In England · Travel

Baby’s Big Week & A Day in London

From time to time I wonder if I should ditch Facebook forever and live blissfully unaware of the hard things the people I love have to deal with. But I care about them too much. And how would I ever receive invitations to social engagements without Facebook?

Second-degree drama aside, we had a fantastic week over here. Baby yoga was a hit, my creative writing class is a ton of fun, we went to dinner in Cambridge with our friends (with the kid!), and the hubs extended his three-day holiday weekend into four by cashing in his Excellent PT Score Bonus Day. We spent some quality family time over the long weekend, and chose to make it at least a little exciting by going to London’s aquarium.

There were a few things we heard from our friends here that weren’t in the welcome book: don’t live in Thetford, “pants” is to boys underwear as “knickers”is to ladies underwear, and driving to London is a really dumb idea.

We drove to London.

It was a Sunday morning and we had a GPS, and I wouldn’t advise doing it any other way. During the week drivers pay a Congestion Charge, something like £10 (that’s $16, America, just to “drive” in the city), to discourage cars from being there/maybe reduce traffic. Plus, you can’t just take the highway to the main road through the city and find your way by counting off the numbered streets. Parking was a bit pricey, but ultimately cost us less than taking the train from the end of the line like we normally do.

The drive took just about an hour and a half. Not bad, especially considering we didn’t have to wrangle a wriggly toddler on the train for 40 minutes of the trip. The best part of it was driving through areas of the city we would otherwise never see (except maybe the Olympic stadium, fingers crossed??).

Ultimately, the aquarium isn’t nearly as impressive as others I’ve been to. I might even say it’s the least impressive. But the kiddo thought it was cool and we ended up with a day in the city.

Sunday was cool and clear, and we had all the time we wanted to do whatever we wanted. The aquarium is across the river from Parliament, next to the London Eye. What a perfect opportunity to ride the London Eye, right? Not when it’s closed for annual maintenance.

And so there would be no better opportunity than then to seek out Chipotle (mmmm, delicious, salty calories) for lunch. So we walked, and walked, and walked… past the Prime Minister’s house, through Trafalgar Square, through Soho (to Chipotle), past Chinatown, to Piccadilly Circus, on to St. James Park for an afternoon coffee, and through the Horse Guards Parade. The afternoon light on Big Ben was stunning, and at long last I shelled out the £2 for some caramelized peanuts.

Leaving the city took a little longer than getting in only because we missed a turn. We would certainly still be there if not for our (sometimes) trusty GPS. I had to dole out Cheerios one by one and do some serious feet tickling for us to make it home without a complete breakdown from Cranky McToddlerpants… but it was worth it.

In conclusion, we as parents feel a slight sense of victory in having had a pleasant week and big day out. We conquered our feeling that everything we might try to do with the little guy will be a complete stressball of a nightmare. He napped! In his stroller! We got to eat lunch like adults! We had FUN! What a relief, huh?

Now for the grandparent PS:

Our nearly-14-month-old is even more impressive each day. He walks around on his tiptoes, climbs on whatever he can, tries to jump, and is so much closer to running. He went for his first swim yesterday and really loved splashing. He knows where his head, hair, ears, eyes, nose, mouth, chin, belly, hands and feet are, and knows where mom’s arms and legs are. He points out every bike, dog, motorcycle, balloon and bird he sees, and recognizes so many other things in his books. He likes to collect bits of nature when we’re at the park. When he gets tired, he spins in circles. He tries to share his toys and food with Plato and other kids in his yoga class. He’ll taste anything I put in front of him, and anything that ends up in front of him. He’s working on cutting his 16th tooth – a pesky molar.

And he really needs his second haircut.

We’ve been here for nearly 8 months now. It’s flying by, and we’ll be back before we know it.

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One thought on “Baby’s Big Week & A Day in London

  1. We had a similar long weekend (although not in London! I wish!) in Chicago and were nervous about Sam’s behavior as well. All turned out fine though (mostly). ;) Feels GOOD to get a little bit of freedom back, huh?

    And I can’t believe your 14-mo has 16 teeth! My 15-mo only has 6. LOL

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