December 21, 2014
Ssshh, it’s #SilentSunday One snap, no chat
Spitalfields Market on a Sunday is full of beautiful hipsters working off their hangovers and amazing stalls with original and well priced clothes, bags and accessories. Not exactly a place you’d go with a toddler. But we went there to see family last Sunday on a sunny, unseasonably warm Autumn day and had a great time.
The tube to Liverpool Street Station to get to Spitalfields Market was an adventure, as always. My first trip to Liverpool Street Station with a pushchair two years ago was an horrific, rush-hour trauma where I was almost knocked down the escalator with pram in tow. It was this experience that prompted me to develop Gobaby app to help other parents find step-free London tube stations, in fact. But this time I was travelling on the weekend, with my husband and now two- year-old, so it was far more manageable. The only incident was when a woman sat down on our toddler on the tube journey, unapologetically taking his seat and ignoring his small yelp when she landed.
But a 5-minute walk out of the station and we were wandering happily through the stalls. I took us to Leon, a family-friendly place offering “naturally fast food” with outdoor seating in the market. Near the tables was a children’s play house on a large soft play mat, with a toy box containing plastic balls and dress up hats. Perfect. Our son played happily with a few other children while we munched on super salads and fresh fruit drinks. Baby changing facilities are in the disabled toilet and easily pram accessible.
It was a nice day and our toddler had much more fun than we’d anticipated. My only regret was not buying a fabulous top that I abandoned as I chased after him.
I took my two-year-old to his first ballet class last week. My lovely friend invited us to join her three-year-old daughter in her regular Saturday class and I was thrilled. Ballet for toddlers is fantastic – who wouldn’t want to dance around like an animal with their friends for an hour?
He had an amazing time. The youngest child there and the only boy, he was surrounded by bouncing three and four-year-old girls decked out in frilly pink tutus. The teacher encouraged him to keep his doggie toy for comfort, and included the toy in their games and dancing. When they pretended to be animals, mine choose to be an incredibly graceful(!) elephant. The butterfly wings given to each child were a massive hit, it was sweet to see them run in wild circles around the studio. Finally they did a bit of traditional bar work along the side of the studio, a glimpse of real ballet.
We’ve gotten quite a mixed reaction from our friends when we took him to ballet class, but I’ve concluded that they didn’t watch the TV Show “Fame” enough in the ’80s to appreciate how cool male ballet dancers are. Of course we will make sure that our son tries more traditional ‘boys’ sports, but if he becomes the next Billy Eliot that would be fantastic. The main thing is that he is physically fit and happy in play. Needless to say, I highly recommend dance class for toddlers, girls AND boys!