Me and my two boys went on a rather special outing on Saturday morning (27th september), at the Battersea Arts Centre. The centre holds a Family Day event, on the last Saturday of every month (next ones will be on 25th October, 29th November and 27th December 2014).
The toddler was very excited as I had explained that we are going to:
“a new place where there will be toys and a play area for you to play in, live music (with real instruments and real musicians, something amazing for my toddler!), a workshop where we will be making things (less amazing, he’s not very good at sitting still and making things…) and we can also have lunch there, together (“and get an orange juice or an ice-cream” I could read on his face)”.
It all sounded a dream and I could see his face, beaming with happiness as I finished my explanation.
He was getting impatient in the morning (while I was having my
beauty baby-feeding nap) and was asking “mami (the Albanian version of mummy) when are we going to that thing”?
As soon as daddy dropped us off at the centre, the excitement began with the toddler noticing balloons outside the main entrance, “mami, look there is a party”.
We went in and were welcomed by a girl who asked if we wanted to take part in the workshop. “Yes please”.
Then parked the buggy, took shoes off and got ready to go in the Bee’s Knees, a magical indoor play space for under 5s . That’s where the workshop was going to take place. But my toddler rushed off to discover “the magical play area” and showed no interest whatsoever in the making of the workshop. I ended up doing it myself at the end, as I thought we should have something, to take back home after such a lovely morning…
But the toddler loved the setting, the toys, the bridge and the hills in the play area, as well as playing with other children (and their parents, a couple in particular he befriended). A place to go back to again, I thought, observing him play, as I was rocking the younger baby in the sling.
(I didn’t see many other mums or dads on their own with 2 children, but didn’t realise that until I was home and was feeling exhausted; no wonder, looking after two children at the same time…).
As part of the workshop we also went to the Grand hall, to see the spectacular glass window, up in the ceiling in the shape of a dome. My toddler wasn’t very impressed by this either and was impatient to return to the main hall, where he noticed the musicians were setting up and the instruments (a cello and 2 guitars) were out.
More activities were available to children to play with in the main hall, next to the staircase, which my toddler was quick to spot.
Then began the music, a kind of gypsy mixed tunes, which reminded me of the music of the Orpheus production we had seen last year at the BAC, beautiful cabaret style music and performance (I definitely recommend it, if it’s still on).
In the meantime the toddler was getting hungry, tired and thirsty and it was time for some food. We ordered at the bar, ‘beans on toast’ for him and ‘mushrooms on toast’ for me and with our drinks in our hands we were listening to the music in the main hall, dancing and waiting for our lunch.
The toddler’s lunch was free, a nice little gesture by the centre.
It had been fine until then, but hot and tired toddlers are a receipe for disaster. While I was getting hot myself (the cafe is really warm), with a headache (the coke I was drinking relieved it somehow) and my shoulders aching from the sling and the weight of a 6.5 kg baby, the toddler needed more attention and distraction, while the lunch was being made.
The order took a long time to arrive (the only criticism) but then when it did, it was very quickly gone. He finished his beans in no time and I took a big longer to eat my mushrooms, dropping some on the baby’s head…
We left at about 2pm, having arrived at 11am after a morning heavy in playing, music and some dancing, lunch and even a pair of cute baby slipper we bought from the clothes swap, at the centre.
All in all, a wonderful busy morning, in a lovely arts centre.
Here is the toddler enjoying his drink and listening to the live band performing.