It sounds posh so I thought we'd go and have a look at a game of polo at the New Forest club. It was so lovely, we took a picnic and sat in front of the car on a rug eating jam sandwiches and sausages, while watching the ponies hurtle up and down the pitch. The sweetest moment came the next day though, when my 4 year old daughter was asked what she had done at the weekend and she replied "we watched horses play hockey!" Well, it sort of is isn't it?
Another week and another warning that we shouldn't let our children be on a screen for too long. I totally get it, you don't want your kids being zombielike after they've watched YouTube for an hour and a half. Equally I have lots of things to do, the dinner, the washing and it just buys me a little bit of time. It also gives her a little bit of chill, she's been chasing around all day in the woods, getting muddy and to sit quietly and watch an episode of Peppa Pig is great.
I feel like I'm doing good parenting if I say to my four year old "put the iPad down and come and watch the tele!"
And I've seen the tutting majority in a restaurant, when I gave my daughter my phone to watch videos, they look scornfully at me, but what would you rather a full on meltdown tantrum to go with your dinner or a nicely behaved child sitting at table watching a screen.
And then this week another report saying that we need more computer programmers so we should let our children go on computers more, make your mind up.
In the summer holidays were all looking for things to keep the kids occupied, so please can I pass on my little tip to you. Having just got back from a very rainy and muddy Camp Bestival weekend at certain times it was easier said than done entertaining our little rugrats, but we stumbled upon something rather wonderful when inside the tent because rain had stopped playing.
Eating jelly with a fork it turns out is hilarious, tasty and takes a long time cos it keeps dropping off. How brilliant, I'm applying this principle to everything during the next month to see if it will hold off the screams of "Mummmmmmyyyyyyy!" (See my last blog) I wonder what else I can do it with? Spaghetti with a cocktail stick? Drawing only with things found in the garden?
Last night was hell trying to get my little girl to sleep in the heat. We’d been in the garden all afternoon when it was 30 degrees and she been led in a sleeping bag cos she’s cold in the shade! So, it came as no surprise that her bedroom was too hot to go to sleep. She still of course wanted her duvet and 15 blankets covering her and I stayed for five minutes holding a hand so that should settle down. 10 minutes later she’s up again and asking for a drink and taking her pyjamas off. I put her back in bed but then heard a voice from the top of the stairs asking to go into my room because it’s cooler. Then she couldn’t sleep because I wasn’t with her so I got into my bed and waited for her to close her eyes, that didn’t happen.
Boiling under the duvet she started a conversation about when she’s a grown-up and she has a baby in her tummy. Will it be a boy or a girl, what names will they have, will I then be a nanny and will she be a mummy? No sign of sleep yet. We are now two hours into the bedtime routine and she starts to close her eyes when we hear the familiar sound of Mr whippy!Why does the ice cream van have to come past playing the music at 8.45 when all the windows are open? No, I don’t know what that noise is! No that isn’t an owl doing magic! Yes I can hear an aeroplane, but GO TO SLEEP!!!
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.
I really can’t believe what I’m about to tell you. We’ve just had a lovely holiday in Sardinia, went to the airport to check in for the return flight and walked away with our tickets. It was pure luck then I looked at the boarding passes to see if we had a window seat for my little one that wanted it so much, and that I clocked that three of us, two adults and a child had been completely split up. No I’m not talking one on either side of the aisle, we were sat 10 rows apart. My daughter is four years old for goodness sake, she can’t be expected to sit on her own, and I doubt she would anyway.
And what about the people she’d be sat with, I doubt if they would enjoy the flight either. I find it completely unacceptable and have since heard that it’s a moneymaking scheme by the airlines to make you pay to book your seat. If the adults are split up its no real bother but the airline would surely not take a four-year-old flying on their own, so how can this be seen as okay? I really can’t believe it. How can I be responsible for her if she’s not even within spitting distance of me. It’s not like they didn’t know her age, they saw her passport, they saw her asleep in the buggy, they even put a luggage tag on the pushchair. You can’t honestly begin to understand what that would do to a parent and what it did to me when I don’t like flying anyway. And what if some thing happened in midair? Would I have to rely on a complete stranger to take her to the toilet, to fire her iPad up to watch Zootropolis and to do colouring in with her?
As it was, I marched straight back to the desk and had stern words, making sure she was at least sat with me. It’s complete madness and I’m getting more cross as I write this. Come on airlines sort it out.
Festivals, such brilliant fun but they can be such hard work. Last weekend we went to ‘Common people’ in Southampton, an amazing festival with some brilliant acts on, not that I got to see any of them because I had my four-year-old with me and we all know that that means they need entertaining and I fall down the priority list.Did she want to go on the inflatables for free? Did she want to go and see the circus acts for free? Did she want to have a go at tightrope walking for free? Nope
Instead we spent a fortune in the first half an hour. Facepainting with glitter 5 pounds, the helter-skelter 4 pounds, an ice cream 3 pounds and a pizza for a tenner. And you know what she did after all of that, yeah she played with the three toys that we taken with us from home. She couldn’t of given a monkeys about fat man scoop being on.