Tommy Kapai: Expect a lot of baby talk

By Tommy Kapai

Firstly it was all about 'up the whop', hapu, preggers or plain old being knocked up and then it was all about, "Is it going to be a boy or a girl?"

Now that we know the gender of my daughter's yet-to-be-born baby we can give thanks for its gender, given our Te Puna girls have just won both of their netball titles and the boys came up short on Saturday.

Right now, in my life at work and at home, being pregnant is the norm and for me it comes with a lot of commitment for all of us connected to the chord of the mokopuna my daughter is about to bring into this world.

All the korero is pretty much baby talk.

Trimesters and six-monthly scans seem to matter most until the expectant mums turn the corner into the home straight of the final three months.

Then it's all about pushchairs and pampers, baby bumps and names that sound like they belong to Beyonce or one of Destiny's other children.

The only thing I can get excited about is trialling out the new Pilot Bay boardwalk with bubba in her flash new buggy.

Pregnancy and baby talk is all around me, closing in as the big day draws closer.

I can almost smell the fermented formula as the nappies full of number twos are unwrapped for a first view, then wrapped up again quickly like a mystery parcel of someone else's fish 'n' chips.

Then there is the 'pin the title on the tamariki' played out among both sets of whanau and family who want their whakapapa included in the ingoa (name) of the new baby.

My pick of Nelson for Will and Kate's baby gathered about as many votes as have the names for my new moko.

"Too hori dad or nah that sucks" are some of the responses, so sadly I must concede that my many choices have about as much chance of making the birth certificate as I do of delivering her into this world.

Where did the last 20 years go when my daughter was born to the beat of the Warriors drums at Mount Smart Stadium - and soon after I was standing in the principal's office at Eton College in England delivering The Day I Met a Princess as a memorial gift for William and Harry?

One thing is for sure; my mum had the birthing process totally worked out by the time she got to my younger brother who was one of 11 tamariki she brought into the world.

The story goes that kai was about to be served when her contractions began.

So off she went to the annex - on her own as was the sad case in those days.

Anyways, according to mum (and she should know), by the time she had brought my brother into this world and was ready for her kai - it was still warm.

Mind you, times have changed from the maternity days of my mum when she was dropped off at the doors of the annex, like many other mothers of the time.

How sad this sounds today thinking about them arriving at the Tauranga Maternity Annex alone, having to go through the painful process of birth on their own, while the dads did the hard yards waiting down the pub ready for the impending shout.

Thankfully times have changed and we all can play a part in the process of our daughters' and partners' pregnancy.

I wasn't joking about my daughter being born to the beat of the Warriors drums as I wasn't exactly there when my two daughters were born - but I was just down the hallway watching the Warriors in the TV lounge during both births.

To this day, I cannot remember their birth weight but I can remember the winning Warriors scores.

Still what dad would rather be there when your daughter is painfully passing something the size of a rugby ball between their posts, when you could be watching Stacey Jones score a winning try with one?

Ouch! And that's not from the pain of passing it but from the bosom buddies of expectant mums out there reading this - sorry girls!

If it is any comfort, netball is a cool game and if it could get rid of my big puku in nine months it would be a miracle like birth itself.

Tommy Kapai is a Tauranga author and writer.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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