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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iDad Redux – Ready, Aim, Fire!

Having an asthmatic child makes it difficult to try different foods. I suppose it was for this reason that God Sakes and Granny always gorged themselves at parties, picnics and other places with a fancier fare. This has resulted in stomachaches, sticky car seats and many other unfortunate accidents that seem to perpetrate themselves upon iDad. I learned early on not to jostle around a freshly fed child when No.1 regurgitated most of his formula into my mouth. To this day I cannot stand the taste, or scent, of soy.

God Sakes had an amazing appetite and would try anything and everything that was put in front of him. Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Lebanese, Greek, Italian; Little God Sakes was eating his way round the world in a nonstop feast-a-thon. One night, in an effort to fill the bottomless pit, I took him to Pizza Hut for ‘all you can eat.’ We definitely got our money’s worth. That was until God Sakes deposited two pizzas, a large Pepsi and half a bucket of ice-cream all over the back of the Commodore.

Three little boys watched iDad clean out the puddle of masticated mush from the upholstery for about twenty minutes before God Sakes uttered those immortal words.

“I’m hungry.”

iDad placed his face in his palm.

Stomach Bugs.

Thankfully the expulsion of stomach contents was not a frequent occurrence for God Sakes so it was relatively safe to cuddle him when he was feeling poorly, without the need for a plastic raincoat. One evening I was lying on the floor panting and wheezing after a rather vigorous wrestle with No.1, when God Sakes arrived complaining of a headache. He clambered up onto my stomach and rested his head on my chest. I touched his forehead and realised that the poor little guy was running a fever. I opened my mouth to call out to Blue Eyes at the exact same time that God Sakes opened his mouth and emptied a warm glass of soft drink straight down my throat. Naturally peristalsis kicked in and I swallowed the sweet liquid. It was actually still fizzy, with a strange citrus flavour.

“Honey!”

“Yes darling.”

“I think God Sakes has a virus.”

“I know darling. I just gave him a glass of lemonade and some of that orange flavoured Nurofen.”

That explains the unique taste. At least it was better than soy.

“A little help would be good about now.”

Blue Eyes collected God Sakes from me and whisked him off to the shower just as Granny entered the room.

“I don’t feel good daddy.”

Not to be caught out again I grabbed a large Tupperware container from the kitchen and sat with Granny in my lap waiting for the bathroom to be free. He was also running a fever and I knew that this was going to be a real trying night. I mopped his brow with a cool washcloth and very soon he settled down.

“Are you ok little man?”

He looked at me, shook his head but didn’t answer. Two seconds later iDad was force fed chicken and corn soup.

Nicer than soy but not as good as Nurofen infused tepid lemonade.

One by one my entire family succumbed to Cryptosporidium that night, but I will spare you from further gruesome details.

‘Diggits’ and the F-Bomb.

Leaning to speak has its disadvantages and the biggest challenge any family will find once their toddlers start mixing with older children, is the inevitable swear word. Although Granny had come close on occasion it was No.1 who would break the ice.

Blue Eyes had been at work all day and arrived home to a teary-eyed little boy and an angry grandmother who had just been told to ‘f*** off.’ Suffice to say that his mother was way less than impressed and she began a long-winded admonishment that finished with the line,

“What have you got to say for yourself?”

Our sobbing little angel looked at her with moist eyes and sodden cheeks and delivered the coup de grâce.

“You swear at people all the time.”

“I do not!”

“Yes you do.”

“No I don’t”

“You do so. Even at ones you don’t even know.”

So forthright was he in his convictions that Blue Eyes had to pause her reprimand.

“What are you taking about?”

“You’re always calling people in the other cars diggits.”

The real word is far worse but this is what he interpreted, so ‘diggits’ became the yardstick for profanities in our family. Needless to say that Nanny and Doughie were rolling on the floor laughing by this stage and Blue Eyes was forced to explain the difference between words that adults are allowed to use and  words that children are allowed to use. The conversation concluded with a ‘do as I say and not as I do.’

