There's a golden period in parenting between the children being old enough to enjoy a late night and young enough to want to spend time with you.
Child one is in that stage at the moment whilst child two is still a little too young to cope with the strains of a late night.
We have faced intense temptation this summer to exploit this period with a series of late night family events on the Isle of Wight.
This week we've made it to two such events.
First up, there was Ventnor Carnival's main procession. Ventnor also has a children's carnival which is earlier in the day, but I wanted give my girls an impression of one of the bigger parades. Ryde Carnival is the longest established and biggest carnival on the Isle of Wight but several other towns put on a good show.
Ventnor's Carnival started at 7pm and followed a loop through the town centre. It skirted near to the seafront but didn't actually go along the front. Presumably this is because the roads leading to the Esplanade are too steep and windy.
The sight of carnival princesses and princes clinging on whilst trailers are dragged up ridiculously steep bends may not be the best.
We arrived a little late and parked at La Falaise car park. It was almost full but we found the final space which had 10cm of space either side. We climbed out the window and then walked to the town centre. There was a big crowd in the town centre and we arrived to catch the second half of the parade.
We then began a farcical attempt to find the rest of the parade so we could see the first half which we had missed. After watching the same samba band three times we finally found the start.
My personal favourites at carnivals are marching bands, of which there were - I think - four at Ventnor Carnival.
We decided that we wouldn't stay for the fireworks. It was certainly tempting but the children were flagging and we are getting pretty good at gauging when the children are at their limit.
The farce continued as we then attempted to get home and now found that we had the opposite problem, as we couldn't avoid the parade.
Every time we turned a corner to get back to the car, we met the same part of the parade again. One of the children wasn't enjoying the slightly creepy masks which added to the drama.
We finally got back to the car and the children were only slightly grumpier than usual the next day.
Thanks to all the volunteers who made the carnival happen - we had a good night.
Tapnell Farm's Biggest Kids' Party
Our second evening out took us to Tapnell Farm Park, one of our favourite spots for a day out.
The Biggest Kids' Party started at 6.30pm, so we turned up a few minutes early and filled some time playing with the new basketball hoops.
Tapnell Farm Park has an excellent knack of adding new things which aren't especially flashy or complicated but which fill a good chunk of time. We must have spent 20 minutes lobbing balls into the six different hoops before the main event started.
The party took place in the events barn, which is just off the indoor barn with the go karts.
The first half hour involved enthusiastic entertainers organising classic party games. Child one and two lapped this up, particularly the musical statues which ended in a victory for child one. I was very proud.
The second act was the bubble wizard who puffed smoke into bubbles and fired bubble guns at the audience.
We had agreed in advance that we would leave at this point, since child one was clearly on the brink before we'd even arrived. It had been a hot day and she was showing signs of an impending meltdown.
Child two was gutted when she was told we were leaving, as the next act was the magician. She knows her way round a deck of cards and was looking forward to seeing a professional.
Myself and Mrs Guru looked at each other, trying to see if either us felt we could stretch the bedtime, whilst trying not to let the children know that this was a possibility.
We concluded that this wasn't an option but made a legally binding commitment to come back next week with child one.
I trudged the children back to the car whilst making statements like "we really need an early night" and "you won't enjoy tomorrow if you're too tired". In the background was the sound of much younger children playing happily.
At moments like that it is hard to figure out if you're the best parent in the world or the worst. I'll let you know when I've worked that one out.
Isle of Wight Guru's Blog