My seven year old has been planning her school carol service for weeks. Normal enough, you might think... nice to watch, good to get in the festive spirit and important that at least one parent be there, right? Well, I got that wrong, totally wrong.
She is usually a calm and reasonable child. I mean, she has her moments, but don't we all!
My daughter sees this as a major event in her life.
When I finally got the date confirmed by the school, I realised it clashed with a cookery demonstration I was presenting to a group of 12 ladies and they had arranged the date months ago.
Honesty is always my policy, so casually walking home from school that day I said, " so, I heard the carols are on Dec 6th, unfortunately, I have to work that night, but Dad will go is that ok?"
That's where it all went downhill.
She got so upset she cried for half an hour. In between sobs, I got, "what's more important, your demos or my life?" "I hate you!" " I will never speak to you again!"
We had to ditch the swimming lessons that day (sobbing while swimming isn't a good look).
I explained how disappointed I was that I would miss it, but that didn't help. I explained how I had to work, but she insisted I move it.
So how do I calm this situation down? I even tried bribery, "you know the generation doll you want from someone at Christmas, how about I promise to get you that, from Mum & Dad?" That didn't work.
I sat patiently near her and said when she was ready, I was here, I reassured her, told her I loved her and would change the cookery demo if I could. Then I got "if you don't come, I'm leaving you with Daddy and Sally (the dog)". 'Oh, and what about your brother?' "He is coming too" Well, I began to see how important this event was for her that she would leave me AND take her 11-year-old brother!
Where will you go?
"We will go to another family and live there."
So will there be two Dads? "No, Dad will choose a family that doesn't have a Dad" - she had it all sorted out! I told her I would miss her terribly. At this stage I went into the kitchen, an hour had passed and she was still very angry and upset. I looked at my phone and there was a message from the other mums that the date had changed!
I told her the news, she was pleased and eventually stopped crying. She said the next day, "I was tempted when you offered me the Generation Doll, but I just didn't want to give in!" Other mums were quick to suggest I tell her that I got the date changed so I could be there, but I wasn't as quick thinking!
So the good news is that I was able to attend The Carols/ Broadway Premier. It was last night and was beautiful, a great start to the Christmas season. Ninety 6 & 7-year-olds, who knew every word and action of the 10 songs they sung.
Many had speaking parts to tell the story of the nativity, they were accompanied by the 6th class girls who sang beautifully.
You think you know your own child, but I totally underestimated how much this event meant to her and how much she wanted me there!
Have you had any similar experiences? I'd love to hear them.