“I DON’T like fireworks, we should go home now,” announced our three-year old daughter, ten minutes before the actual pyrotechnics even started.
By that stage we were already standing in a field, in the dark, having persuaded our youngest two off spring to stay close to us with various sweets, candyfloss and toffee-apple bribes.
The elder two and a friend had disappeared into the night, shouting promises to behave and clutching all our remaining cash.
“We can’t go, it hasn’t even started yet,” said Bloke. “Anyway, I thought you were excited?”
She’d bounced around the house getting her warm coat and wellies on. She’d chattered uncontrollably in the car on the way, and had oooed and ahhed over the raging bonfire that greeted her across the fields on arrival.
Bloke and I were discussing how much easier it was to be enthusiastic about Bonfire Night when it wasn’t pouring with rain and freezing cold.
Then Bonnie switched from Being Excited to Being Whingey.
“Pick me up Daddy. I don’t like fireworks Daddy. I don’t like being here Daddy, I want to go home Daddy.” (I stayed out of it. I’d done Bonfire night on my own the previous year, with a pram, in mud, in the freezing rain).
What do you do when your toddler shows expresses fear? Do you cut your losses and head home?
Or do you stick it out, running the risk of giving them a firework phobia for the rest of their days?
Bah, you tell them not to be daft, explain what the fireworks will look and sound like, and stick it out, of course.
Bloke picked her up, and told her he’d cover her ears if the fireworks were too loud. After an initial burying of her face into his shoulder, she was persuaded to turn around and watch the pretty fireworks along with everyone else.
She soon got used to the noise, and by the time the initial few rockets had gone up, she forgot that she didn’t like fireworks. She was whooping and ‘ahh-ing’ away, while simultaneously smearing her face and coat with the reddest, stickiest toffee apple ever purchased.
Meanwhile Bloke’s back was aching from having to hold her at an angle so they could both look skywards, while unwittingly having red toffee rubbed into his jacket.
We rounded up the rest of the kids, who appeared out of the darkness, muddy from head to foot. They patiently explained that as the display was at Casuals Rugby Club, they’d felt obliged to play some rugby. . .