So proud of my son the computer whizz | BBC Radio Solent's Alun Newman

I have just had one of the most wonderful days of my life.In my early parenting, I would often find myself at a kitchen table with one of my children and what would often seem like a thousand bags of Lego and an instruction book that was thicker than the Bible.

By Alun Newman
Tuesday, 26th May 2020, 10:13 am
Updated Tuesday, 26th May 2020, 10:14 am
Alun Newman is so proud of his son for building this computer from scratch.
Alun Newman is so proud of his son for building this computer from scratch.

Building it was their apprenticeship into learning patience and realising that good things take time.

As the X-wing Fighter, Campervan and Police Station started to take shape excitement would increase.

Dads know what they’re doing in this arena.

Get this right and your children will never have a fear of flat pack.

Some Lego projects would take days, cost more than one million pounds and within an hour of completion I would wince when I heard squeals of delight as the Tie-Fighter, Dragster or Bi-Plane was in some kind of surprising and unpredictable incident.

Before I knew it the bits joined the other bits to become the most expensive box of bits that one could own.

Here you had a clear parental role. I never expected the tables to turn.

I have recently spent the most fantastic morning with my son.

All his birthday plans have had to be reimagined and he decided he wanted to build a computer. My first reaction was ‘no!’.

He persisted. I explained I had no skills in this area. He advised that I didn’t need any but I could watch a YouTube tutorial.

The tutor was six years old, had tattoos, and struggled to enunciate.

What if it went wrong? It’s a lot of money.

He reassured me in the same manner a car salesman does when you ask what if the air conditioning breaks.

It’s not going to happen. I relented.

We joined savings (unevenly) and the bits started to role in. Components I struggled to even say – Ryzen Core, Gigabyte OS 600, Corsair Airflow.

My son’s excitement grew at the same rate as my anxiety.

If this lot catches fire when we turn it on, I’m going to pass out.

The build day came.

The kitchen was cleared of all other family members, including the dog, all polyester (static), and all drinks.

I was given the job of packaging management (tidying) and labelling the small ramekins we used for the different screws and fixings.

Then the most wondrous thing happened. I watch my son, who was once a boy, build the machine as if I was the child and he understood the Lego.

It all came together while I took photos of our progress. When the problems arose he consulted the manual.

I just looked on dumbfounded (what is a SATA cable anyway? Serial Advanced Technology Attachment, I had to Google that).

The manual was as thick as the Bible. Every now and then I grabbed the moments to look at him and think, ‘I love you’. You’re so grown up. How did this happen? Where has the time gone?

This story would definitely be funnier if when we switched it on, it caught fire and I passed out but that wasn’t the case.

He pressed the ‘on’ button and more lights and fans than the 02 Arena burst into life. Our electricity meter went into overdrive and the mission was completed.

I find it hard to let go. Hard to believe that they can do it. It’s not easy to take a back seat. But when you do, watching the apprentice become the master is fantastic.

Dogs can’t sing Stayin’ Alive

A lady called Tania Butler claims she’s taught her boxer dog, Pixie, to do CPR.

This irritated me and not a lot tends to these days. Tania claims that when she lies motionless on the floor, Pixie will start chest compressions with both front paws. Point one, it’s a boxer dog, they’ll jump on anything given half a chance and the only reason they’re ‘chest compressions’ is because you’re on your back. Lie on your front and she’ll do back compressions.

Point two, dogs need to stick to their skill set. They have amazing stamina, great sense of smell and are loyal.

They cannot asses the weight of chest compressions based on the stature of a person currently undergoing a suspected heart attack.

They cannot locate the sternum and, from their position, the weight correctly. That requires skill, whatever your pedigree.

If they could do that, then we would have dogs in the Resus Room on Casualty.

Point three, the most important point. A boxer, or indeed any dog, does not know the words to the Bee Gees’ life-saving track Stayin’ Alive. They could be bouncing along to any old song and do more harm than good.

They’ll sing something like Elvis Presley’s Hound Dog, which is completely the wrong rhythm. Stay safe.

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