Last week J and I took our biggest boy up to London for a day trip. We hadn’t done anything particularly out of the ordinary over half-term apart from douse our heads in nit lotion (twice) so it seemed like a nice idea.
We decided to hit the museums which is something I’ve been wanting to do with him for a while; with the littlest in nursery it was also the perfect opportunity to give him some undivided attention and maybe even expand his mind away from Lightning McQueen for a wee bit.
From previous trips away, particularly ones organised with effort and expense I have learnt it’s important to keep expectations low on both sides.
Firstly your own – Never make the mistake of looking forward to seeing a delighted face. It doesn’t matter how much you ‘think’ your kid will love it – in some way, shape or form they will piss all over it. In fact I would wager there is a strong correlation between the degree you expect they will enjoy it and the level of disinterest they actually show.
Second and most importantly, theirs – It’s wise to have a conversation along the lines of…
‘Just so you know… you won’t actually get to ride a rocket to the moon in the Science Museum and there is no magic time travel clock in the Natural History Museum. Ditto to ice-cream fountains, helter-skelters, talking penguins or whatever other random bullshit you conjured up in your head. It’s. Just. Boring. Museums. Ok?’
Luckily I did quite well with this resulting in F being largely nonplussed about the whole trip. So much so that he wasn’t even bothered about going #winning.
I’ll admit I had a few trepidations about touristy type day trips myself: –
1, Grumpy commuters. I get that bouncy kids can be annoying, I live with one. But hey it’s half-term people – if you don’t like kids on ‘your’ train then take the week off and stay in bed with some sedatives until it’s over. That’s what I’d do anyway.
2, Other tourists. All in your way, all in front of everything you want to see, getting the best looking bit of cake at the overpriced cafe, tutting at your kids before you can tut first. Anyway I won’t go on because this is a whole other post in itself. Just – Other people – Gah.
3, Gift shops – they SUCK. Too big. Too many. Too expensive. You can play the ‘If you are a really good boy *might* get something on the way home’ card but then you run the risk of being asked if you can go home right away, as in 5 minutes after you arrived which is really bloody annoying considering the £65 train fair.
Anyway being the un-selfish mother that I am I put aside my grievances to focus on making the day fun. Me and J agreed to try and refrain from shoutey behaviour which is no mean feat when you have a kid who has developed a taste for skidding across the floor on his knees whenever he sees a shiny surface i.e. Victoria train station and museums.
But we got there and it was good. We saw space ships, planets and dinosaurs, cars and boats and trains, we pushed many buttons and admired the technology of days gone by. We spent 5 minutes mucking about on a seat that made a farting sound when you sat on it and oh, did we laugh. We also saw a bubble show in the Science Museum which was cool. They asked for volunteers to go up and be encapsulated in a big bubble and we didn’t put our hands up. F whispered ‘I wanted to do that Mummy’ and I replied ‘I did too’ – important life lesson there.
Then the ever dangerous territory of the gift shop. Luckily we came out relatively unscathed having negotiated down from a £35 space play-set to a rocket that cost a tenner and was promptly christened Raja (origin of name unknown, best not to ask). Then all to soon it was time to catch the train back home to collect the smallest one from nursery, lest we have to pay a £359 fine for being 3 minutes late, or something equally ridiculous.
If you were to ask ‘Did you have a good day?’ I would answer in much the same way as I usually do to such questions – ‘Yes, In a way…’
I mean we had to walk past the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibit which in days gone by we used to enjoy slowly perusing before retiring to the local boozer to rank our favourites over a pint and a packet of McCoy’s – but you know what, it’s not about me any more is it? IS IT?!?
If you were to ask F the same question he would thrust Raja up your nose and proceed to tell you that astronauts wear space nappies before collapsing onto the floor in a fit of giggles. I’m glad he took something important away with him.
Anyway we didn’t get to go to the pub but we did get to grab some sizzling prawn McCoy’s and a Rubicon mango juice at the station – a rather nice combination, have you tried? By the time we pulled into Brighton station the whole carriage was well acquainted with Raja and the noise he makes when thrown with force, across the table. The lady next to me was also lucky enough to have been accused of stealing my bag, which I’ll admit was slightly similar to my own – big love to the boy, always got my back.
That night he went to bed clutching his new rocket BFF and I imagine dreaming of dino space travellers. He was happy, and soon as my own happiness it so closely aligned to his I guess we’ll chalk the whole thing down as a success.
**************P.S. I have a new book OUT NOW! You can nab it on Amazon here or in your lovely local bookshop :)
Brilliant. Had been thinking about taking my daughter to the Science Museum for our first big outing in recent memory- which is a probably a bit old for her anyway- and might duly re-examine my expectations… She’d love the farting chair, mind. Now I wonder when I can sneak a solo visit to the WPOTY exhibition…
Well done you! Total relevant points about expectations and not waiting for the amaze look on their faces as that is always a total fail
That sounds as good as it gets when you have a rather ‘adventurous’ little one. I’m yet to brave enough to brave London with mine. Maybe in 14 – 20 years from now.
