Four and a Dog

A blog about family life

Archive for the category “Day trips”

Tiger, Tiger

We went to the fair the other day. Diva was ridiculously excited before she even knew what it was. She wanted to go on all the rides that went fast, high and backwards. Instead she went in a circle on a bus, car, rocket and train. Her favourite one was the car because occasionally that one also went up and down.

She also won a small, soft, scary tiger.

You know the ones…it came from a stall where everyone was a winner no matter which duck you hooked. I strategically avoided all the ones with enormous cuddly toys and opted for one that had small gifts that would be instantly forgotten once the novelty wore off.

Sadly not.

As soon as she saw it, she wanted it and immediately called it Tom. Not being one to miss an opportunity, I introduced the concept of alliteration through Tom the Tiger. I could tell she understood by her lack of response. Clearly she was thinking very hard about this valuable lesson.

Regardless, this misshapen, badly sewn, poorly dyed creature, made from cheap, rough fabric is most definitely a favourite. It has replaced all the lovely, beautifully made toys that usually adorn Diva’s bed and has successfully avoided being lost on several occasions. It has already visited Nursery, Nana and Grampy’s house and even came on a trip to Sainsbury’s.

A couple of nights ago Diva awoke in the night screaming the place down. I totally panicked and ran in to her room where she was sobbing uncontrollably.

Mummy: What’s the matter, sweetheart? Are you hurt?
Diva: I…can’t…find…Tom?
Mummy: You mean Tom the Tiger? (You can’t waste these opportunities.)
Diva: Yes (wail). Oh, here he is under my pillow. I’m okay now.
Mummy: Okay…well, goodnight then…sweet dreams…I love you.
Diva: I love you too, Mummy…and I love Tom.

Ah…there’s nothing better for your self esteem than to be considered an equal to a misshapen carnival toy. I suppose at least it wasn’t a dead goldfish.


I both love and hate the fact that Diva is so entirely fearless.

On the plus side, she thinks nothing of making friends with spiders (all called Tom or Ella) and when given a baby crocodile to hold, she asked if she could hold one of the big ones instead. She is also entirely willing to give most things a go and takes no crap from anyone (although I have recently become very aware that her ‘telling off’ voice and face match my own. Oh dear!)

On the downside she thinks nothing of walking off on her own, and very rarely even looks to see if I am following.

Today I was discussing with a fellow parent the fear when children just wander off without a parents knowledge. I was stating my astonishment that some parents don’t seem to worry about this…just as Diva disappeared around a corner some distance away and had to be retrieved.

It has taken me a really long time to get Diva to understand the importance of safety near roads and cars, and I have to say, it’s a difficult balance to maintain. Where do you draw the line between making sure your kids are safe but not going so far that they become terrified of all things? My hope is that we will find a happy medium where she’s totally prepared to take on those ‘Under-the-Bed’ monsters but understands it’s not a good idea to run with scissors.

She had a good bit of inspiration today from an elderly, fearless lady, who had no problems asking us if we would be leaving the cafe soon. She was meeting some friends and wanted to know if she should meet them elsewhere. Not that she wanted to rush us or anything, it’s just they would be there soon and wasn’t it a pity the weather was bad and the children couldn’t play outside. She then asked us, incredulously, if all the children were ours. I can understand why: three parents, three toddlers and two babies. I mean, my God! Does the government allow such a ratio? I admit that in the run up to this encounter, Bruiser had managed to smash a plate on the floor. But she wasn’t even present when that bit of bad parenting happened AND I diligently swept up all the pieces along with any offensive crumbs. I suppose the girls were chatty but very well behaved and not one adult had told a rude joke (or at least I don’t think they had…sometimes I need those explaining).

Tempted as I was to stay and make some sort of point about rights for parents and children to drink and eat in public places alongside elderly, rude people, we were actually in the process of leaving. With stunned, awkward pleasantries, we gathered our rowdy brood of children and left.

At that point the cafe was pretty empty. However, when we passed a little bit later on, we saw our new friend at her table, but the cafe was no longer pretty empty. It was now packed with people. A large number of them being families, with children, lots of children. Sweet justice. We nearly went back in to ask if we could join them, but Diva had run off again so…


I’ve always loved the beach. I especially love swimming in a warm sea and building sandcastles. Diva also loves these things. She equally likes getting to eat ice-cream as it rapidly melts over her face and hands.

