I have a really romantic view about taking my child to a festival. The reality is very different. She is of course bored by the time we reach 2 meters past the entrance, but I persevere and blow up and air lounger which entertains her for approximately 5seconds because she has her own personal bouncy castle. But, after she has fallen into 10 people and knocked over five drinks, it’s time to put it away. This will carry on for approximately five hours while I try and drink a pint of cider and watch a band.
I have however found a real advantage to having a 4 year old at one of these gatherings. The queue for the loo was about 200 people strong and not going down very quickly. With a little girl covered in glitter bouncing from one foot to another, shouting “I neeeed a weeeeee!” and “It’s gonna come out!” it’s amazing how many people let you in front of them. We were at the front and looking for a cubicle within 20 seconds and from then on I took her to the toilet with me whether she wanted to go or not.
Stop the celebrations take the bunting down, we ain’t partying anymore, she’s been getting back into my bed every night. After just three nights in her own bed (for the first time in two years) I’m back to having a four-year-old climb into mummies double bed. When she first slept on her own I heaped praise on her, told her what a big girl I thought she was, how proud she made me, she told everyone that would listen that she stayed in her own bed.
She got a prize toy when we went to the supermarket to say well done, I even went and got her a single bed hoping that she stay in it. We went to the shop so that she could choose her own bedding with a choice of Paw patrol, my Little pony and Disney princesses we now have a bed that looks like Rapunzel is thrown up over it.
But it still won’t make her sleep in there! We had chats with the moon because apparently it’s the moon that puts her into my room, it’s not Lois walking around 2 AM wanting to be cosy in with me. We even ring nanny every evening so that she can have a chat with the moon to say leave Lois in her bed. That pesky moon he’s got a lot to answer for.
It’s the most entertaining drive to work, seeing all the kids walking to school dressed as their favourite characters for World Book Day. I was really proud of Rich from heart Breakfast, who came to work dressed as the very Hungry Caterpillar (This may or may not have happened). There’s always a Harry Potter at each school, a ‘Tiger that Came to Tea’ and Where’s Wally for such a fantastic day to encourage reading. But there were also questionable costumes that I think come from parents that forget this worldwide day until the night before and raid the dressing up box. Little Bo Peep was the first one to make me say “Is that a book? “I thought it was a nursery rhyme?” Then I saw a girl dressed as a my little pony toy, as far as I’m aware they’re on the tele too, but not in books. I also clocked a teacher go dressed with bright pink hair, as Poppy from the film Trolls. Yes, the FILM Trolls. Are they from books? I suppose you can get colouring books and an Annual every year.
The reality never lives up to the dream does it? And that’s never more true than at Christmas. We all strive for the perfect day with a turkey dinner and a snowman built out the front of our house, just like the pictures on the cards. But it’s just not like that is it?
I’ve got to say, my little un came close to perfect on Christmas Day, playing nicely with the toys she’d opened in the morning and not really taking any notice of the ones still wrapped under the tree, which is no mean feat for a 3 year old. But Boxing Day was meltdown city from start to finish. Nothing, and I mean nothing, was right. We went out for some fresh air, obviously she had to wear her new Rapunzel dress and Rapunzel hair, she wanted to hold something in her hand, it HAD to be a sausage and some ketchup, then just wailing for half an hour cos I said no. Not the best look for a Disney Princess.
It continued in the car, when she missed approximately 2 seconds of a song and demanded a rewind. Someone nudged her, the potato was in the wrong place and wanting marshmallows in the middle of the night all warrant kicking and screaming apparently.
With it being half term, I agreed to my little girl having a Halloween party and her little mates would be free to attend. I think that she’d initially asked for it because she’s mad on the film hotel Transylvania, so I found her an outfit with bats on it so she could pretend to be her favourite character, Mavis. Only a few days before, it dawned on me that I had to entertain 15 kids for an afternoon and had no idea how to do it. Luckily, I have you wonderful listeners on Heart Breakfast with Rich and Zoe to help me out with suggestions for apple bobbing and eating doughnuts hanging on a string – with your hands behind your back (it makes for a great video too!)
But my favourite suggestion came from Keren who came up with a twist on a musical bumps. It’s the game that I was most excited to play when I was a girl, but rather than the kids dancing around before sitting down on the floor, they move around pretending to be ghosts. But there’s a problem and it’s all mine, I just don’t have the heart to get any of them out when they’re last to sit down on their bums. So, what ends up happening is a 40 minute ‘practice’ round of sitting on the floor when the music stops, where everyone wins! It would break my heart if they got upset, because I told them that they were the loser, I’d be gutted for them and just couldn’t cope with the guilt.
For more years than I care to let you know about, my birthday has been about 1 thing, me! On my 10th, my 20th and my 30th that one day of the year revolved around moi. Out for lunches and dinners, cards and presents flying around, I was in my element.
This year is a little different. my girl is now 3 1/2 and I didn’t realise how much she ruled my world until she started begging me for a Halloween party and I agreed to have it ON MY BIRTHDAY!!! I know nuts huh?! It sounded like a good idea at the time, in half term so we could have all her little mates round and don’t forget, it makes my life a whole lot easier if she has a smile on her face, “if the kids are happy we’re happy!” I also used it as bribery for her, to go to bed at a reasonable hour, to eat just one more carrot and to get out of Toys R Us without buying anything, for two months.
But this has got out of hand and we now have 25 little people coming to my house on the anniversary of my birth and I know they won’t bring a bottle of booze, I will be stressing over who wants frazzles and who wants cheesy quavers not whether to go for a facial or a massage. Right now on the eve of the party I’m putting up ghostly decorations and hollowing out a pumpkin, not wondering if anyone bought me that handbag I desperately wanted. How things have changed…