iDad Part Six – More Cake

St Andrew’s

Growing up with No.1, God Sakes and Granny was as entertaining as it was educational and iDad’s influence over his children was profound. As a fledgling golfer I was forever talking to my boys about the three or four good shots I made out of the one hundred and thirty it took me to get around the course. Needless to say they were suitably impressed by my prowess with the Ping and would happily inform all those who would listen, and many who would not.

My Aunty, who actually was an A-Grade golfer, decided one day to show the older two how to play the grand old game. As she lined up a chip shot No.1 piped up with an innocent query.

“Wotcha doin’ Aunty Ba-Ba”

“I’m going to show you how to play golf.”

No.1 began to laugh.

“You don’t know how to play golf Ba-Ba.”

My Aunty stopped mid back-swing.

“Of course I do. I’m a very good golfer.”

In fact she was! The hall stand, book case and lintel over the fireplace all bore trophied testament to the fact that my Aunty was an accomplished A-Grade golfer.

Regardless, No.1 continued chuckling.

“No you’re not. Only mans play golf.”

Thus endeth the lesson.

WWW.

Running an IT business when the Internet was a newborn, Netscape was still a browser and Windows was only 95, iDad always managed to keep up to date with the latest technology. I still have my first mobile phone, complete with the monster battery pack that hung over your shoulder like a five kilogram acid-filled satchel. We use it as a doorstop. My boys however we suitably impressed with my ability to work in the car, the backyard and even the toilet. To them the black brick with the twisted cord and battered handset, meant that dad could come home early to spend time with them, and finish his job after they had gone to bed.

The evolution of cumbersome telecommunications to a more compact format did not lessen the mystique and my boys always enjoyed the ever-changing midi ringtone my Nokia spouted forth. One afternoon as we sat by the shores of Lake Macquarie, the sun setting in the west and the children splashing about in the shallows, Aunty Ba-Ba pulled out her mobile phone to place a call. No.1 was stunned.

“Where did you get that Ba-Ba?”

“This is mine sweety.”

No.1 burst out laughing.

“No its not. Only mans have mobile phones.”

Later that night No.1 would zap my beautiful Aunty once again as she scooped a dollop of hot English mustard onto her plate.

“You’re so funny Ba-Ba.”

“Why’s that sweetheart?”

“Only mans eat mustard.”

Aunty Ba-Ba passed away shortly after Granny was born. Cancer is a terrible disease.

More Cake!

As I had mentioned before in an earlier story, our closest friends had had a baby girl in between our No.1 and God Sakes. She was a beautiful little blue eyed tomboy who could scale fences, climb trees and escape through windows. On top of that she had made it her personal mission to send her parents grey; and she was succeeding. Her nickname ‘Cake’ had been earned during God Sakes first birthday party and she has had a lasting influence on my boy’s development into adolescence.

From Church to MTV, no part of life was immune to Cake’s touch. She would rally the boys together to sing the latest hits at the top of their lungs, usually whilst bouncing up and down on our couch. The sight of three little pre-schoolers exuberantly vocalising the words to the Bloodhound Gang song,

‘You and me baby ain’t nothing but mammals. So lets do it like they do on the Discovery Channel.’

…is permanently seared into my retina. As are all the church bulletins upon which God Sakes and Cake had scrawled sacrilegious slogans such as ‘I am farting’ and the classic, ‘this is my butt.’ All of which were expertly illustrated before being placed onto the collection plate. I never found out what the old priest thought of the pencilled profanities but hopefully he had a sense of humour.

Finally our friends had their second baby and balance was restored to their Universe. So-See was an angelic little girl with blonde bubble curls and big blue eyes. She liked Barbie and ponies and all things pink. She was the first girly girl my boys had ever known and, frankly, they were nonplussed.

“What do you think of the baby?”

Blue Eyes was trying to engage her boy’s interest in their new friend. No.1 feigned a slight interest.

“Its ok I guess.”

God Sakes remained unusually quiet.

“What’s wrong honey? Don’t you like the baby?”

“No.”

His mother was shocked.

“Why?”

“It hasn’t got a doodle.”

iDad fell on the floor laughing as Blue Eyes tried to explain the situation.

“This is a girl baby. Girl’s don’t have doodles.”

“Oh.”

God Sakes turned on his heels and walked away. What’s the point of life if you don’t have a doodle?

Postman Pat and the Gobbellin.

