The Trials Of A Family Film Afternoon

Yesterday we had a family film afternoon. We watched the original Star Wars. We did this partly as a trip down memory lane for Mummy and Daddy so that we could see it again after all these years but also it was a way we could conduct a bit of investigative research. We wanted to see if the boys would sit through the whole film. The idea was, if they really were interested in it and it held their attention through the entire thing then we would all go to see the new Star Wars film together at the cinema. If not then it would be a Mummy and Daddy only excursion.

It didn’t start too well. As the iconic opening words began to flow up the screen, Henry got a bit lost. “There are too many words for me to read, Mummy! I won’t know what is going on!” But as it turned out, that was the least of the obstacles to his understanding. Much more of a problem for Henry, and the rest of us, was his continual commentary and questions concerning all of the movie events and all of the characters. Add to that his obsession with recounting the troubling (for him) situation of the unequal number of Kinder eggs that he and his brother had left from their Christmas chocolate stash and I think you will see how it could all be rather distracting.

To my way of thinking there are two sorts of film watchers in the world. There are those who, like myself, can sit and watch a film quietly without the need to excessively comment on what’s going on or to ask continual questions. Then there are the other type. This type can’t sit quietly at all during a film and they have to comment on everything to do with the film as well as many other things not to do with the film at all.

It turns out Henry is one of the latter types.

To give you an idea of what watching Star Wars with Henry was like, please imagine being forced to listen to the following phrases and questions, at volume and on a repeated shuffle program on an iPod that gets frequently stuck, repeating certain random phrases again and again until it hears an answer.
“Mummy, who’s that?”
“Mummy, why did he do that?”
“Mummy, is that another Darth Vader?”
“Mummy, what is he doing?”
“Mummy, I have had 2 of my chocolate eggs and Sam has only had 1 chocolate egg and I only have 4 chocolate eggs left and Sam has 5 chocolate eggs left and that’s not fair, so if I have 1 chocolate egg now and Sam has 2 chocolate eggs now then we will have the same number of chocolate eggs, Mummy, can we do that Mummy? Can I have 1 chocolate egg and Sam have 2 chocolate eggs so we have the same number of chocolate eggs?”
“Mummy, what’s his name?”
“Mummy, is he a good one or a bad one?”
“Mummy, Darth Vader is Luke’s daddy. I know that.”
“Mummy, where are the robots?”
“Mummy, did he get died?”
“Mummy, what happened to him?”
“Mummy, is that his new daddy now?”
“Mummy, has that blowed up? Are they all died?”

And then, as the end credits rolled, Henry chattered away happily about the film. “Has the film finished, Mummy? I liked that film. I liked the ones who joined them, the ones who tried hard, I liked three-three-p-o and R2 and the one with the nose, who was the one with the nose, Mummy? I liked the girl one, and I liked Shoe-bacca, I liked three-three-p-o, he was funny, and I liked Darth Vader and I liked the stormtroopers, I didn’t like the sand people, Mummy can I have a chocolate egg? Why not, Mummy? I liked that film, Mummy, they helped him didn’t they, Mummy? Mummy, who was the one with the big nose? I liked him, I don’t know his name, do you know his name? Gonzalo knows his name, he told me his name but I can’t remember it, and the girl one, I liked three-three-p-o and R2 and the one with the nose…”

And so ended our family film afternoon, our last film afternoon of the year for today is New Year’s Eve and we will be going out into town later to watch the fireworks and see in 2016. Who knows what the coming year will bring? More travels? More family adventures and exploits?

One thing I’m sure it will bring, a Mummy and Daddy only trip to the cinema to see the new Star Wars. This family isn’t quite ready for a repeat performance just yet!

Happy New Year!

