Being a dad is not always a natural and easy job. Raising children for us is a series of incidents. Some of these are life-affirming wonderful moments such as that first skin-to-skin, the first time they make their own breakfast and the first time you realise they are all asleep and you can have a cup of tea and stroke the cat in peace.
Some stretch you more than you can imagine. That school concert that clashes with an advert you’ve only seen once or the quick thinking strategy required when a nappy has burst like a dam in a storm and the wipes are just out of reach. As babies grow to children women have three basic advantages over men. First, with regard to child rearing they are innately better at pretty much every aspect. Kids may love their dads but they need their mums and from everything beginning with why a gripe at 3am needs a bottle to why the vagueness of a year 7 memory should be ignored on an exam day I, and most dads know their place.
Secondly, in a greater percentage of women is that maternal gene for reproduction that men are often unable to comprehend. Once we join the club it makes sense but it seems a bit like talking about a PHD when you are doing your GCSEs.
The third axis of maternal is the ability to forget. Once Didsbury Son (lovely, easy-going, barely a tantrum) cranked through the gears of childhood I spent many hours watching, remembering and cringing as my own see-through childhood bleating and blagging was laid out before me. I finally appreciated just how patient my own Didsbury mum and dad really were. Didsbury Son is hampered by my memory of being his own age and knowing there would always be more mileage in going to my mum. The cycle plays on.
If the women ever learn to teach and enjoy pull my finger / burp on demand or see the unending comedy in wearing pants on your head we may as well head for our own Jurassic Park.
Having twin babies is a little like being in a soap storyline. You miss a week of Corrie or Eastenders and when you switch back on the story has moved along so quickly you spend the episode thinking how? When? What? Really? I am back from 5 days away in a port city with no decent coffee shops but an accent that made me feel I was an extra in The Archers, my lovely. The change is ferocious. My mighty headed baby boy has two teeth coming through and enough hair to have bed head syndrome when he wakes up. On Skype they sat upright on the bed eagerly chewing toys, but this morning their independence in sitting, rise in appetite and the pearl-headed girl’s insistence that the morning baby porridge be low-carb were a frightening vision forward.
From Midday… Live blogging from The Didsbury Festival and tweeting from @didsburydadblog
Please join in the carnival as I try and find a quiet corner on my own