22 September 2018
I was awoken by an almighty noise this morning, that turned out, we think, to be a helicopter landing somewhere nearby. Cornelia slept through the tremendous noise, and woke up at a very reasonable 08:15, just as Ian was about to have a shower. He delayed the shower in favour of a family cuddle in bed, and updated his licence plate game map… he only has five states left to find now…!
Once we were all up, showered and dressed, we headed out in search of a 7-11 or similar for breakfast supplies. We had considered going out for breakfast, but Ian and I agreed that neither our bank balance nor our bellies would cope very well with eating out three times a day for the next few days! The financial district of the city was very quiet at 10:00, and Cornelia used the empty streets to look through her binoculars at pigeons, trees, a gold lion and a silver unicorn!
We found the nearby 7-11 and bought some pots of cereal, milk, OJ and yoghurt, and returned to the hotel as quickly as we could, before Mr Grumpy-I-haven’t-had-any-food-yet-today became grumpier. Mission accomplished, and breakfast consumed, our next trip out was over the river to the Boston Children’s Museum. I suggested to Ian that he might like to go off for a bit of an explore on his own, while I took Bugsy into the museum, an offer too good for him to refuse! He set off and we agreed to meet up two hours later at 14:0@ for lunch.
Cornelia and I had the BEST time together. She started on the New Balance climbing frame, like none other that I have seen before! It is a web of wavy boards surrounded by netting, each taking you higher and higher up towards the roof. You have to crawl and squeeze and slide yourself through the gaps and it looked like amazing fun! I actually lost sight of her until I saw her pink t-shirt peaking out at the summit. She told me later that she’d got a bit stuck and couldn’t work out how to get up or down, so found a girl to help her down.
She then wanted to follow the girl (her “new friend”) to the theatre for the show that was apparently taking place. But we found ourselves immersed in all the other interactive stuff to play with. She powered lights with the energy created by her arm movements, dropped a heavy ball using a pulley rope to launch a tennis ball, and hoisted herself up on a chair using her own strength. It was just brilliant.
Having been distracted for some time, I spied the theatre at the end of the corridor, and we were allowed a late entrance to join the audience. It was perfect timing, as the two performers were looking for volunteers to take part. Cornelia put herself forward and she went onto the stage quite bravely (after an initial moment of uncertainty) and was dressed up as “berries” for her part of the act.
I sat back in Mummy Heaven and watched her participate in a cute little song and dance about fruit and vegetables, and although she didn’t quite follow the dance routine, she came racing back to me afterwards and said (and I kid you not): “I’m so impressed with myself!” My heart nearly burst.
But after that, no amount of persuasion on my part would convince her up again to assist, despite the lack of volunteer. She only wanted to go up if the girl that had helped her down the climbing frame would go, and as she had just stared at Cornelia when she went up to say hi, and then crouched down on the floor when they were asking for volunteers, it was clear that this wasn’t going to happen.
At the end of the show, we went into the Science Room, and started off with bubble mania. The room was filled with all sorts of bubble games and experiments, for the kids (and grown ups) to play with. Next up was the ball room… full of tubes and rails and cogs and tracks for balls to be rolled along and up and down and around. We barely noticed the two hours fly by, and we hadn’t even looked at the second and third floors yet!
We had a few minutes to check out the second floor before we were due to meet Ian, and this was another fun area where we could try out different methods of catching balls, such as using Velcro on a frisbee, and a colander attached to a hat etc. She was give “Squishy” (as he’s been named) as a reward by the man in charge and she was thrilled! There was a long floor maze too that we completed. The idea was to make your way from the starting red square to the one on the other side of the (large!) room using the pattern green, blue, yellow. No diagonals… she got the hang of it pretty quickly and I am proud that she had the patience to finish it.
Now it was definitely lunch time, and we headed outside (with our hands stamped for re-entry later on), to find Ian. He was a bit late but had found somewhere for lunch just around the corner. We arrived at the trendy Flour Bakery & Cafe just in time before the long queue formed behind us. Ian and Bugsy sat at a table while I waited for our food to be made, and collected it at the appropriate place.
Cornelia was being slightly careless at the table with a cup of milk that I had bought for our teas, and had been warned to be careful after she’d already knocked it once. She spilt some more, so I removed it and told her that it wasn’t for her to play with, in case it got knocked over. Needless to say, she decided to ignore that, and (accidentally) knocked the whole cup over and into my lap. All bloody hell broke loose. She started screaming and screaming and wouldn’t shut up, to the point that I had to tug her from her chair and tuck her under my arm and leave the restaurant that was full off (quite understandably) aghast customers! I managed to get her into an alleyway beside the cafe, while she screamed, kicked, scratched and pinched my face. All the time, I tried holding her close, refusing to put her down (virtually impossible with the vicious wriggling) just repeating “I love you. It’s okay. I love you. It’s okay.” It was all I could do to calm her – she wanted to go back in the cafe and back to her milk, neither of which was going to happen, so all I could try and do was soothe her until the craziness had passed. Jeeeeeeeeesus! It was possibly her second worst ever tantrum and it felt like it would never end, and then suddenly, the screaming stopped, the sobbing subsided, and I was left with a clingy toddler who didn’t want me to stop rocking her in my arms. And so we sat there, on some filthy step down an alley, until she was ready to talk again. I then explained that we were only going to go back in the cafe so that she could apologise to the staff for her behaviour, and that she was not having another cup of milk. When she finally agreed these two things, I carried her back in, and after a five minute wait until she was ready, she took a deep breath and apologised. I was so proud of her for being able to do it. She didn’t get anything as a reward, and she knew that, and she did it anyway. The waitress gave her the perfect response “Thank you. And I hope all is okay now.”
We went outside where Ian was sitting, with my tea, and Cornelia sat quietly on my lap while I necked it, rather wishing it was a G&T! She had lost all opportunity to return to the museum now, as well as her Fire Phone and TV privileges (which are lost instantly for any form of violence!) but she was content enough to go back to the hotel room and wind down for a couple of hours. I said to Ian that he could carry on exploring if he wanted, but that I just needed Bugsy to have some rest time in a relatively safe environment for a bit, but he chose to come back with us, and that is how we spent the rest of our afternoon! We did some activity book together, some glueing (!) and some exercises, which included poor old Daddy being used as a climbing frame.
I am not quite sure what caused the outburst, although she did look more and more tired as the day wore on. Overstimulation at the Children’s Museum is perhaps a credible suggestion. Frustration at leaving Somers and Julia in Bermuda is another. Anyway, thank goodness it didn’t happen again!
We decided to stay local tonight, just in case, and went into the Elephant & Castle pub adjoining our hotel for dinner. Great choice. Service was terrific, food was yum, and I got that G&T! We even decided to have dessert and, following our excellent waitress’s advice ordered the chocolate brownie. This was made up of a slab of brownie topped with ice cream, caramel sauce, whipped cream, chocolate sauce, all sandwiches together with another slab of brownie. We couldn’t finish it between the three of us!!
As we headed upstairs, Cornelia started to complain of a sore tummy, and sure enough, when we got back into our room, she raced to the loo and had a very bad tummy indeed. I wonder if this was a potential contributor to her behaviour earlier? Anyway, a trip to the loo sorted out any tummy pain, and she went straight to bed with a couple of stories by Daddy and a cuddle from me.
Let’s hope tomorrow is a calmer and more peaceful day…!