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 “Minecraft”

Teenage Kicks, So Hard to Beat

I am perched on the end of a single bed. Only one put-upon hip and a curled toe are keeping me from falling, whilst The Mighty-Headed boy, spread out across the sheets like a spatchcock hen drifts into a post-milk, post-park afternoon nap to dream of life-sized Frozen jigsaws made of chocolate. I digress.

I have been working away recently. Time in a plush, fully-catered hotel and spa with a bed three pillows wide turned down at 7pm and laced with a chocolate mint; just for me. Whilst the ability to concentrate and give my knees and elbows recuperation time between kamikaze leaps from stairs and cars is welcomed. Whilst going to the bathroom without an audience shouting “bye bye wee” helps one focus and whilst time to gain perspective is always positive, I am now ruined.
Not only did I still wake at 3, 4 and 5 anyway, I found not having my eyelids prized open by little fingers, whilst being slapped by Olaf from Frozen made the start to the day a little dull. Not having to heat milk and make tea with circling cats and caterwauling rugrats felt like the challenge was gone. But, weirdly – what I missed most was the mood roulette of the now teenage, but still lovely Didsbury Son.

Face Time is a good substitute. In half a dozen chats across the ether we moved from Surly, to happy and through the whole seven dwarves and back to thumper via Bambi.

What struck me was that however cool, laid back, media savvy or in-touch we think we are, no one over the age of 25 (Doh, just missed it by a couple of decades ish) remembers the stress-led, hormone-fuelled, peer-panicked immediacy of being a teenager.

When Didsbury Son played up or got riled previously I would patronisingly tell Didsbury Wife how I understood it, as I had lived it. Teenage is different. He is no Kevin, no trouble and primarily easygoing and helpful; but a 7.30 FaceTime explaining that there was no point going to school, no point eating, no point speaking (weirdly not no point spending hours online watching super geeks play Minecraft) was followed, one pensive flight home later – by a chirpy greeting after a great day at school. No point? I was SO hours ago.

I forgot how crushing the merest hint of rebuttal can be to the evolving teenage psyche, the constant life ruination by parents who just “don’t understand” and the unpredictability of voice breaking, spot count and face colour when speaking to girls.

It cheered me up. Watching the joy and torment from the outside reminds me that creaky joints and indigestion after late night snacks are not only easier to deal with – the best bit about being 39 and a lot is not really caring that much about anything beyond your family bubble… And football.

Teenage Kicks – The Undertones

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This is what a teenage brain looks like whilst thinking.

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I missed being kicked all night when this was mine only.

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FUBAR the friendly lion and the Didsbury Duo

7.45pm. Friday Night. I am trapped. The Mighty-Headed Boy snores contentedly, draped across my stomach – his legs wrapped around my left arm like fleshy vines. The Pearly-topped princess has my right armed gripped so tightly as she nuzzles into a toddler-shaped curve I cannot move. My phone is open at Football Manager but my fingers cannot reach the screen. Didsbury Wife and son are out. It’s just me in a dark room, on a warm bed with two boddlers curved around me and no extra hand for internet access.

My mind drifted to those thoughts we all have, “What if In The Night Garden” was a documentary voiced by David Attenborough; if I was a teenager now would wi-fi mean I never had to leave my room and who votes for UKIP with a clear conscience?

I then thought how long-known acronyms, antonyms and phrases take on different meanings st different times of your life.

ATM. All trousers milk stained

BBC. Bathtime Bed. Chill

FUBAR – Found Upsy-Daisy But Aptamil Run out

SOS – Sudocrem or Suffer

TTFN – teenager talking flipping nonsense

HTML – Home Time. Milk Loaded

Wake Up And a Smell The Coffee – then make it after you’ve changed the nappies and done milk.

Life’s Too Short – so embrace being woken 3 times a night as you can enjoy more of it.

