Every year since my second child was born, I’ve spent a day with my daughter, just us girls, in London. We do as much as a family as we can, and we love our time together. Beneath the general bickering that goes on between siblings, it’s plain to see how much my son and daughter love each other, but the chores and mini-hurdles of everyday life see me spending much of my time in arbitration, not truly focusing on either one of my children. When the Bug was a newborn, I went to lunch with my girl, more to reassure her that she was still just as important as ever to me, but I found that I got just as much from this brief lunch date as she did – I too needed one on one time with my child.
Our London day has covered many adventures over the last 5 years: the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum, the Rainforest Cafe, the National Portrait Gallery, patisserie macaroons, posh afternoon teas, and Hamleys. Always a visit to Hamleys. In recent years we’ve gotten into the habit of booking a West End theatre show that she particularly wants to see – Oliver, Mamma Mia, Wicked. Every summer, Kids Week runs in the West End, where for every adult ticket purchased for selected shows, one child goes free. It’s how we’ve afforded some of the top West End seats without breaking the bank.
It’s been a thrill to share those experiences (always something the boys don’t want to see) with my girl, who is increasingly fascinated by the arts and musical performance. It’s special, something for just the two of us. We always return home with a glow of complicity and mutual esteem that stays with us for a long while.
As the Bug has grown he too has taken his part in the annual excursion with a parent, and last year saw him head off to the Natural History Museum with his Dad. With the long hours Jason works, one on one time with his kids rarely happens, and especially with the Bug, typical little boy, liking the comfort of his Mum’s company. I reassure Actually Daddy that this will change in time, but for now this one day per year is so important for them to really bond and understand each other a little better.
We’re currently planning our 2014 ventures, but in the meantime I’m sharing this Expressions photo with you. Taken at the end of our day, I nervously decided that my daughter was old enough to be left in the restaurant alone while I went to the toilet. This is what she did with my iPhone while I was gone!