Monday, July 31, 2006

Roller Coaster Boy

That was a really lovely weekend we just had. Saturday we had our neighbours over for a BBQ. It was hard work, we were expecting almost 20 people. Fresh bread, lamb kabobs, hamburgers, sea trout, three types of salad, a summer pudding, fresh ice cream and a pear tart. It’s a lot of work to prepare a feast.

It went off without a hitch. Everyone enjoyed themselves, which was the point. Ours is a very private little road. Other than the family across the road with children of a similar age, none of us mingle much. We might wave if we cross paths on a walk, or as we drive out, but even that is infrequent. Its not that we don’t like each other, for the most part everyone is very friendly. We also help each other out when needed, I’ve assisted and been assisted with floods and emergency calls, even an owl in a house of a neighbour who was terrified of birds (that was fun). The fact is, we just don’t see each other much. The British pride of privacy in spades.

The funny thing is, when we do get together, we all really get along. It was a grand party, very social. LL and I were both really pleased we did it. About every two years we get up the will to organise it. Every time we hope someone else will reciprocate next time, but we’re the only ones who do. Its worth it though.

Sunday was a treat day. The kids have been great lately, happy and cooperative. So, it was off to LegoLand. We were a bit worried about the weather, but it turned out fine and warm (rather than sweltering). Even the crowds, which were heavy, weren’t that bad. I think the longest queue we had to deal with was about 20 minutes.

LegoLand is a family favourite. I know the kids will grow out of it some day, but we do have to spend at least an hour wandering around miniland. I’ve got two budding engineers in the making, they love see what’s built, figuring out what’s changed, and chasing the trains around. My Princess and LL wander a bit more sedately. They both like to investigate with a little more time, rather than the magpie viewing the boys enjoy.

There is also the rides, and it was here I was privately proud. Pirate Pete has never liked roller coasters. He’s always said, “Nope, they look a bit scary.” We haven’t pressed, little neuroses are developed out of the oddest things. This time though he and I had had a little talk before hand, very gentle, just about not letting fear stop you. It certainly doesn’t hurt that his younger brother has no fear. Ali Baba is roller coaster boy in our family, the faster the wilder the happier he is. I expect number two son will be into danger sports clinging off of cliffs with his bear hands and the like.

So, en famile we decided to head to the big adventure roller coaster first. LL has had a bad neck this week, so she sat out with our little princess who is just a few centimetres too short. I took the boys in, and as we’d got to the park early, the queue was nothing. I won’t say PP enjoyed it so much he wanted to go straight back on, but he did it, and felt good about doing it.

It was one of those moments you want for your children, when you see them grow up that bit more. His back was a bit straighter, and he grinned widely when I said we had two roller coaster boys now. Confidence is such a precious thing, it has to be nurtured, loved, and occasionally reined in if it looks like its turning to arrogance. Yet for the moment, on this small little thing, it had worked. My boy knew he could step past his fear and do something. Next time, on the next fear, it will be that little bit easier to do. It may sound silly to be proud of a child going on a roller coaster, but I was hugely proud and happy.

At the end of the day, he was the one who asked to go on the Dragon roller coaster, and he enjoyed it too!


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