Well. Thorpe Park was as you'd expect it, but actually not that busy for an almost sunny day in August. There was me, my two teens, and daughter's friend. Husband had managed to wangle his way out of it by dint of having to go to work. Quite a feeble excuse if you ask me, but there you have it.
So there was me, the nominated adult in charge of 3 teens, one of whom wasn't mine. Usually this kind of situation will set my anxiety to screeching haridan levels - the potential for disaster is huge.
Autistic child might flip out if a ride is not exactly what he was expecting, or the sensations he experienced on the ride might be too strong, too powerful for him to cope with, setting him off on a meltdown which, when you're strapped in to a literal, actual rollercoaster ride, can be pretty horrific and there is absolutely no way of helping him until the ride is over and the damage is done. Luckily he was absolutely fine, he knows his stimuli very well now, and chooses rides carefully, erring on caution. But we have had to chase him half way across a theme park in the past, when a ride was a lot more forceful that the description in the brochure. He also has a tendency to wander off when something takes his eye - a sideshow or a amusement arcade, but this time he was fabulous. He told me later he stayed very close to me because Daddy wasn't there to look after me, and he didn't want me to get lost. What a hero.
Child 2 is type 1 diabetic and the combination of thrill-ride adrenalin, insulin and lots of sugar can do very odd things to her blood sugars, with the constant risk of hypos, hypers and all the associated crap of injections, extra blood tests and the constant underlying fear of letting a child with a chronic medical condition out of your site for even a moment, let alone onto theme park rides that test your resilience to the limit, is daunting, always. But lo and behold, she was perfect, all day long. Blood sugars were spot on, carb counting and testing was done without a murmur, and there wasn't even an ounce of sassy madam to go along with it. Quite the day indeed.
So although situations like that will always trigger my anxiety, and not having husband with me as an anchor is always tough, I was pretty proud of myself all in. If I can do Thorpe Park, I can do more or less anything.
And so I'm not sure what I've done to deserve it, but the gods do appear to have smiled on me today. Because, not only did I Supermum my way round a theme park as a virtual single parent, I also bossed the get-2-balls-in-a-bucket stall, ON MY FIRST ATTEMPT and came away the glorious new owner of Roger (inset), much to the jaw-dropped chagrin of a nearby gang of uber-cool teenage boys who had been trying unsuccessfully to win the same prize for their now-sneering girlfriends.
Roger is larger than he looks, a lot larger. I have absolutely no idea where Roger is going to live when he gets home with us, but he's one of the family now, so he'll fit in somewhere.
I'm exhausted though, my feet feel like they have been through a mammogram and my knees are honking away at amber alert. Not that I did all of the rides by any means. I did a fair few, but as a significantly-less-than-sylph-like 50-something, there are just some rollercoaster seats that I'm not getting into. Some because my inner-ear can't take it any more, and others because I just won't fit. Back in the day, being the biggest rider in the queue was pretty shameful, but now, for all the wrong reasons, there are a lot more larger people about. So much so that Thorpe Park has created a special policy just for us - we are know officially known as 'Riders of Size'.
Basically, Riders of Size are the chubsters who can't get the safety bars to close tightly enough on the seats, so there are some rides they can't go on, but hey, who cares, you get to become a member of the exclusive 'Riders of Size' club. It's, well, I don't quite know what it is, but I would dearly love to have been in the meeting where that phrase was brainstormed. If 'Riders of Size' was the winning entry, can you imagine the other suggestions that didn't make the cut?
So I'm torn between bewilderment, disapproval and a sense of admiration for whoever came up with it. But one thing is for sure, you can't say it without adopting a booming X Factor voiceover tone, (go on, try it) and treating the phrase with at least some semblance of respect.
So anyway, we're home safe and happy. No one got lost, got ill or freaked out (including me). Roger is currently on the trampoline with my son, in the dark, being inducted into the ways of our family, whilst daughter and friend are Whatsapping tales of glory and death defying do to their chums. Which is exactly as it should be, after all.
Goodbye for now.