How to teach your child to ice skate in 30 simple steps

I recently taught my child how to ice skate in just 30 simple steps. Yes, really! Just 30 simple steps! And today I’m going to share my secret, tried and tested method with you! So, if you would like to emulate my success this is what you need to do –

1. Find an ice rink. If possible take other family members to share in the joyous occasion. We took my mum.
2. Feel a bit bad when you can’t remember the size of your children’s feet when the assistant tries to fit them for their ice skates.
3. Hire some ice skating assistance ‘helpers’ that your children can cling on to for dear life while trying to push them around the ice.
4. Watch as your eldest endeavours to push his polar bear helper around, summoning memories of when Bambi tries to walk for the first time.
5. Watch as your youngest just stands there holding on to his penguin helper, looking a bit frustrated as he is not actually moving at all because it’s a bit too heavy for him to push.
6. Try to block out his repeated calls of “Mummy, Mummy, I need help!” hoping that he will soon get himself moving.
7. Feel your resolve waver and get up to help, ignoring your mum’s advice to ‘leave him to get on with it, he’ll soon get the hang of it’.
8. Having first checked with the rink staff that it’s ok, walk gingerly onto the ice in your inappropriate-for-the-job sandals in order to give your child a bit of a push around the ice while simultaneously holding him up as he continues to cling for dear life onto his penguin helper.
9. Find yourself now unable to leave him because you just know that as soon as you let go either his legs will collapse beneath him and he will fall in a heap on the rink or he will just stand there not moving again and will probably cry out of frustration.
10. Continue to ignore your mum’s repeated words of wisdom to leave him alone and let him work it out for himself.
11. Instead carry on pushing your youngest around while adopting a very ungraceful position with your feet stuck out at dangerously wide angles with your bottom protruding unattractively behind you while struggling to hold on to his waist in order to propel him around the ice.
12. Try to avoid your child’s ice skates that keep shooting backwards as he repeatedly loses his footing. Please ensure that you fail to see the potential danger to yourself.
13. Eventually, and inevitably, feel your child’s ice skate slide backwards and then painfully over your own foot.
14. Look down in amazement at the instantaneous and rapidly growing pool of blood that has appeared on the ice around your foot.
15. Ignore your oblivious child’s impatient calls for you to keep pushing while you call for your mum to come and help you.
16. Call for help again, in a rather fainter voice now, while your mum is preoccupied looking down at her iPad and muttering something about photos and insufficient lighting while not hearing you at all.
17. Stand in a continually growing pool of blood while vainly calling, “Mum, Mum, I’ve cut my foot!”
18. Eventually sit your child down on a nearby support on the ice and hobble over to the viewing area while still calling, “Mum, I’ve cut my foot” while your mum continues to look at her iPad, muttering about poor photo quality and not knowing how she can improve it while you leave a gruesome trail of blood in your wake.
19. Finally make it over to your mum and alert her to your plight as she gasps in horror and at last jumps swiftly into action.
20. Sit, on the brink of fainting and with your head swimming dizzily while the staff from the rink administer first aid and mop up the grisly trail of blood from rink and a newly formed puddle in the viewing area while vaguely aware of a little voice in the distance calling out, “Mummy! Mummy! Look at me!”
21. Very close to passing out now and feeling extremely clammy apply an icy towel to the back of your neck and keep your head down, continue to be aware of the increasingly desperate little voice calling out, “Mummy! Mummy! Look at me!”
22. Despite feeling very faint and dizzy make a concerted effort to lift your head to see what the little voice is so desperate for you to witness.
23. Gasp and wonder if you’re hallucinating from the blood loss when you see what looks like your youngest, ice skating around slowly but surely all on his own!
24. Look down to see your foot being bandaged up and watch as another member of staff hoses a sizeable mass of congealed blood right past you which then slides down the drain hole.
25. Look up again and see your youngest now whizzing around the rink on his own.
26. Look behind you at some newly arrived young skaters who, on seeing the remnants of blood on the ground, make noises of disgust and ask loudly, “Ewww! Is that your blood?”
27. Look back to see your youngest now actually running on the ice as if he had been born wearing ice skates, chasing after his brother and laughing loudly..
28. As the dizziness passes, try to fit your massively bandaged, and painfully stiffening foot back into your shoe while laughing along with your mum at the humour of the whole situation as your youngest comes skating gracefully over to you and skids gracefully to a halt with a professional sounding ‘whoosh’ at the edge of the rink.
29. Realise that your child is now a rather good, self taught ice skater and that your mum was right after all, you should have left him to work out skating on his own.
30. Eventually hobble off home as your children excitedly say, “That was so much fun! Can we come again? When can we come again? Can we come again? When can we come again?….”

Other methods are available.
You might choose to try those instead.
I would.

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