Bonfire night. Both girls had been promised a trip to a bonfire which, as it turned out, was cancelled for reasons not worth going into here. So, in an attempt to keep things calm I looked into local bonfires.
Up until now the girls have not been to a bonfire - six year old has always been mightily terrified of the bangs and anyway we live at the top end of a valley and can usually get a great view of at least three or four big firework displays from behind the safety of our bedroom windows.
I was told there was a local pub that usually has a small (and earlyish!) bonfire so made plans to go, despite reservations about taking a 6 and a 3 year old out after dark and having to suffer the repercussions of tiredness and post-bedtime giddiness alone. We talked about it, I asked several times if they really wanted to go, even offered the get-out that it had been rather wet during the day so maybe we didn't have to go.... But no, we still wanted to so we layered up to keep warm (although by this point 6 year old was already saying she wanted to watch from inside the pub) and opened the door to the dark, at which point several fireworks happened to go off in the near vicinity.
"Noooo, Mummeee I don't waaant to go!" says 6 year old. Hmm, thought this might happen. Ok, so we don't have to. "But I do want to go Mummy," says 3 year old. Oh, hadn't anticipated that one. 6 year old decides she would like to go, but only if we drive to the pub. Obviously it goes against the grain to drive to something so close, but we had been talking about going for days and maybe this would ultimately help her reduce her fear of the big bangs. So we climb into the car for the short ride down the hill. Stop the car, climb out.
"Nooo, Mummeeee I still don't waaant to go!"
Bollocks. This is obviously one of several drawbacks to being a lone parent, or to being any parent who does most of the parenting alone, because if one goes somewhere you all have to go. Sometimes this can have advantages, and I am certain that it has helped my girls develop their wonderful relationship with each other. But at times like these it means choosing between them. Tough call.
Of course in the end I had to respect the genuine fear that my 6 year old was displaying over the disappointment shown by my 3 year old.
"Why don't we go home and drink hot chocolate by your bedroom window and see if we can see fireworks from there?"
Luckily that worked for both girls.
We went home via a shop that sold both milk for the drinks and sparklers as an added appeasement to brave little 3 year old.
It must be the first time I have held a sparkler in years so I enjoyed it once we got home, as did they, and in the end I reckon we had a more enjoyable time watching the show from indoors than we would have done standing in the cold or fighting through a busy pub.
Slight concern on my part though as I left the girls to run their bedtime bath and heard: "Mummy, I saw a man's willy!"
Erm, that wasn't supposed to be part of the show.... Hmm, the man who lives in the house behind us was getting into the shower in his fully-lit bathroom. Oops. All perfectly innocent, but somehow I know that's the bit of information that 6 year old will be sharing when she goes into school tomorrow... Yikes.