Expect the unexpected. That’s what I’d tell the younger me if I was dishing out time-travelling advice.
Things were ticking along at home and then my teenage daughter threw the cat among the pigeons.
Like so many children these days they consume their entertainment from the likes of YouTube rather than the traditional medium of scheduled telly.
This has provoked some jealousy on my part as they have not had to experience the deflated feeling when you hear the BBC Panorama theme and you know that you might as well go to bed.
Or hoping for some fun last-chance telly on a Sunday night but your parents are watching Antiques Roadshow.
They now have an endless stream of tailored content. They’re never bored which I think is unfair.
However, it does mean these online cosmopolitan role models are throwing some new concepts around.
One of which was this…
My daughter walks into the kitchen and says: ‘Hi Alun, how was your day?’
I correct her at speed – ‘That would be “hi dad, how was your day?”
I feel the unique nature of the parental relationship is worth protecting.
Also it allows for a massive power imbalance and as I’m losing all of mine, as the kids get older,
I’m going to hang on to it like a winning lottery ticket.
‘Okay Alun, would you like a tea?’ I reply ‘Dad would love a tea and I think we need a quick chat?’ ‘No worries Alun, chat later I have homework.’
It transpired that the latest YouTube family (Australian) call their dad by his Christian name and he doesn’t mind.
I try the argument that they have 4.7 million followers and if they thought walking around with deely boppers on their heads would make them more money they’d do it 24/7.
My daughter had not heard of deely boppers and asked why I was so bothered as it was my name after all?
Was I bothered? It was quite funny. She doesn’t do it all the time. It is my name. I love being called dad but maybe she’s someone trying something new out for size.
I could just go with it. I’ve made too much fuss in the past about things and ended up in blazing rows about the final resting place of wet towels. Or the environmental decimation of the planet because a bedside light was left on all day – very annoying.
I could force her to use my correct title and not respond to any questions unless protocol is adhered to.
However, as my daughter pointed out, ‘Alun, that would be childish and you’d miss out on all my cups of tea.’
As I type I now get a mixed bag of titles and I have to admit, privately, I think it’s hilarious.
We get to banter like we’re in our own fly-on-the-wall YouTube family documentary.
My wife is not so accommodating and will not be accepting the title change. I’m sure she’d take an upgrade to ma’am or possibly mother but a downgrade so she’s toe-to-toe with a teenager is not going to be happening on her watch.
She’s made of sterner stuff than me, recently declaring that she doesn’t mind what she’s called but if my daughter wants a lift to school then it’s ‘please mum’, otherwise she can walk.
My daughter is sticking with ‘mum’ and I’m sticking to calling her ‘darling’. We both know the limits of our comedy.
Pork crackling calendars!
What’s going on with advent calendars? In 1978 we had one for the whole family. It was paper thin. We argued about opening the doors and shouted for joy if you got Father Christmas.
The last picture was day 24, a wide-angle shot of the stable, nativity scene within. Now, it’s madness.
Some of these calendars have a Ford Fiesta behind door number two. By day 10 it’s an entire whisky distillery and big door 24 has the keys to Cyprus.
Several supermarkets sold out of gin calendars by the end of November. There’s a gourmet popcorn calendar, curry calendar, cheese calendar and a pork crackling calendar (not a joke).
In a department store an assistant tried to up-sell me a L'Occitane calendar saying that buying it in advent form for £50 was cheaper than the individual products. Who buys 24 tiny products? Take your advent madness to a different punter. Some of the cosmetic ones cost more than £135.
I’m making my usual pointless stand while my daughter has a Quality Street one, my son a Thorntons (Continental) and my wife a Lindt calendar (dark chocolate, it’s healthier).
Would I like a calendar? Yes. Which one? Maltesers. Will I get one? If I do, I'll have to hide it in my car.