Being a Didsbury Dad is a wonderful life. Not even the demise of La Tasca, the pavement parking that makes pram pushing painful or the scary designs masquerading as art in the “new” diminished Withington Hospital can dull the glow.
As Didsbury Son edges inconsistently towards teenagedom, his qualities only occasionally dulled by extreme vagueness and the odd sulk, I look at my two new Didsbury Babes with joy, apprehension and a slightly locked shoulder.
It’s not the thought of teething, chicken pox or stranger danger that keeps me awake at night. What allows me to talk to the moon at 4am is the fear that I am going to have to sit through Junior School concerts again. At one of Didsbury Son’s schools it was so bad I booed a Year 3 “Grensleeves”. All dads know that there is only so much feigning you can do when a potential free evening is savaged by a recorder played ingloriously by unknowing fingers and partially cleaned milk teeth.
I digress – this is my 100th Blog so I am having a celebration ramble.
It’s not even the awful school concerts. It’s the low-level parental pain that is more daunting than the realisation I had at a baby clinic recently. In the years when I was larging Madchester and feeling invincible, my twins contemporaries’ dads were in nappies themselves. I talk about Wagon Wheels and Choppers, they get teary eyed over a Game Boy.
In addition, there is the realisation that every hair that grows on these tiny Churchillian bonces takes them a little further away from new babydom.
So 6 things of which to be wary;
1. The Domino Effect – Baby Boy is a whopper. A milk guzzling, eyelash fluttering, full-face smiling whopper. Leaning over to pick him up without bending properly and then lifting back up nearly 20 pounds of milk and muscle does things to a spine that’s crawled past 39 … Bad things. That pop at night is the morning’s Sciatica, the afternoon’s tingling and the following night’s Ibuprofen.
2. (SOS) Shiny Object Syndrome: I promised never to moan about sleep deprivation. Even when it’s counted in minutes; sleep interrupted by a smiley/crying/wet/hungry baby always has a redeeming feature. It’s downside is that my attention span is down to Didsbury Son’s level. Anything longer then eight minutes is a genuine struggle that needs something bright or noisy shaking to keep my eyes open.
Didsbury Wife pointed out to me that it takes about eight minutes for light to get to us from The Sun. I pointed out it takes approximately eight minutes to walk the pram once around Didsbury Park and then I nodded off.
3. Designer Milk- I never realised that babies projected milk with no warning and can reach a shoulder from 10 feet. Every single piece of clothing that I have has been tie-dyed with Aptamil.
4. Milk Neck- bibs are fine but there is always a missed trickle that comes to give you a sticky kiss when you pick up a baby to burp them.
5. Golfer’s Elbow – honestly, I have golfer’s elbow and a cortisone injection habit. Apparently it is widespread. When I sheepishly admitted that it was painful, I was deluged by empathetic nods from fellow sufferers and it opened a secret world to parental pain that again, no one tells you about when you’re expecting.
6. BootPov – I had wondered why Boots the Chemist had so many branches. Now I know. Every over parent of children under the age of… 30 knows that on birth you give Boots your blood group, PIN number and roughly 90% of your earnings and 50% of your overdraft. I now have enough Advantage points to buy almost a day’s worth of nappies.
These are only exacerbated by Pramrage, CHOCS (central heating overload causing sinusitis) and Shrunken World – even I realise that my daily happiness and schedule tightened by feeds and changes makes my conversation as dull as the lighting in the nursery at 3am and as shallow as the milk my baby boy leaves in a bottle after a feed.