I am up-cycling a post today (sure the DoC would approve), partly because I have been overcome with three year old birthday parties, work and dog palaver – also because Kate’s announcing the winning Art Fund Museum of the Year at the Natural History Museum. I’m sure she’ll get it right – just (ahem) like I always do.
(Oh – and also … it’s awards time again! If you like Right Royal Mother, please consider voting for me in the Mumsnet Blogging Awards for best writer or comic writer. Thank you!)
We have a dinosaur problem. They are everywhere. At breakfast: “Mummy, when I am a dinosaur, I can eat eggy bread.” The walk to nursery: “Mummy, the ones in the trees are friendly dinosaurs.”
So we plan a trip. NW is keen on Jurassic World but I don’t want to waste our at present annual cinema outing so we are going to the Natural History Museum.
It starts well. Both children shit before we leave the house; NG packs her little rucksack with tiny plastic, lethal-to-palm pterodactyls and chocolate cake and we don’t miss the train. We emerge from the underground and join the rainbow of other Mummys and Daddys and toddlers and babies marching towards the museum.
“Mummy, why do the dinosaurs live in this church?” asks NG as we queue.
“It’s a museum, actually.”
“No, it’s a church actually. And there is a bell.”
“There isn’t a bell,” I say.
“There is actually,” NG says firmly. “And the dinosaurs do ring that bell.”
“‘Cos they do live in a church.”
I don’t argue.
As soon as we get in, NC starts wailing for a feed. I plonk myself down next to a T Rex, feeling minimal envy as NG and NW walk towards the steps up to the dinosaur gallery. They return nearly an hour later, NG looking pale.
“Were they a little bit scary, darling?”
NW mouths something I can’t make out over NG head.
“Mummy, those dinosaurs were not friendly dinosaurs,” NG says softly.
“Someone said they ate George Pig.”
“Oh dear.” I hoik NC over my shoulder and show NG the floormap. “Shall we go and find the giant squid?”
“When I am a giant squid, I can swing from the ceiling,” NG says, gazing upwards.
I don’t argue.
The next thing is an interactive bit where animals’ brain sizes are compared.
“What’s that, Mummy?”
I am distracted by NC, who is twisting his little head around in his buggy like a baby frog. I glance at the sign. “A baby frog,” I say.
I look again. “Sorry. A neuron.” I fish the muzzie from under NC’s neck and he unwinds, but the corner of it gets caught in the buggy wheel.
“Is a neuron a animal?”
“Sort of. You have them in your head. And your legs,” I say, desparately trying to attract the attention of NW, who is putting his Fantasy Football league together on his phone. I give him the look Kate Middleton gave Harry from under her clear plastic brolly.
“But. Mummeeee?” NG stares at her knees.
“NO! I don’t want noo-rons to be in my legs.” She starts to cry.
NW puts the phone away and gathers his daughter into his arms. “What’s the matter?”
“Mummy did say there are noo-rons in my legs.”
NW looks perplexed. “There aren’t.”
“I told her neurons are like little animals.” Finally, I stash the muzzie away. Bits of GCSE biology twinkle back to through the gloom and fog that is my sleep deprived brain and I realise I am wrong.
“Mummy is wrong,” NW says.
NG looks at me with incredulity. She is actually speechless.
“But. Mummy isn’t wrong?” she says in a small voice.
I don’t argue.
KEY TO CHARACTERS
Characters are abbreviated as follows:
NW – not William (husband and father)
NG – not George (daughter, sister and nearly three year old)
NC – not Charlotte (son, brother and ten month old)
NL – not Lupo (a Labrador)