Hehe this made me laugh and its really made me want to go to London. Did I read it wrong? I have to confess I turn into a MASSIVE kid in the gift shop and my hubby ends up trying to shoo me out constantly. I try not to leave until I am clutching at least a a mug in my hands. Or a fridge magnet…or both…and fudge.
I’m with Tas, suddenly I want to go to London with a 2 year old in tow! Sounds like you have a pretty good day, although if it was us by hubby would have made sure there was time for the pub!! xx
I think it sounds like a great success! Though I think I’m more worried that a Speak and Spell is in a museum – I had one of those!!!
Ha ha! Gifts shops are crap aren’t they? And I hate the way they strategically place them at your exit route. It sounds like rather a successful day all round – I haven’t braved the museums yet as mine likes to scream a lot at the top of his voice and I don’t think I could handle the evil eyes yet! Off to bag myself some sizzling prawn McCoys. I never even knew they existed!
Sounds like a successful trip to me. Good work on the cheaper gift selection! We love rubicon mango too :-)
Ah love it! I’m sure you wouldn’t have it any other way….although that particular beverage does sound rather nice ;) Well done for even attempting the London museums in half term, we had the pleasure of a train ride home with commuters which ended up with us sitting on the floor!
Haha love the bit about never having high expectations about how much they will enjoy it! So true. I thought Cherry would love our holiday, which she did but when I asked her what her favorite part was she said ‘buying the magazine on the ferry’ – we could have done that at home!! x
Aww, I loved this Katie – hearing about your day. I totally agree about managing expectations. We frequently down-play and I always be sure to make a mental note of all the possible disasters that could occur. Then anything better than that is a Brucey bonus! ;) xxx
I’ve been in that bubble! Yes, yes – without fear or hesitation I yelled out to volunteer – something I never normally do – and got encapsulated in fairy liquid. Was awesome!
I laughed a lot at the accusation of theft against your Raja-bashed co-traveller. But I fear our taste in crisps must diverge – while I’m totally with you on the pickled onion Monster Munch, as a veggie I’m not sure about this sizzling prawn McCoy of which you speak.
See you on Saturday!xx
Ha love that he stood up for you and your bag ;) Bless him. Commuters are bloody grumpy, can’t wait to stop being one of them! xx
Well done! The last time I did the museums in half term, I set the expectations too high – we got to the Natural History Museum to discover the longest queue ever! and were helpfully told October half term is their busiest week of the year. we queued, we went inside – it was hell – we left.
and the gift shop thing…. my child loves it more than any other aspect of what or where ever I take him. It is always the gift shop that wins!
We haven’t taken little T to the Science museum yet. Keep forgetting! I can so relate with #1. Wait no, I can relate with everything, especially #1. Went to Hay-on-Wye over the break and there was one really rude book-seller who said to us “Little girls like to make that sound (She meant the whinging sounds kids make when they don’t get their way), it’s so annoying!”. Was so taken-aback when she said that, I actually had to double check with my husband if she really said that. Yep, she certainly did! She said it, just as we paid for our books and were about to step outside. Had she said it earlier, I would’ve put my chosen books down and walked out the door. Oh well.
We LOVE museums. And by love I mean me and Warren love them. The kids love the gift shops and the snake exhibition that is currently on at Liverpool Museum. I like the War museum as well and being boring – my kids are yet to share my love of old shit.
I love that you had a great day. And what a great name for a rocket!! Also, for the record, my train ticket to London this weekend is £40 return. From Liverpool!! I have real issues with train companies that I don’t need to go into here, and I was a real grumpy commuter. Children?? On MY train!! Oh the horror of it all!!
See you at the weekend :)
Aw cute sounds like he had a great day in the big smoke! Love that he stuck up for you and your bag- what a hero. ;)
“Never make the mistake of looking forward to seeing a delighted face.”
Possibly one of the best bits of parenting advice ever!
Oh yes, shiny floors. We have falling to the knees all the time rather than sliding, but I can see that would be doubly annoying.
I want to take N to the science museum but last time we went for a theatre trip we didn’t have time…the difference between paying £74 for the train peak or £34 is huge. I always forget that during a school holiday peak rates still apply during the week. Grr
One of my colleagues got highly commended in the wildlife photographer of the year this year, so if you’d had chance to peruse, you’d have seen his shot (should have won!)
I’ve been wanting to take my toddler to the Natural History Museum for ages but wasn’t sure if it was wise or not! He’s obsessed with Andy and his dinosaur adventures and I think he might be disappointed that Andy isn’t there!!
Ahhh what a great time it sounds like you all had. Love the photos. So brave to hit london with kids and a museum. I can’t wait till mine are a little old and I can take them on more adventures like this. Fantastic katie. Such a fun mommy.