Is it wrong to laugh at the Wee Lad for his Ghost Train terrors?
You can count me out of the running for Mother of the Year 2017. Because after a weekend spent laughing at the Wee Lad, I don't think I'm eligible for the competition any more.
It's difficult making up excuses for not going to the funfair which was set up at the site of the temporary Tesco under Hill Street Bridge last week as the kids pass it at least twice a day. And it doesn't help that I have been making excuses not to go for about six years.
Never one to miss an opportunity to have something to metaphorically hold over the kids so they have an incentive to behave themselves, the Lads had been at me for days begging to go to the funfair. I told them I would 'think about it if they were good'. The Big Lad was his usual well behaved self, while the Wee Lad was, well, not.
The zenith of boldness came on Sunday, when he was trotted off to his weekly conflab with God at Mass with my Ma. Even though I had put out the Wee Lad's favourite pug socks, he didn't put them on him and it wasn't until the Ma and he were walking up the steps of the church when she clocked it. Worse was to come however, when the Wee Lad, for some reason later declared as 'forgetfulness' refused to say his prayers. To add insult to injury, he then 'started scratching himself like a mangy cat', citing 'hives' as his excuse.
So things were not looking too good for him when Bank Holiday Monday came around and he was back asking about getting to the funfair. He managed to pull it out of the bag and having completed a large amount of housework, he was included in the family trip.
We got a pleasant surprise when we got there and saw that although there were plenty of people, the queues were not too bad, there was great weather, a good atmosphere and it all seemed to be safe and happy.
The first ride the pair of them wanted to go on was the Twister and the Husband, citing the family history of heart problems, demurred, leaving me to hop on with them only to be swung around like a sock in a washing machine. It thrilled, rather than scared, the Lads who then hopped on other things they wanted to try and were having a ball, the Big Lad being somewhat of an expert thanks to a day out in Portrush with his Derry cousins about two years ago.
Of course, it was all going too well, when the Big Lad used his 'experience' to persuade his brother that he couldn't live without a go on the Ghost Train. I told the Wee Lad I didn't think this was a good idea, but he, of course, insisted and I ended up in the little train carriage with him, the Husband and the other Lad in the one behind us.
I hadn't expected it to be so dark and as a skeletal corpse peered out of a coffin in front of us, the Wee Lad lost it altogether and started screaming and crying at the top of his ample lungs in fear and terror. I thought for a moment he was messing, but it was when he tried to jump out of it as it was moving that I realised he wasn't joking. The train only lasted a couple of minutes, and through the darkness, in between the snot-filled screams, was the sound of the Big Lad shouting, telling his brother: 'It's OK'.
When we finally burst through the doors of the exit and into the sunshine, the Wee Lad was roaring like a stranded donkey, causing sensible people to look to find out which child was being killed. He clung onto me and continued to cry, big hot tears streaming down his face.
I tried to comfort him, telling him it wasn't real, but I spent most of the time stifling my laughs. He stood outside the Ghost Train, pointing at it and shouting: 'That shouldn't have this for kids', putting potential customers well off. It took a spin on the teacups, populated only by the under threes, to calm him down. I have only stopped laughing long enough to withdraw my name from the Mother of the Year competition.