Like most Australian kids, my boys grew up watching the vast array of children’s shows on the ABC. Play School, Sesame Street, Bob the Builder, all got a fair amount of exposure; but the favourite for a while seemed to be Postman Pat and his Black and White Cat. Little God Sakes face would light up as the theme song started and then he’d sing a long at the top of his high-pitched little lungs which, for him, was to be expected 😉

One day however, I decided to pay attention to the words as my little angel harmonised with the tune from the television. Something wasn’t right.

“Postman Pat. Postman Pat. Postman Pat and his black and white cat.”

Only he didn’t say ‘black and white’.

My brown eyed, sunny faced cherub had replaced the words ‘black and’ with an f-bomb.

What Jess had done to become known as an f***ing white cat I’ll never know, but God Sakes offensive mispronunciation was quickly corrected before he started pre-school.

Obnoxiousness is not a personality trait of any of my children. Unfortunately though, forthrightness is and telling it as they see it often became a cringe-worthy experience.

I’ve mentioned before about a shopping trip where Granny received his nickname. Sitting in the trolley batting his big blue eyes at all the passers by when one kind lady with a Rubenesque physique stopped to pinch his cheeks and comment on his cuteness. Granny replied in a voice that seemed to channel the Cookie Monster,

“Hello Fatty.”

After much apologising Blue Eyes attempted to educate our little boy on good manners, respecting elders, and overall acceptable behaviour. With remorse written all over his face Blue Eyes ceased the lesson and began to clean up the drink that God Sakes had spilled. As she collected the last piece of broken glass she heard the biscuit eating muppet fire up the voice box one more time for the elderly couple that had stopped to say hi.

“Hello Granny.”

Marginally better.

So-See and Cake had a little baby sister arrive not long after Granny learned how to talk. As per usual, our friends had produced another beautiful blonde girl with a gregarious nature and bubbly disposition. As we sat around admiring the newborn I noticed Granny squinting at her and cocking his head to the side. Then he spoke in that unmistakably deep voice.

“What’s wrong wiff her ears?”

The adults were perplexed.

“What do you mean mate?”

“They’re funny lookin.”

“What are you talking about son?”

“She looks like a Gobbellin.”

Ok, so my lovely goddaughter had slightly pointy ears due to the process of being born. Trust Granny to give her a nickname that has lasted forever.

iDad © Matthew Green 2010

iDad v2.0 – God Sakes

With No.1’s persistent visits to the hospital and the extensive, yet fruitless search for the triggers for his allergic reactions, Blue Eyes and I were lucky to find five minutes for ourselves. Ergo it was a great surprise for iDad the night that I found out we were pregnant with our second child. It had been an especially ‘challenging’ week for our little family. No.1 was going through the terrible twos, Blue Eyes was working three days per week and iDad was up to his neck with University assignments. ‘Me time’ was an esoteric concept and sleep was something only other people enjoyed. On Saturday night however, we caught a break when No.1’s sugar withdrawal abated earlier than expected and by 8:00pm he was fast asleep. Thirty seven seconds later Blue Eyes and I were beginning to doze ourselves. As I held her from behind she snuggled into me in the familiar and very comfortable ‘spoon’ position. The sandman had sprinkled his magic dust over us and although daylight saving meant it was still light outside, we were all bound for sleepy town. I kissed Blue Eyes on the back of her neck and whispered,

“Good night my honey.”

“Good night darling. Oh, guess what?”

“What sweety.”

“I’m pregnant.”

iDad’s eye twitched involuntarily.

Cake!!!!!!

No.2 arrived in December that year. He was fit, healthy, brown haired, brown eyed, beautiful little baby boy and iDad was suitably chuffed. With two little namesakes my dynasty was assured. No.1 was a great help in these early days with the new baby. He was extremely adept at shoving the dummy back into No.2’s mouth with the gentle twisting motion of a deep sea drill bit from an offshore oil rig. He was also an expert at tipping No.2 out of his bassinet ‘by accident’ and did so on many occasions. In spite of all the ‘help’ No.2 managed to survive long enough to reach his first birthday. Our friends had begun having children as well so the social occasions had moved on from late night drinking and dancing to mid-morning party pies and fairy bread. In fact the only aspect of our lives that maintained any consistency was the afternoon nap on the couch. This time however it was more out of the necessity to catch up on some zzz’s as opposed to a self-inflicted need to recover.

