Welcome to our new Wednesday column written by Pip Jones: Terrible Twos.
Pip is mum to Ava Coco (two) and Ruby (one). She is a freelance writer and editor who in a past life wrote about cars, holidays and other grown up things – then suddenly found herself a bit of an expert on little people. Always learning it, always loving it. She's also a regular contributor to MyDaily.
If I didn't know better, I would swear that on the very day Ava turned two, some menacing switch in her brain flicked to 'on'.
As a special treat for her birthday, daddy had taken the day off work, mummy had packed the sandwiches, nappy bag and little sister, and we set off, perhaps a little ambitiously, for a day at the Natural History Museum. Our plan to see as much as possible was thwarted from the outset as time ticked away in the foyer. Twenty-five minutes in, we were still standing next to the large rock by the fossilised fish. This fascinating, huggable, "daddy rock", she thought, was why we had driven for an hour and a half across London.
Eventually prised away with the aid of chocolate buttons, we finally headed off (waving, a little tearfully, at the rock) to the see the blue whale – next to which Ava lay face down on the floor in protest for 10 minutes, because she wanted to go up and down in the lift. Strangers walked past with concerned looks on their faces, tentatively stepping over her and wondering if she had fainted and we hadn't noticed.
Having conceded to one lift ride, because it was her birthday, we were finally off to the dinosaurs. The convincing animatronics proved rather successful until we got to the T-Rex. The hissy fit here was not because she was a bit terrified of the roaring, snorting, slathering beast (as I was) but because she was not allowed to leap over the barrier and look under its tail at its bottom.
In the cafe, no amount of promised birthday cake when we got home could console her for not being allowed to eat the considerably more appealing (apparently) packed lunch of the Japanese children sitting next to us. With red, salt-stung cheeks (Ava) and a slightly heavy heart (me), we decided to call it a day.
I must say though, none of her outbursts surprised me as much as the signal on our way home that she was not now two, she was two-going-on-13. Despite the various hiccups, she had hugged a rock, eaten one and a half packs of chocolate buttons, ridden and pressed all the buttons in a lift, learnt the word for 'no!' (I think) in Japanese, met real live dinosaurs and had an extra present bought for her in the gift shop. It should have all added up to a pretty good birthday.
"So did you have fun today darling?"
"Really? You didn't enjoy the dinosaurs? You didn't have any fun at all?"
Catch up on more Terrible Twos here.
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