Saturday, 19 May 2007

Dig's day

We all go to a kiddie amusement park. We have a free family pass that Shark won in a drawing competition for us last Christmas.

At first she thought of drawing two robins, each pulling one end of a worm, fighting over who got the juicy bits. I suggested, since it was a Christmas card, she might drop the worm and don't mention the fighting. Strangely she was happy to follow that idea and, apart from the worm that's not there, it's all her own work. And she won. Two Robins Talking is the title of Shark's Christmas drawing and it got printed and made into a real card. We're very proud of her for that. We'd like to show off a lot about it. Quite frankly, we don't have a lot to show off about, so we have to grab what we can.

Anyway, today's the day we use the free family pass. I tell Dig he has to come. It has been his birthday and there should be something we do. I reckon that a kiddie amusement park might be it. Dig looks indifferent. He says it is a waste of time and money, even though it's not costing him anything. He just looks a bit sulky, being peeled off his computer at 11.30 on a Saturday morning, and looks like he might be secretly determining not to enjoy himself.

Shark, Squirrel and Tiger love the kiddie park. They love the plastic of it all: the bubblegum colours and the sparkling carousel horses and the fairground rides that swing them up and swoosh them round. They love the boats and the funny tea cups and the musical instruments they get to sit on and ride. They draw up a hit list: the carousel, the tea cups, the train, the ferris wheel.

Dig says he doesn't like anything. He says he'll go on the spinning tea cups but only if he can teach Squirrel something about momentum. Then he says he'll take Tiger on the monorail you have to pedal yourself. He heads off there and is back in two minutes, scowling, with a relieved Tiger in tow, saying it's typical, it's closed, so he starts to eat cheese sandwiches and grumble a bit about the weather.

Next, Shark, Squirrel and Tiger want to go off to the revolving swing thing where everyone sits in swings and gets spun round. I say I'm not going because last year I was sick after the tea cups and, what's worse, we had to pay to get in for me to be sick then, so I'm not going on them now. Dig volunteers to go on it with everyone. I say it's not necessary but he doesn't seem to hear me, even though I'm right next to him.

When he's off that, Squirrel and Tiger bound off to the swinging pirate ship, which Shark doesn't want to go on. Momentarily, Shark looks all alone. Dig tells her he'll take her on the roller coaster, which she says she's not sure about because it looks very big and very fast. Dig tells her not to be silly while he's strapping her in. After that Dig goes on the roller coaster a total of ten times with different children, sometimes Shark, sometimes Squirrel, sometimes Tiger.

After Tiger's third go on the roller coaster, I begin to suspect Dig is offering doubtful parents some sort of chaperone service for timid children because it's quite difficult to get him off it. In fact we can only get him to come down by suggesting there's a really brilliant log flume thing where you sit in little boats, get pushed down a pretend waterfall, and may get sprayed with water when you hit the bottom at 30 mph. He goes on that three times before I lure him off it by saying Tiger wants a go on the spinning boots.

At 6pm there's groans and wailing all round when I say it's time to go home because the park closes. I suggest that we could get season tickets if everyone really enjoyed it that much. Tiger, Shark and Squirrel squeal with delight at the idea.

Dig goes all thoughtful for a moment and asks which parent would get the season ticket to accompany them. Well, I say, I look after the kids everyday, so in practical terms it would have to be me. 'Oh' says Dig. Then he rather sadly says, 'So I'll have to buy my own, then?'

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