Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Buses and Trains

Sadly, the weather has not been good this Bank Holiday weekend.  It rained almost the entire time, which was a bit disappointing as we had all been looking forward to the long weekend (even though I was on call for the department, so was technically "working").  We managed a couple of visits to the park but we didn't stay out for long because the weather was so poor.

Yesterday was Bank Holiday Monday and we went down to the Park Club to go swimming.  The swimming pool was really busy because of the poor weather outside.  However, both Lauren and Jocey had a good time and both girls are gaining in confidence in the water.  They will swim for short bursts with their arm bands on now; a huge achievement when you consider Lauren was screaming every time we put her in the pool only 6 months ago and Jocey is only 8 months old.

Today, the weather was overcast and on the cool side, so not a brilliant outdoor day again.  I decided that it was time to face up to my fear of travelling on public transport with the children.  Before today, I had never (yes, honestly - never) been on the Tube or the buses with Lauren and Jocey on my own.  Lauren has never been on the Tube at all, but Jocey did go that one time with Jase and me to Benares.

At the weekend, we bought a Buggy Board on eBay.  We got an excellent deal because it was brand new and the latest version and we won the auction at half the retail price.

Lascal Buggy Bo

As you can see, it's a little wheeled board which clips onto the back of a pushchair.  Your toddler then stands on top, holding onto the handles of the pushchair so that you can ferry them both around without a double pushchair.

I hadn't tried one before because I didn't think Lauren was really big enough or strong enough when Jocey was born.  However, Lauren did not have too many illnesses this winter and had a massive growth spurt so is now back on track compared to the rest of her peer group.

She's now even wearing some clothes in the 3-4 year age range.  I have had to do a major clear out of her wardrobe as a consequence.  What a change from the little girl that she was!  I can't believe that she was so far behind just over a year ago.

Today, I took Lauren and Jocey out with Jocey in the pushchair and Lauren on the buggy board.  We went on the bus down to Shepherd's Bush and took the Tube to Latimer Road to go to this big indoor activity playground called Bramley's.

Our first public transport outing was a really positive experience.  She loved riding on the buggy board and said "Choo choo!" every few metres.  We didn't have to wait very long to catch the bus and before we knew it we were at the Tube station.

The Tube station itself (as with most in London) was a bit of a nightmare.  I had to negotiate a long flight of stairs (very few Tube stations have lifts) by myself with the two children.  I had to carry the pushchair with Jocey in it up the stairs whilst holding onto Lauren to help her walk up the long flight, as she could not reach the banisters.

Anyone who thinks London is good for children obviously doesn't live here.  I have never encountered a city quite as child unfriendly as London.

However, we did make it to the top and waited for the Tube.  I was so impressed with Lauren; she knew to hold my hand, not to run about and to stay away from the edge of the platform ("Trains go there, Mummy.  We not go there.")!  Lauren was really excited and watched with fascination as the Tube train arrived on the opposite platform.  Again, we did not have to wait long before our train arrived.

A nice man helped me with Lauren and the pushchair onto the train and we managed to get seats as it was quiet.  I think Lauren was sad to get off the Tube; she wanted to stay on a bit longer!

When we arrived at Bramley's, Lauren could hardly contain her excitement.  She could see all the other children on the big climbing frame and was dying to give it a go.

Bramley 001

However, she reluctantly allowed me to take her shoes off first before she ran off to play.  As soon as the shoes were off, she darted off to try out the climbing frame.

Bramley 002

She had a really good time clambering up and down the frame, whooshing down the slides and swinging from the ropes.  She especially enjoyed the ball pits.

Bramley 004

I think I can honestly say that she really enjoyed herself.  I think that she'll enjoy it even more when Jocey is big enough to be running around with her, as Lauren doesn't really like playing on her own.

Bramley 006

By the end of our time there, she was pretty tired out and was keen to get home.  However, despite her tiredness she was well behaved and co-operative on our way home and enjoyed both the Tube ride and the bus journey.

Both girls went for a nap after our big adventure today.  Mummy was pretty tired too, but was very proud of her girls!


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