Last week we decided to take Rattle into Central London on the Tube. We live in Zone 2 – SW Nappy Valley – so taking a trip into London with a 3 1/2 week old didn’t seem like the most difficult of adventures. Now is probably the point where seasoned London parents are laughing hysterically. You have likely just paid £3.75 for 3 gulps of a cortado made by a bearded college dropout (they’ll call themselves a coffee sommelier) wearing a lumberjack shirt and jeans that wouldn’t fit a gnat. If you look across the aisle, I am waving at you. Yup we are in the same boat, so stop laughing.
(Pauses to finish Doppio and take bite out of prosciutto and gouda sourdough toastie)
The reason for the trip was noble enough. We as new parents wanted to show the human lactose extraction machine off to our work colleagues. It is unclear whether or not they were that bothered.
After what was probably excessive planning we convinced ourselves it would be fine. The trip got off to an interesting start with Rattle not really understanding we had made a plan and wanting to cluster feed for the first half of the morning. Rude. Then as we got all her bits together to attempt to leave the house, she decided she wanted feed again. Rude again. Attempts 1 and 2 to leave the house failed. Short feed later, continue to get bits together, put her in pram and she kicks off again, for no clear reason other than she doesn’t like the colour of the inside of her pram today. Assuring ourselves she has no reason to be upset, we decide to check her nappy “just in case” she needs changed. Upon unraveling the pram blanket around her, we see the unmistakable sight of a light brown circular patch on the back of her sleep suit. Yes, that’s right, Rattle has number 2’d and a loose nappy meant the pooey dribbles have been let loose. Dress asked who did the last nappy change, with total insinuation in her voice that this must have been a Father’s shoddy workmanship. I proudly proclaim it was her. #Gloating.
At the third attempt with Rattle still grizzling we decide to leave anyway and head to the tube. Thankfully she falls asleep 5 metres out of the front door. Great success.
Tube escalators were the next Everest to conquer. I thought this would be easy enough having a) been escalating myself for over 30 years and b) seen other parents do this with minimal fuss. Dress was nervous about doing this first, so up stepped the Father. I assessed the situation, figured all I needed to do was stride forward confidently, plant pram wheels on one step, myself on the one behind, tilt forward to keep the pram level and jobs-a-goodun. To my surprise this actually worked. #Winner. The tube journey was fairly eventless, other than a coughy woman sat next to Rattle’s pram. Dress had been stressing about tube germs getting on Rattle. This fear was unsurprising coming from someone who manages to not touch the tube with her hands on any journey. It is quite impressive to watch on a rumbling tube train. The first cough was dismissed but once coughs two and three came out, Dress had the “Get away from my baby look”. I don’t think the woman noticed, but that is mainly down to the no eye contact rule that governs the Tube.
If getting down the Tube was easy enough, getting up was an absolute nightmare. Reversing with a pram onto an upward moving escalator, in a busy tube station is challenge worthy of the Krypton Factor (if you are under 30 replace Krypton Factor with Total Wipeout). Imagine trying to drive a car plus caravan in reverse, straight off the motorway onto a moving train. You would think that bonkers and going up an escalator with a pram is similarly crazy. I managed to get on but only after bashing the pram, with Rattle asleep inside, off the metal side of the industrial stair climber. I looked inside the pram to see any sign of damage to baby. She looked ok. Either that or she was concussed I thought.
This did for me expose some of the worst elements of living in London and needing to engage with other London types on public transport. Normally I would be on the Tube at 7am head down in my emails, earphones in, ignoring everyone else. This mid-morning Tube journey with a baby made me look around and actually look at the other tube travellers. I put them into the following groups:
- Air of Arrogance – mid 20’s professional, moved to London recently after graduating and has a sense that they are better than everyone else…mainly because they have a degree, live in London and work in the City. Likely a banker. Alternatively they are an estate agent.
- Nose Turn Upper – older, usually male, has been travelling the Tube since it was invented so has little moral compass for 2010’s civility. Likely a solicitor or barrister. Alternatively an older estate agent.
- Yo-Yo-Yo – teenager, spotty, speaks like a rapper. Normally found in groups with other Yo Yo’s. All have one earphone in ear listening to music whilst playing Candy Crush. This is odd social behaviour. On the way to becoming an estate agent.
- Friendly Chatterbox – Rare. Not from London. Unlikely to be an estate agent.
Although we had a nice time seeing our work friends, particularly for Dress who had been house bound for weeks waiting for an overdue Rattle to push the eject button, we agreed to only travel with children on the Tube when they can look after themselves. Sometime in their mid-30s sounds about right. Babies on the Tube are completely unnecessary, no-one benefits from this. Parents, tube travellers and the baby are generally annoyed at the end. We will stick to SW Nappy Valley.
You can continue to follow the adventures of Rattle & Tie (and Dress) on Instagram – www.instagram.com/rattleandtie – and Facebook – www.facebook.com/rattleandtie.