For the first 6 months or so I was pretty much redundant when it came to feeding Littlest View From a Daddy. With Mrs VFAD nursing our newest addition, it meant that I needed to take on other key roles that are essential when a little human arrives in the house: changing nappies, getting the washing sorted, taking charge of the family meals etc.
When we were first given the diagnosis, I remember going through lots of outdated, clinical information we'd found online, but what I desperately wanted to know was how the day-to-day looked, raising a child with a learning disability.
Isn't it about time we dads learnt to talk about puberty? About unwanted erections, hormones and changes that happen to women? And to do it without embarrassment and code words, as if any of it were something to be ashamed of?
Inboxes are bursting at the seams with hundreds of 'urgent' emails about nativity plays, charity days, Christmas jumper days, carol concerts, kids' class parties, adults' class parties and teachers' presents.
It is logical that developing pathways of support for this young man and thousands like him could change the life chances for both father and child. In turn, that would bring cost benefits to service providers like local authorities, as well as creating a positive social value in breaking the negative cycles we have seen for so many years.
Of course, every girl probably thinks they've got the coolest dad in the world, and they probably do. But, let's face it: Jaipaul Singh is definitely one of a kind. He's rocked out at a Guns N Roses concert, he's got a DSc (one of the highest degrees you can get) and he even taught me all about menstruation (thanks, dad).
The craft beer industry has grown, at an incredibly fast rate, over the last few years. Not only has it spawned a generation of bearded blokes with be...
Of course it isn't always easy to find the motivation, and sometimes I feel guilty dragging Sonny away from the warmth of the house and the comfort of his bouncy chair, but this little dude absolutely loves being outside and I can't deny him that pleasure just because it's got a bit chillier and I'm feeling lazy.
The gratitude that the writing and reading of my letter evoked in me 10 years ago remains. When I recall that day, as I often do, I bathe again in the memory of being a 'wonderful son' to a wonderful father.
My son on the other hand is new territory. Not completely uncharted, but definitely new. At the moment, he is a typical toddler by all intents and purposes. He does toddler things. He runs around, he throws his plastic cutlery on the floor, he seems to have permanently sticky hands, he laughs a lot, he cries a lot, and he finds un-silly things very silly.
I don't know why you have been on my mind so much lately, it's twelve and a half years since you died. Perhaps it is watching your small, wobbly granddaughter achieving her small significant steps, and hurting that you never met her or knew of her struggles. Perhaps seeing her adoration of her own doting Daddy.
I felt like a crap dad because Martha was missing out on playtime with me, drawing, building daft things out of bricks etc. I tried to fit it in around his naps but even then my attention turned to Mair, going up and checking in on her.
Unfortunately, the marketing world has yet to catch up with the reality of modern parenting. In advertising, dad is still the hapless sap who simply can't get anything right. He burns any foodstuff that dares venture close to the oven, stares blankly at the mere mention of putting the washing on
The other day, after a long day of parenting, I set up my video camera and recorded myself as I emptied out my pockets and revealed to the world what junk was in them. I found a piece of broken tambourine, loose change and a hair band.
Just because we are utterly devoted mothers and fathers does not mean that we cannot still have our own lives, fulfil our own ambitions, enjoy our own interests - be us. Just because we have a host of pressing demands upon us, be it work or chores or family responsibilities, that doesn't mean that these should be the whole focus of our lives.
I believe that businesses need to do more to re-engage older generations in the world of work today. As employers we have a responsibility - as well as a clear commercial opportunity - to encourage older people to look again at new careers and make it easier for them to switch roles.