To my intense surprise out on our weekly supermarket trip this week my three little leg hangers all behaved impeccably. So much so on the drive home I gushed to them about their behaviour and whilst telling them how great they were and not paying attention to my surroundings twin boy caught me in a vulnerable moment and asked if because they had been good could they have a treat.
“Of course” I replied, thinking a Freddo or a fudge, maybe even half an hour of Scooby Doo.
“Wicked,” said twin boy, “can we go there.” And pointed through the cars grubby window to a fun fair which had suddenly appeared in what used to be the station car park.
“Arse” I thought whilst my lips betrayed me and answered “yes”.
I haven’t been to a fair in years, not a real one surrounded by caravans and dogs on string leads, where the smell of candy floss mates with cigarette smoke in the air and bad language punctuates the sound of children laughing.
To my surprise it was actually liberating. Free from the world of health and safety and signs saying how tall you must be to go on a child’s Merry Go Round. I didnt see a single clean cut teenager posing as staff taking forever to check and double check seatbelts and other fastening devices on rides that could lose on a 100 metre dash to a snail and pose less danger than a balloon and a pin. Instead gruff looking chaps told me to ‘hold onto the kiddies tight’ with a twinkle in their eyes as they chuckled at my attempts to find a seat belt on the ‘twister.’
First the bouncy castle, two quid for as long as they like and helped on and off by an older lady with few teeth and a fag dripping out of the corner of her mouth. After three minutes my kids automatically climbed off and started to put on shoes, then burst back through the entrance screaming in delight when told they could have as long as they liked. They re appeared two minutes later complaining of thirst and tiredness and being a good mother I promised them a drink if they stayed on for five more minutes so I got my moneys worth.
We spent some time in the arcade pouring in ten penny pieces trying to win more back or even the top prize of a pack of fags; now I have never seen that at a theme park….
The hall of mirrors was a world of giggles until my eyes welled up for a moment when the trickery of the glass on one side made my children look like toddlers again for a moment and nostalgia threatened to overcome me. It was quickly replaced by amazement as another mirror suddenly aged my babies and I think I saw an impression of how they may both look as adults.
To be honest everything was cheap, and yes it smelled a little but they (and I) adored it. After begging for an hour to go on a “big” ride I finally relented and took the twins on their first Waltzer experience. Holding each child as tight as I could manage I yelled a warning them it would be fast as it creaked into action. Five minutes later I found myself with a free face lift as I was pinned to the chair by gravity and was spun round and round like food in a blender whilst my tiny five year olds alternated between screaming “more please more” and “ergh I feel sick”. We finally emerged looking like we had fallen out of a bar as we weaved in and out of the rides and twin girl summed it up for us.
“Mummy, it hurt my heart it was so awesome! And I feel so sick, like in a wonderful way.”
Happy kids, happy mum, different kind of afternoon.