A perfect family day out… how a pic can mask real life

Today has been one of those parenting days where you simply wish you just hadn’t bothered.

One of Louis favourite books is ‘Thomas In London’, a book that takes Thomas the Tank Engine on a journey through London visiting some of its famous landmarks, including the Royal Observatory and Cutty Sark in Greenwich.

Greenwich has always been one of my fondest places, having spent many of fantastic days there throughout my childhood. So I booked tickets for the kids planetarium show ‘Ted Adventure’ as a surprise; James and I had told Louis we would take him one day and we knew he would love it.

But, what you think a 2-year old might love and the reality are very different.

That morning, even though he was told we were off to Greenwich, he had several tantrums; he didn’t want to brush his teeth, then he did. He didn’t want to put his trainers on, or his jumper. He laid on my bedroom floor for 10 minutes kicking and screaming and to get him in he car, whilst shouting ‘I want to stay here’, we practically had to drag him.

The dummy or as I like to sometimes call it ‘the moody protector’ was placed in his mouth, and his Thomas in London book thrust into his hands.

At this point James and I had already had enough, wondering what age you could leave your kids at home on their own?

Luckily he calmed down and started flicking through his book.


7 minutes later, a gagging sound came from the back. Louis was sick, nothing major just a little mouthful that rested on the top of his T-shirt (a cleverly picked London scene T-shirt may I add). That small section of sick then doubled, tripled, multiplied as Louis’ entire breakfast came back up, all over him and the car seat.

Currently driving on an A-road, James screamed for me to pull over.

Poor thing. Louis often suffers from travel sickness and on reflection reading in the car was a bad idea.

We got Louis out, wiped off the sick, undressed him, pilled the sick stained clothes on the pavement and sat Louis in the boot. I had some spare clothes (never travel without them) and we redressed him. I had to reuse his socks but a little rub with the baby wipe got most of it off.

I obviously stopped to take a picture, just to document how this day was turning into one of those ridiculous joke days where its one disaster to the next.

James wiped the car seat and we quickly refilled the car, which I was glad about, as the pit stop must be a toilet break for drivers as the stench was rank… worse then the sick!

Off we go again.

We arrive. The sun comes out. We get some nice family pics in front of the amazing London views, on the surface we look like a family having a perfect day. “cheese”.

We meet our friends who also had tickets for the show and went inside the observatory. I didn’t realise they had sent me an e-ticket, so I stood outside for 10 minutes waving my phone round as the 3G signal was so bad. I gave up and went to the ticket desk. They found my booking and were able to print tickets.

5 minutes later, we were shown to our seats.

It’s comfy. The seat laid back and above us was a big dome. The show will start in 3 minutes. 5 minutes later, no show. Louis is now standing on his chair shouting ‘oat bar’. No food allowed in the planetarium.

7 minutes later, the host is telling us about the earth orbiting the sun, astronomy and astrology, all quite interesting unless you are more concerned with wrestling your child into their chair.

Finally the show started, the lights dimmed. The ‘Ted’ character astronaut appeared on the screen and we go into space.

Louis was amazed. His eyes lit up as if he was witnessing pure magic. James and I looked at each other, smiled and relaxed into our seats, treasuring the moment and the memory this show will bring.

(cue record scratching sound effect).

This is NOT what happened.

The light dimmed, the ‘Ted’ character astronaut appeared on the screen and as we went into space, Louis burst into tears. “I don’t like it, I don’t like it”. Oh fuck!

James pulled him onto his lap.

Didn’t help. Mummy’s turn for a cuddle.

He nestled into me, tears streaming down his face.

I turned him around and he seemed to engage. Looking up and watching the planets of the solar system moving around above us. Fingers crossed. I gave him his dummy hoping this would help.

But the tears kept coming, stopping and starting, stopping and starting.

Do we sit here and force him to watch and hopefully grow to enjoy it? Pierce everyone’s eardrums with the whaling moan?

Or be those good civilised parents who give up the fight and calmly leave? Yep second option it was.

£18 down the drain; 2 minutes later we were sat in the cafe drinking cappuccino. Louis ate so fast; it was like he hadn’t been fed for a week! Clearly he had been very hungry, or should I say ‘Hangry’.

Oh well, not quite the perfect day, but it was a delicious coffee so not all bad.

Our friends joined us after the show. We laughed that it was one of the days, and my-oh-my it wasn’t over.

My friend’s baby was sat on my lap being fed and managed to spill my cappuccino all over me, not once but twice (it was luke warm thank god, so she wasn’t hurt!). The first went over my leg, the second over my leg and my bag. I smelt like Starbucks for the rest of the day.

Then at the food market I got a yummy buckwheat savory crepe and burnt both sides of my mouth on the cheese that had just been melted, ouch.

Louis had fallen asleep by this point so he didn’t see the Cutty Sark, or get to play in the park.

We gave into the day and decided to head home. It was clouding over and being drenched in the rain would have just been the icing on the cake.

It just goes to show that no matter how hard you try to create these fun days out for your little ones, you can never predict their behaviour.

Oh well, we gave it a good go.

More scenic pics… covering up the simmering, tantrum, moody undercurrent that was about to rise once more to the surface

As a full time mum and wife, I will share the joys, struggles and hilarious adventures of real life parenthood.

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