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 tag “Easter”

Snoring, sneezing and big big love

Didsbury Dad Mansions is Snot Central right now. The house resounds to the sound of coughing and of
noses being blown. Tissues are secreted around the house like little cat toys. My pearly-topped princess sniffs as though this terrible scourge will never end. Competitive sleep deprivation has a new friend and has taken a back seat. Yesterday, my catarrhal morning croak and sub Barry White vocal register won a lie-in til 8. Today Didsbury Wife returned early and forlorn from her morning run. A night on the Sinutab and an early morning Heffalump movie meant I had no answer, dressing duties were mine.This general spluttering which began in nursery, came home, went to work, to school, to home, to nursery, to family, to school and back is one of the Manchester-living selling points not often promoted. “Come to Manchester, once Cottonopolis – go home with an Upper Respiratory infection.”

When I got to the platform there was no one to moan with.

lurgy – visual representation 

It also ties in nicely with one of our greatest national celebrations, National Snoring Week (25-29 April – strapline “It’s just the way I’m lying”).

After the confusion of an early Easter and a late Passover, the liberal angst of St. George’s Day is closely followed by the pointlessness of National Snoring Week. Turns out this is not about promoting snoring as a postmodern family pursuit. There are no articles that begin, ” Embrace the sound of your loved ones having a good sleep after their nightcap. Good times, leave your cares behind, just come along and drift into restfulness and prove you could fall sleep in a Steelworks.”The British Snoring & Sleep Apnoea Association (not to be confused with the Association of British Snorers & Sleep Apnoea Appreciators) are having a field day. There is free postage all week (www.britishsnoring.co.uk) and a range of products that seem to have escaped from either a GCSE Chemistry lab or are a zip short of Ann Summers Gimpware. 

saving Private Kitty

I have a friend. Erm, Withington Dad, who apparently snores (obviously it doesn’t disturb him). We thought a more useful set of products could include Rib protectors for that jab telling you to get off your back, earplugs so you aren’t disturbed by being told to shut up or a long straw so if one wakes up with a dry mouth from a couple of hours catching flies and singing guttural chants you don’t have to try and find the water next to your bed. It’s a common conversation between couples everywhere. But as a great philosopher once said, “Show me a man who does not snore and I will show you a man doing no childcare…
Junior Doctors solidarity poster   

(or drinking coffee, alcohol, being overweight, eating too late, staying up watching TV, sleeping badly, finding out there are consequences to years of partying or generally being a man.)

Chic – Good Times: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=8g6bUe5MDRo

Lessons I have learned, although not that well

Things I have learned as I sail past 39 years, 12 months, another 12 months, another 12 months, another 12 months etc. 

1. The difference between Didsbury Son going on a Beavers’ expedition and an Explorers’ expedition is that I am 8 years older. The level of my organisation and Didsbury Son’s planning skills are unchanged. Be Prepared has never really worked for Aston Villa, and they’re adults. Being prepared for a new teen involves last minute panic and bottom lip curling every now and then. It is one of the growing number of moments when you realise you have become your parent, the one who moaned at you for being disorganised – it’s more than genetic, it’s human. 
2. Two year-olds lack of any gender, race, culture and ethnicity bias is a beautiful blueprint (or pink print, either works). The Mighty-Headed boy’s eclectic food, friend and music taste, coupled with his insistence on football shirts, Frozen dress and umbrella is the kind of statement that takes me back to the early 80s. 
A world of reactive tantrums forgotten in seconds would be a far better world in which to live.
3. The clock sprang forward this weekend like an early alarm. As I limped downstairs with an excited boddler on each leg babbling, looking forward to Dora the Explorer and looking out for Swiper I counted my blessings. I don’t know if it was the sciatica, the waft of a nighttime nappy or the rain hammering the windows but I felt quite special. 
4. Easter is one of the few festivals where people studied the Jewish model and realised that the popular catering commands the message. Although does the mountain of boxed chocolate by the entrance of every shop this year seem too over-facing to anyone else?
5. Being a dad does have its perks. I realise that Didsbury Son has reached the age where he knows he is better asking Didsbury Wife for advice and guidance – unless he has time for a pre-millennium reminiscence that veers from the point like a jelly compass.
Next week. Who to vote for this May, how to avoid election fatigue, the secret of eternal life and the story of a normal family with no piles of clothes anywhere in their house. Tune in for more fantasy.

