On Friday morning the girls, Pip and I finished the washing up, rescued socks and shoes from the pram, under the sofa and, mysteriously, the middle of the kitchen floor, and thanks to a lovely invitation by Tommee Tippee, headed our to the Baby Show up at the NEC.
Yes, just me, and three children to somewhere really busy and quite crowded. My sister requested that I provide her with photographic evidence that I was still alive and had returned safely. And I know there are probably a few people reading it thinking “three children! the NEC! is she mad!!”
The answer is probably yes, but not for the reasons you suspect and we actually had a really lovely time. The girls thought the Tomee Tippee stand was heaven sent; they did some colouring, crawled in and out of rocket ships, tried on every dressing up dress on the rack and ate more Party Rings than you could ever imagine a 2 and a 4 year old capable of putting away in such a short space of time. In fact I knew they loved it as soon as I found Kitty’s shoes abandoned in the buggy, always a sign that she’s planning on staying.
And when we’d finished (and duly posed for rocket pictures) we went off to explore the rest of the show. Kitty tried her hand at beginner chopsticks, charmed the people running the swim schools, Elma smiled angelically and acquired no less than three balloons and Pip snuggled in to me and gave the world an occasional glance. I’d never been to the baby show, despite the three children, I think because I once went to a wedding show at the NEC and H and I came away shell shocked, clutching the website for the kits to make our invitations and bemused at the raft of things I never knew I needed. The Baby Show was happily a lot less mind-blowing, though whether that’s because I know what I like and I need to look after babies it’s hard to say. It’s quite fun being there with a buggy and a sling (both of which were being sold at the show) and clocking people having a really good stare at them both in action. We had a little lunch, tried to find Pudsey but failed and if there was one down side it can only have been the lack of Apprentice candidates flogging random things!
There were plenty of people there with oh so cute teeny tiny babies, and more than a few with toddlers in and out of buggies, but I don’t think I spotted anyone else with three. Which probably explains why we got just so many comments of “are they all yours?”, the “you’ve got your hands full”, and the very helpful “I’d never be able to cope with three!”
It’s all very sweetly meant but it’s funny to see my girls’ reaction, they look up in complete surprise, because of course to them, it’s absolutely normal.
We’ve been going out and about as a three for nearly nine months now and while initially it took a bit of thinking to work out the logistics, now it’s just what we do. I’ve always thought that if I want to be able to do something we need to get on and practice it, and for all the trips to the library when it didn’t work and everyone ran off in different directions and hid behind the cookbooks I love that it means that when an invitation lands in my inbox I can say yes because I know that the chances are the children will do really well and enjoy themselves, and if they don’t I know I’ve got enough experience of that under my belt that I can deal with it.
It meant that we had a wonderful Friday, pottering around, listening to Kitty and Elma’s comments, deciding what we liked (our colour of buggy hood and also naturally, the pink one) and what opinions were rather divided on (how many Party Rings is too many) and I really enjoyed it.
My hands may have been full, full of balloons, random leaflets, little hands, baby wipes and all the rest, but as I said to everyone who commented, they are full in the best possible sense and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
And for the record, evidence by selfie that we didn’t merely survive!