Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to accompany a 4 year old and someone with anxiety to a (probably packed) Christmas Fayre… Cue music!
The school Christmas Fayre has been looming for a while to be honest. Sometimes B has been keen on going, sometimes she’s said she wont be able to go, so we never really knew until a couple of days before. At which point B said we should ask X if he wanted to go and that would decide it. It was quite a clear “Yes”, so that sealed it. B was genuinely excited to go at points over the last few days, especially when she learned there were going to be donkey rides. At this point there is no way B could do something like this on here own, even going out of the house is still a massive struggle. This means we do things like this together, which to be honest is great because I’d want to do all these things anyway. X is off for a birthday party for one of this school friends next week, and we’ll all be going to that too.
Before the Fayre today, we’d received information from the school that the day of the Fayre would be a non uniform day and children were encouraged to bring something in to “pay” for that treat… not sure what’s wrong with taking 50p with you like we did “in our day”! So we were debating what “A chocolate item” was for a while, in the end we went for a selection box, because who doesn’t like a selection box for Christmas! This meant that the morning of the Fayre day was a little different to normal. Firstly because X didn’t have to put his uniform on, and secondly because there was something else to carry in. This means he had to take:
Show and Tell teddy (Friday is always Show and Tell day for reception)
This doesn’t sound like too much, but he’s fairly diddy and watching him try and get all the things from us to the classroom door was quite entertaining… nothing was dropped though!
At this point I’m still coming home a couple of days per week to help B pick X up from school. My mum, covers a couple more days per week and if one of her parents are visiting her B will go with them to pick him up. Anyway, figured since we’ll need to be vaguely organised I’d leave work and extra 5 minutes early so we don’t have to rush…. after having to detour around some roadworks I arrive at the house with about 4 minutes left to get to the school. Luckily B is stood ready in the hallway so we literally turn around and head straight to school. We walk fairly quickly, but B really hasn’t got much physical stamina plus wouldn’t want to be seen running and wouldn’t want to be out of breath when we arrived as it might draw attention. We arrive just as X hits the front of the “Release” queue by his teacher which was fairly handy.
We explain to him that we need to go to Tesco in order to get some cash in order to pay for things when we got the Fayre… at this point X starts to get upset saying to wants to go straight there or we’ll miss it. “Mate, if we don’t get any money we can’t do anything there anyway. Can we please just quickly go so that we can pay for things when we go”.. “Yes”. Great, little bit stressful walking with him as he can be quite squirmy and there was roads, junctions and car parks to walk through on the way. It’s puts me on edge, but B really doesn’t like it when he’s more than a step in front or behind in case he makes a dash for somewhere/something and steps into the road.
So, we get our money and start walking back to school… its about a 2 minute walk (Or 10 with a 4 year old on a fairly good day) but X whinged for almost all of it saying it was too far which didn’t really help with encouraging us that he wanted us to go.
The first thing we see are the Donkeys in the playground. We have a look and X looks fairly interested. “There is already a big queue” says B. There were only about 6 people in it, but I feel shes doesn’t really want to be stand outside queuing anyway. “Would you like to have a ride on a Donkey?” “No.”. Right okay fair enough, we start to head towards the main entrance, which has quite a few people who are trying to cram inside. I can feel B getting a bit nervous at this point.
We managed to waddle in behind the queue into main reception where everyone splits. Some people are going into the hall which seems to be Tombola, Raffle Ticket sales and stalls etc. and through another corridor is a sign saying “Santa’s Grotto” this way ->.
First, we look up the steps to see what it’s like in the Hall… absolutely and completely rammed! There is no sign of any floor whatsoever, everyone is literally in phsyical contact with all the people around them. It really is chaos in there, before she even says it I can tell this is a no go for B. We look down the corridor the Santa’s Grotto, there is quite a big queue in quite a narrow corridor. B says, “Perhaps we should go home and come back later?” and then starts heading towards outside. I slow X down and we regroup outside the main entrance out of everyone’s way. In the end I say to B “Should we ask X if he wants to see Father Christmas or if we wants to just go home”. “Santa” comes the reply. “What if we go and queue for Santa’s Grotto and by the time we’ve seen him everything might have gone more quiet”. So, that’s what we do.
We join the back of the not very fast moving queue… I figure this is going to be quite a long experience and hope that X is a good boy. B did brilliantly, it was quite cramped but there was enough for people to have their own space. She did say she felt quite ill at one point, but didn’t suggest we leave at that point. We did have to queue next to an exit at one point and there was the suggestion that if it gets too much we can just get out there. But we never had to. She joined in asking X what he wanted for Christmas she that he would be able to tell Father Christmas when he asked… we never really got a clear answer but I think hidden in the replies in X’s unique language were “Don’t know”, “Daddy knows”, “Presents” and “A Tele”.
We must have queued for a good 45 minutes, which seemed like about a fortnight! The distraction of trying to talk to X and figure out how far round the corner the queue went kept B fairly okay and she did it! Daft as it sounds I’m always really proud of her when she does something like this!
Anyway, we finally got to see Santa! X wouldn’t get within about of 2 feet of him, although he did seem quite happy and excited to actually be seeing and talking to Father Christmas. He wanted me to talk to him possibly because he figures “Daddy will now what to say”, but he did say “Thank you” for his present and came away happy. Santa was great, really trying to get X to engage with him and talk too. Mission Accomplished!
At this point we have to leave… we go through the exit we saw thinking it would be better than going back through the queue. “We’ll have to go past the Donkeys to get out” I say to B. “No, there must be another way round the main entrance”. I know that there isn’t, I’ve looked, I used to go the school and I’m really quite interested in how there are now fences and gates everywhere! Eventually, after a walk back to the door and a look around the other side of the building B concedes that we’ll have to go past the Donkeys. She’s a bit worried about disturbing the people on the Donkeys but agrees that if we go when they’re at the far side of their circuit we won’t be in anyone’s way.
We scoot through the “Donkey gate” and back towards main receptions to take a look back in the hall. We go in and start looking around… everything else is finished, the tombola and tables and sales stalls are all empty bar people things they’ve rested there, everyone is just waiting for the raffle (Which we forgot to buy tickets for). Which to be honest is great, we’re really glad enough people went to “Clear the decks” as it were, lets home they made loads of money. So, that’s it then… X got a bit upset because he wants to buy something in the hall and B starts to get a bit frustrated that he won’t come away quietly, but between us we communicate to X that there is nothing else to buy left in the hall and we should go home and see R to make sure she’s okay because it’s going dark.
So, we managed it! More importantly, B managed it! It’s hard to explain to people how difficult something like a School Christmas Fayre might be to B even with me there too, but she did great! She even saw that there was another Christmas Fayre in the local park soon that had rides which looked exciting!