Welcome to 2017 and the first post of the new year. This is my traditional Janus-like post where I look back upon the year just gone and the one that lies before us.
My First Festival
It’s July; it’s Britain; it’s summer therefore there is heavy rain with gales and a hose pipe ban (probably). It is also festival season. My first festival wasn’t until July 1996 (T in the Park), Éowyn’s first festival was last Saturday (Legoland Live! on 16th July 2011! – nearly 15 years to the day!). Whereas my first festival included Radiohead, Alanis Morrisette, Prodigy, Foo Fighters, Beck, Black Grape and Pulp (not to mention Keanu Reeve’s band Dogstar), Éowyn’s first festival included Fifi and the Flowertots, Roary the Racing Car and the Zingzillas!
Yes, Legoland hosted Legoland Live! which was billed as My First Festival. One stage (and a number of other events around the periphery) in a field in the Legoland car park. The bands were a variety of Milkshake (Channel 5) and CBeebies (BBC) characters including a number of Éowyn’s favourites (although not Peppa Pig!). As it was part of Legoland, surprisingly our Merlin Passes gained us free access without any supplement required (we were expecting one, so it was a pleasant twist and would encourage us to go to the next one). Unfortunately the weather was not pleasant (reminiscent of my first Glastonbury – and my second Glastonbury). The heavens had well and truly opened and within 5 minutes of entering the park were soaked to the skin (literally!).
Lucinda decided to try and brave the weather and took Éowyn on the Dino Ride, while I sheltered with Amélie under one of the eateries. The weather was so bad though that they stopped the ride part way round and had the walk some of the route to the exit, not before Lucinda and Éowyn had one of the official photographs of them on the ride. Lucinda and Éowyn joined myself and Amélie in our shelter and we stayed there for the best part of an hour, while our pac-a-macs dried out (we didn’t purchase one of the the fetching yellow plastic Legoland ponchos that seemed to be in vogue on Saturday). So, slightly less damp we headed to the festival site. That dry feeling did not last very long as the rain had not stopped so with British stoicism we walked, with heads held high to the festival field.
We arrived just as Fifi and the Flowertots were on, and the delight and incredulity on Éowyn’s face was palpable. I don’t think that she could believe, or perhaps even comprehend, that they were real (as they obviously are!) and sat on my shoulders grinning from ear to ear at the stage. Fifi was followed by Roary the Racing Car and the Zingzillas (for who the sun came out briefly)! Those were the big three that we thought that Éowyn would want to see.
There was a hiatus after the Zingzillas (and there needed to be – far too much excitement!) so we decided to look and some of the tents on the periphery of the field. As fortune would have it we arrived at the first tent just as a Flowertot show was about to start. Not the matriarch of the show, Fifi, but her friend Violet. A dancefloor stood in the middle of the tent and the children were encouraged to sit there with the parents on chairs at the edge of the dancefloor looking on. I think that Éowyn was a little over-awed by it all and stood at the edge of the dancefloor near Lucinda (I was at the back with Amélie) sucking her thumb. She didn’t join in with the dance actions of the first few songs, but fortunately the performer in the Violet suit (O.K. Violet herself) saw Éowyn and made a concerted effort to encourage her to join in, including dancing with her and giving her a cuddle at the end of the next song.
The next tent was bedecked with beanbags and cushions and two children entertainers took turns reading stories. Éowyn loves stories, reading them (as best as she can), listening to them or just making them up! Either she was really tired or the environment wasn’t condusive to listening or the entertainers did not enthrall her and her attention waived. We took this as the excitement of the day was just too much and with a long wait until Justin Fletcher we decided to go home. Within five minutes of leaving Legoland she was fast asleep in the arms of her car seat.
I have to say it was a good day, obviously it would have been considerably better if it had been dry (although with it raining on St. Swithun’s day – the day before – we probably have another 40 days worth of rain to come!) and if we had managed to meet up with at least one of the group of friends that were also in attendance. Unfortunately as we were all dashing from shelter to shelter it just wasn’t meant to be. Should Legoland host the festival again next year then I am sure that, if possible, we will be there.
Éowyn is certainly going through the terrible twos at the moment. She is pushing the boundaries continually and much of it is fuelled, we think, by jealousy. Although she is very fond of her sister, and no one can make Amélie giggle quite as hard as Éowyn, she does get angry and frustrated if Amélie is shown any form of affection. The thinking step has been in use most days and at the moment it seems to work. She will sit on the designated step and will, usually, seem genuinely sorry and modify her behaviour accordingly afterwards.
As with all generalised statements there are exceptions and occasionally there are times when the thinking step isn’t the appropriate course of action. While putting her to bed the other night, Éowyn was giving Lucinda a hard time. Lucinda bent down to Éowyn’s eye level, looked her in the eye and asked her with a low measured voice to come to her to get dressed. Éowyn simply shouted ‘No!’ (her usual response when she is frustrated and angry) then slapped Lucinda and spat in her face. Obviously two minutes on the thinking step wasn’t the answer. So she was swiftly dressed (by me) and put to bed with no stories and I took all her toys out of her bed. Éowyn loves her stories (and to be honest I love that father and daughter time, reading them to her) so that was a big loss to her, as was the lack of toys in her bed. I explained to her why she was not going to have any stories and why I was taking the toys out of her bed after I had made her say sorry to Lucinda. I went downstairs but before Lucinda followed me she heard a little voice from Éowyn’s room. Lucinda went in and Éowyn simply held out a small cuddly toy, ‘Daddy, forgot one,‘ she said. Your heart breaks.
The next morning she again apologised and fully understood why she had not had any stories, so although it feels harsh when you are dishing out such punishment in the grand scheme of things, it not only works but is necessary. Let’s hope that this stage does not last very long.
Amélie has also taken a very big step forward. No, not walking (or even crawling forward yet) but something we are probably more delighted with. She has decided that she doesn’t want a dummy anymore. It was something that never happened with Éowyn for she refused a dummy from the very beginning when she was in the incubator in ICU (although she still sucks her thumb) and we were concerned on how we would face the day when we took the dummy away. We had visions of her being quite old and still depending on a dummy for comfort (at the Legoland Live! Festival there were some children who were at least 4 that still had dummies) but no need to worry. On Tuesday she started pushing the dummy away. On Wednesday she didn’t use it once, and she hasn’t used it since. This is a great relief and a great step in her development, not to mention making our lives a lot easier. If only she wouldn’t wake for a feed at 05:30 every morning!
Work is starting to ramp up for me as the football seasons (yes seasons!) begin, hopefully I can keep the current update rate going, I will try my best.
And before I leave you a final word goes to Lucinda, happy 4th Wedding Anniversary darling, glad to see that the weather hasn’t improved.
Peace and Love