Parenthood is fraught with awkward moments, but for me, the most difficult to deal with are those “parent politics” instances when another little darling is messing with your own offspring.

We all have our own way of dealing with minor mishaps, but when you don’t personally know the other party it can be a bit of a minefield.

We were out as a family for a meal this week and there was a fantastic little outdoor play area where the children could safely play while we waited for the food to arrive. I took my daughters outside to play. My eldest daughter was off straight away, amusing herself on a slide and my youngest daughter made a beeline for an unoccupied tricycle.

Gaze locked on the little bike, she trotted off towards it while I hung back surveying the whole scene. Just as she was within tantalising reach, a snotty nosed little girl, not much older than her own 2 years intercepted her, handing her off with the precision of an international rugby player.

My daughter, who is usually made of pretty stern stuff, was blind-sided by this action and went to pieces. I looked around to see if the little girl’s parents had witnessed this fracas but they were no-where to be seen.

I’m not one to make a mountain out of a molehill so decided to distract my own daughter and put it down to experience.

This would have been fine, but less than five minutes later, when said tricycle was again unoccupied, exactly the same thing happened again. Out of nowhere this (still snotty) girl appeared and claimed the bike to be her own, pushing my daughter out of the way.

By this time I could feel myself getting cross, but quite flummoxed about what to do next. My polite and jovial suggestions that they should take turns was falling on deaf ears and the girl’s parents were still absent.

Again I made my daughter walk away; it would seem that I am a bit of a wuss when it comes to dealing with conflict, even when the perpetrators are still in nappies.

The final straw came a few minutes later when my daughter attempted for a third time to have a go on the again vacant trike when the little girls (also snotty) brother peddled up to the bike and in his sisters absence grabbed it in her name and tried to drag it away.

Right, I thought, action needs to be taken. So what did I do? I called upon the services of my other daughter, the four year old bodyguard. “You need to look after your sister” I said, “That little girl is being a bit mean to her”

This was most definitely the wrong thing to do, as my eldest girl marched across with all the delicacy of a rhino told the girl to stay away. Fortunately the other girl was made of tougher stuff than my own daughter and simply shrugged it off, moments later the missing parents appeared and took their children home.

Relived, I sat down to my meal but just a few moments later the peace was shattered by the loud sobbing of a child. I rushed back to the play area to find a new little boy in floods of tears. I quickly established to my shame that my own toddler (nose now streaming) had faced up to this new kid and shouted at him. How the tables turn…


Thursday, May 30

10.30am and 2.30pm The Dreams of Philomina, Harrogate Studio Theatre Tickets: £8.50 Adult, £7.50 Child
Friday, May 31 to Sunday, June 2

Children’s festival announces long weekend of half term fun

Harrogate International Festivals invites children of all ages and the young at heart to the 2013 Children’s Festival.

Over one long half term weekend from Friday 31 May to Sunday 2 June, the amazing Spiegeltent located in Crescent Gardens will be home to all manner of organised mayhem.

Workshops, activities, games, music, dance and fun are the name of the game. See your child become a swashbuckler at Sword School, become Florence Nightingale and dress up as nurses and explore medical history, or take a spectacular voyage through the four billion year story of life on earth!

Sagas, storytelling, fairy tales, poetry, pirates, Vikings, bookworms, feathery friends and Winnie the Pooh – you’d be mad not to!

Book in advance or swing by the Spiegeltent on your way to Valley Gardens and see what splendours await for a half term finale everyone will be talking about back to school on Monday.

Full programme below:

Friday, May 31

10am Becky Adams Crafts. Craft teeny tiny books or your own little feathered friend –all materials provided to make your own books and birds. For ages five + but all ages welcome.

12pm Seven Stories: Bookworm Babies and Story Party for Toddlers Lunchtime Event

Bringing books to life with songs, props and sensory activities for all the family. Bring your own lunch and enjoy the magical Spiegeltent! For ages 0-five.

