“I love my job!”
How many times do you hear people say that?
Not often, I can guarantee.
But I say it almost every time I go out to work.
Granted , in my 20 years of being a London Children’s Entertainer there have been times where I have reminded myself of the fact that ‘This is why it is called work ( and not play) ” and I have put my nose to the metaphorical grindstone ( the alternative would be a bit ouchy!) and got on with the job of being an entertainer and puppeteer . Those few times have usually been when I was faced with difficult circumstances like noise ( usually the grown-ups on the sauce I’m afraid…no , not ketchup!) or just too much being thrown at the children all at once. I can’t stress enough times that with small children, just throwing money at the problem isn’t going to solve it. With small children , less is most often more. Give them a chance to focus and you will be amazed at how much they can focus.
But, I can count on the fingers of one hand all the times I’ve not found work that fun. That isn’t bad going when I’ve been doing this puppeteering /entertainment lark for 20 years now.
Last weekend was no exception. I started off on the Friday at a birthday party for lovely Otto. He was turning three and I was so delighted to be returning to this family after 8 years. They had used my puppeteering and entertainment services all those years ago for their last child when he was three. Now the big brother was 11! It was wonderful to keep this 3rd birthday party tradition going and to witness the older brother joining in from the back, still giggling at the same jokes he had enjoyed all those years ago, now he was sharing in the fun with his little brother. It was touching indeed to be part of this celebration. I sometimes feel I have the privilege of entering children’s memories as that silly lady who made them laugh at their birthday. What a wonderful position to be in.
So that was Friday.
Saturday I was up bright and early and off to a morning party for the lovely Victoria. She was turning 4 . We had a blast, Victoria especially loved my puppet Fifi the Fairy.
Fifi eating her wand
Fifi gave out hugs and kisses at the end.
The lovely Victoria hugging Fifi ( identity protected)
Victoria and Diane after the party
He’s behind you!
So Victoria waved goodbye to Fifi and went off home to open all her presents. I jumped into my waiting cab and zoomed off to my next party.
Uma was turning 5 , we had a wonderful time, again with Fifi the fairy as we told the story of how Fifi turned her teacher into a Birthday Witch whilst trying to make a Birthday Wish… ( see what I did there?)
Witchy Poo Poo was a great hit.
Witchy Poo in all her witchy glory
Again I was mistaken for Rosie. Easy mistake to make I suppose.
spot the difference… it’s the glasses isn’t it?
I think Uma enjoyed her party, so much so that she burst into tears at the end of the show . She didn’t want it to end. But after a reassuring cuddle from Fifi the fairy, I left a very happy Uma and went home to witness Chelsea winning the Champions League.
I thought nothing of it until the morning when I tried to book my cab to go to my Sunday morning in … Chelsea!
The controller calmly informed me that roads were being closed in Chelsea to prepare for the Champions League Victory Parade and that I wouldn’t be able to get through to my gig.
After a bit of begging and pleading and cajoling, ( and giving him the exact address) we worked out between us that it was the posh end of Chelsea that I was going to , not the football end. So we’d give it a go. I gave myself a good hour to get there to deal with any traffic and crossed fingers , toes , eyes, legs and arms.
As it turned out, there was no traffic at all! In fact the roads were much clearer than normal. Maybe people were staying away fearing congestion? Who knows. All I know is I got to the Christening party in such good time , I was happy I’d taken my crochet. ( I’m an avid crocheter as well as being a puppet lady. I make stuff based on rainbows and fairies. I’m just a big kid at heart)
Stuff I make.
Well that was a very lovely day at the ‘office’ . So many parents stayed to watch and they laughed at my jokes and cooed at the little ones playing Sleeping Bunnies with Bobby Bunny during the show. It is a joy to watch the parents faces when I’m behind my puppet theatre as they witness their kids having so much fun. Sometimes I see a tear or two. It’s touching.
Mummy came up to me at the end and said I was awesome and that she’d never seen her son so engaged and enthralled.
Waving bye bye to the lovely children , I jumped into my waiting chariot ( cab) and went forth to my next engagement.
Lucia was turning 3 and she was the very lucky girl who was going to have a puppet show in her very own bedroom! How exciting!
From my perspective, a little challenging, as the space was fairly limited and I was going to end up with a bunch of shy kids sitting really close to me and my puppets . I would have to work hard to engage their trust quickly otherwise I knew from experience that crying fever could sweep through that small space. ( Once one goes, the rest follow, I’ve found)
Well, I worked hard on my self deprecation. ( I’m a silly sausage, cheeky nunkey( sic) ) That always helps. My monkey calls me names and I don’t get cross. This seems to reassure little children that I’m an alright person pretty quickly. Plus it’s really silly and funny. If I can make children laugh in the first two minutes then I’m happy that the rest of the party will be fine.
It worked. Mummy sent me a sweet thank you email afterwards saying that Lucia is still talking about the puppet show that happened in her room. Result!
So yes, I love my job.
The hours are great, the clients are wonderful, and the best thing of all is the job satisfaction. There’s nothing quite like the emotional connection that you get from children. When they like you, they REALLY like you.
Mind you, the flip side of that is that if they don’t like you, they walk away.
I better make sure I keep my standards up.
It’s a good life.