Wow, what a day today has been…..
Today I did the unthinkable…..me, myself and I took BOTH of the boys on a tube into central London….without a pushchair! Yes, you read right, just me, the kids and the London Underground.
I’m not the kind of mum that thinks too much about these things because if I did, I would never leave the house! I just sort of wing it and hope for the best. I’m not encouraging anyone else to follow this motto, but it works for me. So here’s how my day went on the London Underground with the kids.
Last night, I was planning the week ahead, as I am on annual leave and Maicen’s Easter holidays have started. I want it to be a fun and memorable week for them because the weather has been so bad recently that they’ve just been cooped up in the house.
We have the premium Merlin passes, which are going to expire in a month’s time, so I’m really trying to make the most of them. So far, we have been to Chessington World of Adventures (multiple times), Thorpe Park, Legoland but still had Shrek’s Adventure and the London Eye on our to do list. So today I thought we’d tick Shrek off our list.
Our day started at 7am. The boys were dressed, fed and ready to leave the house at 9.30am. I packed quite light – a rucksack with just the essentials i.e. a change of clothes each and some snacks (bananas, crisps, cookies and their water bottles). I parked the car in Uxbridge and took the Metropolitan line to Baker Street, where we changed lines, to the Bakerloo line into Waterloo. I’m quite familiar with the area as I went to university just around the corner and I knew the walk to Shrek’s Adventure from the station was quite short.
The reason I opted not to take the pushchair is firstly because Rhys actually hates sitting in there and I was worried that I would have ended up carrying him, whilst simultaneously pushing a buggy and somehow holding onto Maicen. Secondly, it’s just such a bloomin’ faff on the underground!
I couldn’t be bothered with the hassle of figuring out which stations have lifts and also adding time onto my journey travelling further out to come back in towards the same place, just to use the stations that do have lifts. I was, however, concerned about how this would go down with Rhys, whose “legs hurt” even walking from the front door of our house to the car on our drive (about 4 metres!!).
But my tactic these days is just to have a “team brief” at the start of the day. Sounds a bit ridiculous but it works so well with my two. It sets them up for what we have planned for the day and I clearly set out my expectations of them (i.e. “you must listen to mummy and be on your best behaviour because we are a team and we look after one another”). They also tell me what they expect of me (“you must listen to us too Mummy,” says Maicen!).
So before we got onto the tube, I had spoken to them about sitting nicely so they wouldn’t fall and also warned them that we would need to get off to swap tubes to get to Shrek’s Adventure. Even before approaching escalators, I spoke to them about holding onto my hand nice and tight and standing to the side. Honestly, both of them were amazing, especially Maicen. They are just two and three years old, so they are going to play up a bit here and there, but that’s to be expected.
Rhys really tested my patience at times but he’s a toddler and thats what they do! He walked most of the day and I only picked him up maybe once or twice. And let me tell you, it was a long day with us being on our feet for most of it, so the boys did incredibly well.
Oh and Shrek’s Adventure…..well it was most certainly an adventure! Maice couldn’t quite make his mind up…he loved it at times and was also pretty scared at times.So much so that 20 minutes before the end, he asked if we could leave and go home. But I reassured him and convinced him that there was nothing to be afraid of. I’m so glad we stayed because he saw the happy ending and left wanting to go back again. Whereas if we had left whilst he was frightened, I was concerned he would have kept that fear with him and had nightmares. It was mainly the witches that he was afraid of, but Rhys, on the other hand, didn’t really understand so was happy enough to walk through. Ideally, I would have waited until he was maybe 5 years old to take them, but I’ll admit, I didn’t do as much research into it as I would usually do.
WHAT WOULD I DO DIFFERENTLY?
- Wait until the boys are about 5 years old to take them specifically to Shrek’s Adventure
- Take wipes to clean their hands, which touched every floor and wall going (eeeewww)
- Plan where to take them for lunch – I just thought there would be plenty of food places nearby, but the ones closest, for example, McDonald’s, is so ridiculously busy. We headed back to Waterloo station and went to the McDonald’s there, which was much quieter and had a reasonable amount of seating as well.
- Use the toilets in Shrek’s Adventure before leaving – we lost our space in the massive McDonald’s queue because both of them were desperate to go, because this silly mummy forgot to take them before leaving. How annoying!
Overall, I couldn’t have wished for a better day and I would do it all over again…..on my own, with both of the boys, without a pushchair!