The Tail Wagging The Dog : Social experiment where parents make all decisions based on the rationale of teenage moods

Disney – Magical Kingdom of slightly worrying stereotypes that occupy small children in trance-like stupor for two hours per day.

Minecraft – Magical Kingdom of slightly worrying stereotypes that occupy new teenagers in trance- like stupor for three hours per day.

ETA – Estimated Time of Arrival in the old days, now a phrase dependent on the sleep wake nappy phenomenon. Now more likely to stand for Evening Tomorrow or After…

HRT. Hormonally Reactive Teenager

eBay – recycling for parents. Expect your rating to soar after the first visit to Jo Jo, ELC and Boots points out the real cost of plastic and sheepskin.

Psychological Warfare. Interrupting any song in Frozen for dressing, undressing, changing or Calpol.

1000 Yard Stare, a syndrome that occurs when on the way back from a midnight cot settle. Your nascent teenager, voice breaking mid-syllable informs you he’s hungry, can’t sleep and wants a chat. Fire up the toaster and make yourself comfy.

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A television and a full moon. Both are excellent parenting tools

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I sacrificed glamour like this for my children

Me, Tony Curtis, Zabaleta and formula

Normally I’m not one to namedrop. I’m too busy hanging out with City players eating Fish & Chips in Didsbury or riffing with the media cognoscenti round Gregg’s and The Royal Oak.

So I am sitting here outside a hotel bar in a lovely Spanish resort. Didsbury Wife is socialising, Didsbury Son sits next to me in comfortable silence watching Minecraft videos and there is a double buggy on my right with finally motionless boddlers dreaming of swimming pools and being the boisterous darlings of the patient hotel staff. This is bliss. A bliss I had never imagined or expected and I have no idea how I managed to get here.

I looked over earlier today and saw me, dual nappy changing by a pool thick with the waft of the outdoor smoking still so popular in Southern Europe; saw some pacifying of Didsbury Son who has shown stoic patience beyond his years and thought it was my own Didsbury Dad.

So back to the name dropping. Many years ago in a pre-DD life I ended up in a pre-show conversation with Tony Curtis. I had been introduced because the New York crew on the show could not believe they had met…
“Tony, a Jew. From England. This guy even knows what a bagel is. ”
We shook hands. I blessed my knowledge of ethnic baking and thought how proud my dad would be to meet him. I wondered if he liked football and felt a bit guilty for preferring Kirk Douglas.

He was deaf. Could not hear 70%, or understand my accent for the other 30% and we both look confused in the photo; I digress.

He told a story which made no sense to the Brits but had the Americans crying. He talked about coming to Hollywood as a very young man . After his first day on set he was tired and hot. He was staying with a friend who had a pool. He dived in and swam the whole length underwater. When he surfaced, it was today. His story of the passage of time struck a chord with me today.
I remember going on my first boys only holiday to Aranel in Majorca. I was 17. I back combed my white blonde hair, put my string vest over my white t – shirt and tucked my Rothmans Reds into my white 8 pleat turn ups and headed out for a night of Bacardi and trying to avoid getting punched. When I came to I was asking Didsbury Son to get the formula from the room so I could get the twins down.
The Dog & Partridge is still the same, Nido was the worst idea bar Betamax and I’ve ordered a Bacardi to toast my own luck.

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The beauty of older children is that you don’t have to join in so much.

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There’s no place like home.

How to sleep like a baby

Last weekend, for the first time since morning sickness appeared next to me in bed I was… Woken by the alarm clock. This domestic mundanity will seem like bragging to anyone stuck in the continuous waah, soothe, wake mode.

I woke in a state of shock, fuddled that 38 minutes of sleep/unconsciousness was not interrupted by the sound a mighty-headed boy searching for a soother or a pearl-headed girl shaking the bars of her cot like a mini-petite zoo monkey.

