The Karate Kid

Flea and I have started a new family tradition of eating out on a Friday evening.

I think eating out is really important for kids, and we've always gone to proper restaurants rather than family-friendly chain places. I want Flea to know how to behave in a restaurant – to sit at a table, eat with cutlery, order from a menu, talk to a waiter.

And Friday has become a really special time for us, too – it's an hour or two every week when we can just chat, and I find in a relaxed environment where I'm focused completely on her, Flea really opens up about school and other stuff I don't usually get to hear about.

This week, we went to our local Indian restaurant, which is Flea’s current favourite – she’s a big fan of poppadoms and “nana bread”. We were eating at around 5.30pm, so the restaurant was quiet but there were three older couples having meals while we were there.

It has to be said, old people tend to like Flea. She’s blonde and cute and wears a natty school blazer. She talks a lot, and has impeccable manners. Seriously. She complained at school today because a character in a book said, "I want to go" when Flea reckoned they should have said, "Please may I". So there were lots of fond smiles and glances in our direction.

Flea, being Flea, did me proud.

I was explaining to Flea that as she's asked to do karate instead of football club, I've signed her up for a taster class on Monday with a local kids' karate club. She was pretty excited, and asked lots of questions about exactly what would happen when we went to the class. 

“Mummy, when you do karate, do you wear a karate suit?” she asked.

“Well, if you like it, then yes, we’d buy you a special white suit to wear.”

“And you don’t wear your shoes and socks, do you?”

“No, because there’s kicking in karate, and you wouldn’t want to hurt someone.”

She thought for a moment. “Is karate like fighting?”

I had an answer ALL planned out for this question, which would convey to my child that karate is a sport and that it might involve fighting but you must never use those fighting skills at school, or anywhere outside of karate club. So I was feeling pretty good about myself. Which never ends well, let's face it.

“Well," I said, "Karate is a special sort of game that is like fighting, but there’s a very important rule you need to know when you do karate. Do you know what it is?”

“Oh yes, Mummy, I know,” Flea said, with absolute confidence.

“What is it?” I asked.

And in her extra loud, designed to be heard by frail pensioners using hearing aids voice, my angelic daughter said: “You’ve got to just use your hands and feet, and not head-butt people because you might hurt them and the blood will go everywhere and make their karate outfit filthy.”



Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the Tots100, Trips100, Foodies100 and HIBS100 communities, along with the MAD Blog Awards. She spends a bit too much time on the Internet. She’s also a very happy Mum to Flea, the world’s coolest ten year old.

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  1. 24th April 2010 / 8:50 am

    Ha ha ha. No head butting! That made me laugh so much! X

  2. Liz (LivingwithKids)
    24th April 2010 / 1:37 pm

    Excellent. I also really love the idea of having a friday night dinner out. We usually have a friday night takeaway and it is a brilliant chance to experiment with different kinds of food. When I worked with two Jewish girls at Closer I remember them telling me about ‘Friday Night Dinner’ and it sounded just lovely – the food is lovingly prepared, and it usually involves the whole family. Sounds as though you and Flea are making your own special tradition and I think that’s fabulous.

  3. 24th April 2010 / 7:12 pm

    I love that she is a total cresit to you Sally. It is great that you eat out, we do sometimes and not always at the family freindly places. In fact it is those places that turn the boys into mosters. I love that they like to have a cup of tea dn a slice of cake with me in Bettys!
    Oh and she is so right, blood is a real pain to get out of white clothes you have to do a cold rince!

  4. 24th April 2010 / 7:18 pm

    God only knows where she heard about head-butting – but the old woman on the next table looked completely horrified. I just sort of smiled and said, “oh, to be four.”

  5. 24th April 2010 / 7:24 pm

    Love it! Flea would hacve got on well with my mum & her sayings!

  6. Susie
    24th April 2010 / 9:43 pm

    LOL-too funny!

  7. 24th April 2010 / 10:26 pm

    You’ve got to teach her the trick with the chopsticks and the fly.
    I admire you doing the Friday night dinner thing. We do it but I’m afraid I still go to the dreaded ‘family’ places. Colouring pencils for the 2 year old and highchairs and stuff. You’re right though – it’s the only time my older child tells me what’s going on at school, apart from in the bath.

  8. 25th April 2010 / 6:15 am

    Brilliant. Tell her to save the Glasgow kiss for only when absolutely neccessary! And she has a school blazer? That’s it, I’m coming back to England!

  9. 25th April 2010 / 8:08 am

    I REALLY want you to educate my children. Seriously, she has the best teacher EVER. And eating out is a great idea!
    Damn…I wanna live in your house…

  10. 25th April 2010 / 7:59 pm

    Our problem was that Flea was weaned onto chicken and fish and so on, and so she doesn’t like fish fingers, chicken goujons or those processed sorts of foods. She also only started to eat chips in the past year or so, so we would have struggled to find anything she could eat at that of place – far easier to go to a Chinese restaurant because she would always eat rice with soy sauce, or if we went to an Italian, she could eat some pasta and pesto.
    I also dislike places with suspiciously cheerful waiters.

  11. 25th April 2010 / 8:00 pm

    I know – headbutting and blazers – it’s brilliant!

  12. 25th April 2010 / 8:00 pm

    There’s an understairs cupboard, you’re welcome to come and channel Harry Potter.

  13. diane
    26th April 2010 / 11:53 pm

    I love that she sees the problem as making their outfit dirty and not y’know, the blood spurting from their head or anything. She must make you laugh so much.