From time to time, I see people out with their kids…and they’re ghastly. Noisy, middle class people who appear to be putting on a giant performance of parenting their kids. I am one of them, clearly.
Today, my husband went down to the IoW for some meetings he has today and tomorrow. Our nanny doesn’t work on Mondays. So I took the kids on the bus to soft play at the Sobell. “Easy!” I thought. “I am a rational, sensible person who can totally manage her children on a bus”. Ha, ha, ha, HAAAAA!
To begin with, we crossed the zebra crossing (me carrying one scooter and holding my daughter’s hand and my son pushing his scooter alongside him). However, the bus was coming up to the bus stop so, once we got to the pavement, we all jogged / scooted to the bus stop, much to the horror of all the people watching my son disappear off into the distance and me appearing to abandon my tiny two year old who was struggling to keep up.
In the end, a kind lady held the bus for me and another kind lady lifted my daughter onto the bus while I lugged my son, two scooters, my bag and their fleeces on. My son wanted to sit upstairs but no chance. The kind bus driver said he’d hold the bus while I took the kids upstairs if I wanted (he wasn’t even being sarcastic – I think) but there really was no way I was going to schlep all the way upstairs with my four- and two-year-old. Perhaps he knew that I was going to be a ghastly north London parent and just wanted me out of earshot.
The actual bus journey was okay and my kids chatted to the other passengers, who seemed happy enough. Honestly, the problem was almost certainly me. Having to grab all the stuff AND get two kids off the bus at the correct stop, WITHOUT them doing something awful like running into the road turns me into a terrible, sergeant major type of person who announces:
- how many stops we have left;
- that the children HAVE to stay in their seats when I get up to get the scooters / bag / whatever else;
- that the children HAVE to leave their helmets on while they are on the bus – I have two hands and just plain can’t / don’t want to carry those AS WELL;
- IT’S OUR STOP NEXT KIDS!!!
- QUICK, QUICK, GET UP NOW!!!! WE HAVE TO GET OFF!
Everyone was very kind but I have no illusions – I was obviously the most awful person on that bus. The actual walk to the soft play place was fine – only it is on a very busy, lorry-filled road so I spent most of it bellowing at my son to STOP WELL BEFORE THE KERB. We did have a nice time at soft play itself – the lady working there came and chatted to me for a bit because she’d already asked someone not to change their kid’s nappy on one of the dining tables and they’d ignored her so I think she couldn’t face having to escalate things (which I thought was fair enough). By the end, she did learn both my children’s names (although I think she’d learned ALL the children’s names) and had to listen to me repeatedly tell my son that, no, I was not going to buy some sugary stuff from the vending machine, we would have lunch at 12. Ugh.
The bus ride was worse than the one there, to be honest, and I can’t face explaining exactly in what way except that scooters are generally a difficult thing to bring onto a London bus (awkward shape, no brakes) and other passengers quite often view such things with horror. However, another kind lady was getting off the bus at the same time as us so she held my son’s hand while I held onto the scooters, bag and my daughter. I did make sure that my son said thank you to her.
After lunch, we all went for an ice cream at Udderlicious and felt much better.