We have suddenly become real residents of London. In the past six weeks we've been in to London three times which is certainly a record for our time here. It's great to actually feel like we can do that... the kids can now handle a whole day out, and can even roll with the punches enough to make it an overall good experience. Yes, there are still blips here and there, but for the most part, it's good for us, and good for them. Today's outing was especially tricky as there was train trouble-- a signal fire stopped all trains to and from Waterloo, so travel took much longer than it would have otherwise. Our goal today was to try the bike with the box
. And try it we did, finally, after a rather scary pizza buffet lunch in Victoria station. The verdict... well, the kids liked it for the most part, although Nina got cranky towards the end of each leg, but she does that with most forms of transportation. It was a pretty long ride each way to and from the Princess Diana Playground in Hyde Park, our destination for the outing, and the weather was cold with scattered rain and even snow, so those factors were against us. It was definitely a workout and would take some getting used to, but it felt much, much safer than the trailer or even the bike seat. Plus Nina is getting to the point where she's nearly too big for the bike seat. She has had quite a growth spurt lately, all her trousers are a bit short now... The biggest problems with the Christiania would be: cost, parking, and fitness level-- biking that up Richmond Hill would certainly qualify as a good workout. But I really like the idea of biking much more than the idea of a second car. The cars pretty much stand still on the way in to school anyway. Plus my recent run-in with a post that resulted in knocking out, but luckily not breaking, the side-view mirror when I swerved in one of those "this is a ridiculously tight street and there's an SUV headed straight for me" moments made me feel even more sketchy about driving. It was good to try the bike out anyway, as now I have considered all the options. You can get one with two benches which would also work better for the kids, although they'd have to take turns with who sat where, but they're getting pretty used to taking turns now.
One thing that's making it easier to do day trips is that Nina is now very good about using the potty. It is really wonderful to have the diaper-change era behind us.
Nina has been doing much better at Pebbles. We have decided to keep her there for next year after all. I like the woman who runs it, and maybe more importantly, she likes Nina. Nina clearly likes several of the staff there and is generally enjoying story and circle time, although she has had some trouble with turn-taking, but she seems to be getting the idea. Another good thing is that we had a home visit by the same OT that sees Sam at school, and she is going to visit Pebbles after the break. That is really exciting because maybe she will be able to help them make it a more suitable environment for Nina. Nina seems to have had a growth spurt mentally lately as well and seems much more her own person now. I always think it's neat when they turn that corner-- when you suddenly look at them and think, "Ah, so that's you
Sam finally saw an ENT who felt that is was too early to consider tonsillectomy. However, he did find that Sam has fluid in his ears, with reduced hearing as a result. That explains why it has been even harder to get Sam's attention. Sam continues to be very into dinosaurs. We had a very good play date with a boy from his class, Alexander, who is also into dinosaurs, so that was nice.
We also had a very good Easter weekend. The Saturday before Easter Sunday we went to the Barretts and had a lovely time with their family and another woman and her two kids coloring Easter eggs and doing an egg hunt. That night Sam came down with a stomach bug, but we thought he was better enough by Monday to go ahead and host the Swedish get-together we had planned... of course it turned out that Nina came down with the same bug just before people started arriving, so I missed much of it as I was upstairs changing her clothes, but Håkan and Sam had fun meeting some Swedish families we hadn't met before and a couple that we'd met only briefly. It was a full house!
In general we're feeling much more settled in the area now which is really good for us all. It does take time to get to that point. Now if only spring would come....