“Mummy,” Noah said, wearily, as he sat on his potty, “I’m feeling fragile today. I don’t want to go to nursery.”
I should have known then that we should stay at home watching Toy Story all day rather than venture out to sample the cultural delights of Vienna. Even the screaming fit Noah had when I left him at kindergarten didn’t deter me. It was a beautiful afternoon, perfect park weather, but I had booked Noah a place at Zoom Ocean in the Kindermuseum and that was where we were going to go.
Zoom Ocean is an ocean themed soft play area for 0-6 year olds. It’s great. The children climb under a chiffony blue giant scarf and enter the ocean. On the first floor, there are lots of sea creatures and a watery tunnel. Up the slope on the next level, there is a ship you can steer or you can go below deck or climb into a submarine. There are also lots of costumes for the children to dress up in. Noah favours the sea urchin.
The session is an hour long. At first, Noah was into it. He enjoyed rolling himself down the slope, climbing through the tunnel and hooking fish on to a fishing rod. Forty minutes later, he was tired, he was hungry and he was lying on the floor wanting to go home.
It’s the getting home bit that’s always the problem. It was the first proper summery day in Vienna today. When we left the museum, the first battle I had was the sun cream battle. I managed to smother him in it but he wasn’t happy at all. In fact, he was wailing. He wouldn’t get on his scooter. He wouldn’t move at all.
Two people walked past licking ginormous ice-creams.
“Noah, do you want an ice-cream?”
“Yeeees,” he sobbed.
“Get on your scooter, then, and we’ll go and get one.”
“Noooo,” he sobbed.
“Do you want an ice-cream?”
“Get on your scooter, then.”
Somebody shoot me.
I eventually manoeuvred him on to the main road. Every other person seemed to have an ice-cream so I followed the ice-cream trail. I towed Noah on his scooter. Most of the pavement had been blocked off because of road works. It was busy. Impatient people behind me tutted when they couldn’t get past. Impatient people coming towards me, knocked into me or, worse, Noah. Suddenly, walking in the opposite direction to the u-bahn to find an ice-cream seemed like a bloody stupid idea. But still, we found the eis café. Noah, now happy, pressed his nose against the glass and selected a wildly inappropriate flavour of ice cream (tiramisu). I ordered him strawberry. I would have liked to have an ice-cream myself but I am on day two of Slimming World. My Slimming World contains too much wine to accommodate ice-cream as well.
I sat Noah down at one of the tables in front of the café. The sun beat down on us and Noah didn’t like it, so I hovered over him, sheltering him with my shadow. At last, he was smiling. I breathed a sigh of relief. And then I realised the ice-cream wasn’t moving backwards and forwards to his mouth any more. I peered under his baseball cap and discovered he had fallen asleep, head propped on his hand.
I woke him up and he howled. He thrust the rest of his ice-cream at me and told me to put it in the bin. There was no bin in sight. I attempted to get him to follow me to the nearest bin. He stood up and stretched his arms up to me. “There’s no way I can carry you,” I said. He stood on the pavement and bellowed. I carried the following things on my person – my handbag stuffed with snacks, cardigans and spare clothes for Noah, Noah’s scooter, his toy monkey and his ice cream. He started to scream. He was tired. He was emosh. I picked him up. The ice-cream went all over my white top.
I staggered to the bin. Then I staggered back down the narrow pavement where I was involved in a head on collision with three people wheeling bikes. Noah was now fast asleep in my arms. I staggered to the nearest station, which was not the station that would take me home. I dropped the monkey; it was returned. I staggered on to the tube and off the tube. Outside the station, I faced a number of steep stone steps which led to the bus stop. I made it half way up the steps before I dropped the monkey again. Then I dropped the scooter. I set Noah down on his feet and told him, for the twentieth time, he needed to wake up. He lay himself down on the stone steps and went back to sleep. I retrieved the monkey, the scooter and my son and headed up the steps once more. There were three people lounging on these steps. Would it have killed one of them to offer to carry the scooter for me? Or, if that was too much trouble, they could at least have carried the monkey.
Noah is in the 98th percentile for height and weight. If I had known I’d be carrying him half way across Vienna today, I wouldn’t have bothered doing my Thirty Day Shred dvd this morning. My hand still aches from clutching the scooter. My shins are bruised from where the scooter bashed them every time I took a step.
I made it on the bus, off the bus, across the park to our front door. I made it into the lift and up to our apartment where I laid Noah down on the sofa. His eyes snapped open. He sat up and looked around. “Can I watch Toy Story and have a plate snack, please?” he asked.
My Noah, at least we didn’t lose the monkey.