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 “X Factor”

In The Night Garden v The Football Factory

Introducing children to culture early on in their development is important for them to attain the kind of middle-class snobbery that make X-Factor, Jeremy Kyle and popcorn such guilty pleasures. Didsbury Son was scared by a number of clowns and bored by theatre early on; the scars should open nicely later in life.

Thus today, the Mighty-Headed boy and The Pearly Princess made their theatrical debut; In The Night Garden Live at The Trafford Centre’s Showdome. It was a combination of Shakespeare, Siegfried and Roy and Cirque du Soleil and as we cheered, laughed and cried… Iggle Piggle found his blanket before the smell of filled nappy and Aptamil overwhelmed the space.

The lead-up had been tricky. I am a keen supporter of Arts and Culture (it’s paid the mortgage occasionally) and this week my diverse cultural tastes collided. The week had begun with the start of the football season. I engaged the frame of mind needed to cope with dodgy backstreets , testosterone rushes and the need to swear whilst singing in sync with the other 4000 former thirty-somethings pretending they hadn’t pleaded to get a pass-out.

This successful night out bled into plans for the big In The Night Garden day. I sat the twins down to remind them that even if the whole presenting team from Milkshake, riding Thomas the Tank Engine and led by Peppa Pig fronted us up – we never run (my knee is way past that), for today we are CBeebies.

When I received a text telling me I could meet Iggle Piggle and Macca Pacca afterwards I got all Danny Dyer and had halfway filled a sock with plastic building bricks when Didsbury Wife stopped me.

I came to my senses. The Tombliboos won 2-0 (although all that scratching noses and sitting on the floor saw them cautioned for time-wasting) and we got a police escort back to the car.

The play was brilliantly conceived. It was big and friendly and it’s audience was enchanted. This was a lovely escape back to gentleness for an hour. My pearly girl stared open-mouthed at the gigantic figures. She believed this world in a way that removed all adult cynicism and restored a little magic bubble to a week when the real world has sometimes seemed so harsh, the news so bleak – that even the 6am charge across the landing shouting “Daddy Mummy” seemed in danger.

The urge to shout “Behind You” was overwhelming.

Thankfully this was a fiercely partisan crowd, although several infants were ejected for starting anti-Balamory chants

Boldly Going Where Most People have Been Before

I am man hear me Roar.

Stop the Clocks, then ring the bells for daddom and call me Emperor. This week I have been in sole charge of the Earl of Round Heads and Queen Smiley of Didsbury. No disasters, no trips to casualty, I even remembered which one wears pink and wasn’t abusive to any of the pinheads in the park who mistake a walk with a double buggy for an invitation to invade my personal space and wrongly guess the sex of my children.

Striding forward for mankind

Striding forward for mankind

Following a guide more powerful than Gina Ford (i.e. a  list with times on it from Didsbury Wife), I completed my first serious stint as a Stay at Home Dad (well actually a sit in Café Nero as long as possible dad) I am now an expert and ready to host patronising Q&As with other nervous fathers. My tip is get a big sheet of paper. Now write four things in bold letters – FEED CHANGE PLAY SLEEP. Whatever the issue, the answer is usually one of these things.

Then set your alarm for planned feed and change times and bingo. It is like falling off a horse – painful, leaving you with sore limbs, dirty and smelling. The twins were filled, emptied, cooed to and got to sleep on time and it was only this morning I realised that I had not shaved, had only glanced at basic hygiene and my T-shirt looked like an advert for Persil (before).

After Day 1 I was knackered. After Day 2 I felt a rush of appreciation for anyone who spends all day with children (except PE teachers – they have their own ring in hell). On Day 3 it suddenly clicked (cue Little House on the Prairie theme tune).


I planned the day as though it was a show, working backwards from getting them down at night (curfew) to morning feed and change (load-in). Once I had this worked out it was easy and I even gave The Might Headed boy low-slung jeans so he looked like a roadie. With the mechanics sorted there came the revelation. I enjoy this. They are good company and Didsbury Wife has them so happy it isn’t that hard. I was transported back to a little Didsbury Son. The babies laughed as I gooned about and gave me the kind of instant approval as I entered their eyeline you can usually only get from an X Factor audience if you’re Olly Murs (insert this year’s Olly Murs).

Olly DD

Doppelganger for Didsbury Dad

In a few hours my plan changed from world domination at whatever it is I now do to being a combination of Anthea Turner, Nigel Slater, David Beckham and Timmy the Lamb. Obviously, all this is until the football season starts; then they need their mother.

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