iDad v5 – Night Bears.

Following on from a recent visit to Sydney Children’s Hospital (God Sakes poked a bamboo stake into Granny’s eyeball) and with all the free time I have thanks to my insomnia, I was inspired to write a new iDad story for you.

Ladies and gentlemen, for your edification and entertainment, I present iDad Number 5.

‘ittle dis, ‘ittle dat.

God Sakes loved small toys and was forever picking up Matchbox cars and Fisher Price people. His favourite however were the miniature dinosaurs that Santa had brought him. He knew all their names from Ankylosaurus to Velociraptor, and watching him interact with his own make-believe world was magical. The tiny figurines would fight, argue, play together and team up against the cave men (plastic soldiers) if the need arose. It was a lovely game, sometimes shared with Granny but mostly spoiled by No.1 who would stampede through the middle of ‘Jurassic Park’ like a rabid Tyrannosaur.

Everything was ‘ittle to God Sakes so, following on from an afternoon of ‘ittle cars, ‘ittle dinos, ‘ittle soldiers and ‘ittle people, iDad suggested that for dessert God Sakes might like an ‘ittle yoghurt. The reply was delivered in a voice so deep he could have been singing ‘Old Man River’.

‘No dad! BIG YOGE.”

Unfortunately, tiny toys and God Sakes legendary appetite often collided with disastrous results. One afternoon God Sakes was sitting on the couch with wide brown eyes staring off into the distance as if in shock.

“What’s wrong mate?”

No answer from God Sakes but Granny had a humongous grin.

“What’s wrong with your brother?”

“He ate it,” said Granny doing his best Cookie Monster imitation.

“ATE WHAT?!?”

The raised voice from iDad was enough to break God Sakes resolve and he burst into tears.

“I didn’t mean to, daddy. It just slipped down.”

My mind was whirling with all sorts of nasty possibilities. Is there a battery leaking toxic acid into his stomach? Or was there perhaps a rusty pin poking holes in my little boys innards? Regardless of the hideous images conjured up by my tortured brain and fertile mind, my exterior remained calm.

“What slipped down?”

More silence from God Sakes but not from Granny.

“He ate a marble dad.”

Blue Eyes caught the last piece of the conversation at the exact same time that God Sakes started coughing. One quick ambulance ride to the Prince of Wales Hospital, our home-away-from-home, and the five of us were staring up at the x-rays taken of my child’s insides.

“There it is dad.”

Granny was the first to find it. A small white circle about the size of the old one-cent coins was nestled in amongst the yogurt and lasagna. The radiographer chuckled. Obviously God Sakes wasn’t the first child to swallow something other than food during his career and I briefly wondered what other weird and wonderful surprises this man had found in his fellow human beings.

Eventually we were advised to take him home and check his stool over the next few days to make sure he expelled the foreign object. I lost count of how many times we had to capture and examine God Sakes excreta but when we finally found the glass ball I made sure that the hand-held nylon icing sugar sieve we had used was completely and utterly destroyed. Even so, it was hard for me to eat cake for a while.

Night Bears

One thing that wasn’t ‘ittle in our house were the night terrors and poor No.1 got these big time. Quite often during the first ten years of his life, Blue Eyes and I would be woken with blood curdling screams from No.1 as he battled some hideous demon from the depths of his imagination. During a family vacation many years ago No.1 was snuggled up fast asleep between Aunty Dee and her friend Boo, who has been part of our family for more years than she probably wants to admit 😉 Around 2:00 a.m., No.1 launched into one of his trademark kicking, thrashing and screaming fits. Boo was gobsmacked and a little frightened herself.

“What’s wrong with him, Dee?”

“Oh, I should have told you. Sometimes he gets nightmares.”

No.1 launched a sockless foot and a squeal at an invisible monster, almost colliding with the bewildered girl’s forehead.

“Nightmares! What do we do?”

“I don’t know. Go get his mother I suppose.”

Blue Eyes brought No.1 into to bed with us as Dee rolled over and went straight to sleep. Boo lay on her back staring at the ceiling all night waiting for her heart to stop pounding.

Thankfully our little boy rarely ever remembered the horrors that invaded his sleep but that did make it difficult for us to diagnose the cause. Then one night we caught a break. It was a particularly nasty series of nightmares that culminated in the entire street hearing our child screaming that ‘bats were biting his tongue’. It was the first time he had ever spoken about his bad dreams either awake or asleep so we quickly noted the words down and mentioned it to the doctor the next day. Apparently one of the side-effects of food allergies is that the sufferer can be plagued by night terrors as their body tries to cope with the allergic reaction. Not only was our little guy suffering from external eczema but his tongue, throat and entire digestive tract was riddled with itchy lesions. We had finally identified the cause and with a sensible control over his diet, we could manage the effects.

The doctor also encouraged us to talk to him about his experiences so that they wouldn’t seem so scary. As No.1 learned to express what was happening to him the nightmares became known as Night Bears, which was a term he found easier to deal with. It also helped when Blue Eyes brought home a fuzzy teddy so that he had his own good luck ‘Night Bear’ to look after him.

Coming soon: A six pack of iDad – aka More Cake.

iDad © Matthew Green 2010

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