March April 08
Mummy on the Edge
Angelina Melwani goes head to head with Mary Poppins
I took Mini-Me to Lauderdale House set in the exquisite gardens of Waterlow Park in super-aspirational Highgate (perhaps I could afford a box-room there if I sold my house) to experience a Family Cabaret with well-known modern poet John Hegley who, in his inimitably grumpy-funny way played guitar and performed his rib-tickling poems about glasses which were so amusing that I actually regretted wearing my contact lenses. It’s quite uplifting to get away to a new area sometimes and I felt quite at ease dressed in my latest donation from Best Friend Fashion Buyer – a brown kimono-sleeved tunic which usually makes me feel like a medieval peasant girl when I wear it in Bushey. Yes, the bohemian air suited us and the atmosphere was wonderful but I have to admit it can still be a bit lonely when there are just two of you. For example, mini-me barely batted an eyelid when I whispered excitedly, “Look, look, that’s Mckenzie Crook in the audience!”
It seems Mini-Me cannot handle much scariness in the cinema. Happy Feet? Frightening. Mr Bean? Buried her face in my shoulder when he left his wallet at a phone box. “Ooh, mummy, I can’t watch this,” she warbled.
One movie she recently enjoyed on the telly is Mary Poppins, “Mummy, I LOVE Mary Poppins”. She said this so earnestly, with such passion and enthusiasm that I almost felt jealous. I took to singing songs in a semi-operatic way while loading the dishwasher, and saying “Come on, spit spot” instead of “WILL you hurry up and get your coat on for gawds sake!?” I asked her if she thought I was a bit like Mary Poppins and she said “No, but Mummy I would love to have Mary Poppins on DVD for my birthday”. So I went online and ordered it from Asda because it was the only thing she had asked me for. Whilst I was at it, I also ordered the Singalong version of the Sound of Music, and as a special treat for myself for being such a good mother (more Edina Monsoon – without mood enhancers - than Joan Crawford, anyway) the Amy Winehouse deluxe double CD.
Wouldn’t you know it, everything came before her birthday except Mary Poppins which arrived exactly two weeks after. Luckily I hadn’t mentioned it so it was a huge source of post-birthday delight when it finally came. In the mean time, the Sound of Music provided an equally gratifying way to spend 2 hours (I am definitely Maria) and I’ll be looking into booking theatre tickets for that show during the August kids week when selected West End shows offer a kids go free promotion (www.kidsweek.co.uk).
So old really is gold but there’s plenty of new stuff out this Easter to keep ‘em entertained. I need to plan an itinerary of rewardage for Mini-Me’s patience as I have somehow got myself involved in a musical myself and she has been helping me learn my lines and songs. She’s too good at reading all the other parts and is turning into a nightmare of a stage daughter. It’s quite terrifying hearing a six year old say, “Mummy, you haven’t practiced for a LONG TIME; you need to do your song EVERY DAY otherwise you’ll FORGET EVERYTHING” and most unnervingly hearing her provide cues like “Please, let me get you a drink”. I think I will definitely need one, when the performances are over - and I’m not talking Innocent Smoothie.
So, we’ll do movies (Horton Hears a Who looks like a good bet if I can manage to extract Mini-Me’s face from my cardigan for long enough). Many cinemas lay on special activities at the weekend kids shows. At the moment Mini-me loves Lazy Town so we’ll try to catch the live show at the Hackney Empire 9th & 10th April. Ha! That’ll put me waaaay ahead of Mary Poppins. And we can’t forget the obligatory Easter-themed festivities. Beautiful Kenwood House in Hampstead has an Easter Trail (www.english-heritage.org.uk) and yey! it’s £1 per child! And Lauderdale house, is holding an Eggstravaganza on Easter Sunday at 11am (www.lauderdalehouse.co.uk). Although, to be honest I have a feeling I’ll just about manage to stagger to the Egg Hunt at King George Recreation Ground, Bushey around the corner from where we live.
Angelina Melwani runs Sing and Sign baby signing classes in Harrow, Bushey, Stanmore and Rickmansworth. More info at www.singandsign.com