When silence fills your house, it can only be one of two things: your children are sleeping peacefully or your one year old son is knee deep in a tub of Sudocrem.
Of course, for us on Sunday morning, it was the latter. The Dude, while I was downstairs shoving a load of sicky PJs into the washing machine (mine and his from a tidal wave of milk sick at 7.30pm last night), decided to paint our grey carpet white so Mummy could impress you all by using a metaphor to describe the carpet as being a blanket of snow that coated a gloomy landscape on a dismal winter’s day. Not really! He did it because he can be a pain in the ass sometimes.
Snatching at the Sudocrem, which resulted in him throwing a paddy and then face planting the now white carpet, I lured him from the landing using the only thing I had to hand – a Fruitshoot sitting unopened next to my daughter’s bed. Now, at this point, she was sleeping soundly, however, ‘Sudocremgate’ must have woken her from her slumber because she stirred, woke and sat up.
She watched in horror as her brother’s Sudocrem laced fingers traced the opening of the bottle. She screamed as she saw him lift the bottle to his lips – the lips that gleamed with the snot from the tantrum.
The world as we know it ended.
Despite this, today was going to be glorious and I didn’t panic. How did I know this? Well, the sun was shining and we were having a day out at a children’s theme park called ‘Wheelgate Park’. It was going to be a family day out. Yes, the Other Half was coming too. Now, because of his very real and very serious condition called Othertowncilitus, we very rarely go on family trips out, so today was going to be great.
As agreed the previous night with some friends, the trip was to start at 9.30am whereby we would set off in our separate cars and meet at a theme park in Mansfield. We had a plan.
At 9am, I still resembled Lion-O from Thundercats as the mane had yet to be tamed. By 9.15, the GHDs had worked their magic and I was almost looking fit for public consumption. The Other Half, however, was laying un-showered on the bed with ‘Uptown Funk’ on repeat in a bid to get the Dude to dance (just like he did at the party below.)
By 9.45, we were on our way.
By 9.50 the girl asked her first ‘Are we there yet?’ and we replied by offering her an endless supply of Haribo fizzy dummies to keep her satiated.
When she seemed settled, I pulled out my Kindle in a bid to satisfy my current reprisal of my ‘Game of Thrones’ addiction by reading ‘Storm of Swords’. Robb Stark is alive, Jaime still has two hands and Joffrey is still a sick little bugger. The Kindle opened and for half an hour, I was in Westeros.
I saw your sons die, that night in the Whispering Wood…
“Ooooh, I know where we are. My training school was down this road.”
Lord Karstark spit out a broken tooth…
“The school offered me a job you know. Just think, if I had accepted it, I would never have me you.”
“Would you have been happier?” I asked.
Silence accompanied by a distant faraway look in his eyes.
Gods be good. Catelyn felt ill again. Yeah, I knew that feeling well.
Within an hour we arrived. I had read at least three pages of my Kindle, the girl had finished her dummies, the Dude had had a good sleep and the Other Half – “Ooh look, a Tesco, we can treat ourselves on the way back” – had finished telling me his stories.
We met our friends and their two children and in we went.
What a hidden little gem Wheelgate Park was. On offer were rides, play areas, trampolines, sand pits, animals, immense soft plays and a tropical paradise of plants, crocodiles and mating tortoises. (I don’t think they were mating – just ‘playing’.)
The crème de la crème though had to be the water park. There was a sizable and very impressive outdoor water park. Ordinarily I would avoid something like this like the plague because when you have a fringe and no plug to plug in your GHDs then water, I am afraid, is not your friend. However, today it was 24 degrees. I was wearing shorts for God’s sake. My legs, that had not seen light since July 2015 were on show, therefore, it felt right to visit the waterpark. Now being the ridiculously organised parent that I am, I packed a swimming costume and a towel for my daughter and she quickly changed into it and demanded to hit the waves. I can see that you’re impressed by the fact that I got something right: it was a hot day, there was a water park and my girl had a swimming costume. The impressive thing though, the skill you should really be admiring is the fact that I failed to bring my own swimming costume. No, dear readers, this was not a mistake. This was me making a statement.
No one in Mansfield needed to see me outside wearing a swimming costume.
The fringe was going to stay firmly in place.
My eyeliner flicks were not going to run.
And Daddy would be taking his daughter to paddle in the cold depths of the, undeniably awesome, water park.
After lunch and after we had dried, we continued to make our way though the park. We found an adventure playground, the children ran around it for half an hour and my friend and I saw a lovely lady, who was wearing a short white linen dress, bend over a little too far and unknowingly reveal to us the fact that she had chosen to wear black knickers today despite her wearing white and it being very hot. Knowing what was about to play out in front of us, we both simultaneously cringed for her and made our way towards the animals.
I have to say that the reptile house housed some of the biggest lizards I had ever seen. There was a giant iguana trying to high five my son; I was so impressed that I couldn’t help but encourage him to high five it back. It was then that I spotted a picture of a tarantula. I have an irrational fear of spiders. But, because I am weird, I have to torture myself by standing and looking at them. Glancing down at my feet, I saw them start moving towards the glass cases hidden in a corner. I saw a father telling his daughter all about the spider lurking in one of the cases. Then, in slow motion, I saw him pretend to slide the door open and pretend to throw the non-existent spider onto his daughter.
“Oh my God!” I cried. “Don’t do that!”
He looked over to me and for a moment, his eyes bore into me and I saw him wish that he did actually have the tarantula in his hand because he would have thrown it at the interfering woman (with a GHDed fringe and perfect eye liner flicks) who was ruining his ‘Daddy Daugher’ time.
“I can’t handle this,” I shouted. I pushed past some other mums and found my way back to my own party who were leaving to reptiles to enter the more serine, but smellier, rodent habitat.
Now, Rabbits I could handle.
After the animals, we found ourselves in the soft play. Even though, it was a glorious day, we remained in the soft play area for a while.
Because the Dude lost his shoe in the ball pool, that’s why. This was entirely my fault. As he is only one and because somewhere deep within me, there resides a rebel, I decided against taking his shoes off because they are a ‘bugger’ to get back on. My friend and I were happy swimming amongst a sea of E. coli infested balls with our youngest until I realised that a Clarks First Steps was missing. Together, we searched the pool while my friend’s son was being used as target practice by an unruly four year old.
“Stop throwing balls!” I yelled. “I’ll give you a tenner if you find a shoe.”
“And I’ll take a pound off every time you hit me with a ball,” my friend added. “Ow!”
Ten minutes later and I was about to call off the search. My hands delved in for one last sweep of the bottom of the ball pool (for those of you who are interested – it feels grainy, dusty and you can feel the filth climbing its way into your nails) and lo and behold, I found the shoe.
“I’ve found it!” I cried triumphantly. It felt like I had won a crystal in The Crystal Maze.
With out children under our arms, we waded out from the ball pool and made our way to the exit of the park.
Finding the Dude’s shoe was like finding a hidden gem, but finding out about this theme park was like finding a treasure trove. It was a fab day out.
What about the Magical Golden Arches you ask? On the journey home, we stopped at McDonalds of course. While everyone enjoyed their burgers in the sunshine, I found myself sitting in the car with a sleeping Dude. Therefore, I opened my Kindle and the characters came alive for me again.
I told you it was going to be a glorious day.
And this was bliss.