“Mum, does this come under the category of Things Bogans Do?”
This question, from the 10-year-old, sounds incongruous uttered poolside at a swish resort in the Maldives.
We’re at Club Med Kani, an emerald jewel in the middle of the Indian Ocean.
In the pool, people are doing what they have done at this French franchise for decades: aqua-aerobics.
The dance music is deafening; the participants a United Nations; and the instructor, tres, tres, TRES Australie.
“Ladies, hold onto your luggage!” he exhorts, crossing hands across his chest during the bouncy bits.
Grace and I are amidst this melange and – yes, it is true – having the time of our lives.
I used to abhor “forced fun”.
Like the cartoon dog Muttley, I’d curse and mutter through games at office parties, and parent nights at the school.
Not any more.
Maybe it’s because I’m close to 50. Perhaps it’s the joie de vivre of the tweens. But I just don’t give a s— what anyone thinks any more.
In years gone by, I’d watch group activities at holiday resorts, and be either a) too embarrassed or b) too cool* to join in.
One of the wonderful things about parenting is throwing off inhibitions like a musty old blanket.
So, over pre-dinner drinks, we sing the Club Med song, Hands Up (Give Me Your Heart) at the top of our lungs. (Think 1970s love song, over a disco beat.)
We do the Club Med dance, Crazy Signs, a bizarre ritual with simple choreography beyond the ability of unco-ordinated and intoxicated tourists.
And we thrust up our hands to join the Gentils Organisateurs in performance nights, featuring everything from drag shows to slapstick and musical interludes.
It’s all about the concept of conviviality.
If forced fun isn’t your thing, there’s no compunction: just gentle encouragement.
In one week, we sail, snorkel and surf, do cooking and craft lessons, and play in ping-pong, boules and volleyball competitions.
Being a tight-arse, I make the most of the free activities, with Pilates, yoga, and cardio classes from dawn ’til dusk.
The piece de resistance? A karaoke room. Yeah, baby.
I’m already saving for the kids’ therapy: their faces are masks of horror as I caterwaul through Rolling in the Deep.
Adele? Like hell.
These might well be Things Bogans Do.
But they are done with elan, in a setting straight out of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.
There’s nothing wrong with a bit of forced family fun.
And Club Med is the perfect place to do it.
This is our idea of happiness.
*My husband has just reminded me that I was NEVER too cool…
Tracey Spicer and family travelled courtesy of Club Med and Singapore Airlines.