Mothering two children, often at once, can be tricky. And loud. The toddler can be so demanding that the older one will give up on me entirely, retiring to her room for peace. I don’t blame her. But then begins the guilt. My attention is so frequently divided, and she feels it. How does one woman carve out enough time, ideally (but never) equally, for her children? (By making it part of a daily routine; blocking out time, perhaps at bedtime, for each child individually..)
But also: by purchasing two tickets to a musical and declaring she is taking the eight year old to London for the day.It seemed the most appropriate course of action and evidently the only way I was going to get some one to one time with Maia. (That and I hadn’t been to the theatre in a while.)
I offered her a range of musicals, from Wicked to Matilda, but it was The Lion King she remained fixed on. (I was grateful, having seen it before and always intending to go again)..
And so it was that last Saturday Maia and I hopped on a train to London to see The Lion King. I was delighted. Our little adventure, just us two.
We walked across the Golden Jubilee Bridge, stopping to take photos and glance up at the London Eye.
“Where’s Big Ben?” she asked. I pointed and vowed to bring her here more often.
She particularly enjoyed browsing the Jubilee Market in Covent Garden, eyeing up every birthstone and piece of jewellery. I regretted having to drag her away to join the queues for the theatre.
After emptying my bank account for popcorn and a slushy, we found our seats. (£7.50 for a slushy, even if you can re-use the branded strawed-sippy-cup, is obscene.)
The Lion King was just as magical as I remembered it to be. I think I began to cry before Mufasa had even died this time, emotional in anticipation. The talent, the staging, the story.
I was brought back to reality, and slightly taken back when, during the tense stampede scene, seconds before Mufasa is murdered by his only brother, Maia leant over to me and quietly whispered, clearly concerned:
“Will there be time to get something from the shop before we go?”
Shocked, and a little annoyed at her timing, I quickly replied “Yes.. well.. maybe!”
From one stampede to another, soon came the interval. All women know the start of the interval marks the beginning of a scramble for the toilets. (Can’t say the same for the men’s, which are enviably deserted in comparison. I’ve considered using them myself more than once.) Unless you want to spend the entire twenty minutes queuing for the loo, it’s wise to vacate your seat with some urgency as the curtain comes down, and even then you might be in for a wait. (If you’re a man you can take your time and leave your seat in a relaxed and breezy manner, knowing you’ll have easy access to a nearby toilet throughout the interval, minus the mile-long queue.)
Me: “Just going to the toilet darling, do you need it?”
“Okay, back in a minute..”.
I made a swift dash (record timing) and we were conveniently located near the back anyway; no queueing for me. When I returned, I was surprised to find Maia stood in her zipped-up coat, backpack in one hand, popcorn in the other.
“I’m ready!” She announced.
“Yeh, to go!”.
“We’re not leaving! It’s the interval! We’re half-way through?!” I splattered out.
The lady behind me failing to hide a giggle.
“Did you think it was over?”
She shrugs, slowly taking off her coat, a little sheepish. I chuckle to myself.
“There’s still the other half to go!” I say, wondering if she’s enjoying it then realising she’s probably still thinking about that souvenir.
“So, would you see it again?” I asked on the train home as we munched on our leftover popcorn.
“Definitely.” She said, smiling.
A perfect day, just us.