Oh, sure, we all love our children and we'd lay down our lives etc etc, but admit it – it's pretty cool having someone around who thinks that you're basically a cross between the Delphic Oracle and a pants-wearing Superhero, right?
Then there comes that transitional moment when your kids realise that you're just a regular grown-up and therefore fallible. Not only that, you're also not cool in any way, shape or form. I knew the day would come in our house. I was just hoping it wouldn't actually arrive before Flea's fourth birthday.
I blame Drayton Manor. They invited us along to the park yesterday, to try out the rides and activities, so Flea and I went along with a couple of friends. The great thing about Drayton Manor for Flea is that it's home to Thomas Land – a mini theme park for toddlers, with safe, lovely Thomas-themed rides and games. Seriously, I've never seen two children more excited than Flea and her friend Annabelle were when they realised they were going to take a ride on a REAL LIFE THOMAS.
I wasn't sure how Flea would cope with a theme park. She's always flat-out refused to go on rides at local fairs, and she's generally cautious trying new things at the best of times. But yesterday she said she would try things, so long as I went on everything with her. "Of course darling, Mummy will look after you," I reassured her.
Our first ride was "Troublesome Trucks", a little roller coaster with a mischievous train face on the front of it. As we were waiting in the queue, I spotted an elderly lady exiting the ride, mouthing to her friend, "That was a bit fast, wasn't it?" I mentioned this to my friend Mel, and we sniggered slightly at the sad old people who couldn't handle a kiddie rollercoaster.
Oh. My. God.
Troublesome Trucks starts off a bit bumpy and a little bit fast. "Ooh," I said to Flea, encouragingly. "This is fun, isn't it?" All the while thinking please don't cry, please don't cry. She looked okay, though.
Then you start to go up an incline. This takes longer than you expect. You realise you're quite high up now. "Gosh, look at all the things we can see from up here!" I say cheerily to Flea, who's looking a bit unsure at this point. I'm sure I can see our car in the car park.
Then, after a brief pause at the top of the incline, you whoosh down the slope, round a hairpin bed, then down another slope before a whiplash-inducing turn in the opposite direction. I clung on to Flea with one hand and the rail with another, while centrifugal forces pinned me to the side of the seat, unable to do much more than squeal like a small mouse. The train then slows momentarily, and you prepare to stop, but then you go round the whole circuit again.
As we came to a stop at the end of the ride, I removed my fingernails from Flea's coat collar and looked down, ready to comfort her. God only knows what kind of trauma I might have caused.
Only she was laughing so hard she couldn't actually catch her breath. In the end, she managed to get out: "Can we do that again?" She looked at me, sympathetically. "I'll come with you if you like."