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 “Eid”

A Christmas Navel Gaze

As the elves begin their final checks, the reindeer carb up for the journey and Jose Mourinho ponders the failure of his own messianic second coming I have been thinking about Didsbury Dad Towers as we prep for the latest sugar rush and present heist.

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Dinner for four or magnificent carriage – you decide

The Mighty Headed Boy is already beside himself with excitement; he’s only beside himself as the weight of expectation he carries needs two little boys. The birthday was great. Halloween’s premise of wearing a costume for sweets from strangers magnificent but this? Christmas, off the back of Chanucah and its chocolate coins is almost too good to be true.
Every night the Advent chocolate fairy leaves him a pre-breakfast treat. One night he tried a chocolate under his pillow to see if the tooth fairy would leave him a tooth. Then, some fat bloke and his deer pop in with presents. He is a convert and a zealot and already has his eyes on the Christingle orange that the St. James & Emmanuel elves are currently making.

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No particular reason – just love this photo

Whilst he promenades his joy and sings carols with gusto, the Pearly Princess is more measured – not quite sure why this is happening but savvy enough to know that lights in the house, late nights out with kisses and presents is a good gig not to be messed with.

We are the inbetweeners. The twins are not sure what’s going on but have essentially worked out that Eid and Chanucah are the warm up act in their lives for Santa Claus telling Father Christmas that his baby reindeer needs a stable to watch Cinderella on UK Gold; simple.

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Sadly for The Archers, The Grundy’s turkeys had not thought through their escape plan properly.

Didsbury Son is inbetween childhood excitement and grown up enjoyment. Anxious about the presents being right, practising indifference but keen to be key to the party. Fourteen is the awkward age. My little blondini squeaking his excitement at the wonderland of Christmas Day is still in there, suppressed by Lynx and Hormones. The teenage fight for independence is also keen for a bigger part and the magic of the season is going to have to put in a good shift.

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The poultry and fowl against Christmas scout keeps an eye out for trouble

Next year will see raised consciousness all around so this is probably the last year for a decade we can get away with kiddie fob offs and a lie in until 5.45 when The Mighty Headed Boy, like Chris Eubank in his prime, announces his presence to the world; every day is like Christmas.

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The Lion King, Parkin and Steven Spielberg

How you celebrate festivals as a child is crucial as to how you deliver them to your own friends and family. My Didsbury mum, auntie and extended entourage celebrated everything. Bonfire night was all tomato soup outside with treacle toffee, Parkin and anxiety amid the awe that a Catherine Wheel would take my eye out. 70s safety adverts lacked nuance but were packed with graphics to scar the psyche permanently. Once I found out the reasons behind Bonfire Night I loved it more, immediately taking the side of the conspirators; a normal Northern reaction. Jewish New year meant apples and honey; Eid brought pistachio sweets from Syrian friends of the original Didsbury Dad. 

  This is apparently cutting edge Anime. I thought it was from Pink Floyd. 

This was too exotic for words. Remember this was the when the Queen was in her 40s. If you had pineapple people thought you had won the pools* (Note 1). 

We also loved Christmas. Our house was decoration free and no pigs had blankets. Non-participation at home gave me the best out to see everyone else’s. To me, a decorated Christmas tree was the epitome of cool and I am still a sucker for a string of lights and a chocolate bauble. I also get giddy on FA Cup 3rd Round Day (Bovril), Winter Solstice (Cake and Wine) and anything celebrated with fried chicken.  

 High-tech Halloween.

The next generation are already starting to shape their own future. My pearly princess is a happy soul and easy going spirit who skips lightly through whatever is infront of her. Didsbury Son likes the detail and the art of a festival and The Mighty Headed Boy found Nirvana on Saturday in Didsbury.

He has been through the excitement of Christmas and greeted it with an enthusiasm that could be lifelong. He has sampled the best Friday night Dinner chicken soup and given it a toddlers’ thumbs up but… Nothing will ever match the logic and sheer joy of Halloween.  