1.30pm Mixed up Fairytales. From Three Pigs and a Gingerbread Man to Hansel and Gretel and the Ugly Duckling, join children’s author, Hilary Robinson, reading and speaking about her best-selling fairytale jumbles. For ages five +.

3pm Thackray Medical Museum: Meet Florence Nightingale. Join the Thackray Medical Museum in a role play and craft workshop around Florence’s life. Dress up as nurses and porters and learn to make a Florence Nightingale’s lamp. For ages seven +.

Saturday, June 1

10.30am What on Earth? Wallbook of Natural History. Join What on Earth for a spectacular voyage through the four billion year story of life on Earth using a coat of 14 pockets, a series of everyday objects and quizzes with a giant edition of What on Earth? Wallbook of Natural History as a backdrop. For ages five +.

12pm Musical Storytimes. The popular musical activity for under sevens returns to Harrogate with guitar duo Rachel Buckley and Steve Biggs, bringing a book to life with songs and dances. Bring your own lunch and enjoy the magical Spiegeltent!

1.30pm What on Earth? Wallbook of Sport. Join What on Earth for a mind-boggling journey through three million years asking the simple, but intriguing question: why do people play sport? Members of the audience are invited to pick everyday objects out of a multi-coloured coat of 10 pockets to make this a truly interactive, memorable workshop with a giant edition of his What on Earth? Wallbook of Sport as a backdrop. For ages seven +.

3pm Jorvik Viking Centre: Sagas and Storytelling. Join a costumed Viking storyteller in myths, sagas and poetry from Viking times, and perform in a short play of a Viking myth. For ages seven +.

4pm Jorvik Viking Centre: meet a Viking Warrior/new session tbc

Sunday, June 2

10:30am That Poetry Bloke. Craig Bradley combines poetry, music, imagination and comedy in his creative workshops, encouraging lots of audience participation and fun. Ages seven +.

12pm Winnie-the-Pooh. Join storyteller Liz Fost talking about our favourite children’s toys, and don’t forget your honey sandwiches! Bring your own lunch and enjoy the magical Spiegeltent! For under sevens.

1.30pm History’s Maid: George and the Dragon. Watch an exciting enactment of George and the Dragon and learn what really happened. Ages five +.

2.30pm History’s Maid: Top of the Chops. Go back in time to a period of highwaymen and pirates, learn how to sword-fight and what happens if you misbehave in the ‘axe factor’! Ages five +.

3.30pm History’s Maid: have a go at sword school. Do you know your thrust from your parry, your rapier from your broadsword? Try History’s Maid’s child friendly have a go sword school and see if you have got what it takes to be a medeival warrior! Ages five +.

Box Office telephone 01423 562303 or visitwww.harrogateinternationalfestivals.com. Tickets also available on the door subject to availability.

Saturday, June 1

1-4pm Birthday Party at Thistle Hill Children’s Day Nursery in Knaresborough. We are celebrating being open for 25 years.We have lots of stalls as well as face painting, bouncy castle, cream teas, an ice cream van, fire engine and lots more. We have also organised a magic show by Bobs your Uncle that will be 2-3pm. This day is open to anyone that would like to attend.

Saturday, June 1 and Sunday, June 2

The Druid Song at the Bivouac Nr Masham. It’s a creative weekend of musical activities, led by singer Caroline Challis. People who choose to take part in the workshop create their own song inspired by the mystical setting of Bivouac and the 18th century Druid’s Temple nearby. They’ll explore the sights and sounds around them to see how nature can inspire us to make music, and there will even be the chance to perform their brand new song at the end of the weekend. The weekend is aimed at ages seven-13-year olds and their families. Children pay £35 and parents are free. Booking is essential.

Wednesday, June 5

8-10pm NCT Save a baby’s life course is run by the Royal Life Saving Society UK at Ashville College Prep School, Yew Tree Lane, Harrogate, HG2 9JP Price: £17. Course includes basic resuscitation skills for babies and toddlers and some essential first aid. Booking essential, contact: Margaret Clough on 01423 562 769 email: margaret.clough@ntlworld.com