It's a bit tricky going out with a nearly four year-old. Amy is almost old enough to behave herself; in fact, if she was another child she may well be in the stride of behaving herself, but not our Amy Jane.
Last night I took her and big brother Finlay on a very special cinema outing, in London, to the Odeon Leicester Square. We caught the train into town and then walked round the corner to Yo Sushi. (Sorry, I know there is an exclamation mark somewhere in there, but I can't remember where). The kids were very excited; anywhere that has food arriving on a winding conveyor belt is a WINNER in their eyes. We settled down into a booth. Amy grabbed the first dish the came past, a plate of endamame beans.
"No, Amy" I said. "Only Mummy can take the food off the belt, OK?" she thought for a moment, then ignored me and picked up another dish. Of endamame beans.
"What are these?" she asked, whipping the lid off. "Are they peas?"
"Yes" I said, thinking that if she went to nursery the next day saying she had eaten endamame beans, everyone would think that a) she was a precocious little nightmare and b) I was a precocious slightly larger nightmare.
"I don't like them" she announced and pushed them away.
"You can pop them for Finlay and me" I said, and she did, which kept her busy for a full five minutes while I ordered some hot food and a calming glass of wine. My wine order went something like this, because I felt sorry for the friendly waiter: "You know the wine that they didn't like?" (nodding my head towards two women who were very particular considering they were in a Yo Sushi; with an exclamation mark, obviously). "Well, I'll have a glass of that"
"A large one?" he asked hopefully? Perhaps he was on commission, perhaps he needed to get rid of the bottle, who knows? But I said "Yes".
The wine came, and I drank it. Finlay tucked into his chicken and rice. Amy announced she didn't like it, and pressed the lever for the still water spout. A glint came into her eye; water! At the table! I quickly gave her a glass and asked her to fill it up, and then handed it to Finlay to drink.
You can be in charge of our drinks today Amy" I said, trying to instil a sense of responsibility. She filled three glasses, very carefully, one for each of us, and then swung her arm to bash Finlay and sent one flying across the table. Water poured onto her plate, onto Finlay's plate and then the glass rolled off the edge of the table and smashed with a resounding tinkle on the floor. She looked at me, stricken.
"It was an accident Mummy!”
All heads turned towards us, and the fussy about their wine ladies grabbed a wad of napkins and started mopping her down. I gritted my teeth and wiped the table with soggy napkins as the friendly waiter rushed over, and told us it would be safer to move to another table, because of the broken glass. We moved one table away, shifted our food, and settled down to eat, and then bosh! She did it again.
I apologised, I paid, we left.
By the time we got to Westminster Bridge I had forgotten about it. Their faces made the whole fiasco worthwhile: "Look! Big Ben!" shouted Finlay.
"Look at the big wheel!" shouted Amy, "And the boats! And the water!"
"Look at the big red bus!"
"Look at the statue of Boadicea!"
"We learned about it at school. That's Boadicea."
I was impressed.
We walked the rest of the way to Trafalgar Square, and headed for the Odeon. I was treating them to the special occasion of a film premiere; 'Despicable Me'. It was an animated children's film, so we turned up in jeans, looking windswept and like we'd popped down the local cinema for a night out. We got round the corner to see huge spotlights swirling up at the Odeon, hundreds of people screaming, and glittering celebrities mooching and posing their way up a bright yellow carpet. Bugger.
We got our tickets from the smiling PR girl, who must have wondered what we'd come as, and sneaked our way past the photographers, past Russell Brand being interviewed on a stage by a glamorous Jenni Falconer and crept inside. The kids didn't even register how scruffy we were compared to everyone else; they just saw the bright lights and the cartoon characters from the film wandering past. We found our seats, and I felt better in the comfort of the dark.
We watched Jenni on the big screen, interviewing the major celebs from the film; Russell Brand, Steve Carell and... (cue smoochy music, dimmed lights and possibly some tweeting birds) the beautiful young girl who plays 'I Carly' on Nickelodeon. Only Finlay's favourite show of ALL TIME. He sat bolt upright in his seat and stared at the screen, "That's Carly!" he shouted, "She's here?!"
Sure enough, just before the film started, the beautiful girl who plays I Carly (who I have no idea what her real name is) stood in front of the screen with Steve Carell and said hello and that she hoped we enjoyed the film. Then they left, and I don't think Finlay heard a word of the film, the violins and love hearts pulsing from his eyes made him deaf and blind. Amy giggled her way through it, and only got fidgety towards the end, which is not bad going.
Me? I loved it, it's hilarious, and I really recommend it. But the best bit of the night? Crawling into bed after putting two smiley-faced children to sleep after a night out in the Big Smoke. That's what being a mummy is all about.