I am at that stage in what instamums are probably expected to call the parenting journey (in fact pretty much sure there’s several books called that, telling you how easy it is to get your kids to sleep and make a sausage casserole and make time for date night with hubby – ugh) where you find yourself actually organising stuff for the summer holidays.
Where other school holidays have been more or less a constant succession of staying in pyjamas until after midday and then sporadically going to the park, this one has been organised fun with all the precision and timing of a Kardashian family press release.
There’s been play dates, theatre group sessions; there’s footy camp coming up and a trip to Disneyland Paris. Reciprocated babysitting. Planned time with grandparents (the ones who actually ask to see him, that is – insert moon emoji at leisure). Right now, I’m sitting in a coffee shop while he plays very expensive games and does very expensive colouring in under the umbrella of social development and confidence building. I like it, I pretend I’m working in an office which makes a change from working from home where the urgency of the washing and the crumby carpet distracts me no end. And although this is my third time here this week and the coffee shop lady is playing exactly the same AfroCuban album in its entirety as my previous visits, I’m also grateful for a bit of time to myself. It’s very intense parenting, the summer holidays.
This week we went to the CBBC Summer Social – a brand new festival for fans of the BBC children’s television channels CBBC (for older kids) and CBeebies (for the little ones). We are still on CBeebies. They say you shouldn’t park kids in front of the telly because it’s bad for them but I’d disagree where CBeebies is concerned.
To make a little holiday of it, we stayed in a Premier Inn as near as damn it to Croxteth Hall & Country Park where the even was being held. It was a 3 day event (not a camping affair, just a daytime only thing) and we had tickets to the first day. He’s always telling me he doesn’t like me going on trips without him, but doesn’t mind going on trips without me! So I said let’s go on a little adventure then.
Sadly, in true Mum fashion, the adventure started with him having to come with me while I got my eyebrows and eyelashes done in town (s/o to Nirvana Cosmetics Club you absolute gems). He was very patient, and then we went to hang out at the Albert Dock for a while which is something I like to do when I have spent all my money (on my own face) but still want to be surrounded by interesting things. Parking is steep, it’ll cost you about £3 an hour if you park slap bang in the Albert Dock car park but it’s worth it for the convenience, and I’m all about the convenience. I stretched to an icey from the little old fashioned ice cream van and it was probably the nicest ice cream cone I’ve had since I was a little girl.
We sat and watched the vinyl bunting flapping in the wind, the topless scallies with their North Face jackets draped across their handlebars throwing stones at jellyfish in Dukes Dock basin, the groups of Spanish teenagers with their tans and their rucksacks and their accents that broke through the sound of traffic, and bustle, and wind.
We studied the padlocks on the dockside railings; our favourites weren’t the perfectly executed pairs of engraved initials but the rusty ones, the odd shapes, the ones with scrawled writing on. My favourite were the ones where the initials had worn off entirely or the colour of the red heart shapes had faded. That’s what you get when you put your love on display next to the Mersey.
That night we stayed in the Premier Inn and he declared it was the “best hotel ever”. It’s great being 4 on your summer holidays isn’t it?
The next day we were up early to get to the CBBC Summer Social early doors. It was a wonderful event and I was happy that I’d made the effort to give him this adventure. He met Andy Day (of Dinosaur Adventures and Baby Animals fame) and his band the Odd Socks, Dr Ranj, Rebecca from Let’s Play, and Ryan from the CBeebies house.
I took photographs so that hopefully he’ll remember this adventure this time! He also got his first ever autograph from Ryan, which – even thought he didn’t actually know what an autograph was – he knew was really special. Now, when we see him on telly I say ‘There’s your mate’ and he rolls his eyes at me because he’s old enough to know that Mums are daft, but then he smiles to himself because he’s still young enough to know that Ryan from CBeebies is a hero worth having.
Until next time, don’t throw stones at jellyfish and never meet your heroes unless they wear primary colours. Happy summer holidays.