Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

13 Things I Did While We Were Away!


Thursday 13

  1. Slept on a train going from Paris to Rome.
  2. Took water taxis and buses through Venice.
  3. Made a snowman and snow angels in Geneva.
  4. Saw the Mona Lisa.
  5. Went up the Eiffel Tower when it was -4!
  6. Met my brand-new baby niece when we got back to England.
  7. Learnt to use a satnav and drove on lots of twisty turny lanes through the English countryside then discovered they were actually A roads.
  8. Explored the still functional Roman bath at Bath.
  9. Stayed in the attic of a Victorian house in Bath.
  10. Went to Sherwood Forest and the man-made caves under Nottingham.
  11. Had family photos done in mediaeval costumes.
  12. Helped my girls do a pretend excavation at an archaeological museum.
  13. Ate chicken and leek suet pudding at a little pub in Oxford.  In fact we had many meals in great little pubs and I discovered a really nice alcoholic ginger beer in York!

Now aren’t you jealous?

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others’ comments. It’s easy, and fun!

Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

View More Thursday Thirteen Participants

Advertisements

Wordless Wednesday – Counting Down!

More Wordless Wednesday at 5 Minutes for Mom and Wordless Wednesday

Be Careful What You Wish For …

I have just got back from a few days away and we had a fabulous time.  Zoos, museums, the waterfront, restaurants, everything was great and very kid friendly. Except one little thing that really made me think.

To set the scene I have two girls, 4 and 18 months, both fully toilet trained during the day.  When out and about the little one needs help to get her pants down and get up on the toilet, but that’s it.  Generally when we’re out we all go to the toilet together, I mean what else are you going to do with them?  So while we can all fit in a normal cubicle we try to go for disabled toilets whenever there isn’t a parenting room.

I was originally a bit conflicted about this.  They’re disabled toilets, I felt guilty about using them when we’re all able.  But on the other hand I’ve never yet seen a person with a disability going to them, much less found someone waiting when we get out.  Not that I sit there and watch who’s going in or out of the toilets.  But we don’t seem to be inconveniencing anyone so we might as well use them.

One of the toilets we visited on this trip (and we visited a LOT!) was shared use – for parents and people with disabilities.  And it makes a lot of sense, small children and parents have a lot of the same needs.  The toilets are often lower, which makes it easier for littlies to get on them, they usually have handholds that very little ones can use to stabilise themselves, there’s room to manoeuvre a pram as well as a wheelchair and the sinks generally have easily accessible taps little kids can work.  In addition, this one had one of the fold-up change stations on the wall.

It also had a sign, asking

“Parents please limit use to avoid impacting disabled users.”

Hang on a minute.

When I’m illicitly using the disabled facitilities as it were I feel a bit off.  If there was a disabled person around I would definitely wait until after them.  But this is a dual use facility.  It has a change table in there and says so right on the door.  So why is one set of users less important that the other?  Why does one set of users have to ‘avoid impacting’ the other?  Flip it around – would it be reasonable to ask disabled people to be quick to avoid impacting on parents?

OK, it takes longer than normal to change a baby.  And I’m sure the girls and I take ages, although not as long as 3 separate people – we have the production line down pat.  But do you really think parents are hanging around in there for fun?  Dawdling away in the public toilets?  They’re such a fun place to hang out, after all.

And how exactly are we supposed to limit use?  Wait until the nappy is really, really full?  Leave them in the pooey nappy until we get home?  Maybe change them kneeling on the ground in the wind and rain outside?  I admit my non-verbal baby has lots of false positives – she often gives me the toilet signal and then doesn’t produce (although that doesn’t seem to happen at home for some reason).  So should I ignore her and take the chance that this time it was real so make her poo her pants?

Would you ask disabled adults to sit in their own urine and faeces so they don’t impact on others?

No.  That is unreasonable.  It is disrespectful and demeaning.  Yet that is precisely what is being asked of children.  Children are not even being treated as second-class citizens, they are being denied (or limiting) basic human rights of hygiene.

Our society does not appear to want children.  It would be interesting to see what happened if that wish came true.

Wordless Wednesday – Look Mummy! A goat!

Goat (and a couple of icons)

This page is linked at 5 Minutes for Mom and Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday – Blended Family

Blended Family

Early Morning Trains

I’ve started back at work, and everything is going swimmingly. My two year old is loving spending time with Grandma or Daddy on different days, and he loves catching trains with me in the morning.

I could do without the early starts in some ways – I’m not a morning person, never really have been. But the early mornings really do have their compensations.

The walk to the train takes about twenty minutes with my son. It takes me about ten minutes on my own. I get a little impatient with his frequent stops to look at things or even just to swap sides and hands. Even so, I love our conversations.

“Dog! Woof woof!”

“Yes, that is the house where the dog lives. What colour is it?”

“Black!”

“Lelloo-cotter!”

“That’s right! We saw a helicopter in the sky last week when we were standing at this corner.” (We did, too – we saw a helicopter one morning, and he reminded me of it when we got to that corner the following week).

“Lovely tree! Lovely flower! Pretty!”

