So last Friday I took my two children to a child friendly event in central London. It was an event for vloggers, bloggers and floggers, and was all round brilliant in terms of the things I learnt and the fabulous warm and inspiring people I met.
It was child friendly, the wonderful team that put on the event had provided drinks and treats and laid out chalks and sugar paper to keep the little scamps occupied whilst their parents busily scribbled down notes like women possessed! It wasn’t my children child friendly…
The whole day wasn’t my children child friendly; and to be honest even if the event had been child friendly for my two feral country kids, London and getting across it in rush hour was never going to be. Rhyme time at our local library isn’t my children friendly at times – what was I thinking taking them to this event?
The highlights/or low lights of our little London adventure…
So my scraps haven’t been on the tube much before, a hand full of times at best, and always with more than one adult supervising events. Last Friday it was just me, and initially I thought P in the sling and Houdini in the pushchair was the best combo to go with – It was not – carrying a pushchair with a weighty three year old in it up the stairs with a one year old strapped to your chest is challenging to say the least. So just before we hit Piccadilly Circus tube station I swapped P into the pushchair and after a serious chat with Houdini about running off and never seeing Mummy and Daddy again I put the reigns on him and we hoped off the train ready to brave central London.
Piccadilly Circus is not accessible via lift or ramp – steps are your only option. So I picked up the pushchair and asked Houdini to hold on to the hand rail and walk up the steps beside me. He got to the top of the steps, with me about ten steps behind him. He turned to face me, put his thumb up as if to make a did I do a good job mummy gesture, shouted ‘laters’, turned and began to leg it!!!!! Yep into the throws of Piccadilly Circus – a three year old on his own, my heart was in my mouth. ‘Fuck it’ my heart wasn’t in my mouth it had stopped and my mouth was filled with screaming. Thankfully a savvy stranger grabbed hold of his reigns and held him in place before he could disappear from view completely as I ran so quickly up the last few steps poor P may have suffered from whip lash.
A side note: If you happen to be reading this and you are or you know that lady in the pale pink oversize boucle coat with leopard print ankle boots on, that grabbed my wild child last Friday at Piccadilly exit 4 – I can never thank you enough for stopping this tale being anything more than a humorous blog post, you stopped me making the evening news for all the wrong reasons – thank you
After this incident Houdini was tied to the pushchair via his reigns. I may have run over him a few times with the pushchair as we trekked up Warwick street but hey ho karma can be a bitch my little prince.
We arrived early – yep I’m as surprised as any this happened – we had a drink in the bar. I gave my children Lidals squeezey yogurts. I paid £3.94 for a diet coke. Houdini blew out all the candles in our red velvet booth. We went for a grouped wee before going into the cinema for the event. Houdini unlocked the door whilst I went about my business, a fellow blogger opened the door on me – sorry babaganuj.blogspot.co.uk this was a whole new meeting face to face I hadn’t planned for.
Child friendly room – hurrah – ish… note it is mostly Houdini that was the issue however P wasn’t blameless and chose this day to be a day she requires no afternoon nap. So sadly I didn’t get that hoped for downtime. Also bizarrely both of my children for once decided they weren’t going to be shy in a new situation and cling to my legs like limpets. Why, why can these things never happen when you want them too??? Nope today was the day of hiding behind curtains and crawling under glass tables with glasses of Prosecco and champagne cheesecake balanced on them.
During the presentation both my children performed a side show for two poor ladies sitting behind us desperately trying to listen. Houdini drank four box drinks of orange juice standing just out of my reach, fully aware I wasn’t about to disturb the peace to grab and stop him. I gave them my phone on silent to calm them – they fought over it H took hundreds of photos of me, the floor, the ceiling, his hand. I wrote a page and a bit of notes, it was such a bloody good event I wish I’d made more notes. I wish my brain wasn’t frazzled by kids and I could actually remember the important bits I didn’t get a chance to note down. Hopefully the lovely people I swapped numbers with might also swap notes???
As the presentations drew to a close and the room became a buzz with chatter I made my second mistake. I relaxed in the knowledge the children couldn’t escape.
I did however go in search of H when he didn’t reappear after three minutes. I thought he was in the coat area. He was in reception with another boy having gone up in the lift! Getting others to join the naughty boy gang!
When we finally braved it and left the sanctuary that was the uber cool darkened cinema room of the Soho sanctuary we had to manage the tube again – this time in rush hour.
The Tube again:
And it was O.K. apart from H doing that thing that three year olds do when they say exactly what’s in their heads:
H: “Mummy why is that man sleeping on the train”
Me: “Probably because he’s tired”
H: “He’s not allowed to sleep”
Me: “Yes he is love its fine, he’s probably had a busy day”
H: “Yes he’s probably had a poorly day at work” – man sat to our right begins to chuckle quietly
H: “Can I tickle him mummy?”
Me: “No love you can’t”
H: “Why not, I want to tickle him, I need to wake him up”
Me: “No love its rude to tickle strangers on the train” – man sat to our right is no longer laughing quietly
H: “I’m going to tickle him” – me holding onto reigns and pushchair with all my might on packed train
Me: whilst stopping P ripping a woman’s paper “No, no love you are not”
H: “O.K I won’t do big tickling, I’ll just tickle him behind the ears mummy”
Thankfully our stop arrived shortly after this station and we avoided an uncomfortable tickling situation.
That evening once they were both finally tucked up in their camp beds for the night, needless to say I had a very large glass of wine with my Aunt and Cousin.
Anyway it was an experience, one I’d like to repeat – just without my children! Lesson learned… when it says ‘child friendly’ apply logic, and think carefully about it before whisking your kids off to central London. Goodness only knows what the other attendees thought of the crazy woman there with two kids!!??