A Word In Your Ear with Jon Rhodes - April 14, 2011

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Is it OK to be a scaredy cat in front of your kids?

I ask because my once immaculate persona of Super Dad has been somewhat compromised.

The reason, a fairground ride so tame they allow newborn babies onto it.

As a youngster, I prided myself on knowing no fear. I was the Wirral version of Spiderman, climbing giant trees and tall buildings, and without the need for web-shooters. I also rode downhill on my Grifter, at top speed, no-handed and with my eyes closed.

At the Pleasure Beach and Alton Towers, I would stand on my tip toes in order to beat the height restrictions to get onto the latest white knuckle thriller.

To sum up, I was just a normal little boy who loved every minute of trying to terrify myself.

So what has happened to me?

In the last few years, I’ve noticed a sudden aversion to heights.

I did that whole Walk Of Faith thing at The Tower, only to nearly topple over in total fear when I looked down 500-or-so feet.

Two years ago, I went to the top of the Empire State Building and gripped the railings, convinced the skyscraper was tilting with the wind.

I then painted the window sills outside my house and amused the neighbours no end with my girly shrieks of panic.

I think you get the picture. Vertigo is not something I’ve been officially diagnosed with, but I reckon I’m a late onset victim.

Last weekend, I took Put Upon Wife and the Rugrats to Camelot at Charnock Richard, famed for its medieval jousting and gentle rides for the youngsters.

Falcon Flight is not one which should have terrified me, given it consists of coloured balloons which go up and down gently in a sort of modern take on the classic carousel.

The kids loved it. Me, never again.

Up the balloons went, down they came, and so did my stomach. My lad was waving his arms around and jigging his feet. “Woah daddy, up we go again, and again.”

He is five, so he’s at the age where he is building memories that will live with him for the rest of his natural. I did not want one of his abiding visions of childhood being the sight of his father gripping onto the side of a 6ft balloon pleading not to die.

I took solace in that other parents would surely have suffered the same, but when the ride finally came to an end, it appears I was the only one walking as if I needed to make use of the on-site facilities, which are immaculate in case you ever visit.

I tried to bounce back in the only way I could, by taking my daughter on a rollercoaster I knew would scare us all.

After three goes she wanted to go again. I blamed a sudden ricked neck and declined.

As I said, what the hell has happened to me?