Today was a special day for me and my eldest two as it was a very rare chance to spend some time together without Baby T. Much as we all adore our little blonde bombshell, he really does know how to ruin a good day out. It is just his age, of course, but we all felt really rather delighted to drop him off at nursery this morning and head off for some T-free time.
M, like pretty much every four year old girl I know, is crazy about Frozen. So, me and a couple of friends with girls of a similar age booked up to see Singalong Frozen together. I took the day off work, dressed my little munchkins up as Olaf and Elsa and off we went.
It was quite an experience. The audience was a sea of three foot tall Elsas, with a smattering of Annas and Olafs and even the odd Sven thrown into the mix. All were accompanied by parents ranging from the painfully reluctant to those singing louder than their kids (you know who you are, ladies). If you’ve not seen the film, just imagine 400 odd small girls in ice-blue princess dresses and you have the general idea.
I was a little concerned that H would be bored, being a six year old boy and somewhat suffering from Frozen Fatigue. However, there was plenty of shout-ya-head-off interaction with the actors and a bag of tricks for each kid, containing various items to bang and wave about, so H was happy as Larry and joined in with more gusto than the girls.
We all sang our hearts out then went for a well earned late lunch. Four kids, three Mums and a lot of pizza and pasta. Despite the odd spillage and one Elsa falling off her chair, it was a pretty relaxing meal and the whole day was great fun.
Now, let’s imagine this lovely day with a baby in the mix…..
The theatre experience is beyond horrific. Over two and a half hours in a darkened room with an 18 month old who cannot run about – when that is pretty much all he wants to do – surrounded by 600 people who are a tad annoyed by random screaming or being hit in the head by flying objects. A simple trip to the loo becomes beyond fraught, indeed near on impossible. Tiny hands everywhere, running off at speed, no pushchair to restrain him. I actually shudder at the thought.
And then onto lunch, assuming you can face it after the horrors of the theatre. Any meal out at T’s current age, is an ordeal. He wants to eat the minute we get there and yells until he gets food. You give him a load of snacks just to shut him up and by the time his food actually arrives, he is full and no longer really wants it.
You give him toys, books, cutlery, condiments, anything that will keep him occupied. It all lands noisily on the floor with you constantly bending down and crawling around under the table to pick it up. The time between arriving at your table and the food appearing feels like a lifetime.
Finally, food arrives. So, he decides this is the perfect moment to do a massive poo. You then spend ten minutes wresting him on a too small, flippy-down changing table, attempting to avoid flinging poo around the cubicle (not always successfully – I once managed to flick some rabbit droppings down between the loo cistern and the wall of a particularly badly designed changing area. They are probably still there).
After dealing with the explosion, you return to your table and, if not put off eating altogether, you tuck into your cold meal. The toddler then tries to eat your food and simultaneously throws his own food around the room for about ten minutes. There is at least one drink sent flying. When he is done (but you are still trying to eat, of course), he wants to get down and stalk around the restaurant. He yells when you don’t let him, so you end up walking him round inside or, when that gets too disruptive, around a cold, wet garden until everyone else has finished.
He leaves total carnage and devastation in his wake. You slink out, embarrassed by the commotion, the food thrown everywhere and the pile of 200 used wipes left on the table.
As I said, an ordeal.
It has come to something when a six and four year old are considered to be civilised, grown-up companions, but I loved our day together without my youngest hell-raiser.
So, whilst I felt a slight pang of guilt about dumping Baby T in nursery while the rest of us went out to have fun, I mostly just enjoyed the break from toddler induced stress. Should I hang onto that feeling, as yet another motherhood guilt? Or should I just Let It Go (did you see what I did there)?
Today, I’ve decided to choose the latter. Elsa would be proud.