And my Mum! She traditionally dislikes London but has been persuaded capital-wards ever more often as her grandson gets cuter. Today she had in tow one of my nieces and two of my nephews – the aforementioned 6,8 and 9-year-olds, (I know! My sister is a baby machine!). We took them to the Science Museum, in a curiously similar trip to the one last week with Nathan’s nephews (6 and 3), and it was a fairly successful day. First to melt down was Roo at around 2:30 but that was swiftly followed by a nap. And the next meltdown was minutes before they all got back on the train. And it was fairly minor. I call this success.
1) The Science Museum works for everyone. Today we went to Launchpad, spent a good hour and a half there, then down to Pattern Pod. My niece (9) loved the little dance booth where your shadow makes funky video shapes and Roo did some pretty groovy moves in there as well. Last week, with the 3-er and the 6-er, we spent all afternoon in The Garden and the 6 year-old was enjoying it as much as Roo was.
2) For the reasons above, the Science Museum is pretty hellish in the summer holidays. Don’t go unless you have random nephron to entertain (or heaven forbid, your own school age children)
3) London is harder to navigate with four kids than one. But doable if you have another adult with you
4) A 9-year old girl can actually be pretty helpful in getting a toddler on and off the tube and round a busy museum. She has the energy of the young and can fit into small spaces to haul him back…Roo was out of his buggy for the first tube journey as it’s so much lighter to haul it down the steps without him in it. So, she held his hand, I took the buggy, my mother took the two other boys…and it all works smoothly.
5) Westminster tube had lift access everywhere. Which negates the need for complex plans, as above.
6) South Kensington tube definitely does not have lift access everywhere. Which requires complex plans, as above.
7) Even in a relatively safe area (the lawn outside the Natural History Museum) Roo will find his way back to the road. The busier the better!
8.) You can buy a 1-year-old’s birthday present in the Science Museum gift shop. Score!
9) The lifts in the Science Museum are the most hellishly busy part of a hellishly busy museum in the summer holidays. They go up when you expect them to go down, tempers get frayed and if the doors don’t open and everyone looks at you like it’s your fault then heaven help you. If you don’t have a buggy, take the stairs.
10) When you and the children have very delicately built an archway in Launchpad, do not let the toddler near it. At least not till after you’ve taken the photo….
And it’s all worth it for those precious childhood memories (see top)…y’know, for the ones that will actually remember 2011. Which Roo won’t. Luckily, we have this blog to remind him…!