KIERAN HOWARD: Make sure you carry some makeshift maracas to keep the kids occupied

Keeping little Louie occupied in the GP waiting room was tough  (Shutterstock)
Keeping little Louie occupied in the GP waiting room was tough (Shutterstock)

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Picture the scene.

You’ve just arrived at the doctors’ surgery for what you hope will be a reasonably quick appointment.

You’ve got a one-year-old in tow and it’s 5.30pm.

The toddler in question hasn’t yet had his dinner, bath or scheduled bedtime routine.

And it’s now only an hour before said child is normally laid down in his cot and drifting off to sleep.

You’ve held off all of the above due to the late slot you’ve been afforded in the GP’s extremely busy calendar.

Because you’re stupidly anticipating a rather speedy check-up, you attend the appointment completely under-prepared.

You have no toys for the little one and no food or treats to keep them occupied and happy.

You’re then told by the receptionist that your GP is running slightly behind schedule.

When you ask how far behind schedule, you’re told, ‘About an hour’.

You reply, ‘I’m sorry?’ and they confirm, ‘Yes, about an hour.’ What do you do?

You’ve probably guessed by now that this isn’t a purely hypothetical situation.

I suffered this precise series of unfortunate events last week.

As I despondently left the receptionist’s counter and resignedly trudged over to a spare seat.

All waiting rooms, whether it be a doctors’, opticians’ or dentists’, have children’s toys to maintain parents’ sanity.

For some reason though, our surgery has decided to remove all elements of fun for kids.

There’s not a plastic car, wooden bead maze or play cube in sight anymore. Those cutbacks really have hit hard.

I didn’t think to ask why all traces of them had been erased from the surgery.

Suffice to say though, I was fairly gutted to learn this at such a key moment. At this point, improvisation really came into its own.

The blinds kept him amused for half a minute.

My keys entertained him for a further 30 seconds.

Unfortunately, that then left me with 59 minutes still to fill.

Thankfully, he soon nosed through Kerrie’s bag and found a plastic box containing some hair grips.

This doubled as a handy makeshift maraca which kept him on side for another quarter of an hour.

Some leaflets and a couple sat nearby also grabbed his attention.

They contributed hugely to digging me out of a rather large hole.

I learned a lot that evening and I only hope that others out there can learn from my mistakes.

MY BOY WILL SWIPE ANYTHING – EVEN PRINCE HARRY’S POPCORN

If you’ve not yet seen the video of Prince Harry losing his popcorn to a toddler, you must check it out.

The ‘daring raid’ as it’s been described, occurred while he was watching the United Kingdom take on Denmark in a volleyball match at the Invictus Games in Toronto.

As he was looking the other way and chatting, two-year-old Emily Henson seized the moment to steal some of the snack from right under his nose.

It left me wondering what Louie would do in that situation.

I thought he might be a little more reserved, then I remembered the little man’s past form. In fact, I very much doubt he would have been crafty

enough to even wait for the prince to become engrossed in conversation.

He’d have got stuck in and been ready for the consequences, such as a hasty removal of the treat.

I strongly suspect he wouldn’t have stopped at the popcorn either.

In all likelihood, our cheeky chappy would have had the prince’s keys, phone and wallet while he was there too.

Now, that would have been some YouTube video.

To be honest, anything which wasn’t nailed down, would probably have disappeared fairly quickly.

Last month I found my debit card in the bathroom bin after two days spent searching for it.

That’s what I’m up against.