Monday, September 28, 2009

Three girls loose in London

Our adventure has begun.

The details are too tedious to go into, but suffice it to say that the flight was an adventure.

Thing 2 developed a fever somewhere over the Atlantic, and was prone to fall asleep all day anytime she stopped her forward momentum.

We were met in Heathrow by our most wonderful friend Pat, who took us back to his apartment for breakfast and a breather. Thing 1 and 2 watched a movie with Pat's son while the grown-ups talked, and browsed the internet for the best way to commute us to the other side of town to the flat we had rented in Greenwich. Turns out the best commuter rail trains were down that day, so Pat decided to drive us. Once offered, his hospitality is inescapable. We let him drive us. Thing 2 fell asleep, and continued to sleep most of the rest of the day.

The next day, Sunday, was Thing 1's turn. We went into London with Hubby, who was meeting some people from the conference. I went on with the girls to the Natural History Museum. Thing 1 whined and stumbled around like a petulant zombie, collapsing in a puddle whenever there was a rug underneath her. We were sitting on a bench at the entrance of the museum and I was examining the map to see how much I could show them as quickly as possible, and this family came over to the booth we were sitting next to, and came away with red backpacks on all the children's backs, and plastic pith helmets on their heads. Thing 2 looked at me with wonder. I went and asked, and sure enough, the adventure backpacks were free, and they had, yup, two left. I roused Thing 1 and we signed out our backpacks. The young Indian guy working the booth was so cute, so enthusiastic with his instructions. "You're going on an Adventure!" he told the girls. "There are CLUES in the backpack, so you can find which animal the clues are for. Each backpack has PAPER, and CRAYONS!" I asked the girls to wear their helmets. Thing 1 declined. "But you can't have an adventure without your HELMET! You never know what you might run into in the WILD," the young man encouraged. Mind you, he has this beautiful Indian English accent, just perfect for starting a jungle adventure. Thing 1 wore her helmet long enough for a couple of photos, then it went right into the backpack.

Thing 2 was awake enough to figure out the Teeth clue belonged to a Polar Bear.

She collapsed on the floor in front of every exhibit we stopped at, which almost was okay as we were spreading the contents of our backpacks out on the ground to try and match the clues with the animals. But finally in front of the life sized blue whale suspended from the ceiling, I found a bench and she laid down and went to sleep. I gave up and we started the commute back to Greenwich. I wanted to get them some medicine, but by the time we got back to the flat and I fed them some dinner, it was time for bed. The walk to the nearest pharmacy is nearly a mile, and I'm not dragging two sick girls down to a pharmacy that very well may be closed anyway.

Thing 1 was resting on a bench for that long commute back to Greenwich.

Today after Hubby went to the conference I locked the girls in the flat, in their pajamas with instructions not to open the door, and walked into the shopping area. Now.. did I fear all the way to the store that if something happened to me they'd be trapped there until Hubby came home? Of course. Do I want to drag two sick girls a mile to the store? No. We choose the lesser of two evils. I carefully looked both ways several times before crossing every street and made it there and back without incident.
I got them some Sudafed, and some other groceries, but realized when I got back to the flat that I probably got the wrong KIND of Sudafed, and I'd need to go back. Sigh. I told the girls to take a nap. Thing 2 complied, Thing 1 did not. Well, she tried for about 1/2 an hour. I sat around reading, she played her DS until I got tired, told her again to take a nap. I got her a blanket and pillow, tucked her in on the couch thinking this is the girl who couldn't stay awake 10 minutes yesterday, surely she'll fall asleep. I went in to sleep next to Thing 2 on the bed.

An hour and a half later, Thing 1 woke me up. She hadn't slept at all, she just came in because she'd heard a noise that had spooked her.

I woke up a little crabby that this girl who couldn't stay awake yesterday was giving me such trouble about taking a nap today. I need her to recuperate! I want her to see something of London besides the inside of a flat!

I woke up Thing 2 and told both of them we're getting dressed and going outside! If Thing 2 slept much longer I worried she'd be up all night. Just as we were getting ready to go who knows where, Thing 2 suggested swimming. The flat we rented has access to an exercise room, including a rarely used lap pool. Fine. I changed them into their suits and we went to the pool. Unfortunately I had forgotten their goggles and dive toys, and the water is a little too deep for them to touch bottom. After they paddled around for a while, they were done. We came back to the flat and I bathed them, locked them in with a kid's show on the Telly and walked to town to get the right kind of medicine and pick up some dinner. McDonald's. I hate it, but I knew they'd eat it.

We were just cleaning up when Hubby came back from the conference. He reported that his presentation went okay, which based on how hard on himself he usually is, means it probably went quite well. Huzzah!

I hope that the girls are feeling better tomorrow... I'm awfully tired of the inside of this flat. It has fake IKEA wood floors, which makes the room act like a sound chamber, echoing and reverberating every noise to a high annoying pitch. Thing 2 is normally kind of exuberant, but in this little condo her volume seems to be maxed out. Even the normally quiet Thing 1 seems noisy. I've told the two of them to hush a thousand times. That's with the normal kid noise, I'm not talking about the times Thing 2 shouts "Hello Out There, World!!" off the balcony.

I'll add pictures later. Right now I'm worried I'm coming down with their cold.

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