How to embarrass your children…

my mother and her friends

… dance first at the kids’ disco.

Well I had to, otherwise they wouldn’t have found the courage to dance and they’d have missed out on fun and frolics with Mc Fly.

We were on our way back from France on the ferry. We’d sat through the magician. Hannah loved him and joined in the competitive shouting with the other kids.
Ben sat next to me stony-faced, muttering -
“I know how he did that.”
“I’ve seen that before.”
“He’s rubbish.”

What it is to have seen so many magicians by the age of eight that you can judge a good one from a bad one. At that age I was still impressed by an uncle who made coins disappear in a box with a false sliding bottom. The stuff of Christmas crackers in the fast-moving 21st century.

Once I was up on the dance floor, Hannah quickly joined me, wanting to be swung about like a whirling dervish.
Ben sidled up close enough to hiss -
“You’re embarrassing” then he high-tailed it to the other side of the room.

Once he saw how much fun Hannah was having though, he started to slink back to the dance floor, looking the opposite way of course, but still getting closer and closer, until he as good as admitted I was his mother by asking to be swung around -
“like Hannah”.

He soon found the courage to do his own peculiar brand of disco-dancing, which involved skidding on his knees then throwing himself across the parquet floor as if in training for his second-choice career of stuntman (first choice – spy).

As I edged to the periphery of the dance floor, leaving them to it, I felt happy with my work. I’d set them a fine example which would stand them in good stead for the rest of their lives, just like my mother did for me – (see her, as above, with friends just last year).

And the lesson today is – it’s OK to look a complete idiot and not care.

In fact I had a pretty grown-up conversation with Ben about this very subject on the way back to our seats. It went something along the lines of –

“How could you dance on your own and not care what people think?!”
“Lots of practice,” I said “and I’ve always liked dancing. When I was your age I used to dance on stage in competitions, so I was used to people looking at me.”

I think I spotted a new and grudging admiration in his sideways glance at me… or was it wind from all the knee-skidding?

Time will tell.

About Beta Mum

Here you can find the ramblings of a trapeze artist turned journalist who ran away from the circus to join the BBC. Cathy "mine's a Kir Royale" Keir then spent thirteen years working in Jersey, Guernsey and Devon, before downgrading to what you see before you. She has contributed articles to The Guardian, The Stage and Television Today, Junior Magazine and both the BBC and Bad Mothers Club websites. She has two children who think women can’t be prime ministers. She blames herself.
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3 Responses to How to embarrass your children…

  1. Rilly Super says:

    cathy dear, were you returning from France from a holiday or from a long career as a bluebell girl?

    thanks ever so for the link by the way darling

  2. cathy says:

    Ah – if only I could have been a Bluebell girl. Alas, I’m at least a foot too short and a foot too wide.

  3. dulwichmum says:

    I know what you mean about the magician. We never had them at parties when I was a child. I was at a childrens party recently and I was horrified to hear one boy shout out (he can’t have been more than eight) – “just cut the crap and show us your rabbits!” Clearly he is preparing for holidays in Faliraki when he is older – eugh…

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