Bedtime with my children is a lengthy process. A million teddies in just the right place. Ice to sook and blankets just so. Another million songs and a story. Sometimes an old family funny, sometimes made up by Mama.The Bedtime Story “Guys, have you ever heard of a Mada?” I ask my children. “A Mada” they echo. Synchronised eyebrows up in the air. Quavers paused mid crunch.“Nope”, they chorus.Well the Mada is a very rare and unique creature. Four eyes open wide, ready to drink in another story. Ten fingers wrap around the edge of their covers. Quavers floating to the floor.The Mada is big. With an even bigger head. So big that he can never ever wear a hat. The Mada does not speak much choosing instead to keep all his thoughts inside that large head. The Mada has a trumpet that lives in his bum! It toots often, and the Mada will ALWAYS verbally acknowledge this. Even if he is on his own, he will confide to thin air “Ive farted”.Laughter commences as I turn off the lights.The Mada is not a hibernating creature, but he does tend to stock up. Meals far apart and lots of. The Mada’s diet mainly consists of pork chops, chips, assorted veg, and brown sauce.Never leave your Mars bar alone with the Mada; he will eat it all in one gulp!“Mars bars are my FAVOURITE”, comes a confession from a bed. A Mada has no teeth. He wears special teeth that help him bite. To be honest, he gets a bit embarrassed about this. Expect when he is with his pack and all his cubs. Then he takes them out and makes funny faces to make them all laugh.The Mada likes his own habitat. He feels at peace within this environment. He has a strong bond with his mate and it is rare to see one without the other. The Mada is a creature who gives. He is largely behind the scenes, orchestrating and silently doing. He gives his time, his vehicle, and his practical help. This is how the Mada displays love and affection. The Mada has a great ability to adapt to suit the needs of his tribe. He can become nocturnal and work all night if his mate and cubs need this. He can also change form.“Wit! “ Shrieks my son. “Like a shapeshifter”.“Yip” I confirm. As the Mada ages, he transforms into a….“PAPA.”Shrieks of delight rise up in the darkness.“We know PAPA” they shout. My daughter reaches round into her “I am going to sleep now” pose. Her eyes start to close as she mutters, “I can’t believe Ive met a Mada.”“You are so lucky,” I whisper to her sleeping head.To have met a PAPA.Ma Da.Happy 60th Birthday Da, you truly are one of a kind xx

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