Summer is flying by and we are hurtling towards Lúnasa and the beginning of Autumn. Thoughts for blog posts are flying round my head but unfortunately have yet to land. Outside my window, there are seagulls flying high over the city heat.

Last week we went flying in a more literal sense. We took the girls' first flight to be precise. To London, to visit my dear cousin Jo, her partner and their darling girl Mary (who is just 9 months older than my girls).
It went really well. I had been a bit concerned about confining my girls' 'two-ness' to such claustrophobic spaces as an airplane and a train, but they surprised me with how well behaved, excited and genuinely happy to be travelling they were.

I believe that it helped a lot that we started preparing them a couple of weeks before we travelled. We spoke about where we were going and who we would see. We pointed out airplanes in the sky. Talked about how planes went really fast, and made a loud noise and went up, up, up into the clouds. We also bought a book called 'Going on a Plane' which the girls enjoyed. It has good pictures of the airport  (security, queues, etc) but the story centres on a family going on a package holiday (which wasn't our agenda) and includes a hotel mix-up which was a tiny bit complicated for my little ones.

We had a few treats stashed in their little back-packs - like raisins, crackers, water and lollipops (for sucking at take off and landing). I had also packed chocolate for emergencies, but we didn't have to produce it at all. I packed crayons and printed a few colouring pages too and really that was all they needed. It was only an hour flight. The train was another hour and I did  break out the little dollies I had bought as a surprise, but I think they probably could have done without them. We had a couple of books with us that would have done the job if I had remembered that they were in the case.

I had also been worried about how we would all manage with 7 of us spending three nights in a two-bed flat in London - but I should have known better - it's family and of course it was fine. I LOVED seeing my cousin(s), the boys got on well and the little girls had lots of fun together. I thought that Mary might not be too impressed with my two taking over her territory, but apart from some issues about shoes (shoe-addict Lile managed to come home with two pairs of Mary's shoes!) they got on famously. Mary even introduced them to her Aunt as her sisters at the end of the weekend. "Come and meet my sisters" she said!!
Sábha caught in the act!
We mostly stayed close to home, chatted and played in their spacious living room and went for a stroll to the local playground, to jump in muddy puddles. We did venture a trip to the Tate Modern which is only a short bus-ride away, but which wasn't as much a success as we had hoped.
The toddler area was on the fourth floor, which involved an excruciatingly long wait for the lift on the way up and again on the way down. It was also really small and very limited - despite the cool description of it being based on cubist works. The girls enjoyed the slide... that was pretty much it... it was a lot of effort to go to for a slide...
One of the better things about the Tate Modern is the family room, where they run art workshops for... well... families. (Don't get me wrong, the Tate is fantastic - just not so great with smallies in tow) As we were passing, thinking that our girls were a little too young to take part in the paper-sculpture workshop advertised, a woman popped her head out the door and asked us if they would like to contribute to the window display.

Being invited to exhibit at the Tate Modern at age two? Who could say no?! So we went inside and watched the girls make their first official mark on the art world. I'm so proud of my little high-flyers!

After that we went outside and Lile had a major tantrum that lasted almost an hour, but felt like ETERNITY - typical moody artist.

It wasn't a long enough visit. It was never going to be, but now that we know it is relatively easy to pull off, I hope we will go more regularly.

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