Twenty First Century Pub Crawl, with children

Every place has its pub crawl and M20 is no exception. Back in the ’80s when hair and collars reached for the skies and there was no such as thing as too much make-up, it was a full night out that started with The Olde Cock and The Didsbury ( Now both gastros with differing successes)  and via Crown, Dog, Albert, Nelson, The Old Grey (now Zizzi’s) and The Railway – it would be chips at Sweaty Betty’s now a poster site but rumoured to be Didsbury Lounge 2) before the Three Lions. The Golden, The Red and The White. The White Lion had bands downstairs, could be a bit lairy and a cab home afterwards from Tripps cost £2.

 

Courtesy of pubcurmudgeon.blogspot.com  I used to stare at this after a long night drinking and think "One Day I could swipe a Nectar card here".

Courtesy of pubcurmudgeon.blogspot.com I used to stare at this after a long night drinking and think “One Day I could swipe a Nectar card here”.

It was pints (although not for me, always the shorts and being really honest – I was really more interested in the snacks than the drinking. The advent of Scampi Fries in 1986 opened up a whole new world), Malibu if you felt lucky, Silk Cut and the latent threat of violence – heady times. A really good night could stretch to Mulberry’s or Severe/ Murder in Fallowfield. You could make a complete show of yourself without a single text, picture, Vine, Facebook, Pinterest, What’s App or truth getting out – marvellous days with less comeback. 

You never knew who you would meet on a night out

You never knew who you would meet on a night out


Last week, to celebrate Easter and Didsbury Son being out for the day, Didsbury Wife and I decided to recreate it for the twins. The Golden Lion is now a car park, The White Lion a Sainsbury’s and The Olde Cock is now crap – but we were not daunted. 

However, the thought of pushing the pram and downing drinks between nappy changes no longer enthralls; Didsbury Wife and I created the 40 something, small children Didsbury crawl.

1. Late breakfast at Caffe Nero with Pain au Raisins to share.

2. Then in the car for an adventure which took us to Alderley Edge for a toddler sized walk and lunch at The Wizard. Lunch out with toddlers and no high chairs does mean you need to be able to down in one. – bit it’s the parfait not the Pernod and Black.

3. Back via John Lewis where the Mighty Headed Boy lay down and staged a protest in the toy department. We coaxed him back with afternoon tea in the cafe; where at 18 months old they are SO last year. The number of floppy necked baldie babes not only made me pine for the days when they were toothless and inert but they looked huge; it was brilliant. With the sugar rush from a JL Battenberg calming down we left, satiated.

We got home feeling as we had done 25 years ago – not sure how we had spent so much, a little ashamed of our indulgence, with a stomach ache. We also had stories to tell and lots of laughs and the only time anyone had tried to hit me they used Iggle Piggle and shouted “Mummyo”; result.

Gluttony, religion and Chocolate for breakfast

In my religion all festivals follow a similar pattern; they tried to kill us, we killed them -let’s eat. It’s an annual and generational repeatable saga. Take Passover, currently nearing its end. The Jews were slaves, God freed us by slaying first-born captors amid a plague epidemic and we left before the bread had risen.

You notice we didn’t leave the bread as we ran for our lives, we took it partially cooked. Today Jews eat Matzoh (crackers with a backdraft more powerful than your average house fire) as a tribute to our pragmatic forefathers. This notion of group identity and the importance of shared food has shaped the tribe.

Didsbury Wife and Son are Christian and Easter is a big deal. I like this. I like the fact that the breakfast, lunch and dinner (plus snacks) courtesy of Galaxy that will shape Didsbury Son’s day comes with a story and a bit of grounding; it helps. I also wish a Happy Easter to the other religions and atheists who just fancy a day on the Cadbury’s, it’s a good call.

