I became a dad to a terrific little boy on July 5th 1999, followed by a beautiful baby girl on March 15th 2002, and since then life has changed somewhat. Here are some golden nuggets of wisdom gleaned from experience thus far:-
Being a daddy to a baby boy
When spooning baby formula into the bottles, always shout out the number of spoons you have dished in. That way you will never forget mid-count, meaning that you have to dump the stuff and start again....
Never, ever leave an open tub of baby powder close to where the baby can kick it.
Always have a cloth on your shoulder when trying to burp the little lad, and try not to wear your best suit. Remember Murphy's Law - the Size of the Vomit is Directly Proportional to The Cost of the Clothing.
To avoid problems with the neighbours, always start sterilising your bottles as soon as the last bottle has been emptied.
Don't take risks. If you think he's done a poo, he probably has.
When giving him a bath, make sure there is a bucket to catch the water should the stopper accidently come away. 2cm of water on the floor is not exactly the best conditions to work in.
Being a daddy to a one year old boy
When he starts to walk, say your last goodbyes to your crockery.
Always check the contents of your bin each night for your mobile phone, your glasses, your jewellery and anything else not secured by six inch nails to the wall.
Stick two pieces of 6 month old gorgonzola cheese up your nose when you go to change his nappy. The smell of the cheese is much more acceptable.
Toddlers are attracted through some immutable physical law to stairways, knives, scissors and other articles seriously detrimental to their health.
If he takes the spoon when you are feeding him, get another one. Trying to prise the spoon away from him makes hostage negotiations look easy.
If you bring him to a public place make sure you wear a big placard which says 'Please accept our apologies for the increased noise level. This is due to circumstances totally beyond our control'.
Being a daddy to a two-year old boy
You get fiercely emotional every time someone mentions the word 'Barney'.
You revert to baby talk - For example, I am now calling the pieces of leather around my feet 'shoo-shoos'.
About 8.00 every evening - just after kissing him goodnight, your body serves notice of unofficial strike on you. (Normally cured by offering it a nice cup of tea, or a stiff whiskey if things are really bad).
You perfect the art of 'Infant Tennis', i.e. 'Enough! Go bother your father for a while' - 'Go show your mother the slug you have just brought in from the garden' - 'Where's your father? Can he not play with you?' -'Dearest wife? Can you look after him for a few minutes while I get the dinner ready?'
Song tunes you can't get out of your head at work include 'I love you, you love me, we're a happy family' or 'If you're happy and you know it clap your hands'.
When you visit friends who don't have kids, your mind works differently, e.g. 'Oh I wouldn't put the kettle there, just look at the jutting edges of that coffee table, that white carpet is just asking to be destroyed, etc. etc.'
Being a daddy to an older two year old boy
You wake up every morning, and your bed has been turned into a trampoline.
Even though he can't pronounce his own name properly, you mutter an obscenity within his earshot, and he will repeat it back perfectly to you, magnified by a few hundred decibels.
Getting him to sit down and eat his dinner makes hostage negotiation seem trivial.
If you have it, and he wants it, he will cling to you like a bad cold until he gets it.
You wear swimwear when giving him a bath, as inevitably more water will land on you than on him.
Law of the Tantrum : The size of a tantrum is exponentially proportional to the number of strangers watching.