After a couple of seconds of mmmmmm came the fear.
1. They had stopped breathing. This is a terrible thought and one that people told me I would have. I realise I now lie awake listening for a snuffle, shnurgle or windchime from down the hall before I can relax and collapse to the soothing tones of Candy Crush.

2. They had escaped. Apparently other fathers also believe their children are the most beautiful, clever and impressive – uncanny. I imagined Dora the Explorer coming to them in a dream and showing them how to open the stair gate. I would then find them either playing Minecraft with Didsbury Son, making smoothies in the kitchen or scaring the cats by trying to “stroke” them.

Watching an 11month old baby stroke a cat brings a new level of respect for feline patience and has more in common with a five-year old playing “Operation”.

3. I was working away and dreaming I was at home being disturbed.

On finding out they were still asleep at almost 6.30am I strolled down to make bottles without a shoulder snapping, sciatica inducing start, feeling a sense of elation that showed me just how much my world had shrunk and focused.

Six hours sleep and up on a Sunday morning before 7 warming milk and I was giddier than the morning of my first cup final.

I walked downstairs and suddenly realised that nothing hurt. One night without bending, lifting, cooing and squeezing into unnatural positions round babies and I felt almost 39 3/4.

The rest of the day was a blur of pain-free happy blandness. I could feel creases in my forehead getting shallower as I focused freely.
Didsbury Son swooned as I politely greeted him AND listened to a few sentences ungrumpily. All this, for the kind of sleep that for most of my life would have counted as an interruption and an early start.

It was a friend who gave me the truth. You try everything, you think you have reached the point of no return but they know. Just when you feel you can take no more – they take pity and sleep through.

It’s the law.

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Make the nightcap a big one

Early. Daze

All life lives here. Modern parenting for twins 2012. Didsbury Son is on the school bus, unsure whether big brother beats sole trader and slightly disappointed that at 10 days old the twins won’t yet respond to tickles, raspberries and head shakes. He had expected them to come out playing and it’s probably my fault he was unprepared. Their lolling head, fill and empty, cry and sleep lifestyle is less engaging than Minecraft, Futurama… Even homework.

Didsbury Wife is grabbing a rare hour to herself which leaves me to modern man multi-task. Twin 1 is in my left arm. This micro Mao with an aversion to being horizontal is snuffling in his sleep whilst Twin 2, my gorgeous little alien feeder is Chicco Mio bouncy chair bound and I’m rocking her with the right foot whilst switching between Homeland on the iPad and making a quiche one handed. This morning I am an advert for Unicorn Grocery brought to life (Terry nappies, mother feeding,v Alpro warming in the centrally heated kitchen). Just need an Aga and a green jumper.

I am craving a bottle of cider (it’s the pregnancy sympathy thing, I have only ever used cider for cooking before), a McDonalds (other nutrient free, high salt takeaways are available) and my arm. The Benevolent Despotism of new babies is a wonder. You do what you are told and the rewards seem incongruous with expectations from a fortnight ago. Our Didsbury world has shrunk to the texture of a nappy, the quiet of a sleep and the faint smell of sweet milk permeating the house.

But these things I have already learned:
1. People will still ask if they are identical even after they have established that the colour scheme of the clothes matches the gender stereotype.

2. Caffe Nero is very pram friendly. C’mon Croatian Deli and Art of Tea sort it out.

3. Visitors seem to imagine that Didsbury Son and I want to interrupt Futurama to hear their labour /birth/ weaning stories. We don’t.

4. We are very proud of Didsbury Wife. Her yield would have David and Ruth Archer down The Bull to celebrate.

5. There has been a glut of twins in Didsbury this year. Linen and Giddy GoatToys must be getting ready to buy yachts and DidsburyPark is considering building a special lane for buggies and…

5. I had the most wonderful dream last night. Didsbury Son and I were sitting on an old couch In a cool shed. Football droned on in the background, a pot of coffee steamed next to a pastrami on rye and Didsbury Son was lost in world of Minecraft; neither of us said a word.

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