Problem. It's too soon for us to leave the boys at home with a babysitter (all of our house rules would go straight out of an upstairs window, along with all the boys' soft toys) and we're dying to go out on a Friday night to scoff an enormous Zizzi pizza and glug down a nice bottle of Montepulciano. Solution. We'll take the boys along with us.
So, how does a Friday night out with two excited four and five year old boys look? Well. Every so often, about once every couple of months or so, Tom and I get Richard and Lyall all dressed up in their best skinny jeans and dinky Zara shirts and take them out with us to a posh pub or swanky restaurant.
Getting ready is marvellous fun. To get things started, I interrupt Lyall and Richard's running about in the dining room like a pair of raving loonies by shouting "Right! Upstairs, clothes off." (not something you'd want a passing stranger to hear but it is fit for purpose) upon which both boys dash up the stairs, strewing clothes all over the place like a pair of frenzied maniacs. Five minutes later, Dad and I arrive in the hall upstairs to find a pair of adorable little nude Hannibal Lecters, standing to attention in the middle of their bedrooms, occasionally with a satisfying salute to pop. If we're organised, clothes will be ironed and ready, but usually I will pop some naff music on (current favourite is Escape (the Pina Colada Song) - go on, have a nostalgic enjoy on me) ...for the boys to dance and sing to while Tom irons away the creases on their miniature designer shirts, which incidentally are the most charming things I've ever bought; I absolutely love mini-grownup clothes - no dreadful plasticised Angry Birds or Disney tat for our boys, thank you very much. Wow, I am a horrible snobby bastard. And waffling too much. Note to self; must not loose the plot.
Once clothes are on, hair is looking fabulous, darling (I use Got2be Texture Clay) and everyone pongs of Lyall's favourite David Beckham c.2009 potent aftershave, the four of us wait impatiently at the living room window for the arrival of the extraordinarily exciting taxi (to us, just a boring old unloved grey Insignia that smells like a stale ashtray but to the boys, a mystical carriage of dreams without booster seats).
The aforementioned restaurant of choice is the Zizzi on the high street; just splashy enough for Tom, but modest enough that we can all have pretty much everything we want from the menu. The wine is tasty and the boys are provided with little paper chef hats that they colour in and wear all evening. We love it. The most fascinating thing about the restaurant for Lyall and Richard isn't the Victorian architecture or gigantic wooden wine rack wall or the fiery pizza oven. It's the toilets. The toilets are in the haunted dungeon beneath the restaurant (it's just an ordinary cellar, really) providing yet more marvellous fun when we take them to the loo. As we make our way down the spiral staircase into the cellar (dungeon), we stay astute, looking carefully for ghosts and ghouls, all the way along the long spooky corridor to the gents. Once our expedition reaches the loo, there's a huge opaque mirror which is just slightly transparent, allowing a very faint view into the ladies' toilets next door. I like to pretend that I can't see through it myself, so consequently both boys are convinced that they have a sixth sense, an inert ability to see faint ghosts of women washing their hands in a dingy ladies toilet.