When iDad got home from University later that night the three boys were fast asleep and Blue Eyes was sipping a glass of Chardonnay as she looked through the Yellow Pages for a new kindy for No.1

Coming soon: iDad v5 – Night Bears.

iDad © Matthew Green 2010

iDad v3 – Hello Granny

Keanu Reeves said it best in the movie Parenthood.

“…you need a license to buy a dog, to drive a car – hell, you even need a license to catch a fish. But they’ll let any butt-reaming asshole be a father.”

Its a powerful statement albeit a little inaccurate.

The physical act of courtship, copulation and birth is a basic human right that Governments rarely interfere with. However, just because you are capable of having a baby, well that fact alone does not qualify you to be a father. Its the wintry nights at soccer training, the chilly morning rugby games, the score-keeping duties at Sunday cricket matches, the countless kilometres spent ferrying the little ones from one activity to another; and its the unconditional love you give them, no matter what the circumstance, that makes you a dad.

Once again I had actively participated in all the joys of our pregnancy, much to my beautiful wife’s disgust. With a bloated belly and sore boobs (don’t ask) I waddled back downstairs to move the car whilst the midwife settled Blue Eyes into the luxurious delivery suite. Ten minutes later I was being seized at the elevator by my mother-in-law because No.3 was coming in early. In hindsight I suppose the impetuousness of his arrival was a sign of things to come but as the doctor handed me my third son I couldn’t help but feel a sense of deep pride. Three boys, what a man!

Bsgetti.

No.1 was four and a half with short blond hair, bright blue eyes and a vocabulary that would put most grunting teenagers to shame. God Sakes was nineteen months old and had moved on from singing bawdy retro rock ballads. Between the two of them though the high pitched squeaky chatter was enough to drown out any adult conversation and the only way to get them to be quiet was with big bowl of spaghetti. Both boys loved their pasta and iDad was continuously extracting noodles from nostrils and trying in vain to contain the slippery mess. One night as I was bathing God Sakes I found a dried out piece of yellow vermicelli stuck behind his right ear. I peeled it gently off his face I asked him what it was.

“Bsgetti dad.”

Hello Granny.

With two older brothers No.3’s development was a lot faster. He walked earlier than the others, recognised numbers, colours and shapes at a younger age; and, much to our chagrin, he learned to talk very quickly. During a shopping trip our plump little cherub was sitting in the trolley batting his big blue eyes at all the passers by. One kind lady with a Rubenesque physique stopped to pinch his cheeks and comment on his cuteness and No.3 replied in a voice that seemed to channel 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 God Sakes spilled soft-drink. 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.

He’s making it up as he goes along.

Pasta was one of the foods that No.1 could eat without aggravating his Anaphylaxis. Unfortunately we were still none the wiser as to what actually set him off and Prince of Wales Hospital was something of a second home for our little family. Usually Blue Eyes and I took it all in our stride but there was one instance that left me questioning my ability to be a father. The asthma had taken hold of No.1 pretty bad, which resulted in a week of no sleep for either parent. On the morning of the fourth day I was at home with God Sakes and Granny, getting them ready to go back to the hospital and relieve Blue Eyes who had done the night shift. The boys were missing their mother and brother, and neither one had slept well. When kids don’t sleep neither do the parents and iDad was rather worse for wear.

I changed Granny and left him on the bed as I went to do the same for God Sakes. Being the impatient type Granny refused to stay put and so he climbed off the bed and onto a bedside lamp that was on the floor. With no lampshade the 60w globe was exposed and pressed up against my little boy’s inside thigh. Granny never made a noise and it wasn’t until I turned around and saw where he was that I realised he was in trouble. I lifted him off the lamp and the bulb was stuck to his leg. It was a horrible burn. I quickly filled a wet washer with ice and held it to his leg as I raced back to the hospital. Granny sat in my lap with watery eyes but never cried. God Sakes rattled around the backseat of the car having a ball as iDad hit the corners at speed.

