From Disneyland to Gosport in a flash

Mutiny Festival 2017 Picture: Paul Windsor

Keep children safe – but beware the nanny state

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Get your glad-rags on, the party season is almost here.

Between now and the new year, our calendar is very similar to Paris Hilton’s – a continual stream of parties and events (in fairness, ours are probably a little lower budget, but more tasteful).

One of the highlights will be Molly’s birthday. She’s a few weeks away from the big six and the excitement is understandably tangible.

Looking back, it always seemed like a lifetime between birthdays.You’d look forward to it for months, yet it seemed to pass in the blinking of an eye.

But before you know it, the complete opposite is occurring and you’re looking in the mirror at your furrowed brow wondering when you got old.

For the first time we’re letting Molly choose what she’d like to do for her big day. I think she’s of an age when she should start to take responsibility for her actions. If it is a complete disaster, she should learn from it.

Her first suggestion was going to Disneyland with a few friends. She was a little sad when I informed her that America is closed in November.

Going to London on the train with some friends to see the Queen was another idea – but traipsing around Oxford Street during the Christmas rush with a handful of six-year-olds is way beyond a man of my mental/physical capabilities.

Going from that to ice skating in Gosport is a big step but a realistic one nonetheless. That’s a front runner at the moment and rather than pay an instructor to show them the magic, I think they could learn a lot from a lumbering behemoth, shuffling around and occasionally lying prone in a puddle of slush.

Picking a birthday present is also another major hurdle to overcome, particularly for the incumbent birthday girl. You only have to watch children’s TV for 10 minutes to see how many adverts their little brains are bombarded with. No wonder she wants one of everything.

Breezing through a catalogue is a brilliant way of entertaining a child and also honing their birthday dreams and aspirations.

The option for parents to buy a bicycle and pay it off at 52p a week for the next 14 years doesn’t exist any more, sadly.

I remember ripping the pages out of the Argos catalogue and pinning them to my bedroom wall, praying that ‘Race and Chase’ would miraculously become mine. My dedication paid off…sometimes.

Her list is growing by the day and includes a bike, games, an ‘action’ baby doll, plus arts and crafts.

My favourite request so far? Some new socks.

But she’s got at least 50 years of receiving birthday socks so maybe it’s the right time for a doll on a jet-ski.