Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Across the Pond
She's arrived! And now she has her very first passport stamp.
The actual traveling part was (almost) a breeze. I say 'almost' because I lugged 100+ pounds of toddler and luggage by myself, and so got quite a workout walking here and there with a car seat strapped to my back, my computer on my shoulder, Margot and her stroller, a carry-on stuffed with books and items that would have put our suitcase over the weight limit, and a suitcase that weighed exactly 49.5 pounds. We accidentally sat in the first-class car on the train trip from London/Gatwick Airport to Victoria Station, but I was too sweaty and tired to care so we stayed put. (Turns out the AC in the first-class car was broken, so we sweltered AND paid more for it! But I digress...)
Flying was far better than walking. Margot performed for our section of the plane for more than an hour (endless renditions of the ABC song, "You Are My Sunshine," "Hickory Dickory Dock," and "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star," among other songs and nursery rhymes) but she didn't scream nor cry and I'm fairly certain everyone appreciated it (the absence of crying, not necessarily the singing). By the time she finished, we actually pushed back from the gate. (Oh, how I love flying US Air.) Minutes after taking off, she fell asleep.
Whenever I try to hush Margot from singing too loudly and disturbing others, she always turns to me with this hurt expression and says, "But I'm singing my ABCs!" It's hard to explain to someone who so earnestly believes that her singing trumps others' rights that she should really take the volume down a notch or two.
I was pleasantly surprised with our flat when I arrived. It's spacious and modern, although it has a VHS player and no DVD (never mind, I can just use the computer for Caillou DVDs). I take great pleasure in hearing Margot refer to it as "the flat." There is one problem with it though: there is only one bedroom. The apartment manager was kind enough to provide a crib for Margot, but there's nowhere to put it that's quiet and private for her to nap. We tried putting it in the half-bathroom (not the first time), but she can easily turn on the water from the tap while standing in the crib, so that lasted all of 30 seconds. Alas, she will have to sleep in the bedroom. So much for the rest of us sleeping this summer...
Today the weather was just fantastic. It felt like late September here - 71 degrees and sunny. This is so much better than the 93 degrees we left behind in Philadelphia. Margot and I walked through the beautiful churchyard at St. Paul's Cathedral, which is just steps away from our flat. I really dig English gardens - they are so perfectly green and manicured! Also, their grass is better. I don't know the technical terms for it (horticulturalists out there, feel free to comment) but it is thin and wispy and lies flat. It makes the ground appear woven together. American grass is coarse and stands upright, like a brush. It's not as comfortable for sitting
After our visit to St. Paul's (we didn't take an actual tour, just wandered a bit) we picked up some lunch from Marks and Spencer and then took the Tube to St. James' Park. There we found a terrific playground - just what Margot needed. She swang and slid and see-sawed and dug in the giant sandbox, and was genuinely happy when we left. I note this happiness because there have been a few meltdowns since we arrived yesterday (some tears and crying that she wants to go home). I'm going to hold off on the heavy site-seeing until she's used to things, and we'll just spend the next couple of days doing one thing each day that she really likes. I'll save the six-hour marathon in the British Museum that I have planned for another week.