“Do you want an ice cream?” I asked as he came out of school.
Every Friday, during the summer term, the PTA sets up a table from which to sell ice creams to the kids.
DS1’s mate Henry was also eyeing the contents of the cool boxes. His dad handed him a quid and told him to get DS1 one as well.
DS1 stood rooted to the spot. Henry beckoned him over, but he was reticent to move. I gave him a nudge and said: “Go with Henry, his dad has kindly offered to buy you one as well.”
He reluctantly ambled over.
Henry asked him what he wanted, but DS1 remained mute.
Henry returned clutching a lolly but DS1 remained, loitering in the vicinity of the stall, but not close enough to effect a transaction.
“What’s the matter?” I asked Henry.
“He wouldn’t say what he wanted so I just gave him the 50p and told him to get his own.”
I wandered over. DS1 looked at me, his eyes pleading.
“Why didn’t you come over, Dad,” he asked.
“Henry’s dad said he’d get one for you. You just had to tell Henry what you wanted and he would have got it for you,” I explained.
There was no response, except a look that said, “Help me”.
“Do you want me to get you one?” He nodded.
I took the 50p from him and asked if he wanted a choc-ice – his usual lolly of choice from this particular ice cream outlet. He nodded. I paid and handed him the ice cream.
But he just held it in his hand, still unwrapped, an unhappy look on his face.
As we headed home, the ice cream remained enclosed in his sweaty palm.
“Don’t forget to eat your ice cream before it melts,” I suggested.
“It’s your fault it’s melting,” he whined.
“Do you want me to unwrap it?” I asked, thinking he couldn’t do that and scoot at the same time.
“No, it’s your fault, because you didn’t come over to the stall quick enough, so they started melting.”
“Erm, no. It’s melting because you are just holding it in your hand. Anyway, I didn’t need to come over, Henry was with you and was going to buy one for you.”
“It’s your fault,” he maintained.
Under protest, he unwrapped the choc-ice – it was now a bit on the soft side and a chunk of chocolate coating fell to the floor.
“It’s all your fault,” he reiterated, while slurping at the rapidly melting ice cream.
He had just been unable to cope with the fact that someone else had offered to buy him the ice cream. The routine was that I got it for him, and the fact that I hadn’t had completely thrown him.
“And I didn’t want a choc ice,” he added.
I refrained from screaming at the top of my voice and banging my head on a nearby brick wall… until later.
It’s DS1’s birthday soon, and having seen a friend playing FIFA 17 on an Xbox means that he now wants one. Not for any other games, mind, just FIFA 17, because that’s the one he’s seen. Never mind that there is FIFA 18 and a plethora of other games to play.
“If you get an Xbox are you going to play any games other than FIFA 17?” I asked.
He didn’t show any inclination to play the game while at his friend’s house; he was just engrossed watching James play some ridiculous match-ups of teams. DS1 was ecstatic as he told me how Accrington Stanley had beaten Real Madrid and that someone called Ben Kee had scored. Accrington Stanley, who are they? Exactly. Sorry, it still makes me laugh.
When it came time to go home, he was visibly upset. “But I want to watch the final,” he told me.
“It’s not real,” I reminded him.
When we got home, he immediately grabbed the iPad to research all he could find out about the game and then regaled me with hundreds of different scenarios and various squads that the YouTuber he had been watching had demonstrated – even going as far as to replicate the teams he had chosen for my benefit (apparently) on pieces of paper.
The conundrum is now, what do we do? Can we justify £300 for one game, effectively, that he may become bored with just as quickly as he became obsessed about it. I also worry that his lack of manual dexterity may render him shit at gaming – a bit like me.
“It’s so unfair,” he wailed. “Everyone in my class has got an Xbox.” They haven’t.
Give me Moore
Prior to England’s World Cup semi-final, DS1 was all over the place. He couldn’t keep still and was on the verge of a meltdown. A severe case of semi-final PMT – pre-match tension.
He became obsessed with making his own build-up videos, rather than watching the professionals do it on TV, so we spent the hour before kick-off out in the garden filming some goal and save sequences. Then he decided he wanted to re-create England lifting the World Cup in 1966 and could I add another 21 people into the video.
I explained that this was a little bit beyond my capabilities. Trying to come up with a solution to placate him, somehow we decided that I could ask his teacher to film his class re-enacting the scene.
Thankfully, this appeased him and he set about making a list of the 1966 squad and who in his class looked most like each player – searching the web for pictures of each squad member and deciding who was the best lookalike. He was Bobby Moore, obviously, “because I have blond hair”. Not because he was the captain and gets to lift the trophy then?
The film is still a work in progress, but this hasn’t deterred the list making. He has since written out – in really neat handwriting it has to be said, which is unusual – every England World Cup and Euros squad since 1950. No mean feat.
During the semi-final, whether it was anxiety about how the game would go – he wouldn’t admit to that – or just hyperactivity, he ran and jumped around continuously. The wife managed to get him to sit on her lap for a bit to try and calm him down, but mainly to stop him obscuring our view of the screen. But he kept (painfully) digging his fingers into her scalp at times of high tension.
Surprisingly, he didn’t seem too upset at England’s demise, but getting him to go to sleep afterwards took a while longer than normal to say the least.
The disappointment of England being knocked out, the fact that the World Cup was coming to an end and therefore his latest obsession would be taken away from him, or maybe just plain overtiredness from a build up of late-ish nights, burst forth the following evening.
We were playing football in the garden and his desire to control the game was heightened, so much so that it became an issue whenever I touched the ball.
I decided that we should take a break. This did not go down well and he paid an immediate visit to meltdown city.
A garden chair found its way into the lounge, followed closely behind by a tabletop, which he then proceeded to jump up and down on. The remainder of the garden furniture was turned upside down, but thankfully didn’t get launched inside.
He then not very politely informed me that I didn’t live in this house and that I had to “go away”.
“You are the worst person in the world ever… I promise.”
“I don’t think I am,” I said, “but you are entitled to your opinion.”
“It’s a fact, not an opinion,” he affirmed.
Now the World Cup is over, a void needs to be filled.
“Why can’t the World Cup be every year?” he asked. “It’s 17,000 days to the next one.”
Not quite. But it may well feel like it.