The weather’s nice, very mild for this time of year. Whilst we hurtle as a nation past 500% of our income in debt the Christmas lights are on. The tills are open, the false bonhomie of Christmas parties is in the air and Didsbury Son is weighing up whether or not Santa will come if he confesses that he no longer believes that a man and reindeer will deliver his presents on 24 December.
It’s our fault. When the tooth fairy failed to deliver after an incisor he soon recanted his disbelief.
When, as a small boy he declared support for the wrong coloured football shirt it was easy. I panicked and flapped at this squeaking vision; imagining a lifetime of trips to the wrong place and shirts with the wrong sponsor. Didsbury Wife remained calm. Beaming with love she appeared with his bag packed. With light in her eyes and love in heart she told him it was okay. Okay, but he would have to go and live with Nana and the cat would probably never again talk to him. It worked. It worked so well that Didsbury Son has no interest in football. He is neither red nor blue and it’s probably a good thing. As I spend my weekends gurning and grimacing at 5Live, planting my potential joy on the slender shoulders of skilled mercenaries who have no concept of the Bovril : Pie necessity I feel a little envious of his indifference.
I digress as usual. Being Jewish makes it easier. Santa never brought us presents: but he did occasionally pop around to try Grandma’s soup. This year Didsbury Son, now in High School, is faced with a huge ethical dilemma; logic versus faith.
Faith could, should and will win. However, he is now (almost) sure that Santa doesn’t actually unhitch the reindeer on the roof, pop down the chimney with Prancer, eat a pie, sniff the wine and give the reindeer a carrot.
It is nothing to do with the logistics, the fact we don’t have a chimney or that his present has tags in Didsbury Wife’s handwriting.
This important vestige of Christian childhood is potentially going to be scuppered as Didsbury Son cannot see how St. Nick and his pet could find space between the bouncers, baby gyms, changing mats and feeding cushions that now fill our living room
It was 5am and I was outnumbered. Kim Jong-Il and Catherine the Great were lying there flexing their vocal cords and warming up their lungs at me. I could feel a “laughter line” beginning to burrow in from my temples and a black hair was turning grey as I rocked, cooed and shushed.
This shouldn’t be happening. This is wrong. It’s too early. They’re an hour ahead of schedule. They should be milk drunk dreamy… And then it hit me. As the noise built, the tension climbed and any chance of a wee went out of the window, they couldn’t tell the time.
I realised that for the foreseeable future my early weekend mornings bore semblance to the nightshift in the Big Brother House. I sit watching incontinent celebrities sleep. My Didsbury Juniors are unaware of the needs of those around them, they are up early but cry for attention, drink lots and can’t eat solids – at 5 weeks old they already know what it is to be in Hollyoaks.
There is something bizarrely magical about this. I follow a day sharing creative joy with the next generation of wannabee media storytellers to perch next to two Moses baskets full of beautiful despots. Whilst half of my mind craves rest, the other half absorbs and enjoys every gurgle, shnurgle, grunt and trump.
Didsbury Son is fast asleep next door. He has not yet lost that deep sleep childhood capability to
sleep through earthquakes. Didsbury Wife is out cold after a 22 hour nurture and I am here.
There is a beautiful horizontal sliver of moon smiling from a clear November sky. I can hear the odd late night taxi bringing home another former life and I sit here – rocking, mushy headed, dry mouthed and out of focus surrounded by senseless babbling. I haven’t spent £100, had to queue for a £10 drink and … Could really do a big night out
Government cutbacks mean each Ewan the Dream Sheep has to straddle two Moses Baskets to qualify for Child Benefit.
Things I have learned as I tiptoe quietly trying not to cough past four weeks with twins
1. Good ideas are all about time and place. My suggestion of a support network for fathers that meets on midweek match nights in a pub with a screen was clearly thought-through and well received. My idea to advertise it as a call to the The Muslin Brotherhood was not.
2. It’s only a month in. I have the dad equivalent of tennis elbow, Papoose vertebrae.
3. Didsbury Son and I have to fight an overwhelming desire to put them in deeley boppers and rearrange them when they sleep so we can re-enact Alien vs Predator, or at least the 70s Smash adverts.
4. Iggle Piggle is the boss. Macca Pacca may have the ears and the moves but if you’re In The Nightgarden it’s Iggle or nish. I am already thinking up my anti- Thomas the Tank Engine rhetoric. Polluting, manipulative and unwatchable – viva Peppa.
5. Pleasures come in small bundles; sleeping babies, wind on demand and Didsbury Son, now Gulliver amongst the Lilliputians, not arguing over homework.
6. 3am has morphed from 3am Eternal to the 3am feed, wind, change. If that goes well I get up and then think about the babies.
7. I cannot remember what a hot drink tastes like.
8. I am just as besotted and dull as all the other Didsbury Dads I used to curl my lip at whilst I read the paper in Nero at a leisurely pace with Didsbury Son lost in DS world next to me after a morning mooch.
9. I have not lost all my faculties yet. Didsbury Son’s new sibling consolation Pokemon Wii challenge was won by me without my glasses or any idea which button II was tapping and why. This followed my Guitar Hero debacle. My loathing for the futility of Guitar Hero is only matched by my dislike for Mr Bean, but that’s another story.
10. I sometimes lose my thread.
11. They each weigh less than a Christmas turkey, can’t speak, cry randomly and break wind at will – but the twins are already running the show and ruling the roost. The house is messy, noisy, chaotic and I can’t hear the radio – and it’s bliss.
PS: Ewan the Dream Sheep is addictive. It has the same effect on babies as being in a dull lecture on a warm day after a big lunch has on me. This joy is only dampened by having “The Holly and The Ivy” going in a loop around my head at 33 instead of 45.
Next week: How to make yourself invisible when people discuss nappies
Ewan is currently in therapy after turning up to work dressed as Holly Willoughby and Ivy Brennan from Corrie.
NB: Ewan the Dream Sheep was consulted fully before this blog went to press and signed consent forms for all pictures used, He has released the following statement. “WE have now had three Toy Story films yet faux fur toys are still subjected to working conditions that wre outlawed in 19th Century Britain. I hoe that brave blogs such as Didsbury Dad can fully expose the treatment with which we contend each day.” He added, ” The Holly and the Ivy, when they are both full grown… Baaa”
Instant information, smartphone apps and a lot of time spent holding crying / sleeping / feeding babies can take you into many realms.
As the clock ticked into a new day and Miss Didsbury 2030 snuffled into my armpit like a mole into the ground I decided to side swerve my football update apps to have a look at blog stats with my free hand.
It was fascinating. Didsbury Son and I are being viewed (probably accidentally) in 35 countries. Last week four Indonesians, six Latvians and a gaggle of geographically challenged Antipodeans tuned in to see if anyone had been to Gourmet Burger King whilst on their way to a haircut or if I had been mooching and mewling with Didsbury Son or the twins; why?
This took me to my favourite stat – search engine terms. Much as I like a global reach, I am not sure that across Internet Cafes in Jakarta the talk is all Didsbury Dad.
On Halloween I was clicked by people looking for Douglas Bader’s mum and dad, Healds Dairy, ITV at Wythenshawe Hospital, Jo Costa M20 and the ever popular “Didsbury Tossers”.
This eclectic bunch were dwarfed by one search that had summoned up me and Didsbury Son on All Hallows’ Eve, the final day of October. Ten separate searches for Karma Sutra Didsbury, our local health emporium. A fitting way to finish for those looking to find a happy ending.