Bruiser loves kicking his feet in the sand and filling his chubby fists with sticky, wet sand. He also likes ramming big fistfuls of sand in to his mouth before anyone can stop him.

I do not like changing nappies full of sandy poos.

Cursed Day

Sunday was a day we were not meant to enjoy. All powers conspired together to taunt us and laugh at our inability to succeed.

It began badly- a warning that we foolishly chose to ignore. Bruiser had kept me awake for a large section of the night due to his teething/cold/warped sense of humour. When I finally realised it actually was morning, I handed him over to Hubby and returned to bed (I should point out that Hubby is more than willing to help out during the night, but I feel that two exhausted parents dealing with a baby and toddler is far worse than one). Once I felt human again, I joined the family to discuss the days plan. We had already decided on two options: if it was dry we would go to the local farm; if it was wet we would go swimming. It was very, very wet with a touch of snow…

Swimming, it is. During the packing of swimming essentials Bruiser decided to scream and Diva decided to torment the dog enough to earn a trip to the naughty spot. Time was ticking on and the window for using the pool was rapidly diminishing. Then I realised my swimsuit was torn. I debated calling the whole thing off but felt determined to get everybody out. I sewed quickly and we left for the pool…

Which was full. After a brief panic and a calm explanation to an upset toddler we tried to think of an alternative plan…

Soft play. We drove quickly back to the house to grab baby food and headed off. The drive was calm and the children slept. We started to think that maybe our luck was changing. The soft play area is in a garden centre (of course it is) with a fairly nice restaurant. We started with lunch and then looked had a look around. During our time there, I angered one woman by accidentally bumping her daughter’s high chair with my buggy and another by being sat at a table which she thought was free. Clearly we were not the only ones to be having a bad day. Eventually we decided to brave the soft play…

Which was full. Apparently on busy days they operate a timetabled system which I have never seen before. There was no way we could tell Diva that yet another thing she loved to do was closed so we signed up for the next session 45 minutes later. We filled the time with cake bribery and games, but she was pretty fed up. As apparently was Bruiser, who started screaming so much that the entire world stared at us with judgmental eyes. Hubby decided to take him for a walk while I took Diva to join the queue for soft play…

Which was insane! There were people and buggies everywhere. I ended up in the soft play with Diva and we somehow managed to acquire a small gang of children whose parents were wise enough to stay outside. After over an hour of ‘fun’ it was time to go. Diva was pretty much the only child left. She tried to bury herself in the ball pool but Hubby spotted her hiding place and pulled her out.

The rest of the afternoon was pretty much standard. The usual pacing with Bruiser and calming Diva down for sleep. By bed time Hubby and I were both exhausted. Next weekend I’m phoning everywhere we plan on going in advance. Tickets will be booked and timetables will be made. All references to spontaneity will be growled at.

Mahna Mahna

The Muppets are awesome! I’ve loved them forever and ever. There is nothing that couldn’t be improved by the addition of a Muppet… Okay, there might be one or two things that might become a little freaky with the addition of a Muppet, but most things are made great by a Muppet appearance.

This weekend the new Muppet movie was released. Diva obviously really wanted to go. Okay, Hubby and I really wanted to go and managed to persuade Diva that she really wanted to go too. Bruiser was a little reluctant but I promised him milk. He really likes milk.

The movie was fantastic. I can not recommend it enough. If you used to watch the Muppets at all you will love it. There are some hilarious cameos and great, catchy songs. Go and see it! I was worried about Bruiser finding it too noisy but he fell asleep through the first half and loved all the music in the second half. Every time I walked in the opposite direction he would strain his neck trying to see the screen. Hubby and I left totally elated.

Diva wasn’t quite so keen on the movie. We had our suspicions that it would probably go completely over her head, but hoped that the puppets and music would be enough to maintain her interest. Apparently they were just too loud. On the plus side she really enjoyed sitting on her booster seat, keeping her drink in a cup holder and eating unicorns (popcorn).

Clearly I need to work on Diva’s indoctrination…I mean appreciation of the muppets.

Post Navigation