Travelling with small children is no mean feat. Travelling across the country by bus, train and tube with two small children is not for the faint hearted! Especially when you are flying solo on the back of an eventful nursing shift. Sometimes I wonder why I do it to myself!
I had planned the trip to my parents a few weeks ago. A great way for Pie to finish his post tonsillectomy recovery. I have to say I thought the train thing would be an adventure. This was my first mistake. 20 minutes on a train = adventure. 4 hours is not so much an adventure but a form of torture.
Thursday morning arrived. Having had a pretty awful and very long shift on Wednesday, Thursday morning was a struggle. I mean a struggle to move due to being achey and downright exhausted. Having hauled my sorry ass out of bed and fed the kids. I now had to pack. Initially I chucked everything in a large backpack suitcase. Picked up suitcase and realised that there was no way in hell I was going to carry it downstairs. Let alone across London and have Pudding in the carrier! Ok rethink. Repack half stuff in case. Nope. Unpack again. Repack into small wheeled suitcase and small day sack.
Obviously this was done whilst attempting to not lose my temper with kids. I failed. In the end I stuck Pie in front of Star Wars. Not a great parenting moment using the TV babysitter at 9am. But I managed to live with myself. Luckily Pudding had got bored and decided on a cat nap on my bed!
Suitcase finally packed. Next dilemma arose. How to get to the station? Yes we could walk but Pie isn’t a fan of that. I didn’t want to set the air raid siren off before the journey began… Decided to take the bus. Short walk to the bus stop but easier than the train. Right. Pudding in carrier, backpack on and pick up suitcase. Pick up sunglasses. Queue major Pie meltdown as we can’t find his sunglasses. Leave house dragging a small suitcase and a screaming boy.
Luckily the bus came quickly and Pie had got a grip. Unfortunately the lower deck was full of people. Naturally no one wanted to give up their seat. I mean I don’t really need a seat. I only have a baby in a carrier, a four-year old, a suitcase and a backpack. Can’t think of any one who needs a seat less than I do….
Finally we arrive in town. It’s taken longer than I anticipate. So now this crazy lady is running. Like a wonkey donkey, Pie and I charge down the street. Burst into the station. No time for the lift I managed to get all of us onto an escalator without anyone falling head first!
We collapse onto the train. With the dawning realisation that we have only done half the journey. That was the easy part. Next I have to get my brood and suitcase across London. Worse still is that both the kids and I are hangry. Pudding is easy, so she gets hers. Pie and I need a sandwich, but the catering cart doesn’t cater for kids. Well done Virgin… Mini cheddars for lunch – another top parenting moment!
On arrival at Euston we fight our way off the train. I already need a wee and Pudding has a slightly suspicious aroma. There is no way I am paying to use the loo and trying to get all of us in one small cubicle. Time to practice those pelvic floor exercises.
Somehow, and don’t ask me how. I managed to march through the station, tackle another 3 escalators and get on the tube. Pie is wide-eyed at a train underground. He has no memories of spending his first 18 months in London.
I have to say the bit I was dreading, was the easiest part! Crossing London a doddle in comparison to trying to get air-raid siren Pie on the bus! We arrive at Victoria and result there is a train in 6 minutes. Of course it’s on the platform that’s at the furthest point. If we miss this its at least 30 mins to entertain the kids before we can get the next one… Cue the wonky donkey! We are off across the station, and arrive on the train panting with about a minute to spare. Collapsing in a heap, Pie says Mummy I like getting the train to Nana’s. At this point I can barely speak – but just nod gently with my eyes closed…