Do you have children? I don’t. I am sitting right now in a quiet house, with the hum of the washing machine gently rumbling in the kitchen. Ah, the peace of solitude.
I imagine many of you hunched over at your computers, grey with early age; your little darlings tearing around the house, painting the cat with peanut butter, doodling on the walls, and doing something awful to the potted fern.
“Now now, Richmond, come away from there! And no, your sister’s hair is not for burning!”
As a childless uncle, the idea of children frightens me. I don’t know baby talk, I never know what they want, and after 10 minutes of smashing my hand on Lego because it makes them laugh, they can damn well go back to mom because my hand is pounding and I need a drink.
It came as quite a shock, then, when my sister informed me that I was to sit the little tykes, while she and her girlfriends had a spa day. I pleaded and protested - but despite it all, they arrived early on Saturday morning.
It didn’t take long before the chaos began and my bookshelf was kindly rearranged on the floor and my bed became something of a hit as an impromptu trampoline.
“Come now, children,” I said then, gathering them up and putting them all in the car. “Let’s go somewhere else. Where do you think would be fun?”
Suggestions ranged from the moon to the land of the Gruffalo which, believe me, is no place for children. I sighed deeply. It seemed that as the only responsible adult in the mix, it was up to me to make the decisions. So where to go? What to do?
- You should know right off the bat that kids are crafty, and no, I don’t mean they have the necessary skills to master pickpocketing. I mean, they really love making stuff. So my first suggestion is to take them somewhere where they can be creative. This is where the Bead & Gift shop in Claremont really comes into its own. Take them to the shop, then simply tell them to choose various bits and bobs to make a bangle or necklace for themselves. Sit back and let them run amok. Not only will you have done something memorable, but they get to take home a keepsake from the experience. Just remember to keep an eye on the smaller ones, as they tend to eat a whole mess of things they really shouldn’t be eating.
Bead & Gift Shop
Address: L84 Cavendish Square, Claremont
Tel: +27 (21) 674 0920
- The Scratch Patch in the V&A Waterfront - or in Simon's Town - offers a chance for kids to choose a bag of personally selected semi-precious stones (which, let’s be honest, will consist mostly of Tiger’s Eyes and those godforsaken blue bubblegum rocks). The kids will love the experience, though, and you’ll be sure to gain automatic promotion to Uncle Numero Uno. Again, just keep the smaller ones from gorging themselves on gems!
Dock Rd, V&A Waterfront
Tel: +27 (21) 419 9429
Dido Valley Rd, Simon's Town
Tel: +27 (21) 786 2020
- The other great thing about the Scratch Patch is that it’s opposite the Two Oceans Aquarium, and if your little wards don’t have fun at the aquarium, tell their mother to send them back to the factory because the aquarium is all kinds of awesome. Top tip: they have special children’s shows every second hour or so, with an automated talking frog that the kids can’t seem to get enough of. They also host children’s parties at the aquarium.
Address: Dock Road, V&A Waterfront
Tel: +27 (21) 418 3823
- So after the excitement of fish and seals and talking frogs, why not take them golfing? Kid's style, of course. Cave Golf is directly next to the Scratch Patch in the V&A Waterfront, but if you feel the need for some fresh air, there’s also the putt putt course on Beach Road in Mouille Point, which after all these years is still a tremendous amount of fun. A word of advice though: just let the kids do what they want on the course - trying to teach children putt putt is very tiring and ultimately futile.
Tel: +27 (0)21 434 6805
- Now that you have been drained of all extra money and are in need of a little relaxing, why not take them to one of the many green spaces in the city? The Sea Point Promenade is always fun, as is the newly built Green Point Park and Biodiversity Garden, which is beautiful and very educational too. There you will find gym equipment, picnic areas and animal sculptures. While they climb all over the play equipment, they may even learn something about biodiversity.
And there it is. That should seal the deal. Just beware though: if the kids have too much fun, you will become the guy they want to visit all the time - but hey, that’s family. Damn, there goes my doorbell again, and I can hear the little monsters...