I bypassed triage and went straight to No.1’s room where the doctor was waiting.

“Please help my little boy.”

“He’s fine Mr. Green. You can take your son home this morning.”

“Not that one. This one.”

The doctor took Granny from me and raced off to another part of the hospital with Blue Eyes in hot pursuit. There was no holding hands in the dark this time round. iDad was left alone to ponder his inability to protect his children. It was an empty, hollow feeling of despair that I will never forget. Even now, twelve years later, when I see the cheloid scar on his leg I feel pangs of guilt.

Being a dad is hard.

Coming Soon: iDad Redux – Ready, Aim, Fire!

iDad © Matthew Green 2010

The Botany Gentlemen’s Club

It was the 3rd of November, 2001 and in the beer-soaked front bar of the old Endeavour Hotel five of Botany’s brightest entrepreneurs had gathered to watch the title fight between American loudmouth Zabdiel Judah and the softly spoken Aussie, Kostya Tszyu. The pre-match interviews featured a brazen Judah inflating his own self-importance and declaring that he was about to make history. Tszyu on the other hand simply complimented his opponent’s ability and assured his fans that he had trained well. Zab entered the ring with Mike Tyson in his entourage and an American flag wrapped around his neck.

The Endeavour’s patrons booed.

Judah’s reach was a good two inches longer than Tszyu’s, which tested the Australian’s maneuverability. Kostya ducked and weaved throughout the entire first round and although a few of Zab’s blows found their mark the first three minutes ended fairly even.

Round 2 however was an entirely different story.

It was as if the Aussie boxer had heard the advice of the Botany Entrepreneurs for as soon as the bell went he was up in Judah’s face. The  southpaw New Yorker could not get back far enough to throw a decent punch and with only moments to go in the second stanza Kostya tapped him gently with a left and then planted his right fist flush in the middle of the Brooklyn bragger’s nose.

The Endeavour Hotel erupted as Judah hit the canvas.

History was made that day. Firstly by the diminutive Australia pugilist becoming the first man in thirty years to unify the belts in the Junior Welterweight division, and secondly by the amalgamation of these ‘Captains of Industry’ into the Botany Gentlemen’s Club.

The flamboyant behaviour of the BGC (as they quickly became known) epitomised the Noughties. Frequent revenue raising activities at Randwick Race Course resulted in an equitable distribution of wealth amongst hotel staff, pro-shops, bookmakers and restaurants of the little industrial suburb. Topless waitresses flocked to the Captain Cook Hotel every Thursday so that these local legends could help them with their college tuition fees, whilst meat-raffle merchants knew they could count on the Entrepreneur’s donations.

No social activity was ignored. School trivia nights and Blues Brothers Revivals all benefited from the BGC’s largess, as did the local cricket club with BGC members cajoling the flirty nurses at the Royal hotel to support the boys and girls.

And when the time came to cast the deciding vote that gave Russell Crowe ownership of the mighty South Sydney Rabbitohs Football Club, this League of Extraordinary Gentlemen were on hand to deliver the Bunnies their salvation.

Original Cast.

Formed over packet of Parker’s Pretzels and a schooner of Victoria Bitter, the BGC are indeed twenty-first century versions of Robin Hood and his band of merry men.

But who are the founding fathers of the Botany Gentlemen’s Club? Preferring anonymity to the praise they rightly deserve, these pillars of society can be identified as follows:

El Presidenté: Betting legend and dictator for life the BGC’s beloved President is a prince amongst men. Organiser of Christmas Parties, drinker of beer and member of the Guy Sebastian Fan Club, El Presidenté has never missed a planning meeting or a call to arms. Nor will you see him drunkenly abusing his minions because they refuse to watch that God-awful movie, Blues Brother 2000. El Presidenté is the only man who knows the babes from Bombshells by name and always makes eye contact when he engages them in conversation.

