When I dropped Boy Three off at nursery I gave him a kiss and a cuddle, like usual, and, like usual, said: “Have fun.”
He replied: “You have fun too, mummy.”
“I will,” I said as headed out to the car to perform the elaborate waving ritual. It involves me blowing kisses and flapping my arm out of the car window like a loon while he looks on from the nursery window in a distracted manner, there being much more interesting stuff going on with his pals. Once I tried to suggest we stopped it but he was outraged.
But it got me thinking. How much fun was I actually going to have? My day was likely to be full of deadline-driven writing and editing. I might amuse myself a little bit with some social media banter or, perhaps, gazing vacantly out of the window for a while. But actual fun, probably not.
What’s fun anyway? With kids we mean learning stuff that grips them, hearing stories, playing with their friends, creating things and making a mess. Maybe they’ll get to dance or do some playacting.
As we get older the idea of fun becomes a bit more prescribed. We can do fun stuff at the time we’re supposed to and no other. Not without being a bit of a joker or a lightweight.
Friday nights in the pub is fun. As is a dirty weekend, a trip to the theme park, retail therapy or the annual sunshine holiday. Fancy restaurants, big stadium shows, visits to the cinema.
They’re great – really good fun. But, especially among we nouveau pauvre, they don’t come round all that often.
How would it be if we tried to have a different kind of fun? More like the children in the nursery – with stories and make believe, mess and puddle jumping. And, probably more importantly, we make it an aim for the day – putting it on the to-do list.