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Dressed up as a monster with hands free and mouth available he knocked on strangers’ doors, shouted Trick before mumbling incoherently and they gave him sweets and chocolates. 
The generosity of Didsbury was quite stunning. Across M20 the pumpkins were out and the kids from 0-teenage were welcomed with open bowls and quirky sweets. It was uplifting in all the best ways. 

In terms of training children to anticipate danger this would seem as appropriate as the 1970s BBC giving Jimmy Saville a show making children’s dreams come true; but he loved it. 

Mind blown, plastic bucket filled and several blocks shaken down for Haribo, he sat on the couch like Mufasa showing off Simba to the animal kingdom. 

Had he not been surfing the wave of a sugar rush I am sure he would have turned to me and told me, Jawsesque, “Daddy, We’re going to need a bigger bucket”
* Pre Lottery, pre scratch cards, pre Big Brother and Sky this was your best way to upgrade to a Vauxhall Firenza. 

Halloween, The Trafford Centre and a new perspective

It is half-term. Usually a stressful time as Didsbury Son’s array of Junior Schools would be parading Eid, Halloween, Simchat Torah and World Animal Day in a continuous thread that would delight and utterly confuse him and us. One year we were carving a pumpkin in the shape of a hamster to commemorate the five pillars of wisdom and the giving of the scriptures by Moses; who was a close friend of Iggle Piggle and had played in the Premier League.

This year could not be more different. Didsbury Son has happily sloped off to a friend’s family for a few days without nappies. His phone call (not even calls) was crushingly happy, brief and indifferent. No amount of self back-patting for having such a sociable and self-assured son makes up for the move from absolute need to the foothills of independence.

Birds come to pay homage to the new twins near Llanbedrog. If the gifts are good they are British birds, if not the press will consider them Welsh

So Didsbury Wife and I headed off to the Lleyn; M20 by the sea, to introduce The roundest eyes and head in Didsbury and his sister the new boss – our lovely twins to the sea, the caravan, Llanbedrog and Abersoch. It could not have been more different than previous trips. It was a one-handed, one-hour of sleep, nappy and feeding fest that was wonderful for all the small world, rigid timetabled, dictatorial restrictions three-week old babies can bring. I have never felt so needed or alive even though I barely had time to dress them up for my entertainment or loll aimlessly in the classic male pose, one hand was always around a baby.
I should have understood that my long anticipated new life was already here on a trip to the Trafford Centre with Didsbury Wife, Didsbury Son, Didsbury Twins and London nephew last week.
First, the organisation and logistics are phenomenal. I have booked tours and worked on studio shows more simple than getting 2 car seats filled, 2 older children seat-belted and assembling the required paraphernalia in a 60 minute timeframe. Secondly, You don’t need a nanny, you need crew.
After negotiating Didsbury Son’s erratic yet proud double buggy driving through the Trafford Centre (my 697th favourite place in Trafford), whilst fending off London Nephew’s enquiries about which twin I like best… I caved in and paid for them to go solo to the cinema to give them 2 hours of 3D and us 2 hours of question free parenting; bliss.
My normal visits to that place to ease Didsbury Wife’s shopping usually consist of placating Didsbury Son with 20 minutes at Game and Apple before fobbing him off with a Hot Chocolate so I can look at Sky Sports News on my phone.
This time, with sweat beading at my temples and babies beginning to shuffle and wake I went to Mamas & Papas ( it’s a real shop, honestly. I learn every day), John Lewis (same trip, different department), M&S ( starting to seem worryingly convenient beyond the food section) and Baby Gap ( disappointingly not staffed by babies).
Any of these stops would normally have me harrumphing like a teenager but I had a revelation . Pushing twins around in a pram got me the positive attention, queue jumping and ease of service I have only ever had in daydreams.
Although slightly damp and stiff of back – by the time we sneaked 20 minutes at Yo Sushi, where we received a welcome reserved only for people who unlike us, do not spin out 4 bowls of Miso Soup for a cheap lunch, I felt taller, prouder and ready to take advantage of this brief celebrity.
Changing a nappy at 3am over the weekend I realised that there are many things that have kept me up at that time: from the emotional to the chemical – but none of them had ever looked at me with something that was clearly wind, but worth waiting and remembering for a lifetime, and it doesn’t need paracetamol.

