Didsburydad's Blog

From the not so mean streets of M20, blog about being a dad, Didsbury and dealing with parental confusion

Archive for the month “November, 2012”

Parenthood – The Joy and Pain

This much I have learned as I sail past 39 and a couple of years. Parenthood is about joy and pain. Having new twins is a joy, an unblemished joy. From the gurgles and snuggles that greet a cuddle at 3am, to the  smile that at eight weeks is still wind,  to the redecoration of every piece of clothing with semi-digested milk.
To know that  I have sailed past 39 and its neighbours and knowing I hopefully have  another near two decades of this is a genuine joy. That said, it makes me glad I wasted my 20s and most of my 30s on a hedonistic epicurean career that means I can enjoy sharing my next two decades with the Didsbury Son and the dynamic duo. Their first signs of personality look interesting – it’s going to be noisy.
That’s the joy, what of the pain? The pain of parenthood is not about the worry the day the roundest head in babydom went yellow and spent 24 hours in a blindfold under a lamp. It is not about the moment Didsbury Son gave me instructions that if I saw him at the bus stop I was in no way to kiss, hug, hair ruffle or call him pet names; from now on its dad not daddy. Its not even the nights spent agonising over minutiae.  Tough, but not the pain of parenthood.
Didsbury Son looks to the future - expect to see this picture used for Christmas blogs

Didsbury Son looks to the future – expect to see this picture used for Christmas blogs

At over 40 the joy of being a new parent is magnified and the pain is all physical. Everything hurts. My shoulders are locked from carrying both twins together, my elbows feel as though they’ve been kicked repeatedly, my ears are ringing, the bags under my eyes have compartments and my stomach is shot from 8 weeks of cold tea, congealed food and no gym visits. Childbirth, it’s just the start. The pain of parenthood needs Ranitidine, Ibuprofen, a decent masseur and has to solve the riddle of the sphinx.
Why – when winding a baby do you always burp first?

Didsbury Upgrades for The Metro

Back to the future with a chair

The Metro is coming (sing or shout this for full effect). Didsbury, gird your loins. The big metal horse is on its way from the exotic west (Pomona) and the icy north (Bury).
Pretty soon anyone wanting a haircut or a cupcake can be in Didsbury (or West Didsbury) without even having to block a driveway with their car or ignore the “residents only parking” signs as they dump their kids they got into school by pretending they lived nearby or attended the school’s church – heady days.

It’s little wonder that there are clusters of upgrades around the stations at Burton Road, Lapwing Lane and School Lane. There are rumours of a John Lewis stall in the Save the Children Fund shop on School Lane (just started by me) and talk of an Airy Fairy Cup Cake expansion. I’m a convert – wooed at a dinner party to get over my natural aversion to any shop named in irony ( I can’t set foot in the Edward Scissorhands barbers), I am now an Airyfairyan and am considering going out door to door spreading the gospel of cupcakes and warning against the evils of muffins. Muffins who like GIs, Halloween and the Grey Squirrel came over here from America with their flash ways and tried to take over from our Tommy’s, Bonfire Night and old Red. We shall not cower. We shall bake our cakes thoroughly and decorate with Britishness whilst favouring treacle toffee and fireworks over plastic sweet buckets and pumpkins. We know deep in our hearts that one day those Red Squirrels at Formby Point near Southport will fight them on the beaches for the chance to get the Metrolink from Parrs Wood to Piccadilly, with the option of a hazelnut cupcake and free wi-fi on the way.

Lapwing Lane specifically has taken on the upgrade idea in all its glory. Across the arcade they are primping and getting ready to beckon the Metrolink commuters who accidentally get off at the wrong stop for Burton Road, The Village or Parrs Wood.

Pizza Express started it. Their al fresco dining is essentially extra seating for the bus stop with a panoramic view of Blockbusters’ bins. The chair theme was then added to by making every new shop on the parade be called “Didsbury —–“. This seems similar to people getting prominent tattoos of their children’s names on their arms just in case they forget. So the Didsbury (sic) tearoom opens with fixtures and fittings straight outta a Cheshire village and the domino rolls. I can now enjoy Didsbury’s most welcoming coffee on a metal chair in Pete’s Fusion Deli or… Eat in at the chippy next door, now called something like the Didsbury Noodle Emporium. Genius. I can now sit at a table whilst waiting for the Metro and read a 2009 Hello Magazine eating out of polystyrene … at a table. Inmans should open a crèche, Sterling Pharmacy insert lumbar support chairs and I want outside massage tables at the health spa. It may be over top but Didsbury, it’s necessary.

Once the Metro opens next year it will be full by Didsbury Village and you’ll have no chance of a seat from Lapwing Lane.

The Santa Claus Conundrum

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.

This is not the tooth fairy

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.

Ewan The Sheep’s soporific tuning poses a genuine threat to Father Christmas and reindeer as they come through Britain having done Australasia and filled up on Koala Bear pies. Parents have been asked to ensure they are off on Christmas Eve

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

5am and the Moses Baskets are rocking

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

Ewan the Dream Sheep and Alien vs Predator

20121106-072940.jpg

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

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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”

The Karma Sutra, The Dairy, Douglas Bader and Me

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.

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