Caroline Verdon: Pride was fantastic but it’s ruined my toddler’s birthday

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Last weekend we went to Leeds Pride and it was utterly fantastic but it’s ruined my toddler’s birthday.

Pride is my favourite event in the Leeds calendar. It’s an absolute joy to be surrounded by so much love and happiness and to be part of the parade is such a privilege. We took our toddler for the first time and describing Pride to him before we went was tricky.

Not the LGBT* part, that was easy. “You can love anybody and whoever you are is perfect.” Boom. Done. It was describing the street parade and what happens at the event that was tricky. I opted for “it’s a rainbow party and we’ll be walking down the road with a band and music and everyone will be wearing rainbows or bright colours, it’s like a great big party”.

I thought I’d done okay with my description until we were 30 minutes in and asked me where the cake was. He’s nearly three and so to him, a cake is a big part of a party. I had to explain there wasn’t any as it wasn’t a party for someone’s birthday and he got quite upset. Five minutes later he’d been given a whistle and was happy again to continue to dance his way through the rest of the parade route down to Lower Briggate.

We got in the car to go home and he started talking about his own party. He turns three in September and it’s the first time he’s really understood about birthdays and parties and presents. He asked if his party was going to be like the rainbow party and if there would be that many people, a rainbow digger and a band he could dance to. He’s going to be very disappointed.

How can we compete with 40,000 people, rainbowed-up bin wagons, confetti fireworks and all that dancing? As if there wasn’t enough pressure on parents already! It’s hard enough having to create an Instagram worthy themed party with the beautiful homemade cakes, the selection of healthy food all designed and shaped to relate to the party theme and the party bags so full that you’d believe Father Christmas actually came twice a year! Last year his party was digger themed. I’m a terrible baker so I faked it. I bought nearly everything at Costco in Hunslet. Jazz it up a bit, put it on your own plates and no one would ever know! His cake was a bought chocolate cake that I made look homemade thanks for a packet of Crunchie bars and an order of 15 plastic diggers from Amazon for £8. I cut some of the bars in half and put them around the edge of the cake and then crunched up the others and put them in a pile in the centre to look like a pile of rocks and sat a digger on top – voila. I bought a load of platters of sandwiches, wraps, pasta salads, crudités and sliced fruit and just put it in bowls. Turns out by calling egg mayonnaise a ‘rubble sandwich’ and squares of melon ‘melon builders’ blocks’ you can make anything look planned out and thought through. I did struggle with the cherries though – ‘builder’s bum’ felt like a step too far. Instead of party bags I bought 10 helium digger balloons online for £10 and used the rest of the digger toys to weight them down. They worked as decorations during the party and then we gave one to each child as they left.This year, whilst Arthur is still a big digger fan, he’s now fallen in love with pirates and anything sea themed (baby shark do do do do do do). We’re going to get a load of hankies for the head and rip the bottom of some old tshirts and that’ll be the costumes done. Food wise I figured anything long can be a ‘pirate’s leg’, anything small and round can be ‘parrot food’ and anything that doesn’t fit into those categories will just have to be named ‘pirates’ treasure’.

We’ll rename pin the tail on the donkey to pin the parrot on the pirate, pass the parcel will become find the treasure and then there’s just party bags to sort. I’m thinking pirate balloons held down by chocolate coins and then that’ll be us done. Easy party with minimum effort but maximum fun. The other option of course would be to persuade the team behind Leeds Pride to do it all again in a few weeks time? Can we sort more parades, road closures and unprecedented crowds again? It would make a threee-year-old very very happy. Oh, but there would have to be cake this time.

Some biking mishaps..

A few weeks ago we went to Center Parcs and I epically fell off my bike in front of my toddler.

I was conscious he was there so didn’t make a big deal of it. I hadn’t actually hurt myself at all (I knew my extra padding would come in handy) so just laughed, said ‘oh dear’ and hopped back on my bike. The only bruising was to my ego.

Even though I really played it down, every time he sees my bike he says “be careful Mummy, don’t hurt yourself, don’t fall off again” and he really doesn’t want to go on his balance bike at all.

We’re trying not to force him or make a big deal about it in the hope that he forgets and enjoys it again but so far it’s not really working.

Ant and I were talking about it on air this week and we had a call from Mel who had a bike accident when she was in secondary school that gained her the nickname ‘burny bum’.

She’d been at a friends house and it was nearly time for the streetlights to come on so he gave her a saddle home.

As he cycled over a bump in the road, she fell onto the back wheel of the bike only he hadn’t noticed and so kept cycling until she yelled out in pain.

The bike wheel went in between her buttocks and caused a friction burn so bad she had to go to hospital, sit on a special cushion at school for a month and walk like John Wayne for at least a fortnight.

Our pillow talk has changed

Pillow talk has changed for my husband and I over the years.

When we first met it was all romantic, lots of I love yous and doey eyes. He’d tell me what he loved about me and I’d do the same.

He’d be in nothing but a tight fitting pair of black Calvin Kleins and I’d have squeezed myself into something silky. Last night I realised once and for all that we were past all of that forever.

As I lay there in pyjama bottoms and a mismatching tshirt, and he lay there in his socks, my stomach rumbled.

He laughed out loud and said “Your stomach rumbles are brilliant. They sound like an old computer writing something to its hard drive.”

At which point we rolled over to our separate sides of the bed and we asleep in minutes.

Love is a funny old thing.

Caroline Verdon is one half of the breakfast show on Radio Aire. You can hear Caroline and Ant between 6-10am every weekday morning.