AN AUTUMN GONE TOO QUICKLY AND ALREADY NEW YEAR

When I started this blog in September I made the resolution that it would be weekly, possibly fortnightly and at most monthly. I would share the joy of being Didsbury dad, a man able to differentiate a real bagel from those cinnamon doughnut type things you buy in supermarkets, whilst being politically sound, ethically aware, a good father and watching more football.
So three months on from summer musings and some of things I have learned are…
1. Do not make resolutions about the autumn whilst the tan of the Mediterranean is still colouring your thoughts as well as your outward appearance.

2. The period between September 1st and half-term primarily consists of letters home about bugs “going around the school” which only I have caught. (I became class rep for Didsbury son after some romantic notions about being proactive about education on a weekend without the hassle of being a governor).

3. The step up in any school year induces the kind of lame platitudes you hated hearing a child and you now pass on.
Me: (pants on head, trousers half down, gooning around the kitchen saying “It’s a great day for a spelling test”.
Didsbury Son booking counselling session for 21st Birthday, “It’s my dad – he thought he was the warm-up act for breakfast. At age 5 it was funny, by Year 5 it made me nervous.”

4. One of the benefits of being a year 5 parent is watching the other parents who have constantly told you that private education is apartheid and generally a bad bad thing now surreptitiously stalking potential tutors, past papers and tips about “The High School” and “the Grammar School” from a never before so popular Didsbury Wife who teaches.

5. From Half-term onwards it is a question of minor fleecings building to a crescendo in a Christmas so wrought with guilt and expectation I’m only glad my non-Christian upbringing made me a late developer.

At Harvest Festival my son’s book bag bulged with feed the poor letters nestling next to exorbitant charges for out of frame school pictures and a school trip that could pay for a sedan chair for each child. The removing of the disposable income built carefully through Halloween (costume and sweets), Bonfire Night (when did a small box go up to £25), Eid, Chanucah, Book Week (trying to sell him illustrated books at £11.99 each), Solstice, Panto Trips etc. Ad nauseum. Didsbury wife and I glare covetously at each other’s wallets with a “your turn” unspoken across the Special K.

6. I really dislike Halloween. Firstly, it is American and not ours. I fear being dragged kicking into Thanksgiving that would mean 2 months of enormous turkeys beckoning me night after night. I have invented a meal between breakfast and elevenses – turkey treats for me and the cats. Secondly, it’s crap.
British trick or treating consists of two possibilities round our way – either little Freyas or Archies in Tesco costumes with doting parents standing behind them taking pictures mercilessly as you strain knee and attention span to feign interest and give those M&S sweets with fair-trade sugar. This is like some bizarre “mini-pops” with paparazzi as small children slightly scared of their own costumes are cheered on to talk to strangers by sugar-coated parents. The flip side is surly teenagers who realise it’s a middle-class area and look slightly threatening as they scoop the remnants to scoff noisily or give out as Christmas presents.
The main reason I hate Halloween is that it is killing Bonfire Night. Not dissimilar to the way the Premier League is killing the FA Cup. November 5th and the 1st Saturday of the year are sacrosanct. One is toffee, Heinz Tomato Soup, scared pets and fireworks. The other is the best Match of the Day of the year, features a postman and a student playing an international and has the chance of embarrassment. Both are fantastic. Halloween comes over here giving chewing gum, tights and chocolates to the kids and lures them away with flashy costumes and the ability to jitterbug.
Like aluminium, ass, jello and a bag of chips when they mean crisps it is great for America but does not suit the British. If you love ghost and goblins go to Alderley Edge, on bonfire night.

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