Formerly - A look at the ups and downs of life with a double pushchair!

Monday, 13 December 2010

First day out in London on public transport!

Following our successful acting debut in October our agent called and said that there was an audition for an SMA advert that she would like the babies to go to. I was told it was in Leicester Square so my first thought was no way. How would I get all 3 of us to Leicester Square? More details were sent through and swayed by the fact that if they got picked they could earn a seriously large amount of money I looked into how I would get them there.

The audition was on a Thursday and hesitant as I was to miss my great weekly twins club I decided that actually a day out in London could be fun. The audition was at 11am so I could get the tube after 9.30am and be back in time for the school run.

I packed my giant baby bag with jars of breakfast cereal, nappies, wipes, bibs, spoons, snacks, more wipes, spare clothes, more wipes and had everything ready by the front door the night before. In the morning the arrangement was that all 6 of us would leave home together at 8am and drop off oldest daughter and boy in the middle at school on the way and then we would carry on to my husbands office and Oakwood tube station.

The morning mayhem was nothing unusual on this particular morning and having fed the babies milk but no breakfast we were all strapped into the car by 8.10am.  The day continued as usual with some fighting in the back row of the car, followed by us arriving late to school and signing the late book. At least the babies could stay in the car with dear husband whilst I rushed the other two into school.

With the babies asleep we continued our journey to Oakwood and parked the car outside my hubands office. I then took out the double stroller, loaded in the two sleeping girls, arranged my bag on the back and headed off to buy my post 9.30am travelcard.  It's amazing how exciting it becomes to pick up a free copy of the Metro which I haven't read for several years, having not travelled on the tube for ages.

The main reason I opted to take the Piccadilly line from Oakwood to Covent Garden was because there are elevators at both stations. What a brilliant idea. So waving goodbye to my dear husband with promises that he will meet up with me in town for lunch before his meeting in the city I head off to get the lift to the platform. It worked, down we went, in pulled the train, on we got - no worries at all. The babies now wide awake had their breakfast and remained happily fascinated by their surroundings. They sat like little dolls all the way. As is usual we got chatting to a man who had 14 year old triplets one of whom was with him. On nearing Covent Garden he offered to help me out of the station but I mentioned the elevator and that I should be fine. We got off the train and headed for the exit. As we rounded the corner we were faced with a steep flight of stairs up to the elevator. Brilliant. Luckily father of triplets was just ahead of me and kindly assisted me up the steps. Then we were out in Covent Garden. It was only 10.15am and I felt rather chuffed with myself. How hard could this day be?

We pottered about the shops for a while. Baby A had a little moan and got out of the stroller to gaze in wonder at this lovely fairy shop that we found. I resisted the temptation to buy lots of presents for my oldest daughter and we continued on to Leicester Square. I figured I would be early for the audition so I carried on and found the building in Leicester Place. I reversed my stroller up the two steps to the main entrance and pushed the buzzer. The door opened and I took the stroller inside. In the foyer which was just large enough for my double stroller there was a glass door with a sign on it saying that anyone with a stroller should take the elevator to the first floor. Through the glass door I could see a large flight of stairs ahead of me. Feeling like I was in some weird Alice in Wonderland realm I searched for another door to a lift. All I found was a broom cupboard.  Leaving the babies where they were I checked out the flight of stairs. At the top of the stairs there was the elevator - brilliant. By this time there were 3 other mums with single strollers all trying to maneouvre passed my giant double stroller in the foyer. Baby E by this point was screaming and inconsollable. Now I had to act fast. I removed my bag from the stroller and took it up the steps and left it outside the elevator. I decided I would take the girls out and then get the stroller up the stairs. Briefly forgetting that this was impossible I lifted baby A and baby E into my arms. The screaming from them stopped and then I wondered what to do with my stroller.

In walked a man to the building. "Do you work here?" I said. "No, I've come for an audition" he replied. "Well do you mind helping me? I need to get the stroller up to the lift". They say there are lots of guardian angels around. Here was mine. Not only did he lift the stroller up the flight of stairs, he put my bags back in it, called the elevator, pushed the stroller in, and accompanied me all the way to the first floor.  I left the stroller and headed to an empty seat in order to remove the hats, snowsuits and cardigans from the girls and my own coat, scarf, hat and gloves. I headed over to the reception desk with a baby under each arm. I was given a clipboard and 2 forms to fill out and I had to hold each baby so they could be photographed. I didn't even have time to remove all the snot and breakfast from their faces when they were photographed and I had all those wipes in my bag.  I headed back to sit down and put the girls down to crawl on the floor. I filled out their particulars and then scanned the room. There was only one other set of twins there and all the rest were single baby girls of various aged. What I found a little unfair was the adult child ratios of all the other people round the room. Most of the Mums had brought a proud grandma with to help as well!

