Fewer things terrify me more than losing one of my kids in a crowded area. Not that that would ever happen to me, mom of constant diligence (Disneyland store, Discovery Museum, etc). If there is anything I gleened from my own mom’s stranger danger rules – it’s how to be prepared to ensure you don’t lose your kids in a crowd. Yep, I’m one of those annoying moms who dress their kids in BRIGHT clothes so that you almost don’t want to look at them they’re so blinding. But I can track yellow and pink in seconds, I tell you!
I find ways to get them to remember our phone number in case they get lost, write it on pieces of paper and stick it in their pockets, and of course, I even tried to get them bracelets with our phone numbers on them. My daughter, albeit only four, promptly alerted me to how unfashionable that was and refused. Short of enduring a tantrum or confronting my lack of fashion savvy, I quickly stuck a slip of paper into her pocket.
So off we go, me, with my significant other away, but in-laws and cousins to help. I mentioned that my little guy often is hard to track as he gets easily distracted (shiny!) and may wander, even after being told not to (typically directly after since the universe seems to think I need a lot of irony in my life). I got the look that means “are you sure you’re not being a bit paranoid?”, but later felt validated, when my brother in-law rolled his eyes in disbelief and asked if my son was transporting mentally to another planet. Probably. He just … drifts off. I like to think he’s imagining all the things he’ll treat me to in retirement.
Already on high alert, it turned out that the Saturday we decided to catch the train and tube into the middle of London – is the very same day that there is London Gay Pride in the same square we were headed. Great for Gay Pride! Bad for dragging wee ones through milling tourists on tightly packed sidewalks, especially when they’ve decided they’re hungry and thirsty to boot.
Luckily, we managed to weave our way through the main square and off less boisterous parts of London. We went to the National Portrait Gallery (free entry!) and saw some amazing renditions of Princess Diana and Princes Henry and Phillip. We also saw a fantastic shot of Paul McCartney in vibrant colors. It was too big to conquer with small children, but still a fantastic way to introduce them to art and history at the same time.
From there, we tottered onwards and jumped on the tube again to South Kensington, a rather posh area of the city. We went to the Science Museum and saw the space exhibits and automobiles. The boys were in heaven. The girls went downstairs to the cafe, eventually. Not to be totally gender-ist, but any museum loses interest by tea time when you’ve been hauling kids around all day. Phew!
Shortly thereafter, it was obvious ice cream was in order. I cringed as my son ordered a chocolate shake … remembering the warm, too runny one I’d had many, many years ago in London myself. But AHA! Things do change. It was the best chocolate milkshake he’d ever had. He promptly announced that England was a cool place and that he could live here. Because the shakes were the best EVER. Well … at least he’s got high standards!