Saturday morning belonged to me with an early start and a Parkrun. Sunday belonged to my husband with an even earlier start and a cycle challenge that involved a deliberately vague map route, some 50km and optional cafe stops. He completed it in about three hours without injury and only getting lost once. My involvement was to give him a lift to the starting point. I was slightly confused because he had told me it was in Kidderminster. The sat nav directed me in completely the opposite direction because it was in fact in Kidsgrove. Close enough!!
Charis, my ever helpful daughter, was not available to look after the little ones as she was occupied with her regular Sunday morning piano playing for the local church. Normally, taking Addy and Dylan on a little adventure, especially with a dad and a bicycle, poses no problem. This time it was a bit different because it was a special day. Addy had been invited to a friend from school's birthday party.
The birthday party was not until 2pm but as soon as Addy woke up she was fussing about what to wear and what to take and whether there would be a bouncy castle or dancing..... Driving back in the car after dropping lycra clad dad off, she convinced herself we were lost and would never get home in time for the party. This level of anxiety never really subsided.
Eventually, the hour rolled close enough to 2pm to consider leaving. The present was wrapped, the card was written and Addy looked fabulous in a little blue party dress and her long blonde hair loose and slightly crimped from her ever present plait. We arrived at the party venue which happened to be at the same pub where big sister Ivy works. The combination of seeing her big sister AND going to a party proved too much.
My plan had been to drop her off at the party, which was in a separate little room away from the main bar, go and say hello to my barmaid daughter and have a coffee. Charis had accepted my invitation to come along, have a lemonade and then possibly take Dylan along to the park for a runaround whilst Addy enjoyed the company of her friends. Enjoying the company of her friends was maybe the last thing on Addy's mind.
I felt Addy's little body tense as we entered the party room. I was grateful that Charis was there to look after Dylan whilst I tried my best to settle Addy down and point out the fun she could be having. She was not easily convinced but I did eventually manage to edge my way out of the room and into the main bar. Coffee and lemonade were ordered, seats were occupied, Dylan was happily occupied with an electronic game and I started to relax.
Then the party entertainer arrived.
I have to admit that as a little girl I was deeply suspicious of adults dressed in strange clothing. I always hated the Santas that made appearances at the family Christmas parties held by the company my dad worked for. I can imagine now how mortified my parents must have been when I refused to play nice because that is exactly how I felt when Addy ran screaming from the man in loud floral suit and spotty hat.
I tired to calm her down (again!) and explain that he was a magician and was there to show some magic tricks to all the children. She screamed surprisingly eloquent but horribly rude reaons why he was a rubbish magician and she hated magicians. Her face was getting redder and redder with anger, as was mine with embarrassment.
Calm and reassuring assistance came in the shape of my wonderful daughter Charis. She totally earned her lemonade when she gently cajoled Addy back into the room, tiny step by tiny step, until Addy was joining in and shouting Abracadabra at the appropriate moment.
Why, oh why did the entertainer have to pick Charis to be his assistant for a trick.
I think Charis asked herself the same question as she was fitted with a strange rubber tubing device that enabled the flower suit man to create the illusion of water passing straight through her middle. As he poured the water into a large funnel attached to the tubing, it looked like some sort of strange home colonic irrigation ritual. The only question Addy was asking herself - and everyone in the pub and possibly neighbouring houses such was the volume and urgency of her voice - was WHY IS THAT MAN TRYING TO KILL MY SISTER!!!
By this time the birthday girl's mum had asked me to come back into the room to sort a hysterical Addy out so I was there to witness (and photograph!) Charis' humiliation.
Addy never really integrated properly back with the party. She sat with me to eat her plate of party food.
I was so disappointed that she had not allowed herself to join in, especially given how much she had been looking forward to it. However, as she left with her party bag, she was as happy as can be. Back home, she shared the treats inside the bag with her brother and talked excitedly about parties. Just don't mention the entertainer - it provokes an instant tirade about a bad magician that tried to kill my lovely big sister...