Initially (with our first 2 kids) my boredom at these expos was simply due to the fact that I couldn't afford anything there. Heck, we could barely afford to feed the newest addition to the family. Now, that we can manage to scrape together a few rands to buy a pretty bassinet, I have learned that much of what I'd yearned for and felt inadequate about not owning, is completely unnecessary and will most likely go to waste after being used a few times.
So imagine my underwhelming enthusiasm when Mo decided that it would be lovely to take Aisha (2), who is a huge Barney fan, to see her dino hero since he would be performing live at the MamaMagic expo. But, Aisha was so excited that I overcame my own hang-ups and agreed.
Nuha (7) insisted on going too - she was more interested in witnessing her little sister's reaction to her hero than in actually seeing Barney herself.
We attended the last show of the expo, so it wasn't too packed. Aisha was more confused than excited. She didn't understand what we meant by saying that she was about to see 'the real Barney'.
First up was CBeebees star Nina from the show ''Nina and the Neurons''. Although the show was really informative and Nuha really enjoyed the lively super-energetic scientist and her experiments, Aisha spent most of the time asking ''Where's Barney?'' . We do not have DSTV so she could not relate to this entertaining performance at all.
Aisha was in awe. Dumbstruck. She was not jumping up and down like the other kids were. It seemed like seeing her hero in the 'flesh' was just too much for her to handle. (She reminded me of myself at the Michael Jackson concerts back in '97:) )
And then the show ended, which, of course, resulted in the inevitable tears and much confusion.
''Where's Barney?'' she kept asking. At home she could rewind/replay and he would appear on her screen again; here he'd simply vanished - just like that.
Mo then insisted that we roam about the expo, checking out the booths of the various exhibitors. He seemed determined to get his money's worth. Perhaps he felt that paying the expo's entry fee of R65 per ticket per adult for a few minutes of Barney was just too much.
But we did not stay long. Neither of us was an enthusiastic first/second-time mum or dad, excited with the prospect of giving our newborn/first born every advantage by us owning the coolest gadgets around. We have one teen, one pre-teen, a seven year old and a toddler, who - let's face it - is surviving just fine without bells and whistles available to modern parents.
We left with a still-confused Aisha. Where was Barney now? Why couldn't she see him?
It was only when we got home that it hit her - she'd seen Barney! ''The REAL Barney!'' she told Shakeel (13) and Tharaa (10), who were so excited for her. They completely understood what this experience had meant to her.
Needless to say, she spent the rest of the evening watching Barney DVDs, clutching her Barney balloon, with her stuffed Barney nestled lovingly in her arms.