Didsbury Son is just back from his first school trip abroad; happy yet gallically pre-teenage. I have discussed the Easter Bunny/Tooth Fairy/Santa dilemma before (my only parenting tip – you don’t believe, they don’t come). This year our foreign explorer needed something a little upgraded and 2013 – we needed something doable between nappy changes and feeding for the Mighty-headed boy and his pearl-tipped twin.
So this year the Easter Bunny sent clues by text message. this worked brilliantly. Having chocolate in one hand and an electronic device in the other fulfilled all Didsbury Son’s desires and a breakfast of Minstrels, Mini-Eggs and Milk was alliterative if nothing else.
As the twins shnurgled happily, Didsbury Son followed clues sent direct from Easter Bunny HQ that led him around the house. Via little treats stored craftily he came to an Easter Egg big enough for a dad tax without complaint.
All was perfect, or it would have been had I remembered to reset his phone so that the texts didn’t come through saying “Daddy” at the top. Definitely not a Heavenly Father but a Didsbury Dad.

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Love is the Message and the Message is Love – delivered via Dr Dre endorsed Beats

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God, Toggles and Chocolate

Our house reads from differing sides of the Old Testament. My Passover is Didsbury Wife’s Last Supper – same God, different caterers. Her Easter Egg trumps my Matzo but the Charoset (pronounced by continuously clearing ones throat whilst shouting et) is gaining favour. Then comes the dilemma. Didsbury Son is an easy-going and friendly only-child; so he receives an Augustus Gloop of chocolate eggs and has no sibling rivals to steal them; just me after he is asleep and I am pretending that chocolate stimulates the creative juices, not the salivary glands. The mixing of religions can be invigorating and waist expanding and not mind if you are not careful. I am many things, but not that careful.

Cub Camp Catering Tent

May 15th is a bittersweet day. Pride at Didsbury son winning The Pip Hartley challenge on a cubs weekend, tinged with sadness at missing the last day of the football season and my lot ending on a slump that had begun pre-Christmas. As proud parents we travel out of Didsbury and even Greater Manchester. It could be Derbyshire, Lancashire or North Wales, it is all interchangeable to me. Narrow roads, grey buildings and no Flat Whites. 5Live fades too quickly and my 3G goes as we enter the gulag they stayed at with only 10 minutes gone in a pointless match to all but… dads in their early 40s with a fear of being asked to go camping.

Cub camp resembles some 70s TV imagining of post apocalyptic Britain; with toggles and orange headbands. To Didsbury Son it is a land of adventure and glory with friends, campfires and late night songs and stories. To Didsbury Wife it has Didsbury Son and is therefore the best place on earth.  We coo diligently about his team’s great navigation; breathe through our mouths to avoid the overwhelming smell of damp people sharing a small space but our pride is mixed with dread. I realise that it is muddy fields with toggles rather than football grounds and balls that I will probably be traipsing around for the next few years and the thought of a wet night in a tent is making my knees creak in fear.

There must be a football ground near here

CHRISTMAS DAY – WAS IT REALLY ONLY A MONTH AGO?

There are easter eggs in Tesco and I am already struggling for a Valentine’s Day poem. THe FA Cup 4th Round is on Saturday and that is what I love about this blog, it keeps me current.

Christmas Day:
6.30am and Didsbury Son is bright and excited; gorgeous and gabbling. Didsbury wife tries to be earth motherly and friendly and her gargantuan effort spurs me into adulthood. I slip downstairs with Didsbury Son avoiding the room where Santa visits to make tea and check the turkey has slept well. I usually become emotionally attached to the turkey by Christmas morning. I see the prepping and bating as more Viking funeral pageant than cooking.

This is what I have learned about Christmas. All dads, Didsbury or otherwise take note:

1. Do as you are told
2. Do not answer back
3. Be patient
4. After the Age of 21 sprouts are only good in single figures
5. Keep making cups of tea until instructed otherwise.
6. You can never go wrong with The White Company- maybe I should work there instead of John Lewis

I did very well this year. My prizes beyond some fantastic grown up gifts are a football shirt in a size that fits. A new team-shirt always brings a tear to my sad rheumy eyes. As I squeeze it on and feel momentarily elated, I am once again living the dream. My other star gift is a football trivia book so banal and niche that they may as well have called it “For Didsbury Dad only”.

We now have four days in a cottage in the snow. The thought of lying on a couch with an air of sprouts hanging over me reading a “Where are they now” book of failed 70s reserve players who have probably forgotten themselves that they ever played once in 1978 fills me with the unfettered joy of a 9 year old opening the i-Pap he had written to Lapland to secure.

My gifts went down so well that only one is going back for a refit. Didsbury dad, wife and Didsbury son share a couch, a joy and have presents of interest only to themselves. The perfect Christmas.

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