Praise be! A Bank Holiday Monday where by and large the sun shone.
For parents of small children the first flush of summer brings with it a host of opportunities and challenges.
Often first up there’s the traditional hunt the paddling pool game. The loft, the garage, the cupboard under the stairs – each is upturned in an attempt to discover the garish, damp lump of plastic that you neatly folded (scrunched into a mound) and carefully put away(shot putted) last August.
After drawing a blank in all three locations a vague memory of a puncture and hapless attempts to repair it comes into view and you conclude that it went to the tip which means having already mentioned the PP words put loud and started a tidal wave of excitement you need to go shopping.
Pool inflated and water inserted its everyone outside – after we’ve been through the sun cream ritual of course.
For little beings with relatively small bodies it feels like it takes millennia to properly put sun cream on a toddler. You move the ultra high factor cream cheese around them again and again in a vain attempt to rub it in before eventually, on the very brink of exhaustion, you give up and send them out to looking like they are about to swim the channel.
The usual mixed messages around the threat posed by wasps is often next up on the first sunny day of the year menu.
“They are more scared of you than you are of them” you lie. “Just ignore them and they will ignore you” you hear your increasingly high pitched voice trotting out as the stripy blighter continues to attempt to extract jam by menaces from your al fresco lunching little one.
Then you crack and try to smash the thing to death with the Argos catalogue before being chased round the garden by it shouting “don’t worry baby, don’t worry.” to your now hysterical child.
But all of these are but sideshows to the main event which is the tackling of the long put off potty training. The modern wisdom around this milestone event is to withdraw the nappy when the weathers good and let them run free in the garden, praising them to the nines every time they do the roses a favour.
Which sounds straightforward except for the fact that for a reason which I do not fully understand every toddler that has ever toddled the planet will do two things when it comes to non nappy poos.
Firstly they will only ever oblige when you aren’t looking, meaning locating the offending article before it becomes a well trodden pootastrophy of epic proportions becomes vital.
And secondly you’ll almost always find that they have delivered their parcel in one place and on place alone.
The paddling pool.