What a lovely week for our chicklet-nugget Millie, with a trip to London to see the London Eye, River Cruise and Sealife Aquarium! It was the first time Millie had been on a train, the first time she’d been to London and the first time to each of the three venues. After pouring the majority of our fuss and attention onto Gabriele since he was born last year, Luca and I decided we needed some quality time alone with Millie to remind her that she’s still our special girl. And what a way to spend the day; we started off at the London Eye which was incredible, as our pod got to the top of the wheel the whole of London glistened at us in serene calmness. Despite it being grey outside our view wasn’t spoilt at all and we felt very proud and British as we gave a nod to the iconic most famous monuments of our great country.
After our spin on the London Eye we headed the pier to board our sight-seeing boat on the London Eye River Cruise and bagged front row seats on the upper deck. We couldn’t resist pulling a mini Titanic pose as the boat chugged us along the River Thames, under tower bridge and back again. Millie was so excited pointing at the monuments that the on board commentator spoke of, and she wrote a little boat story in her EDF Energy notepad that she’d got in her special welcome pack. It was a great learning experience for Luca and I too as we’d never been to the River Thames and seeing the city from a worms-eye-view was incredible and humbling.
After having lunch at a local Chinese restaurant we headed a stones throw down the street to the fantastic Sealife London Aquarium and spent a couple of hours ooh’ing and ahh’ing at the beautiful and breathtaking marine life on show. There were fish every colour of the rainbow, swimming below, above and around us in tanks and displays. From tiny tiny tetras to huge sharks and giant sea turtles, Millie’s face lit up like Christmas spotting the starfish, crabs and seahorses and cheeky penguins, it was fantastic to see.
So today is Fathers Day and it’s a bittersweet day for me; on one hand it’s a day to celebrate Luca as a step-father to Millie and father to Gabriele, and it’s lovely to have this one day to appreciate his role in the family, but on the other hand Millie is spending today with her real dad and it’s just Luca, Gabriele and I at home today. I think it’s incredibly important that Millie knows her dad, even though he doesn’t live with us as Luca came into our lives when Millie was a baby at just a few months old. But nonetheless, it’s right for her to be at her dads today, I just wish the children didn’t have to be separated and that we could spend today together as a family.
It’s therefore right to say that today I can’t help but feel like a bit of a failure, for not having created the perfect fairytale family of 2.4 children and a white picket fence. I’m so happy with the family that we have and I love my babies more than anything in the world, I just feel that I’ve let them down by having to divide them when special occasions like this come along. In my heart I’ve apologised a million times over to my conscience and my children but it makes no difference to how rubbish it makes me feel. I know that the world is a changing place and millions of families include step-children and half-siblings these days, and I’m fortunate to have the family that I have. I just wish I didn’t have to leave an empty children’s chair at the table when we’re celebrating special days.
Millie had her first ever sports day this week and tried her hardest to take part in each of the races, the egg and spoon, the obstacle course and the balancing quoit; but after failing to get a place in any of her races my heart broke to see her crying into her hands on the sidelines with her fellow happy classmates as they proudly showed off their stickers. I was dreadful at sports when I was at school, and one of those pupils that always got picked last when choosing members for a team, standing on the line waiting to be picked and then cringing when you realise you’re the last one left and nobody wants you. Millie wasn’t bad at her races, she only came last in one of the three, but the fact that she waited eagerly at the finish line to receive her sticker and it never came made the whole experience so much more crushing.
She was elated when she got a star sticker in her second race, even though she didn’t make it into the placing she tried hard and was rewarded for good effort and she lit up with the biggest smile. But on her last race she waited eagerly at the finish line once more after coming a few places above last and walked away with her head down and spirits crushed when she wasn’t given anything. I’ve always taught Millie that it’s the taking part that counts and she should always try her best and be proud of herself no matter what the outcome may be. But standing on the sidelines seeing her cry when all the other children were cheering and jumping around just tore me apart.
It’s unfair to say a child should be rewarded for not liking failure, because nobody can fail if they never stop trying, and negative rewards aren’t helpful at all for teaching behaviour. But the one thing I could do to cheer her up was to take part in the parents race and do team Kiss proud! Lining up at the starting grid with the other mums I waved at Millie and gave her a cheesy thumbs up and a giant smile and she started to look excited at the prospect of seeing her Mummy racing down the track with a quoit on my head and my arms behind my back. I have to confess I felt hopeless to win as I looked across at the other mums set in stance and finding their footwork for the whistle and I shuffled about and bobbed on the spot whilst testing the balance of the quoit on my head, wishing I’d have practiced just once for this event in the last twenty years!
