A few weeks ago Shutterbug Sister asked if I wanted to take the kids to Sea Life London Aquarium. Both Little Lady and Little Man had been there on school trips and Shutterbug had been there before and taken some gorgeous pics, so I was really keen. I have taken the kids on a train once or twice before, but not Darling with her pram and not without my husband’s help.
Reasoning that two of my sisters and my sister-in-law would be there to help, I decided to brave public transport with the aim of testing how hard it would be. If it felt manageable then we could make regular trips to some of the amazing museums and attractions in the city. Ahem... I think that’s called getting ahead of yourself.
The trip there went fairly well. There were couple of train changes, which meant carrying the pram up and down the stairs numerous times. Thankfully the pram is a very light one, but the back of Kooky Little Sister’s trousers got covered in mud.
Once out of the station, there was quite a walk to the Aquarium, but the surrounding area is a nice one to walk through, with part of it along the embankment. I have good memories of strolling along here with my friends in my student days and there are always performers as well as the view of parliament, Big Ben and the London Eye.
The attraction was enjoyable (review to follow), but the trip back home was a learning experience. On the morning of the trip Little Man has said that he didn’t want to go because his friends were coming for his party. My children often agree with their friends to visit each other’s houses but as its playground banter, they don’t actually turn up. I told him he couldn’t possibly have a party as I hadn’t written him invites. He said that he had written his own invites and given them to all of his friends. I thought he was being silly and didn’t think anything of it until on the journey home I got a call from one of his class-mates mother asking where I was. She was standing outside my house with a cake and balloons for the party...
I was still half an hour away and absolutely mortified. She had knocked on the door and on getting no answer saw my husband’s number on our van outside the house. On calling him, he gave her my number. I just happened to be about an hour from home. I apologised, explained I hadn’t given permission for a party and grovelled some. This was the first of three calls from three different mothers standing outside my house. Little Man had the sense to look embarrassed by this point.
We all got onto the train as I grovelled to the third mother and as I hung up, I turned around to find I could not see Gorgeous! We had left him on the platform. While I panicked and my heart dropped into the pit of my stomach, my sisters had the sense to get off at the next stop, take the train back and find him sitting with the station guard. In the meantime, I had another call I didn’t recognise, which I ignored as I was panicked to speak to another irritated mother of disappointed children. I later found that Gorgeous had memorised my mobile number and given it to the guard who tried to call me. I felt like a BIG, BIG, BIG failure at this point, but sooooo relieved that I had my son in front of me. I later asked him why he hadn’t got on the train; it was because he was engrossed in his new book about sharks. Well I couldn’t really argue with that, I often used to miss my train stop during my commute into the city because I would be lost in my book.
In any case, by this point I was shattered, a nervous wreck, embarrassed and very clear on the idea of regular trips into the city. They were not going to happen any time soon. I will be sticking to walking to the local library, visits to friends and getting hubby to take them to the park. Once the weather improves, we can plan some days out to places OUTSIDE of London in the car like we do every summer insh’Allah.