As we near the train station, he starts to say, “Train, more train. Train coming!” He really likes trains, and looks forward to train rides. As we wander down on to the platform, often he’ll ask, “Play ‘tendoo?” He likes watching me play my Nintendo DS, and it can be a useful way to keep him sitting safely on the platform with me.

Once we’re on the train, he gives a running commentary on the doors opening and closing, and talks about changing trains when we get to the city. “Catch train, another train!” Other passengers smile indulgently as he steps on and off the train, which usually involves a very big step up or down over the gap.

When we get to the city station, we have a fifteen minute wait for our connecting train. Sometimes we go via the coffee stand, depending on how badly I need a coffee by then, and we take the stairs up to the platform. There are many stairs, and my two year old tackles them with ease. There’s a small platform halfway up the stairs, and when we get to this point he often looks up and says, “Another stair!” which results in more indulgent smiles from early morning commuters.

It’s very rare that I see another small child on the trains at that time of the morning. I wonder why that is?

We go up to the far end of the platform to wait, so we can be in the front carriage to meet Grandma at her station. And this is the part of the morning I like best.

We sit together on the platform, and my son eats a sandwich for breakfast. There usually are very few people at that end of the platform, so we sit together and cuddle up, watching trains and talking about colours and numbers; pointing at birds (usually pigeons and sparrows, though sometimes he says they’re seagulls) and chatting about the next part of our train ride.

However flustered I’ve been, rushing through the cold morning to get us both dressed and to the station on time, this part of our morning is always pretty easy. Some days, my husband looks after our son so I don’t have to hustle him on the train… and on those mornings, it feels lonely sitting at that city station on my own. I watch the trains and birds and think about how alien it feels that my son isn’t with me; which is a bit odd because we’ve only been making this trip together for about a month so far.

Once we get on the train again, I make sure we’re near a window so he can stand up and look at the river as we cross it. At that time of the morning there’s usually a City Cat sailing under the railway bridge, which he calls a ‘silly cat’.

We pull up at Grandma’s station, and I say goodbye as he gets off the train into Grandma’s arms. The last time we did that, he didn’t cry or protest at all – just smiled and waved goodbye to me as the train pulled away again. Before now, he’s wailed momentarily, though I know he’s smiling again moments after my train pulls away (Grandma texts me to let me know). Even knowing that it’s just something toddlers do, and that it’s just his way of letting me know he likes it when I stay, and that he’s laughing and happy within moments, it is a bit hard seeing your child’s teary face as you leave. So I was excited to see him smiling and waving at me the last time I dropped him off, and chattering animatedly to Grandma.

I have work tomorrow. I am not looking forward at all to getting up before 5am. I am looking forward to our train trip, though. I have a feeling these mornings will be precious memories some time all too soon.

‘Ya can’t change film with a kid on your back…’

Roger Miller was right… Nor can you change a tyre with said child on back…

As part of a new job I have to do 4X4 training (even though I have been working out bush for the past year and practically grew up in the back of a car… damned gypsy parents).  Usually I take my daughter with me to work but this week she has been in the care of a fantastic stay at home mum who has child care certificates, family day care experience, foster caring experience and two children of her own.  Obviously this woman is worth her weight in gold to the average working mum.

My job requires me to travel out to remote locations and getting to this point (a few weeks into the job) has been a roller coaster of will I/won’t I feelings.  Firstly there was the old feelings of neglect.  Am I doing what is best for my girl?    Then the feelings of self doubt.  You know, the ones that seem to be ingrained into us against our will by some chromosome more often linked with X’s rather than Y’s.  Then the feelings of personal gain –  money, experience, doing what I love, open roads, sing along opportunities in the car – all the really important things (obviously this feeling was the winner … I can’t resist an option that has a sing along).

But now I have landed and am trying to make it work.  I have days where I appear at the office with a screaming child and interestingly I get more done in two hours than I usually would in a day without the beautiful little smudgekin who has the voice of a feral cat fighting a broken violin.  I worry about where I might be next week.  I worry about the conditions that I might be facing.  I worry about whether or not there will be a suitable spot to park a developmentally delayed child with special needs.  Will I be adding to the chaos or creating a positive learning experience based on catering to young learners with varied needs?

And then I remember …  History repeats itself doesn’t it?  Isn’t this the story of my life so far?  Wasn’t that me in the back of the car all of those years ago?  Isn’t that where the sing along was invented?   So all I have to do now is ponder one thing – Was my upbringing good enough for my daughter?  I think the answer is inevitably yes.  Yes to covering the land.  Yes to meeting new people.  Yes to taking in different cultures and ideas.  Yes to bringing about positive change and learning.  Yes to sharing life on the edge, in the middle, and everywhere in between with your children!  It’s not as if you are letting the tiger in your car or  rollerskating in a buffalo herd.

So as Roger reckons ; ‘Knuckle down buckle down do it do it do it’ because  ‘you can be happy if you’ve a mind to‘ …  and who said you can’t just change the film when the kid is sleeping?  Or get a digital camera?