As the whistle blew I ran like a frantic headless chicken down the track, eyes ahead and head back as fast as I could without jolting off the quoit. Now to me, I’d like to think that I glided like a graceful swan; calm on the exterior but peddling frantically away from sight below the water. In reality it’s more likely that I looked like John Cleese from Fawlty Towers as I strode down the track, lanky and awkwardly British with a pained diarrhoea expression on my face. And as I hit the ribbon of the finish I suddenly realised to my shock and surprise that I’d won the race and glancing over to Millie to see her squealing and jumping up from the side lines. I collected my gold ‘1st’ sticker and ran across the track to Millie in rank with her class and gave her the biggest hug and our team sticker! We’d done it, gone are the memories of my horrific sports day attempts at school, and Millie’s first event was a success. She didn’t stop smiling all day and I got to loveliest picture of Millie showing off her stickers.
And after the success of sports day I headed into town with Gabriele and my mum to do the food shopping and parked in a Morrison’s wide baby bay whilst heading off to get some gardening bits in town before returning to do my food shop. We browsed around the food aisles, chatting and laughing about the days events with the cashier as we packed the bags, before finally walking back to the car and setting off to drive home. It wasn’t until I pulled out of the parking back once the car was loaded and the trolley put away that my mum noticed a while slip of paper on my windscreen.
Pulling over to the right hand side of the double-lane car park I got out of the car and leant across the windscreen to retrieve the note. I mouth dropped as I read it – my car had been hit by a hit and run driver and a customer had witnesses it and given the details to the manager in store! What!? Standing gobsmacked in the car park my mum asked me what was wrong as an old silver peugeot pulled up behind me and held the horn down for me to move my car. I looked at my mum in disbelief, then looked at the note and then the driver and back at the note and the girl in the car with all her friends held the horn down once more.
Now, there is nothing you should fear more than a woman with a new car that’s just been informed of a hit and run seconds before you beep at her in the same car park! And it is safe to say that my response to the obnoxious little chav and her teenage friends was not a pretty one. Needless to say she eventually drove on the left-hand side of the car park (we are in England) around my car with the other vehicles which were also exiting and sped off past me. I then got back into my car to park up in a space and speak to a manager about the note left on my car and as she saw me preparing to leave from around the corner she got out of her car with her friends and ran off up town. How surprising it is that people are so quick to attack in cars when I was pulled over on the right hand after having a hit and run and not obstructing the left lane at all, yet she felt the need to cause a scene which I all too gladly reacted to given the horrendous circumstances.
Needless to say I spent the rest of the afternoon at the police station, not because of my uncharacteristic spat with the chav and her friends, but for the purpose of prosecuting the offending driver who is guilty on five counts of breaking the law including causing damage to my property and leaving the scene of the crime.
Fortunately due to the kindness of the customer parked next to me witnessing the hit and run and taking the drivers details, together with the Parking Eye company willing to supply CCTV footage of the vehicle it is very likely that the offender will be caught and prosecuted because of this. The witness said he had been reversing his long car out directly opposite me and without enough room to manoeuvre his large car he had hit the rear corner of my car and taken off the paint, before pulling forward and attempting to do the same again. She said my whole car had bounced from the impact and he was well aware of what he’d done as he sped off straight after. What kind of a world do we live in where an adult knowingly commits a crime and tries to escape? Even children should know better and it’s no example to set to any age. If he’d have left his insurance details for me I’d still have been surprised by the fact that my car was hit in a wide child space from somebody parked on the other side of the road, but thankful that he’d got in contact with me or the store so that the insurance could sort it out. But by damaging my car and running away he has performed a cowardly action which, thanks to the kind witness, will now lead to his prosecution and a far weightier repremand for his actions as well as his insurance company seeing him as a customer in a whole new light. His childish actions will now have a severe reaction on his life for the foreseeable future, from a criminal record to insurance premium hike and public knowledge of his untruthful nature. What a silly, silly man.
And just when I thought things couldn’t get any better, my phone pinged and I had a party invite for Sunday; filming with the cast of The Only Way Is Essex for a gold inspired party at a swanky manor in Chigwell, well if I have to! Ahh… it’s certainly a tough job, but I guess somebody has to do it. Cheers! 🙂