On the day of the party No.2 was sitting quietly playing with his toy cars while No.1 made it his personal mission to taste test all the birthday treats. Chocolate frosting, hundreds-and-thousands, freckles, mini franks, sausage rolls smothered in tomato sauce, everything we suspected may be a trigger for his asthma and anything else he could get his hands on, was stuffed into his mouth and smeared over his face in an orgy of preservatives and artificial flavouring.

Then she arrived!

Our dear friends had had a baby girl in between our No.1 and No.2. She was a beautiful little blue eyed tomboy who could scale fences, climb trees and escape through windows. On top of that she had made it her personal mission to send her parents grey; and she was succeeding.

From the depths of the hallway leading to the front door of our unit we heard the deep throaty growl of a pack-a-day smoker,

“Caaaaake!!!”

No.1 dropped his third hotdog onto the dirt trying to get out of the way whilst No.2 crawled behind my legs and peered through the opening as Hurricane Cake touched down amongst the goodies on the kids table. With sauce in her hair and a jelly bean up her nose Cake showed No.1 the proper way to gorge upon party food until finally her father was able to pries her away from the table so the other kiddies could get something to eat.

Cake would have a lasting influence on our boys lives and I’ll tell you more about her another time.

God Sakes.

As a parent one of the things you come to realise very quickly is that little children are like sponges. They pick up on every thing you say and will mimic your words perfectly; especially those things that they shouldn’t. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am not one for foul language, but after the seventh idiot had almost run us off the road even iDad was on the verge of a minor misdemeanor. With the brakes locked up and the tyres leaving a trail of rubber in our wake I let the moron have it,

“Oh fffffffffffffffffffffff…………….. for God’s sake.”

I don’t know how many times I had said it this trip but obviously No.2 had heard it more than once because from the back seat of the car came the ‘God Sakes’ song. It was a high-pitched ebullient rendition of my blasphemy that repeated the same verse over, and over, ad infinitum until finally, 300 kilometres later, we reached Coffs Harbour and could tune the radio into a station without static. Unperturbed by the driving guitar from Bad Company, little God Sakes kept singing at the top of his lungs. What started as gobbledygook finished with Blue Eyes and iDad horrified as our 18-month-old sung the chorus word perfect, ‘I feel like making love to you.’

For the most part though God Sakes was a good little boy who kept out of trouble and put up with the overzealous attention of No.1. Unfortunately Blue Eyes and I were lulled into a false sense of security with God Sakes and before too long No.3 was on the way.

Coming soon: iDad v3 – Hello Granny!

iDad © Matthew Green 2010

iDad 1.1 – No.1 Finds His Voice

One of my fondest memories of life with our first born was watching the interaction between No.1 and my wife. Dirty nappies, bath time, bottle cleaning, teat boiling and projectile vomiting – Blue Eyes took it all in her stride and still found time to blow raspberries on his belly, powder his backside, cuddle with him and talk to him in a language I’m sure only they understood. iDad on the other hand seemed to spend the first twelve months with my jaw agape in astonished horror, waiting for No.1’s head to start spinning. I actually suggested at one stage that we change his name to Damien but Blue Eyes knocked that idea on the head and then did the same to me.

Finally, after months of mum, mum, mum and dad, dad, dad, No.1 uttered his first word – ‘Maccas.’

Thinking back on it now I suppose I shouldn’t have been too surprised. As the sole grandchild on both sides of the family No.1 was spoiled rotten. Red cordial, green jelly, chocolate, and lollies with more sugar than a Krispy Kreme doughnut, conflicted with the bland soy formula that Blue Eyes and I had tried desperately to get our little boy to eat. As a result we spent many a Sunday night watching No.1 bounce of the walls before the sucrose withdrawal finally caused him to crash into unconsciousness. It was a sight akin to the Tasmanian Devil tearing his way through the scrub in a frantic search for Bugs Bunny, the only difference being that our devil was toothless. Through the week we would ween him back off the white powder and bring his eczema under control, all in preparation for the next round of grandmotherly love.

The real clue was the finding of soggy, half-sucked french fries in his nappy from time to time. The culprit though was never identified.

Speaking in Tongues.

‘Maccas’ opened the flood gate so to speak and more words quickly followed. Having both a grandmother and a great-grandmother on one side of the family caused but a moments pause for No.1 and so ‘Nanny’ and ‘More Nanny’ came into being. The grandfathers though were a little more difficult. My wife’s family is partly of Lebanese descent and the Arabic word for Grandfather is Jidi (pronounced zhiddee). Unfortunately the Australian vernacular often mispronounced the ‘zh’ as an ‘sh’ and so Jidi refused to be known as Shit-tee. It was a fair request, upheld by most members of the family, and because the other adults referred to Jidi as ‘K’ No.1 began doing the same.

