Just as we did last year, when Ava turned two, we decided that Ruby's second birthday was a lovely excuse to have a midweek family day out. This time, it was the London Aquarium – a considerably more sensible choice than last year's (the Natural History Museum), given that almost its entire contents does actually move and is therefore quite interesting to toddlers.
Well, despite the gargantuan effort it seems to take to pack up the children and all their paraphernalia, then drive across London town, it was a great success and Ruby had the most wonderful time – despite a few injuries she picked up along the way.
You see, like many two-year-olds, Ru is still at that stage where her body goes that little bit quicker than her brain does. What I mean is, when a thought enters her head – for example, 'run' – her legs engage before her brain has really had the chance to decide whether it is a good idea to run.
Perhaps one thing she learned on her birthday outing is that it's not necessarily a good idea to run straight at a gigantic glass fish tank when you are but two feet away from it. Taking a more considered approach – walking with hands outstretched – might have saved a few squished noses and, on a couple of occasions, rebounds forceful enough to put her on her bottom, with her legs akimbo and a somewhat dazed expression on her face.
That was probably the only wisdom she gained on the day though. She didn't have the chance to learn the lesson 'master swimming before you jump into a giant open tank of manta rays' because I was just (JUST!) strong and quick enough to stop her from launching herself out of my arms.
And the lesson 'do not lie on a walk way in near complete darkness lest you get trodden on' was lost on her because, amazingly enough, all the tourists seemed to spot her just at the last second and proved their agility by throwing themselves into the wall to avoid her.
As popular as all that (as well as Ruby taking the offer of 'touch a star fish' to mean 'squeeze a star fish to within an inch of its life') made us, we left the aquarium largely unscathed.
It was during lunch, actually, that I thought Ruby might do herself a real mischief. She's not a huge child, she's not fat or even chubby, and her feet are not adult size 10s – so for the life of me I don't know where she managed to put all that food. She feasted in a manner King Henry VIII might have done on his own birthday.
First course was almost an entire bowl of Pasta Pomodoro with cheese and garlic bread, which was followed by a small bowl of houmous and some babba ganoush with pitta. Then she had some olives (just a few, I have to hide the olives at home because Ruby goes crazy for the saltiness). Then she had some of Dan's spicy nachos (I was concerned by this time – not about the chillis, but that if she ate any more she might not be able to walk back to the car). Then she tried my beef enchiladas and few of Ava's chips. And then she ate an entire bowl of ice cream.
As I looked at her little face, all pink (partly from the ice cream, partly from her collisions with five-inch-thick glass) and sticky, and I was thinking 'is that the expression of a child about to vomit?', she beamed at me, held her spoon aloft, and said: "More?"
It seems that Ruby, in many ways, has yet to find her 'stop' button. And this, I feel certain, will provide many adventures in the months to come. Terrible Twos, round two...!
You can catch up on previous Terrible Twos here.