Entertaining a Horse and a Turtle

What’s the word for when your darling nephew, aged 3, and niece, aged 5½, actually manage to agree on something while you’re looking after them? I want to say ‘miracle’, but even that doesn’t seem to do it justice, at least not when it comes to Patrick and Emily.

It seems like their current respective ages are causing them to clash constantly. Mum keeps telling us, conspiratorially, to just wait until they’re teenagers (a remark which, if I’m honest, I’m a tiny bit disconcerted by). Anyway, it’s something of a triumph if they manage to both be in favour of the same activity at the same time, and today I had just such luck.

This rare event took place while on an expedition to a big indoor play zone. Croydon was a bit of a drive for us, so I was worried the kids would lose their marbles before we even got there. But they were both so excited at the prospect of the giant, colourful play equipment they they barely noticed the heavy traffic (meanwhile, I was sweating, but we got there in the end).

As soon as we were in the door, Emily declared that she was a horse. With a loud whinny, she went galloping off into the depths of the ball pit, not to return for a good half hour – which is a while, by her standards. Patrick, meanwhile, swiftly followed suit by transforming into some kind of magic turtle (nothing like a ninja turtle, in case you’re wondering).

I wonder if Rachel has anything in mind for the kids’ birthday parties. Croydon is a good place to be when putting on this kind of affair – there are plenty of affordable, secure play venues to choose from, so I’m sure we could find one that suits their assortment of little mates (and, more to the point, their parents).

For the time being, I’m just going to be basking in the unbeatable satisfaction of having successfully entertained a horse and a magic turtle for four hours straight.