In training: Alone with our nephew

My poor sister-in-law’s about to pop with her third, so Rod and I offered to take her oldest out for the day. As Harris himself said, “Maybe Innes should have come too after all… But it’s my special day”

Harris can't decide if he's Spiderman or an Aardvark

Lesson 1: How to entertain a three year-old on an hour-long car trip.

Solution: Point at stuff.

We discovered roadworks have their uses – we counted tractors, diggers, lorries, explained the difference between tractors, diggers and lorries, then moved on to sheep and cows and trees and who saw what first.

Lesson 2: Not losing a three year-old at a family fair

Solution: Delegate pack horse/runners roles

Rod stood with bags, balloons, juices, prizes and jackets while I chased around making sure Harris had a shot of everything. He’s very well-behaved actually, with a surprisingly long concentration span for a wee one. He sat still as stone while his face was painted as Spiderman and usually stopped poking the other children with his balloon sword when we asked him.

Lesson 3: Timing toilet breaks

Solution: Play very safe

We took him to the loo before we left, but fifteen minutes into the drive home, he piped up: “I need a pee pee”. We were miles from a service station. “OK Harris, we’ll pull over soon,” I told him. “Yes, onto a wee road with a parking space and I’ll go in the forest,” he answered. I wasn’t convinced but it sounded like he’d done this before. He then decided we could wait til we got home. We breathed a sigh of relief but when I tuned into his soft chattering to his toy five minutes later I realised he was saying “I still need a pee, I still need a wee pee” and thought it best to stop.

Lesson 4: Singing in the car

Solution: Make it up

We quickly exhausted the nursery rhymes and, knowing Spiderman was his favourite, Rod started changing the words to the old advertisement for Keypers: “Peter Parker, What’s inside your….” As he searched for a rhyme for Parker, Harris piped up: “Boot!” I got a fit of the giggles, which set him off too and Rod obliged. “What’s inside your boot?”

“Snakes!” Harris yelled, setting me off again. The rest of the journey flew by as we made up ridiculous songs and Harris screamed with laughter.

So the best part about hanging out with kids seems to be acting like a big kid yourself? I can totally do this!

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