My father on the other has was a little more stubborn. He refused to accept the fact that he was now a grand parent so Grandpa, Pop, Gramps etc were all off limit. So my son did the only thing he could do and that was to invent his own name. I’m still not sure to this day whether ‘Bynel’ was actually pleased with being called ‘Bynel’ but I do know for a fact that grandma was none to pleased with being dubbed ‘Mynel’. She seized every opportunity available to get No.1 to change her nickname but for many months Blue Eyes and I would get daily requests to visit ‘Bynel’ and ‘Mynel’.

My sisters fared better than my parents and to this day they are still known as ‘Dee’ and ‘Pee-Dee’ whilst my brother-in-law, who was a huge bear of a man, simply became ‘Bop’. On my wife’s side of the family we got ‘Dabe’, ‘Doughie’, ‘Muck’, ‘Wibby’ and ‘Dinta’ to add to the mix.

Asthma.

A child with allergies is a terrifying experience and iDad quickly worked out the fastest route to Prince of Wales Children’s Emergency from every part of town. Watching their little faces puff up with anaphylaxis and not knowing the cause is the stuff of nightmares. Blue Eyes and I spent two Christmas Eve’s in the Asthma Ward at POW with a number of other little kiddies and their bewildered, frightened parents.

There was one incident in particular that haunts me to this very day. No.1’s face and neck was so swollen with the allergic reaction that he was almost double in size. I had dropped him off at Emergency with his mother and dumped the car illegally in the handicapped zone. I’m not sure what the thought process was that made us to drive to hospital instead of calling an ambulance, only that blind panic makes you do the craziest things. As I crashed through the automatic doors my wife tore a photograph out of her purse and thrust it into the face of the apathetic orderly, screaming at the top of her lungs,

“This is what my boy is supposed to look like.”

The dawning apprehension that we had not arrived with a miniature sumo wrestler hit the orderly, the triage nurse and the resident doctor simultaneously and No.1 was quickly snatched from our grasp, injected with adrenalin and placed on a ventilator. We sat together for hours that night in the semi darkness holding hands. Neither one spoke, words weren’t necessary. We had come as close as possible to losing our child and the tears, sniffles and sighs of relief were the only noises outside the click and puff of the oxygen mask.

Poop

We knew right from the start that No.1 would have allergies. Blue Eyes suffered from eczema as a child and iDad was an asthmatic from way back. This is why we started the little guy on soy formula as soon as he started biting the breast that fed him. The side effects of soy leave a heck of a lot to be desired I can tell you. Finding an old rancid baby bottle that had fallen under the seat in your car is a smell I will never forget. Neither is the odor of said formula when it has been spilled on the floor and cooked in the summer sun. But worst of all are the soy scented nappies; and No.1 was the master of poop.

iDad learned from early on to always carry a collection of shopping bags in the car. If you cut some holes in the bottom for his legs and pull the handles up over his shoulders, you effectively get an inexpensive pair of plastic overalls. There have been many occasions when we have had to employ the ‘Franklins Tactic’ and beat a hasty retreat. No.1 has befouled high chairs in restaurants from the Sutherland Shire to the Gold Coast, leaving his indelible impression on waiting staff and costing iDad a fortune in extra tips.

The worst episode however was the day we took No.1 to visit his great grandfather in hospital. As we tootled along the Grand Parade at Brighton Le Sands the familiar baby chatter in the back was replaced by a constant whining ‘er, er, er’ noise. Blue Eyes was driving so iDad looked over the back to see what was the matter. The soy explosion had not only exited the cuffs of his shorts but it was pouring out of his shirt sleeves and over his collar. It was in his hair, on his hands, all over the car seat, the window, the door and worst of all it was in his mouth.

“Honey, we need to pull over.”
“Why darling?”
“Ummm. Its best if you see for yourself.”

With the Camry idling in Bay street Blue Eyes looked over her shoulder. No.1 smiled with a mouthful of poo, held out his hands and said,

“Ucky mum.”

Whether that translated to yucky or lucky I have no idea. All I know is that a white t-shirt is not the best article of clothing to be wearing when you clean up that volume of excrement and by the time we got to St Vincent’s No.1 was the only one not coated in poop.

Coming soon: iDad 2.0 – God Sakes.

iDad © Matthew Green 2010