The Treasurer: Paul Keating’s got nothing on this guy. From his chipped little china teapot hidden away at the back of the pantry, the Treasurer managed the barren bankroll during the early days of the BGC, ensuring their financial stability and success for the years to come. As a share holder in Carlton United Breweries the Treasurer became the first man in history to build his children an above-ground swimming pool made entirely out of empty VB beer cans. With his innate ability to sleep standing up, the Treasurer has never shirked his responsibilities donating both his home and his brazier to the BGC’s bonfire requirements.

The Skipper: The BGC’s resident boating enthusiast (who’s afraid to go fishing outside the heads) has a fondness for Tyrells’ Old Winery Cabinet Merlot and James Boags Premium Lager. Although this man lacks a Gilligan he does have his very own Mary-Anne who, upon his command, will fetch him a beer or a sandwich and make sure the BGC members get home ok. The Skipper never thinks twice about paying a little extra at the silent auctions on school trivia nights and will wait until everyone is over the ales and onto the bourbon before he has his shout.

The Burglar: With two solo golf titles to his name and a handicap that would shame Tiger Woods, the Burglar is the youngest of the founding members. His skill at selling meat trays to vegetarians came in handy during those early years of fund raising and his penchant for winning seafood platters fed the BGC at times when their money was all but exhausted. A raconteur of literary repute, the Burglar partnered with the Treasurer to take out the 2010 BGC Pool Championship and, together with the Skipper and the Probie, he recently claimed the Inaugural Ambrose BGC Golf Trophy.

Blisters: So named because he would turn up after the work was done, Blisters went to the pub during one of the BGC’s early camping trips and was never seen again.

New Recruits.

With the groundwork done the founding fathers (sans one) refused to rest on their laurels and expansion quickly came to mind. The BGC’s notoriety had spread to soccer clubs, netball squads and touch football teams so a recruitment program was quickly put into place. Identification of possible candidates though was no mean feat. Selection criteria included the ability to drink beer from both aluminium cans and plastic bottles (if the need arose), an unfailing support of the South Sydney Rabbitohs and a like-minded, yet somewhat evil, sense of humour. Wannabes were culled thick and fast but the following outstanding applicants were successful.

The Signmaker: A humble, giant of a man with a passion for surfing and bonfires, the Signmaker brought brazier destruction and Bundaberg Rum to the BGC. With calloused hands harder than steel the new member could feed razor sharp palm fronds into the fire faster than the Flash. A misspent youth and wicked stories to match made the Signmaker a welcome addition to the BGC team.

Mr Email: Mr. Email is the only member who can simultaneously shut down the servers of several major international corporations with a simple electronic communication. His fondness for g-strings and the height impaired is legendary, as is his winning try for the BGC touch footy team. Unfortunately he talks a better pool game than he plays and his penchant for effeminate cocktails and wanting to ‘spoon the Probie’ frequently causes the Founding Fathers to look sideways at him.

The Probie: The newest addition to the BGC likes to brew his own beer and listen to doof doof music. He also has a man crush on ex Rugby League player Brett Kimmorley and only supports the Rabbitohs as his second side. In spite of his rugged good looks and rakish charm the question still remains how he got past the review committee.

With new talent on board the BGC quickly began to spread their wealth up and down the NSW coast. Una Voce, Gwandalan and Culburra were identified as towns in need of patronage and the BGC obliged. Cash was flashed at jukeboxes, bars, coffee shops and RSL clubs by loyal BGCers as their goodwill rampaged north and south. Discarded building materials and unwanted fence posts were properly disposed of in thirty foot infernos that provided warmth to all the local inhabitants whilst beer kegs were emptied and refreshed in all the regional bowling clubs.

So what’s next for this philanthropic band of brothers?

