Balancing his four- month-old son, Arlo, in one hand and giving Cassius (3) a high-five with the other, Josh Kronfeld looks over and smiles.
“This is my life now,” says the All Black-great-turned- physiotherapist and stay-at -home-dad, as Cassius races out the back of their Raglan bach, where he’s tied all the outdoor furniture together with rope.
It’s been four months since Josh and Bronwyn welcomed Arlo, and as dad sets his newest “little dude” down on a baby mat, Bronwyn smiles.
After a traumatic first pregnancy – which led Cassius to develop a mild form of cerebral palsy, Bronwyn was nervous at the start of her second. But by the time the birth came, she was remarkably calm.
“I was less hormonal and we had the Caesarean all booked because of the drama with Cassius,” she says. “If anything, Josh was the nervous one.”
“It was surreal, that’s for sure,” Josh agrees. “We were driving to the hospital and just looked at each other. We were like, ‘How weird is this? At 2.30pm we’re having a baby!’”
After a quick procedure, Arlo Seven Kronfeld was born on November 27, 2012. “He was beautiful,” recalls Bronwyn. Josh remembers, “I went to pick up Cassius from school, texted Bron’s mum, came back and introduced Cassius to his brother.”
Unsurprisingly, Cassius has revelled in his new role. “The other day he walked up and said, ‘Arlo, you make my heart happy,’” Josh says.
While Arlo’s “a little cruiser” and loves to be picked up and cuddled, Bronwyn says he’s more demanding than Cassius. “He loves having people around him, so I definitely think he’s going to be social. “Cassius slept through the night at two-and-a-half weeks, while Arlo used to wake up once.” “Twice,” Josh interjects.
The name Arlo took Josh and Bronwyn almost the entire pregnancy to come up with. “I saw it in a baby book at the obstetrician’s office. It means strong,” Bronwyn says.
“Both boys ended up taking on the meaning of their names. Arlo really was strong – he could hold his head up and grab your finger pretty tight – and Cassius ended up being a little fighter.” As Josh ventures outside to untangle Cassius’ handiwork, Bronwyn remarks that life in the Kronfeld-Illingworth house is a lot busier than it used to be. “There needs to be a lot more organisation now,” she says. And with two nonstop boys to look after, it doesn’t leave much alone time.
“We don’t have sex any more,” Josh quips, as Bronwyn roars with laughter.
“You’ve got to get the timing right!” she grins. “Josh will be up for a late feed, and I’ll be up in the middle of the night!”
With hairdresser Bronwyn preparing to head back to work full-time, Josh, who’s been a stay-at-home dad since Cassius was born, is looking forward to spending as much time as he can with his team of two. Going from being one of the country’s greatest All Blacks to devoted dad has been one of Josh’s greatest achievements, and while it hasn’t always been easy, the relationship between him and Cassius is amazing – something he’s incredibly thankful for.
With their family complete, Josh and Bronwyn are looking forward to a future with their two little men, but they won't forget the difficulties of Cassius’ birth in a hurry.
“I know so many people who have been put off having a second child because they’re scared to go through the trauma again,” explains Bronwyn. “But you don't know it’s going to happen again, and you know if it does, you can deal with it. “For us, this time it didn't happen. And now look – we’ve got this little angel.”