Let me introduce myself. I'm a 36-year-old stay-at-home dad based in Wellington. I was born in Masterton and grew up in Christchurch.
My parents named me Matthew John but in recent weeks my nearly three-year-old girl Kahutaiki has dubbed me Grey Squirrel.
My wife has been nicknamed Pork Steak and Miss K's little sister (due in May) is going by the name Carrot Stick until her mother and I can come up with a suitable replacement. My girl is a talker, so by extension everything gets a name.
If, when I was in my 20s, I'd been pulled aside by the Fairy Godmother (yes, she does exist) and told I would one day actually volunteer for this at-home-dad gig I would have said; "I know you believe in fairy tales but that's crazy! I'm the last person who would be suitable for something like that".
I used to be terrified of having anything to do with kids. I felt they could see deep into my soul and would figure out I was the crap with kids guy. I always wanted kids one day but when my wife was pregnant with Miss K, I was still nervous about how I would relate to our new arrival.
Now relating to kids is the least of my worries. Right now I'm trying to figure out why Miss K has to have the "Big light on Daddy!!!" when she goes to sleep, how I'm going to achieve an acceptable standard of Buzzy Bee cake for her third birthday party this weekend, and whether jam sandwiches is really an appropriate breakfast food.
I actually love talking to Miss K and her strange and wonderful little bunch of friends and associates. And they seem to like me. On Friday after Tumbling Tots (the little person gym class we go to every Friday) one of Miss K's little friends had a meltdown over an ice cream, or rather not getting an ice cream, and got hauled outside by her Mum for a chat. I looked after the little brother while it got sorted out. Apparently the screaming tot got hauled back to her car seat yelling: "Save me Matt!"
I must be making some kind of impression out there in kid land - even if they think wrongly that I'm some kind of super hero type who will save them from the discipline of their own parents.
So, it's been quite a ride so far. Miss K seems to be growing up beautifully, and I haven't gone completely mad just yet.
And in late May another girl is due to arrive and life will change again.
- © Fairfax NZ News