I AM NOT the biggest fan of January usually. Today I took my Christmas decorations down and now my house looks sad and bare, like I just stripped off its favourite party outfit.

No more twinkly lights, no more glittery baubles and no more distinctive tree smell welcoming me into the living room every morning.

I know, I know. I am supposed to be the grown up here, saying things like “it is so lovely to pack everything away and have our house back to normal”.

But, truth be told, normally I am like a sulky child, cross that all the fun is over.

However, so far so good January 2019, you are not too shabby.

Since the year began, granted we are only on day five, we have not had a drop of rain, I have been treated to Idris Elba on my telly every night and, most impressively, some clever souls managed to pop their spaceship down on the dark side of the moon.

I caught a woman on a radio talk show yesterday saying how she really does not see the point of space travel.

A space expert on the show was gently reminding her of the many incredible things we can now do as humans as a result of such missions.

It really does blow the mind, and also makes me wish I had put the work in at school and become an astronaut.

Who am I kidding?

I am a nervous flyer at the best of times and still have to hold someone’s hand on take-off.

I would hyperventilate at the mere sight of a launch pad, I am quite sure of that.

In other unrelated but exciting news, a friend of mine has just become a dad for the first time and there really is nothing like the excitement of a new parent and the arrival of a perfect, squidgy newborn.

My pal and his partner have had a whirlwind of a relationship and are one of those couples who just knew from the start they were meant to be together.

And now they have a little boy to raise and a whole lifetime of family loveliness to come.

It has been a while since my own son was small enough to cradle in one arm, so I am feeding off their excitement and cooing over the baby pictures.

Obviously many of my friends have become parents over the last ten or more years, most of them in fact.

Usually, though, I am connected to the female parent, so it is a fairly new experience hearing how things are going from a male perspective.

The friend in question fully embraced the idea of becoming a dad from day one and it has been heartwarming chatting with him throughout the pregnancy and feeling his excitement about their imminent arrival.

Now the little one is here and I have been treated to gorgeous snaps of their perfect boy, with my friend’s tired but beaming face snuggled up to his new son.

Last night he admitted they were struggling to sleep much as the baby is only really settling when lying on his mum or dad’s chest.

That took me back to those exhausting but oh-so-precious moments.

I messaged him saying things will move on and change over time, as they always do with babies.

It is easy to feel like you will actually never sleep again when you have a newborn, but somewhere along the line they find a new groove and eventually chunks of sleep get longer for all concerned.

Believe me, I am no parenting expert, having raised just the one child, and only for six years and nine months so far.

But I remember feeling reassured by other parents who had already been through it when my baby was brand new.

Parenting can be a complete mystery at times, in my opinion.

Thankfully, my husband and I were both parented in a very similar, traditional way so nearly always agree on how to bring up our boy.

Every family is different, but we chose not to read any parenting books and just followed our instincts, taking every day, actually every minute, as it came.

I guess our technique, if we have one, revolves around love, stability and consistency.

We still have so much more to learn, too, with our boy only being six years old.

Our focus tends to be on raising him to love and respect himself and to be kind to others, always.

I worry about the teenage years and how things like social media, cyber bullying and alcohol may impact on him.

But we have a while yet to ensure he grows up knowing we are his safe place and that no subject is off limits when it comes to open family discussion.