Last week Lizzy Face and I tried to go but even though we were 5 minutes early all the places were taken up so we ended up in the park instead. Today however I was prepared. We were up, fed and both dressed by 9:15 so we had plenty of time before the tickets started getting handed out at 10am. Lizzy was showing all the signs of being ready for a sleep at 9:30 despite having had an undisturbed night. I put her down and tried to get her to have a snooze, it would be good cause then we could get to rhyme time just as she wakes up (I put her down in the pram). She wouldn’t drop off though so at9:45, with plenty of time we set off.
It is a lovely day out today, not warm but sunny and clear so we had a nice walk to the library. We strolled at a nice pace as we had sufficient time and there was no need to hurry, but as we neared the village centre I saw the other mums all making the same beeline for the library so I was pleased to be slightly ahead of them. Naturally when we arrived there were already 4 mums and their children waiting outside the library. The librarian, with an air of authority opened the doors smiled and welcomed them in, handing out tickets to the parents (I am not sure if she had refused them entry until 10:01, or if the mums just new each other and were saying hello… I suspect the former). I was please to get a ticket and in we went. I could see the mums checking me out, unsure if I was a rhyme timer or not and also, I think, wondering where the mum who had dragged me along was. They lost interest quickly, perhaps she was just in the post office, no doubt I’d be joined soon.
Of course they weren’t to know that I was out on a solo venture, and with no idea what to do I took Lizzy for a tour of the library. We checked out some books, I had a chat with the librarian about my library card and then after stalling as much as I could I went and sat down in the rhyme time arena. I was nervous, I don’t know the etiquette or the procedure, I don’t know where to sit or what to do and so, as brazen as possible I took a toy from the box and sat us down in the middle of the floor. The mums looked around for my guardian, it was becoming clear that I was here alone. I got the feeling there was a little more interest, but not the suspicion that I had worried about. Of course, in reality I’m sure nobody even cared but in the dramatic screenplay I was creating in my mind everyone was watching, waiting, to see if I would join in or not. The lady arrived, the words were put up so that everyone could sing along with no excuses. There was nothing for it, I looked at Lizzy, she looked at me and with a silent understanding we agreed, this was it Pappa Carr, death…. Or glory!!!
The noise of the arena was immense, chattering, crying, shouting and laughing. There were people all around us and then the singing began. Everyone knew the words already, there were few of us who were trying to read them and for once I was pleased to have been sat many times win the car with Fergotron singing 5 little ducks at the top of her voice to distract Lizzy. I got into the flow, I sang along and Lizzy was having a good time but then… disaster.
Lizzy was tired, too tired for this. She wanted to sleep and so as I tried to maintain my enthusiastic involvement (my new mantra death or glory Pappa Carr, repeating in my mind) I was increasingly aware that I was performing this singing for my own entertainment, Lizzy having all but checked out. I was worried, what should I do. Like The Clash I debated should I stay or should I go? If I go there could be trouble – everyone would see that I was leaving, my choice of seat now backfiring against me, the lead lady would think we weren’t having a nice time or even worse, that I hadn’t planned properly for being out. Of course, like the Clash, if I stayed it could be double – there was potential melt down, screaming and disruption to be had. Lizzy is generally a happy girl but oh my! When she melts it’s worse that the polar ice caps in a disaster movie.
Death or glory Lizzy, I said to her. Then, the tides turned, there was a song I didn’t know and that I now can’t remember but there was a point in the song where we had to spin. So I threw Lizzy in the air with a half turn; she loved it. Then I threw here again with another half turn to face me again and she was awake and smiling. We might just make it after all…. Lizzy fought the good fight, she stayed awake and pushed through. There were cuddles, snuggles thumb in mouth and when we did the ding dangle scarecrow she was delighted to be laid down and she nearly went.
Of course, the good times couldn’t last forever. Like so many before me my confidence turned to complacency. I had made it, I was relaxing. I had taken my eye off the ball. I was like Bayern Munich in the Champions League final in 1999. I was preparing to leave, I was about to get up, then there was a balloon; whoever it landed by had to choose the last song boom – Sherringham, back of the net. I could feel it, I knew it would happen but it was too late, I was shell-shocked, I thought we had made it. The balloon landed, Lizzy caught it and then, the whole room was looking at me. “ And it’s Beckham, into Sherringham…… and Solskjaer has won it” Smash, back of the net again, I’m Bayern Munich, I’ve no idea what’s happening all of a sudden I’m being asked, in front of an audience what is Lizzy’s favourite tune – we all want to sing it… my mind is blank, I was 1-0 up, now it’s 2-1 to them? What’s happening? Songs, I don’t know any more songs, we’ve been through all the ones I know already. Can everyone sing the Thundercats theme tune?? Oh fuck, I’ve no idea…
She smiled kindly, a smile that said ‘I had hoped you would have something to add, I’m sure you feel nervous but this was a great chance for you to break the ice and be part of our world. Bless’. And that was it, the room turned away. I had lost it at the last second, Manchester United had won the cup. And with that it was all over. I left as quickly as possible; Lizzy was desperate to sleep anyway so there was no need to drag it out. Maybe I should have said something to the lady, but I was drowning in a sea of mortified embarrassment wandering how on earth I could go back next week. My first foray into the mother’s world was over, and though I had started strong I’d fallen at the final hurdle. Death or glory Lizzy, death or glory? I’m not sure which I achieved. I will have to summon all my resolve to return to that battlefield, if ever again we do. But next time I will be prepared, I will have a bank of rhymes that they don’t sing and if all else fails I’ll sit as far away as possible and sneak out just before the end. But at least I can say I was there, I did it, and I came out the other side.
Fucking 5 currant buns, I should have just said 5 currant buns!!!! Bugger!!