It's the season to be jolly and all that. And to rush around like a lunatic. And to enjoy youngest son's star performance as a king in the nursery nativity.
I had high hopes. He sang his king song loudly, confidently and relatively tunefully in the car on the way to the village hall. He was pleased with his costume. Any resemblance between his royal cloak and our living room curtains is entirely coincidental. I asked him whether he was giving gold, frankincense or myrrh to the baby Jesus. "Mine's red," he said. "So that means it's the gold, it's just red." Right.
He had a wobbly moment earlier in the day when he decided that he wanted to abdicate...his kingship and all responsibility for doing the play, but I insisted that we go along anyway just to have a look. After the sing-song in the car and his delight in his crown he got caught up in the buzz and virtually ran back stage.
I sat in the audience expectantly. It was the standard nursery production. Bright, bubbly and exhaustingly enthusiastic helpers narrated, cajoled and over-acted next to unpredictable toddlers, whilst removing screaming children from the stage from time to time. There were fourteen angels, five donkeys, four stars (yes, I know, that was a new development for me too, but there were also four kings so they kind of had one each to follow), a whole flock of shepherds, one Mary, one Joseph and, thankfully, one baby Jesus.
"Sing, Eddie," I heard the helper next to him implore as they launched in to the first 'number'. He smiled his cutest smile, waved at me in the audience to make sure that I was looking, and then shook his head like he'd just been asked to tidy his bedroom. I knew that shake. So I wasn't surprised when he refused to sing any songs for the entire duration of the show, including his special king one. He did, dutifully, walk over and sling his 'red' at the crib at more or less the allotted time, but then promptly sat himself down again at the front of the stage and proceeded to pick his nose for the rest of the show.
He then had the temerity to demand cake on his return from the stage. Celebrity mindset without the performance, it seems.
And he sang all the way home, too.
Currently reading: Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen