“It’s behind you!”
Yes! It’s pantomime time. This might seem a little early for the festive season but it’s almost George’s second birthday. I can’t believe how time has flown. It only feels like the other month when my grandson was learning to walk. Now he’s racing around. On stage.
It was my daughter’s idea. “I think he’s too young to have a proper party,” she says. “They’ve got a production of Stick Man coming up. Shall we go to that instead?”
It’s during the week when George’s daddy is at work. My husband is still on sticks himself after his spinal op so it’s just the four of us.
The children adore Stick Man (both the book and TV programme) and now they are beyond themselves with excitement at seeing them onstage.
I’ve managed to get front row seats which seemed like a good idea at the time. However, George thinks it’s a great game to throw his miniature stick man – which I bought them at the beginning of the performance because that’s what grannies do – and aim it at the actors. This means that I have to run after him on stage, grab both and bring them back while Rose sits sedately next to her mother.
Our performance gets repeated several times but luckily the actors seem to take it in good spirits.
Then, just as the children have settled, I realise something. My phone – which also contains my credit card in its holder – isn’t in my bag. My jacket is also missing.
Panic sets in…
“Don’t be silly, Mum,” whispers my daughter. “It’s got to be there somewhere.”
But it isn’t.
This time, I’m the one who has to sneak past the actors off stage. “Where’s Gan Gan going?” whispers Rose loudly.
“Shhh,” says my daughter.
Luckily I’ve left my phone at the kiosk in the foyer where we’d bought the stick men and ice creams. My jacket, it transpires, is in the loo where I was despatched earlier to take George.
Filled with relief, I sneak back to my seat.
“Honestly,” clucks my daughter. “It’s like having a third child. What are you going to mislay next?”
The funny thing is that I only lose things on granny days. The day before the pantomime, one of George’s new shoes went walking between collecting Rose from her dance class and going to the car. Luckily they weren’t very expensive but that’s not really the point. It can take hours of shopping to find the perfect fit – even Cinderella didn’t have so much trouble!
“I lose stuff too,” says one of my granny friends cheerfully. “It’s because they give us so many bags. I have two for each child. I keep telling my lot to label everything but I’m always putting the wrong one in the wrong trousers or giving them a different lunchbox.”
Back to Stick Man. It’s just an hour long which is perfect timing for a child’s attention span. Great. We can go home now. Or can we?
“Do you mind if we just nip into town to change a pair of boots for Rose?” asks my daughter.
The words ‘just’ and ‘nip into town’ always fill my heart with foreboding. My daughter is a born shopper. “As long as it’s quick,” I say, thinking of my husband at home on crutches.
Of course it takes longer than intended – but mainly because the invalid at home has sent through a request for a CD from HMV. This means we get stuck in the going-home traffic.
“Poo poo,” chants George happily from the back. Oh no. Even though we are potty training, we’ve taken the precaution of putting him in a nappy for the journey home. “It stinks,” says Rose, wrinkling her nose with the superiority of one who has been clean for some time.
We make an emergency turn off into a nice quiet residential street where it takes us 15 minutes to sort out George. By the time we get home, it’s almost bedtime.
I am utterly exhausted. Still, it was a great way of celebrating George’s birthday which isn’t by the way until next week. “A bit like the Queen,” jokes my husband. “Why have just one when you can string it out?”
“Do you want to come for a bike ride tomorrow morning, Mum?” asks my daughter. I usually write in the morning when it’s not a granny day and I’ve also got a lot of admin work to do. But George isn’t going to be little for ever and I don’t want to miss out…
So off we go. Rose is in her element as she cycles along while her little brother – determined to keep up on his balance bike – trundles on merrily behind. I know then that I’ve made the right decision. Granny moments are made of times like this!
Then I’m on my own with them for two days while my daughter works. It’s a mixture of pre-school, park trips, picnics, coaxing (“Of course you like broccoli!”) and the doctor’s for suspected earache (“Just a bit pink”).
The following morning, my daughter rings. “Mum,” she says. “I know you’ve lost one of George’s shoes (ouch!) but where are the other pair?”
“I don’t have them,” I protest. “Honestly. I can remember putting them at the foot of your stairs when we came back from the doctor.”
“Well they’re not here now.”
Then a thought strikes me. Am I remembering the shoes at the bottom of the steps from the previous day? Is it possible that they might be…
Yes. They’re in the buggy in the boot of my car. Along with the trainer mug we’ve been looking for everywhere. Oh dear. Maybe I really am beginning to lose it…
PS What have you lost during one of your granny days? Please let us know. I’d love to include your story in a future column.
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