Following on from a successful stint as backing vocalists for Richard Clapton and The Neil Diamond Show there was a very real possibility that this charismatic cadre would go head-to-head with the rock star wannabes on Australian Idol. However, the BGC have always made it their mission to provide support for those that need it most and with the current condition of the Wallabies Rugby Union side and the NSW State of Origin team you can bet that interstate and indeed international expansion is certainly on the cards.

We call rest assured though that whatever happens it will be for the benefit of the lucky community that the BGC next sets their sights upon.

God bless you boys!

iDad

Having a child is not a right. Nor is it an obligation. Its a blessing. An often hungry, frequently snotty, very smelly and incredibly expensive blessing, but a gift from God nonetheless. This has been my philosophy for the last eighteen years as I have struggled to raise our five little angels and its probably the only thing that has kept them alive at times.

I remember my introduction to parenthood as if it were yesterday. My wife and I were only children ourselves at the time, scratching out a living from our love nest in Leichhardt. She looked at me one evening, her beautiful blue eyes brimming with love and desire, and sensuously suggested that we should have a baby. I stared back into those shimmering azure pools and offered to buy her a dog.

Tip 1: Do not attempt humour at the height of romantic congress. There are too many exposed body parts within striking distance.

Eventually the change in blood flow direction awoke the ‘little brain’ and  No.1 son was on the way.

Our Pregnancy

My wife looked absolutely beautiful each and every time she was pregnant. Although the rosy glow in her cheeks can be attributed to the burst capillaries from months of early morning regurgitation; and the dark, brooding eyes had more to do with lack of sleep than expertly applied mascara, she honestly looked fantastic.

I always like to refer to those glorious trimesters as ‘our pregnancy’. Yes this has resulted in some eyebrow raising, choice language and the odd lashing out by many female friends and family members, but Blue Eyes and I have a very special bond that helped me to partake in the joy of carrying a child. As a man it was physically impossible for me to bear the burden or gestation and labour, only Arnold Schwarzenegger has had that privilege (what were you thinking Emma Thompson?). In spite of our physical differences though I was determined to be a part of this wonderful experience. As our child grew and her stomach expanded I gorged myself on beer and fast food in order to achieve the same result. This had the double effect of allowing me to participate in the rituals of morning sickness, although mine was met with less respect, and helped me to share in the constipation and flatulence.

Tip 2: Stick to your guns boys. This is ‘your’ pregnancy just as much as it was ‘your’ wedding 😉

One thing I couldn’t replicate though was the ‘nesting’ phase. By the time the third trimester was well underway Blue Eyes was busy painting rooms, laying shag pile, building cribs and shopping for baby clothes. Target and Ikea became our second home and her energy levels were boundless. The only problem was that iDad was so full of fried chicken by this stage that the best I could do was offer a lot of advice. Unfortunately with my choice in colour, clothing and carpet not being ‘right for the baby’, iDad was eventually shuffled off to watch the cricket and as Alan Border smashed another ‘six’ over mid-wicket I couldn’t help but feel a little left out.

Then I heard the most frightening phrase in the English language,

‘Honey, my waters broke.’

Birth

Watching your wife give birth is both exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. Early in the process Blue Eyes lay on her side moaning through the pethidine haze whilst iDad was busy running around the bed in a vain attempt to comfort her.

“Where are you honey?” [plaintive question]

“I’m behind you, rubbing your back.”

“But I can’t see you.” [muffled growl]

Lap number 32.

“Would you like some ice sweetheart?” [stupid question]

“Mum can give me ice. I need you to rub my back.” [louder growl]

Lap number 33

I vowed to bring a mirror next time.

With contractions less than a minute apart and painted fingernails permanently embedded in my forearm I told her to breathe – big mistake. Fortunately the baby’s head crowned before the blow landed and ten minutes later our nine-pounder let everyone in Darlinghurst know he had arrived. iDad was both in shock and awe at what I had just witnessed.

