as you get older. Kids remind you what it felt like to be young, when you felt really alive and nothin mattered more than having fun. When the scariest thing in the galaxy was Darth Vader and you ran everywhere because you couldn't wait for the next thing.
Of course, kids make you miss things like going to the cinema when you want, holidays where you please yourself and being able to read a book a week. But that stuff is inconsequential.
Kids remind you the difference between happiness and pleasure.