I have a big family.
For starters, I am the oldest of 5 children.
Having plenty of siblings has shaped my personality in various ways. For example, I am good at sharing. I am also experienced at settling disputes (we argues and fought loads!), I am not perturbed by cramped living conditions and am adept at tormenting those who are physically weaker than me!
I am also good with children.
Now if you read this blog regularly I know that this may surprise you. What with me being something of an awkward guy and all.
However, as I also have roughly 30 first cousins, over 50 second cousins and more aunts and uncles than I could ever list (yeah my family are like rats…you are never more than a metre away from one of us!) I have been in the company of children my entire life.
I take a sad sense of pride in being good with kids. As I am not great with adults, it is nice to have a social arena in which I am not utterly hopeless.
So when my friend Danny said he needed my help with his 3 year old daughter on Friday afternoon I jumped at the chance to assist.
I looked after little Bean (her nickname) an awful lot when she was a bambino and we always got on well. Granted, she was asleep most of the time, but she always looked happy enough. A little while ago, Danny and his fiancée then moved to Scotland for work reasons. Things didn’t pan out up North so now that they are back and settled in Portsmouth again.
This would be the first time that I had seen her in the 18 months since they left. I was eager to reconnect with them all and re-establish myself as Bean’s favourite grown-up.
Sadly, It did not go too well.
For some reason she found me terrifying, the instant I walked through the door she squealed and then spent the next 20 minutes cowering behind her father’s legs.
My attempts to bribe her into liking me by using chocolate were unsuccessful as Bean has recently developed a dislike of dark chocolate and now only eats white chocolate.
Upon hearing this news, my taunts of “come on Bean, you don’t want to be a chocolate racist do you?” served only to backfire on me as she then began asking what a racist is. This got me a kick in the shins from Danny. You see both Danny and his fiancée are of Vietnamese descent and they wanted to wait until Bean is older before the subject of race is discussed.
Things picked up though as through an impromptu game of tag, a heart warming rendition of ‘twinkle twinkle little star’ and me repeatedly pretending to hurt myself (as well as actually hurting myself a couple of times) Bean eventually began to warm to me.
There was a brief moment of panic when she asked me to tell her a story. With no books immediately available I drew a mental blank and ended up retelling her the story of the origin of Spiderman (I had re-watched the film a few days ago), forgetting that Spiderman’s origin story includes being bitten by a spider and his uncle being murdered.
After watching her angelic, yet confused face struggle to deal with concepts such as teenage angst, radioactivity and murder I decided to park that story and made up some bogus tale about fairies instead.
That was until the magic tricks…..
Whilst Danny was preparing lunch, I decided to treat Bean to my array of magic tricks before she went up off for a nap. It’s all standard stuff, I can make a card disappear, make a pen go up my ear and out of mouth can make coins appear in her ears.
Someone really should have told me that an irresponsible uncle had allowed Bean to sit through Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows a couple of weeks ago. Watching this served to traumatise her greatly and she now associates magicians, wizards and witches with death and horror.
When I made the pen emerge from my mouth she began to scream.
Long story short. I had to leave the house in order to calm her down.
Danny called me Sunday afternoon.
Whilst he and his fiancée thought the whole story was hilarious they are now scratching their heads as to what to do Bean. She had spent Friday night in her parents’ bed as she was so upset by the whole affair. She had also been begging her parents to make sure that I never visit again. Saturday night was the same.
Like the concerned friend that I am I immeidately felt awful.
I took to google and found articles and links to pages and sites which talk about tips to get children over fears. I researched techniques in helping children get sleep and emailed it all over to Danny.
I really did feel bad about this one.
Monday morning came along and I had a text from Danny asking me to call him. He said it was urgent.
I called him. I was not sure what to expect but it was safe to say that I was worried.
My worry sooned turned to confusion as the phone was answered by the all too familiar voice of Bean screaming “APWIL FOOLS!” down the line at me.
It then dawned on me. Those bastards and their demon child had planned the whole thing!
I now need revenge. The question I put to you, my fellow bloggers, is how to get all 3 of them back. I am thinking I may just tell her that Santa is not real.
Is that too harsh?