Sunday, 23 January 2011

You have to be dinosaur friends to take children out together in London.

One of my bestest friends came to stay this weekend with two of her children. We used to work together as a creative team so we know each other really well. This helps when doing really, really challenging and demanding parenting things like a whole day out at a museum in London.

We went to see the dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum. There was a child meltdown on the tube on the way there, a child multi-wail in the picnic area about the horrific prospect of eating sandwiches, a child keening session about the fact we didn’t want to go upstairs, and a child group whimper at the fact my friend and I didn’t want to spend the entire time in the shop. Admittedly the shop boycott was a bit of a mummy double standard, given that my friend and I once spend several hundred dollars apiece in a single hours shop in Soho, NY.

In between these freak-outs my friend’s nine year old mercilessly interrogated a museum man about spiders in the precise and confident manner of Kirsty Wark doing a Newsnight piece on arachnids. I tried not to flinch as the husk of the hairy body of a massive spider was put in my hand and I learned the exact way that the living creature heaved it’s way out. I never knew that spiders (well, this one, anyway) breathed by holes in its skin. Apparently this is good as this is the reason that spiders cannot get as big as they could if they had lungs, but a few hundred years the atmosphere was richer in oxygen and the spiders were therefore much, much bigger. I decided that the digital world may possibly be a small price to pay for the lack of ginormous hairy spiders. It’s a close call…

Meanwhile the four year olds spent the afternoon rigorously investigating the grating on the floor and the museum lighting system.

“Well, at least they’re showing interest in their environment,” said my friend, as we dragged them away. But then she was the one that said that even said it was good when we were being made redundant so I never listen to her when she's being so glass totally ridiculously brimming over when it is clearly not even half full. Then we dragged them all off for a melt-down on the way home on the tube.

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