Yes, I’ve been hanging onto that post title for a long time. It was the brainchild of my friend Rufus’ Mum, who also invented the “Zoom zoom zoom” game. She’s a professional writer. You can tell, right?
Reuben is now in nursery four afternoons and one full day a week. The blog has suffered a bit as a result, but it does mean that Eva and I have time to ourselves every day to do mummy-daughter bonding things. That mainly involves watching Come Dine With Me, but we occasionally get out and do something more interesting, without having to do whatever Roo wants.
One such jaunt was to Pimlico in the rain (see above). We were with Eva’s friend R and his Mum (aka C’s Mum) and were in search of bargains at the Fara Kids shop. Well, R’s Mum was. I had already rinsed an NCT sale and a local jumble sale, so was on a bit of a tight rein, bargain-wise. But I did pick up a new handbag for myself, after my last one suffered total collapse (usual overfilling reasons…). It looks like a changing bag, which is why it was in the kids shop, but I just use it as a general purpose bag. My handbag-standards have slipped a bit since having a baby…
Well, Eva likes it anyway! It has a strap that’s nice to chew on and it’s all shiny. That’s all she asks for. Anyway, R’s Mum filled bags with her bargains including some breastfeeding tops and a marble run for C. There are two floors of goodies and lots of nice stuff, but also some things I recognised from the 99p shop (babyproofing kit and a Mater book) being sold for £2+. So not everything was a bargain…
Another place I’ve enjoyed without Reuben lately was the Tea House Theatre, which is where the photo above was taken. After a crazy dash to Orpington and back last Friday morning, I dropped Roo at nursery (only ten minutes late) and headed there for a baby-date with Eva’s friend H. Eva spent most of her time on the carpet, playing with the shiny bag and H joined her down there. Handily, that meant that I could get away with eating something without Eva’s tiny hands trying to grab at it.
Oh yeah, cause Eva’s weaning now. The tiny,sleepy baby who snuggled in her wrap and never made a fuss has turned into a food-flinging, teething troublemaker. It’s was Nathan’s Dad’s birthday last week, so we took him to the lunch buffet at Zeitgeist after we dropped Roo off. I had a momentary lapse and thought that, without the 3-year-old, we could eat like civilised human beings while Eva slept. Not her plan. She was wide awake when we got there and didn’t enjoy being jiggled on my knee while I ate some currywurst. No, she wanted to get stuck in and wouldn’t be fobbed off with some cucumber. So I slung her up, walked around the pub a few times and eventually she went to sleep:
Incidentally, Zeitgeist is quite a find. It’s a German pub just off the Albert Embankment with a huge range of German beers and eccentric decor. When it first opened, the menu had descriptions like “this dish is untranslatable but trust us, it’s heaven on a plate”. So tempting to order based on that alone. Nathan had his 29th birthday there (yes, this was a while back) and invited literally all his facebook friends. Around 290 of them. The event wall was filled with posts that said things like “Sorry Nathan, I thought you knew we’d moved to Canada” and “Sorry, but you know we have five children and live in Wales, right?”. He knew. He was just taking my mantra of “polite to invite, rude to exclude” to the extreme. As it turned out, it was lucky that the full 290 people didn’t turn up, seeing as the party was on the same night as a Germany-Finland game and the pub was rammed with Germany fans. And just the one or two Finnish supporters, including our very loud friend Michael. We were lucky to escape alive. You only have to watch “Snatch” (where Zeitgeist features under its traditional name “The Jolly Gardeners”) to see how badly it could have gone. Incidentally, one person did turn up from Wales but that was mainly co-incidental.
Sorry, I digressed a little there again. What else do Eva and I get up to? We run around Kennington Park every Thursday morning as part of a Mums-and-buggies exercise class. Or if we’re being chased by a big dog. Or both. I’m no fitness freak – in fact I’m mainly an eating-chocolate-and-watching-Friends freak. So an hour’s gentle workout helps me justify all that TV chocolate. Probably. Anyhoo, it gets us out in the fresh air and Eva can talk to the other babies. It’s where we met her friend H. We train with Alice, who is super-fit but isn’t a scary robot.
I would recommend it if you’re feeling a bit stir-crazy. Eva often screams through it, but she’s not really a buggy baby and it co-incides with her normal nap time. If she’s napped on the nursery run, she’s all happy and perky and coos to the other babies.
The other thing I’d like to do more with Eva is baby cinema. I used to go to the Big Scream at the Ritzy with Reuben all the time when he was little. The picture about is from a screening of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” when he was just over a month. In the early-parenting haze, going out and watching grown-up films helped maintain my sanity a bit. I remember shielding his tiny eyes from a particularly painful scene in “Bruno”. There are LOTS of other babies screaming, so you don’t feel bad about yours making a noise and some screenings even give you a free cuppa. It’s nice. Sadly, the screening times make it pretty tricky with Eva as they tend to be in the mornings when I have Roo (and they don’t let 3-year-olds watch Sacha Baron Cohen films for some reason). So the Poor Neglected Second Child has missed out again.
We did make it to one mums ‘n’ babies film – Skyfall at Peckhamplex on a Thursday, when Roo does a full day at nursery (again with R’s Mum). I had come straight from exercise class with good intentions of washing in the toilets and putting on some fresh clothes. Sadly, my fresh clothes were in Kennington Park still, in my rucksack. All my careful planning – bus picnic, things to keep Eva amused during the film – had fallen apart. So poor R’s Mum had to put up with the smell of SweatyKate while she should have been idly fantasizing about Daniel Craig. But the babies behaved relatively well, I got my rucksack back from Alice on the way back to nursery pickup and I made it to nursery on time. And Daniel Craig gave those baddies the beating they deserved. So it all ended well.
There you go – a whistlestop tour around the possibilities of London when you only have a tiny parcel and a few nappies to carry about. There’s more, but it’ll have to wait…