The weekend was filled with excitement. Mr. Waffle’s sister came home from London with her fiancé [the man my children are calling Pruncle – short for pre-uncle obviously] and we all got to congratulate them and admire the ring. Although many details in relation to the wedding remain unsettled, the role of the flower girls has been discussed at considerable length and is the source of great joy to herself. Upon my asking Pruncle whether they intended to have lots of cousins at the wedding, he said “Well, I have no cousins, my parents are both only children.” He then cast a slightly nervous glance around the teeming masses of people in the room and said, “All this is quite new to me.” And then he had to play football in the garden for ages which was both virtuous and, I suspect exhausting. When driving home, I commented to the children how odd it was that both of Pruncle’s parents were only children. Michael was particularly fascinated by this and it was only when he asked why Pruncle’s parents weren’t grown-ups that I realised why.
On Sunday, Daniel really got the hang of cycling and is able to start by himself often – though not always.
The Princess is now an old hand at her prayers of the faithful at mass and she loves it. At the start of mass, five children were brought up for a first annointing – a new ceremony (well post the baptism of my children anyhow) which extends the baptism process over two Sundays. “This will take forever,” I muttered bitterly. Michael, of all people, said, “Mummy, don’t be mean, it’s nice to see new children being welcomed into the church.” I felt suitably chastised. After mass there was tea and a biscuit in the sacristy for those who were so inclined and the Princess and I may have been inveigled into joining the church choir.
In the afternoon, in response to Michael’s repeated requests, we went to a games shop in town. There you can buy horrifically expensive very tiny models which you need to paint and assemble yourself and use them to play games so complex that the rules can’t be explained in a normal lifetime. There were two ten year olds there who had to come into the shop to play because they couldn’t understand the rules after 2 years of playing with the models. I really can’t see the attraction myself but the boys were transfixed. I see shoals ahead.
We wrenched them away from the Games Shop and took them to the Dublin Book Festival. My expectations for this were pitched low. We had tried to book tickets for a number of the children’s events and failed. I suspected that we might arrive to find that access was only by ticket holders to a session for adults chaired by Ireland’s cultural commentator in chief, Fintan O’Toole. I was quite prepared to sell the whole thing to the children as a walk up and down the quays.
However, the venue was open and it was lovely and really interesting to look around. Upstairs, there were books for children to read and beanbags to sit and read them on.
There was a treasure hunt and each child who did it [and to my certain knowledge one who didn’t] got a bag containing bookmarks, two sweets and a small book. While the Princess was reading her book she looked up to see a woman staring at her. When she caught the Princess’s eye, the woman said, “I wrote that.”
They had this man called Niall de Burca do a storytelling session. He was phenomenal and the boys absolutely loved him. I have never seen them so engaged and entertained by a live performer. I know he’s an artist but I really wanted to ask him, “Do you do birthday parties?” I have never seen a group of children so entranced and he was at it for ages.
All in all, what with one thing and another, it was a busy weekend.