Monday, November 07, 2005

Not with a Bang but a Whimper

Saturday being Bonfire Night and my husband being a pyromaniac at heart (I am sure in a former life he was involved in the Gunpowder Plot), we naturally had to have a fireworks party. Spouse having missed out last year because he was busy falling out of boats in the Ganges on a whitewater rafting trip to India. Hmm, being the total wuss I am, which do I prefer - my husband doing dangerous things with water, or dangerous things with fire? Midlife crisis? What midlife crisis?
When he suggested having a party I didn't pay too much attention to the date, and it was only about a week ago I belatedy realised that it coincided with our having visitors from Germany, who were leaving some time on Saturday, plus I had also arranged a family photo session in the afternoon. When I made the arrangement this seemed a sensible idea as we are normally busy with the children's activities in the morning, but now with a party planned this seemed the height of lunacy.
So Saturday went in it's usual chaotic fashion, Viz:
9.30 - I had to get no2 to church for her Holy Joe Classes. As a rather lapsed catholic I am somewhat of a disaster in terms of church going, but it does seem reasonable to show the children what it's all about, hence no2 is now following in her sister's footsteps and learning about Holy Communion. Downside of course is that Mummy gets to go to parent classes in the evenings. I read recently that modern parenting is more stressful then a generation ago. Too bloody right it is. I don't remember my parents having to do anything like this, but oh no, we 21st century mums have to take part in every aspect of the little darlings lives. Brownies? Come and help of an evening. Swimming? Sit for hours by the side of a pool and watch your child's slow progress towards something that eventually resembles breast stroke. School work? What you haven't typed up a three page dissertation for your offspring?Tsk Tsk. Take notes I WILL NOT LET MY CHILDREN DOWN IN FUTURE...Of course we're sodding stressed. Who wouldn't be?
9.45 Is No4's ballet lesson at the local Fame School (alumni of whom are all currently treading the boards in the West End. Their most famous ex-pupil is very famous indeed). Ballet lessons haven't been going well of late, and having spent the last one in the lesson with sprog firmly ensconced on my lap, I was on the point of quitting until today when to my relief I discovered a friend from nursery had started. So miraculously all tears dried up quite quickly and she skipped in.
10.30 Is no 3's turn -except she decided that she was ill and I wimped out of making her go which was quite the wrong decision as when I got home she was jumping around quite happily.
11 - back to church to pick up no2 who has been talking about things she should feel sorry for. Aged 7 she is obviously very sinful. The thing that troubled her most was that she had been boasting about going in the convertible belonging to her best friend's dad.
We then have a brief respite for lunch, and today Spouse also took the German visitors to the station. We felt terrible we couldn't take them to the airport, but they were travelling from Stanstead which is just too far. Luckily they are an independent pair and despite the son being ill they set off quite determinedly.
1pm found us back on the road to take no 2 to gym class. She having decided ballet wasn't her thing, discovered gymnastics watching the Olympics last year. So far she seems much more suited to it then to ballet, so I think we made the right decision...
1.30pm I cross the road with no 1 to take her back to the Fame School, to her jazzdance class which looks so much fun I wish I could do it. But then I wish I could do salsa too, but Spouse won't come with me.
Then it was back home to get everyone changed so we could all look beautiful for the family photo. Which would have been no problem except that no 1 jacked up as she has apparently decided she hates having her photo taken. This was news to me, and turned out to be a total pain, as first off she insisted on having a ridiculous plait which hung limply in front of her face and secondly she refused point blank to smile. The photographer was brill and tried to get her to laugh, but no 1 is nothing if not stubborn. So her attempts NOT to laugh resulted in her resembling a constipated donkey and so the chances of us having a nice family photo are about zero.
Then it was back home to run around like maniacs gettng ready. Spouse bossily took over in thekitchen, which is always bad news, as his methods are somewhat alien to mine. Namely he never cleans up and is busy doing the next thing before he has finished the previous activity. It's not that I'm not grateful, but I must say I was extremely relieved when our pyromaniac builder mate turned up to help him with the bonfire.
Said bonfire went off splendidly - no doubt helped by the rather volatile diesel/petrol mix which the boys liberally sprinkled all over it prior to starting. Said mix was in our garage when we moved in and there is still so much left we will probably be using it on bonfire nights in our dotage. Thankfully Spouse has now seen fit to move it to the bottom of the garden...
Once the conflagraton had died down and the rather splendid guy provided by one of our friends had gone up in smoke, it was time for fireworks. The pyromaniac builder remained behind to guard the flames, while Spouse enlisted the guymaker and our neighbour (otherwise known as his fellow partners in hovercraftmaking crime) to help. So they had a happy time making lots of loud bangs, which the children enjoyed in the main although towards the end they seemed more interested in the sparklers provided by our best friend who did sterling service lighting them as fast as the children had used them up.
As soon as the fireworks were over the children ran riot in the garden and upstairs (I still can't bear to go in the bedrooms), while the adults got quietly sozzled. The last stragglers ended up leaving around 1am, the children's best friends crashing the night (so no 2 got the sleepover she was after,quite by accident), and Spouse and I found ourselves dancing in the kitchen till 2am. Very romantic. What a shame he won't go to salsa...
Naturally yesterday was spent in a state of utter lethargy. I kept looking at the house and thinking it needed attention but failing miserably to do anything about it. The day ended with no 4 who had been moaning about a tummyache throwing up everywhere, though luckily not over sisters who were playing at her feet. I'm not good with vomit at the best of times, but with a hangover??? To paraphrase Hugh Grant, yuckity-yuck, yuck, yuck.
So today instead of working as I had planned, I am nursing a sick child, contemplating the horror that is my house, and wondering when the school is going to ring to say that nos1-3 have submitted to the bug too.
One day when I grow up I really will have a normal life....

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