There were quite a few babies in the room and I really didn't fancy hanging around for hours to be auditioned. The studio door opened and out came a girl with a clipboard who was clearly in charge as she took in a Mum, Grandma and baby combination. I kept my eye on the door as the next time she came out I said "Do you want some twins in now?" In we went, queue jumping the other 10 or so people already there. Having cleaned their noses I went in and introduced them. They had to sit on the floor and be cute. Having been strapped into their stroller all morning they were so relieved for freedom that they crawled all over the place, checked out the toys, climbed over each other and were extremely cute. I apologised to the director that they weren't wearing beautifully ironed dresses with bows in their hair like all the other babies sitting outside, but I did stress that I had come by myself with two babies.  They all seemed taken with the girls and they thanked me very much after watching them for 3 minutes and asking me various questions and that was it, we were done.  Now I had to exit the building.

A proud Grandma came to my assistance. Obviously she was a twin and had twin sons - I seem to attract twins now. She helped me get the girls back into their snowsuits and then the receptionist called on another member of staff to meet me at the bottom of the elevator so I could get the stroller back down the flight of stairs. I made it out onto the street, feeling ever so slightly exhausted and checked the time. 11.15am. Part of me wanted to call up my dear husband and just go home, but hey I was in central London with my girls and we decided to have fun.  We walked up to Regent Street. Baby A fell asleep and missed out on a fun filled hour in Hamleys. Baby E and I had a great time. We pulled all the pre school toys off the first and second shelves on the 2nd floor, we tipped out the build a bear clothes from the boxes on the 1st Floor and we played with the large soft animals on the ground floor.  Then it was my turn to shop with both girls back in the stroller and sleeping peacfully I managed to pick up a few items of clothes for myself before lunchtime. I met dear husband for a spot of lunch before he had to head off to the city so he escorted me to Piccadilly Circus to take the Piccadilly line back to Oakwood to the elevator that would take me back to street level.

The return journey wasn't as fun on the train. The girls both had their milk but took it in turns to get out of the stroller, sit with me, cry, be sick and complain. It was approaching 3pm by the time the train pulled into Oakwood so I was on time for the school pick up. I got off the train, headed for the elevator and then I saw the dreaded sign "Out of order"! There were 2 options. One was to sit down and cry, and the second was to head up the two giant flights of stairs with the stroller. There was a large crowd of people getting off the train so I headed for the stairs where a kind man offered to assist me up the stairs.

Now if you have ever had to carry a stroller up a flight of stairs you will know that the person at the back does all the hard work as you basically have to lift the stroller above your head so that it can stay level as you go up the stairs. I now had 3 bags of shopping plus my baby bag on the bag. 2 girls inside weighing 7.5 kilos each and the weight of the buggy. All I can say is thank goodness the girls were strapped in. They went up the stairs pretty much upside down. Thanking the kind stranger at the top of the stairs I felt relief to be almost at the car. I left the station but stopped abruptly as it was torrential rain by this time so I had to fumble around putting the raincover on.

Somehow we made it to school. I was late as usual and completely exhausted. I got home and collapsed. Had it been worth it? Well parts of the day were fun. The girls were so happy to be home they stayed up playing until 9pm that night. They hadn't really used up any energy that day.

As I write this blog I realise that today was the day that was set aside for filming the SMA advert at the London Aquarium.  After my major day out in London, and the girls performing so well in the audition, we never even got the part!


  1. Goodness me! What a hectic day! A totally different way of life to the one I live, in the middle of nowhere. I hope it works out for your girls. I imagine that would have been a long day for them, too.

    CJ xx

  2. i feel exhausted just reading about your day bhut it sounded like fun. I use to look after a friends baby while I was on maternity leave so invested in a double buggy for both my baby and baby C, and they are a bit of a nightmare, getting through doors regularly flumoxed me!