In the middle of the usual morning rush of trying to get up and through the shower before the kids awoke (which I failed at thanks to Little Miss C’s 6.30am wake up!) I’m pretty sure I heard Chris Evans say something about thunderstorms and torrential rain in London today. There was other stuff going on so I asked Mr C. Nope, he had no recollection of hearing it, so I just kind of forgot about the weather forecast. Bit of a big mistake it seems when you’re having a day out with the kids.
An old university friend of mine is currently over from China with his wife and one year old son, so we’d arranged to meet with them and other mutual friends at London Zoo. A perfect place for us as it’s easy to drive to and as we’re ZSL members (using Whipsnade regularly) we got free entry to the zoo itself and just had to pay for the parking (which was less than the train and tube would have been – and also much less hassle with two kids). So with the car packed with everything we might need (or so I thought) and a picnic lunch (thinking thrifty) off we headed.
I had a great time catching up with friends and Little Miss C had a ball with another girl who is only a year older than she is. Master C had a good run around – even if he did completely ignore several no entry signs and enjoy exploring a service area behind part of the Tiger enclosure before I caught up with him! – and seemed to enjoy seeing lots of animals that he recognised. It was a good opportunity to test out some of the words that he knows and also interesting to see how he interacted with people that he’d not met before.
As well as having fun it was also a pretty challenging day. Looking after two enthusiastic kids in a busy place like London Zoo can be hard work, but with Master C’s meal time “issues” I just knew that trying to eat with our friends in the restaurant would be pretty much impossible – hence taking a picnic with us. It made me feel rather sad though waving goodbye to them at lunchtime as we instead went and sat at a picnic bench in the kids play area and I tried to get Master C to eat any of the range of things I’d taken with me. In the end I think he just had a picnic egg, but I suppose that’s better than nothing. What he did do though was thoroughly enjoy the play area there. Once he’d mastered the smaller bit (aimed at under 5s) he then moved on to the over 5s one and impressed me as he managed a cargo net bridge with only small amounts of input from me. I swear that boy was a monkey in a former life!
Over lunch we felt a few spots of rain but it was in the early afternoon when the thunderclaps started and the heavens really opened. It probably wasn’t ideal that I chose to wear a white T-shirt today… We spent quite a while sheltering in the tunnel that connects that two sides of the zoo and then made a dash for the Aquarium for some indoor fun. As well as seeing the fish LMC and her new friend also found a desk area which they sat behind and suddenly they were role playing a zoo information desk and then a cafe serving cups of tea and ice creams to tired mums and dads. I love it watching kids use their imaginations like this.
We bailed out after the aquarium and decided to head back north before we ran the risk of Friday evening traffic on the M1. Both kids crashed out once we were on the road and I had the luxury of ten minutes sheltering from the rain and listening to the radio when I got home whilst they snored sweetly behind me. Us busy mums have to take any moments we can for “me time”.
So all in all a busy day and it’s left me feeling shattered. Adding to that exhausted feeling is the knowledge that our alarm is going to be going off before 3 tomorrow morning for Mr C to head to the airport for a crazy early flight to go to a wedding in The Netherlands. This is going to be fun…