The Blands

Is Bonfire Night the most wonderful time of the year?

Bonfire night can be tricky to organise if you're having guests around but it's even trickier when you need to cater for a one-year old! 

Bonfire Night is a difficult celebration to get right for a one-year old but we’re approaching it as we would for the dog (like so much of our parenting tactics) and presuming that actually a lot of really loud banging and flashing lights might be a bit overwhelming for Freddie's little mind.

At the same time we don’t want him to be frightened of fireworks when he’s older so they need to be introduced at some stage. Babies’ ears are very sensitive though so we wondered if a fireworks display would be just too loud and bad for his hearing but after a bit of Googling we came across baby ear defenders! Tiny versions of those headphone things they wear in the F1 pit lane.  So cute it’s almost worth taking him to a display just to get a pair.

The other issue to consider is the timing of the displays. Unfortunately all the ones near us aren’t really timed well for a baby’s bedtime.  They start at 7pm with the lighting of the bonfire, then the fireworks display doesn’t start until 7.30pm.  This isn’t ideal when Freddie’s normally asleep by 7.45pm. Add in the fact that his body clock is all out of whack after the clock change and it doesn’t fill me with confidence that he’ll be watching a fireworks display with a look of wonder and a beaming smile on his face.

We’ve decided the most sensible decision this year is to have a small bonfire night celebration at home. The big displays will still be there in years to come… we need to start small and work our way up. Baby steps! The other consideration in our family is Bodie. Dogs and fireworks don’t really mix and while we’re very lucky that Bodie is relatively chilled out about the bangs we don’t really want to leave him home alone this year. 

So we’re planning a mini bonfire night Bland style. The bonfire will be in the chimnea in the garden at a safe distance from little mischievous toddlers. We toyed with the idea of getting a couple of fireworks to set off in the garden to break Freddie in gently but decided we don’t have the necessary bravery to be lighting gunpowder in the garden ourselves.

That just leaves sparklers, much underestimated and the best part of bonfire night in my opinion! Freddie can experience the joy that only comes from writing your name across the dark sky with a little stick of fire. Now I suspect we are setting ourselves up for another toddler tantrum with this plan as whatever we have, Freddie wants and a big sparkly stick is just the kind of thing to catch his eye. We’re going to cross our fingers and hope he understands the pre-sparkler health and safety briefing.

One thing Freddie can definitely get involved with is the bonfire night food! We plan to have our own mini winter feast with some hot dogs on the BBQ (Steve doesn’t need an excuse to fire up the barbie even in winter), we’re going to get some toffee apples on the go as well, even if Freddie’s teeth aren’t up to biting them yet, and we’ll probably mix in a drop of mulled wine for mummy and daddy. And the nice warm house is right there once we’re all fed up of the cold.

Like most of these occasions, it doesn’t really matter HOW you do it - as long as your way builds new traditions for you and your family. Happy bonfire night everyone – here’s to making memories that last a lifetime!

Rachael