London isn’t ready for the Halfords!

…or maybe the Halfords aren’t ready for London. Yesterday, we (the kids & I) got in the car and headed to London to visit our friends. Their daughter is Amy, Gracie’s friend and Abby is Elijah’s age. The 98 mile journey took me three hours and I nearly got in a million accidents. Driving in London is a whole new world where three lanes suddenly become one. Survival of the fittest. If I hadn’t been fearing for my life (and determined NOT to have my car in the shop for the FOURTH time this week) I would have just broken down and cried.

You have to pay a ‘congestion charge’ to drive into Central London and I accidentally drove past Big Ben (oops) which is most certainly in the zone. Luckily, I had until midnight to pay it and it was only £8. When we drove by, I said, “Look kids it’s Big Ben!” And Jack said, “Where? In that black car?”

Sweet relief when we got there and Catriona had lunch for us (thank you!) the kids were overjoyed to get out of the car and play with Abby. Catriona, Ed and I had such a great time talking and sharing stories about our journey with Rett Syndrome. ‘Journey’…doesn’t that sound far nicer than it is. Going to Paris is a journey.

This was a “Playdate – Rett Style” (As Catriona, Amy’s mum, blogged just this morning). Steven and I have laughed at my illusion that Grace had a playdate but Catriona is far more optimistic that this was a meaningful time for both of the girls. I think I have a lot to learn from her. Although both of the girls have only just been diagnosed, Amy is a whole year older than Grace and Catriona seems to already be on the case with regards to Amy’s future while I’m still just in denial.

At some point, Jack peed in their bushes, took a flying tumble over a stump at the playground and made me hike to city hall to go for a poo. All while Elijah and Abby so nicely played and looked for bugs (I think there are still two poor ladybugs trapped in a Ziplock bag in London). On the way back from his poo, Jack saw a bride and was talking about when he grows up and gets married. And then asked me what Daddy would be when he grew up. Touche, Jack. Touche.

After the playground we got caught in a sun shower (smelled so good!) on our way back to their house where Catriona made a dinner that the boys didn’t eat (naughty boys!) and a separate dinner for Grace that she didn’t eat either (naughty Grace!) Instead, extremely unlike her, she kicked and screamed for an hour in my arms before zonking out. I really don’t know what was wrong with her, but it’s happening more often. Catriona suggested that she was getting fed up with being away from home and I think that’s possible. She did seem quite anxious but also like she was in pain so it could have been reflux. I don’t know! 🙁

Frazzled, I ran out the door without saying goodbye to anyone but Catriona (so sorry Ed & Abby!) and Grace again cried herself to sleep in the car. Leaving London at 6pm is a far different scenario than arriving at noon. The traffic still sucks and three lanes still become one, but this time it’s bankers leaving the city in their Lamborghinis and Lotuses and I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have made it home alive if I’d hit one of those cars. And of course, the boys were crying because they were ‘hungry’ (“Well then you should have eaten your dinner!”)

Now we’re home and the kids are fast asleep. And I’m revelling in the remains of a really really great day. xoxo