Down with Dad: Looking back on a house full of laughter

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All the lights are down and the Christmas tree is lying on its side in the front garden.

The mulled wine is finished and it‘s time to stop eating chocolates all day.

The festive period is now, sadly, well and truly over.

One of the great things about the Christmas break is that we get the chance to slow down.

There’s no dancing lessons or football practice, and on some days no need to leave the house at all.

As a family we had a great break, spending loads of time together or seeing friends and it felt like Eilidh really came into her own.

The house was full of laughter at all times. Rory and Eilidh seemed to rediscover the joy 
of playing together 
again.

I would hear chortles of laughter coming from their bedrooms upstairs, pour myself another drink and just sit and listen to them having a proper brother and sister relationship with a smile on my face.

Even when people came to visit Eilidh would hang around more rather than her usual disappearing act to find her own space.

Eilidh got a load of presents from Santa that she loved discovering.

From the handbag that sang ‘‘Let It Go’’ in French (Eilidh now speaks French, thanks Auntie Diane) to hiding out in the secret den under her new bed, it was great to just watch her having fun and being herself.

She had a new array of dresses to try out and there was a costume change at least every hour.

The Little Mermaid fish tail was my personal favourite, Eilidh was more keen on the classic ‘‘Anna’’ dress.

Whichever dress was on would be accompanied by the film soundtrack and a splendid performance from Eilidh.

Drama Queen does not even begin to describe this girl!

That’s not to say it was all fun and games.

Inspired by the great work her school teachers have been doing we practiced sign language and reading every day.

It wasn’t always easy getting her interested (especially when Julia Donaldson’s Stick Man was on the TV) but we persevered and I couldn’t have been more proud when she started articulating the short words we were practicing.

The joy on her face when she got them correct would charm even the grumpiest of Scrooges.

We were high-fiving all holiday long!

It’s no secret that Eilidh is a daddy’s girl and she was pretty much stuck to my side for two weeks solid – my best buddy.

Of course, at times I just wanted peace and quiet but sitting on my own on the train to work this morning I realised how much I was missing her already!

I love Christmas in general but this one was my favourite yet.