Dad's World with Jonathan deBurca Butler

We were up and we were ready to take on the world. Unfortunately, the world had different ideas.

IT had started like so many mornings before. Luke’s little moans came up on the monitor as red flickers and gradually made their way out of my dreams and into my waking world.

It was early, 5.30am, which of late I’m delighted to say is a lot earlier than normal. 

I crept into the darkness of his room, found his dodi and turned him over on his back. With Luke, trying to get more sleep is always an option. 

More often than not, if you tell him quietly that it’s “still nighttime” and you climb gingerly into the bed beside his cot, he’ll often respond with a yawn and a sleepy sigh and go right back to sleep.

This morning it worked again and sure enough about an hour and a half later the two of us were woken by ructions elsewhere. 

Fionn was up. We could hear his bald feet trotting back and forth looking for us; looking for anyone who was up. 

Inevitably, the door swung open and his sleepy headed shape stood in the doorway.

As the morning peered its head into the bedroom, he tippy toed over to the bed. 

“Dad,” he whispered. “It’s morning time. Get up.”

Suddenly, Luke jumped up with a “boo!”, making both myself and Fionn jump somewhat theatrically. 

We were in good form, we were up and we were ready to take on the world. Unfortunately, the world had different ideas.

“Lead on McDuff,” I said to Fionn as we walked out of the room and onto the hazy sun-filled landing.

Luke’s dodi squelched rhythmically in my right ear and as I carried him down the stairs, I could feel his warm blanket rub against my face.

“Ssssshhhh,” he whispered as we made our way down.

And then it happened.

I slipped. In a split second, the whole day had changed.

Luke’s dodi was now at the bottom of the stairs along with his older brother who was clutching his foot and screaming. Somehow, and thank God, Luke was still in my arms.

Ciara, whose weekend lie-on had been rudely interrupted by this unintended caper, jumped out of bed and ran down the stairs.

I lay on my back, in the position I had landed in, as the first throbbing punches of pain flowed around the kidneys.

“Luke. Fionn,” Ciara said. “Are you OK? What happened?”

She went to pick Fionn up. It turned out I had kicked him when I slipped. 

She checked him over and he seemed fine but the poor fella was understandably frightened and confused. 

Luke complained of a sore ear but it was nothing that a few kisses couldn’t solve. Eventually, she turned to me.

“I heard you land,” she said. “Are you alright?”

The rest of the day was something of a write off for me. When the pain got really bad, Ciara suggested I go to hospital to get it checked out.

In the end, we decided to see what several pain killers, some anti-inflammatory cream and a trip to the playground with the kids would do (tough guy Daddy, eh?).

The boys were great. Throughout the day, Luke kept asking if my back was “ho-K” and repeatedly pulled up my jumper to have a look at it and give it a little kiss.

Fionn was, of course, more idiosyncratic, but no less empathetic, in his bedside manner, asking to be picked up or to play, so he could pretend that he forgot and then say, “Oh, your back, I forgot. It will be better tomorrow or maybe after 12 sleeps”.

The latter seems more likely.

Five days on and I’m beginning to move a little more freely. 

The bruising has changed colour now; I look more like a banana than an apple. 

Yesterday, I was able to pick Luke up. It will be a while before I’m able to do the same for Fionn.

It hurts but it could have been a whole lot worse. Thankfully, it wasn’t.

Silly Daddy.


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