Overall the event went very well, lots of satisfied customers, lots of happy parents that they've been able to get their kids to spend a rainy morning doing something other than playing on the Wii or watching tv. However, there are always a few rotten apples in the barrel - although I'm not speaking of any of the children...
Following suggestions that in previous years there hadn't been anything sufficiently challenging for the 9 and 10 year old girls to do (I hate to say 'girls', but there really weren't many boys of that age there), we made sure there were a couple of crafts specifically for them. One of them was to stitch various forms of decoration onto a canvas tote bag. (Can you see where this one is going yet?). The decorations included ribbons, felt shapes, jewels and - crucially - a large box of funky coloured buttons.
Halfway through the morning, the mum looking after the table found me and asked for help, unsure of how to handle a situation that had arisen. One of the mums - at least I assume she was a mum although there was no child to be seen - had stationed herself at the end of the table (the one clearly signposted '4th and 5th graders ONLY') and was fashioning her own tote bag and crucially, had made a little pile of all the best buttons and was growling at any child who dared approach them. We had the following conversation;
Me: "So, are you enjoying yourself?"
Her: "What? Oh, yes yes..."
Me: "It's just that these crafts are meant to be for the children..."
Her: "Yes, I know that. I'm making this with my son."
Me: "Right. And he is...?"
Her: "Over there. On the kite table."
Me: "But not here? Although it's his craft?"
Her: "Well, I asked him to. But he didn't want to. So I'm making it on his behalf."
A little boy of around 6 years old reported himself lost, so one of my colleagues on the organising team for the event walked around with him for 15 minutes before finding his mum. On seeing her - standing at the craft table where you could stick sea-shells around wooden photo frames and then, of course, finish them off with glitter - he promptly burst into tears and ran over for comfort, which she duly gave. Before continuing with what she had been doing, which was sweeping her pre-selected pile of all the best shells on the table into her handbag to take home with her...
It's never the kids, is it?