Today is a day of irrelevant and trivial confessions.
For someone who has spent some time in higher education (not much, mind you, and many friends would assert that a B.A. (Hons) from Pietermaritzburg University hardly qualifies as higher education..), I imagine it would be considered somewhat gauche to admit that “I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here” possibly constitutes my greatest annual telly-viewing pleasure. I love the desperation of the z-listers, I love the way the change of environment strips them of their stage-managed, public-persona-enhancing accoutrements (who knew Gillian McKeith was quite such a whiny, self-absorbed old hag and suave Nigel Havers – known to me only as Nora Walker’s architect beau in Brothers & Sisters – such a miserable old git??). I confess to loving Ant & Dec; their predictable, puerile humour, their familiar, formulaic presentation style, and their visible and arrogant disdain at some of the ridiculous contestants. I also love the fact that the programme provides one small reason for me to look forward to the start of an otherwise dreaded winter.
Confession number two revolves around my adolescent excitement at the upcoming royal nuptials. I, possibly more than most, wring my hands at the number of failed celebrity marriages; the lavish weddings that seem to be nothing more than a precursor to high profile divorces. I also read the tabloids (sneaking in a third minor confession there) and I know the young princes are not made of quite the same stuff my childhood princely heroes were made of. (Indeed, for some reason my childhood prince / princess scenarios never involved the quaffing of ridiculously-priced champagne cocktails at exclusive nightclubs or the donning of nazi uniforms and hand gestures at fancy dress parties… call me unimaginative….). So I hold out only minimal hope for a successful and happy marriage for the young royal couple. Yet despite my cynicism there is something about the idea of a royal wedding that brings out the four year old princess-in-waiting in me. Not very evolved, I know, but hey.
And my final confession for the day is that I’ve decided I despise hosting playdates. My patience with other people’s children is even thinner than my patience with my own. But at least the eccentricities of my own children are familiar, their bad habits somewhat predictable, their joys very personal, our boundaries already established. As much as I struggle to keep my kids entertained on wintry afternoons, I now know the altered dynamic created by a young visitor to the house, the disciplinary dilemmas it throws up, and the sibling rivalries a new and unfamiliar presence often triggers tend to generate more of a parenting challenge than I’m up for on an average day.
And on that note, it’s off to bed.