As any man who has ever been there will attest watching the love of your life go through such agony, which you are powerless to prevent, is soul wracking. For all our years of evolution men are still very primitive mammals. We hunt, we gather, we propagate our species and we protect our clan; and when these four functions are out of our control we are lost.

iDad was no exception. My eyes were like saucers when Ridley Scott’s Alien burst forth from the chest of John Hurt and screamed at the stunned shipmates. But as I waited for the little monster to run off into the bowels of the Nostromo and slowly begin its rampage against the survivors, a strange thing happened. Our protesting progeny was wrapped up and presented to his mother as a macabre, mucus covered pass-the-parcel and all at once the noises stopped. There was no moaning, no screaming, no ‘get out of the way you stupid man’, even the machine that goes ‘ping’ ceased ponging and all that was left was the cooing of a proud new mum to her little bundle of joy.

Two new grandmothers stood alongside iDad as we all shed a tear together. Then Blue Eyes uttered the second most frightening phrase in the English language,

“I could do that again.”

Damn oxytocin.

Wetting the Baby’s Head.

Within a few short days of becoming a father I submitted my illustrious entry to the ‘Husband of the Year’ competition. A couple of beers with the boys turned into a soppy, yet immensely inebriated 2am telephone call to the delivery ward at St Margaret’s Hospital. The sisters were not happy to hear from me and my wife…. well I’m sure you can imagine her response.

Tip 3: A drunken ‘I love you’ should never be used in any circumstance whatsoever.

The next day I showed up at the hospital incredibly hungover. We missed her grandmother’s funeral and the new mum got to drive hubby and bub home. iDad was off to a flying start.

You’re on Your Own

In one of my more lucid moments during our pregnancy I had agreed to move in with my in-laws to get some assistance with the rearing of No. 1 son. Prenatal classes only pass on so much knowledge and with iDad expecting ‘Parent Craft’ to teach you how to build bedroom furniture, as opposed to folding techniques for cloth nappies, well we needed a heck of a lot of help.

My wife’s grandmother was an amazing woman. She emigrated from Lebanon at the age of fifteen, walked with her husband and growing family from Sydney to Charleville, and proceeded to raise eleven children in the dry Queensland outback. Its an incredible tale of courage, love and sacrifice that deserves its own story. Suffice to say that her funeral in Toowoomba was attended by hundreds of family and friends including our entire support base.

Blue Eyes and I stood all alone in the renovated garage cuddling our hungry bundle with an astonished look of bewilderment on our faces.

“What do we do now?” I said.

“Why are you asking me?” Was the reply.

“Because you’re a mother aren’t you?”

Tip 4: Women do not suffer fools at the best of times. Exhausted women with sore breasts and a pile of dirty nappies to clean are prone to violence.

My wife blinked rapidly as the stupidity of my statement hit home. I close mine and waited for the punch. To her credit she simply pushed past me muttering to herself.

“Great! Now I have two children.”

As the little lump began squawking for his dinner I stood all alone in the nursery. The crib, the mobile hanging from the ceiling and the change table in the corner all took turns in mocking me until finally a very deep voice inside my head said,

“You’re a dad now. Get used to it.”

It was a phrase that would become my own personal slogan over the years.

I headed upstairs to prepare a cup of tea for Blue Eyes as No.1 began his four hourly gorging process. A quick kiss on the forehead with a sheepish ‘I love you’ was reciprocated with a look that told me I had been forgiven.

We fed, burped, bathed and put our little one to bed before collapsing onto the couch. A lasagna had been left in the fridge for us and as we munched happily on the reheated pasta, pausing occasionally to sip some red wine, I reflected on the fact that day one, which had started with a headache, had finished with a life changing revelation.

This truly was the first day of the rest of our lives.

Coming soon iDad 1.1 – No.1 Finds His Voice

iDad © Matthew Green 2010