Friday, 3 May 2013

The Great British Watertable

I have just spent 2 hours washing the various paraphernalia associated with Katie’s water table.  This is very clearly one of the poorest uses of a spring afternoon ever.  If any person, anywhere in the world, was thinking of purchasing a water table for their toddler I would strongly advice against it.  It was bought in a sudden bout of guilt that Katie did not have enough age-appropriate toys. 
And as we all know, feeling sorry for one’s children can only end badly.  There are several very good reasons why Katie doesn’t have enough age-appropriate toys (a) toddlers 1 and 2 were never that keen on the old brightly-coloured bits of plastic, and were more than capable of finding inventive ways to create mess in order to nudge us towards the purchase of yet more Peppa Pig dvds; (b) they are incredibly boring for adults to play with, especially for several consecutive hours; (c) we have no more room and the house is fast resembling one of those hoarding types of establishments which require expert help; (d) isn't that the whole point of pre-school??

But I digress.  Back to the water table.  Katie’s birthday, as I might have mentioned is right at the end of August.  Obviously British summer time is well and truly over by then, so Katie got a few begrudging 10 minute sessions outside with the water table in the freezing cold, for which even she failed to rustle up much enthusiasm, before the garden doors got shut for the next 6 months.  Time during which everything left in the garden has been covered in an impressively-entrenched layer of slime and dead spiders.  Fast-forward to now, and the old parental guilt has hit after a few too many afternoons round friends’ beautifully-appointed back gardens where the children play idyllically and leave the adults to neck necessary quantities of caffine.  Ok, so Katie didn’t play idyllically by any stretch of the imagination, but that’s the theory. 

With this picture firmly in my mind, the obvious way to spend today's day off was to (a) head for the garden centre and spend £50 on plants that I will single-handedly manage to kill, and (b) waste very valuable nap time attempting to sanitise sodding water table (and 30-odd essential ‘accessories’) - which I have had the brainwave of redeploying as a sandpit, as if this represents some kind of improvement.  Did I mention that I spent another £50 in the Argos catalogue on various outdoor games? (totally sane behaviour when one is being made redundant in a few months’ time). This includes a cardboard house that the children will be painting themselves!  No doubt in attractively contrasting colours.  I hadn't even had a drink when I made these decisions.  I think we can all see where this is headed one month from now when I am left with a soggy lump of luminous cardboard in my back garden, surrounded by sand, and Charlie huffs about how he’s not going to be the one taking it to the tip.  I have already been banned from ever buying any more paddling pools, since these have now ended badly for three years in a row.

Perhaps I’m being too cynical, and two months from now we will be sipping Pims on the doorstep whilst watching our children frolicking enchantingly.


  1. Ha ha Janie we used to have one of those water tables - total waste of money! And we too have the paddling pool debate every single year. How do we manage to burst one every year? Is it only us?!

  2. We just put 4 (yes 4!) paddling pools in the skip - all with various punctures. We also had to empty a sandpit of green slimy sand & clean all the dead bugs and leaves out of the accessories! I feel your pain!

  3. I'm glad it's not just me then that is not sufficiently responsible to own a paddling pool!

    It's made even worst by procrastinating about chucking it out (there was a puncture repair kit in there somewhere, I think?), leaving it to triple in weight and multiply in general rancidness, which prompts one of my husband's now weekly lectures about items which the bin men will not collect ...

    The sandpit is quite clearly a dreadful idea.