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Okay, maybe I’m not but the girls think it’s funny when I do my Gruffalo impression, not that that was what the girls were excited about this weekend just gone. Sadly no.

So what was it that had Alice at almost fever pitch for over a week running up to the weekend with me? That would be the Christmas present I got for the girls: tickets to go and see the live stage version of The Gruffalo, something they’ve watched a million times on DVD.

After a late night Friday from their trip round the M25 the girls were up early Saturday morning, which therefore meant I was up early too. I was up and getting ready around 7:30am and it wasn’t much later when we were sat downstairs eating breakfast.

We had to be at the Lyric theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue for midday, and having started to get ready pretty early I thought we had plenty of time to get fed, watered, out the door and down to the station, walking instead of driving as it was a lovely morning. Okay, it was -4C outside but it was lovely nonetheless.

Why was it then that as we were pretty close to the station we only had a few short minutes to get there and get our tickets before the train went without us? How did that happen?! Fortunately there wasn’t a queue at the ticket office and we managed to get the train without too much of a fuss.

The journey into town was pretty uneventful and having picked up some bits to eat from Marks and Spencer at Paddington we headed to the tube to make our way to Picadilly Circus. The girls loved going on the underground again although Elisa did think it was a little noisey 🙂

We checked what time we needed to be at the theatre, asking the gentleman at the theatre’s ticket office, and then sat in a nearby church’s garden for a snack. As the show was starting at midday I wanted to make sure the girls had has a little something to eat beforehand to stop the “I’m hungry” cries during the show. I didn’t want that, not only to save the moaning, but also to make sure the girls were concentrating on the show instead of their tummies.

Snacks eaten we had a little bit more time to kill so we took a little stroll round China town and Leicester Square, although it’s still being dug up, sorry, redeveloped in time for the olympics this summer so it wasn’t as nice to walk around as I’d hoped. The girls liked China town though as they still had lots of Chinese lanterns up over the streets.

Time pressing on, and the girls chomping at the bit to get in and see the show, we headed back to the theatre, took our seats and waited [impatiently] for the show to start, having bought them a programme and a Gruffalo flag-type-thing each – big smiles all round for those!

Elisa loved joining in with the show, shouting, singing and dancing along but Alice wasn’t as full-on as her little sister. I asked her why and she said that she was shy, bless. She still had a good time though and they both thoroughly enjoyed it.

Personally, as good as it was, the actors were different to the ones on the DVD and – dare I say it? – weren’t as good unfortunately. They did a great job but I really did feel that the two men and the lady on the DVD were brilliant, and the attempt at copying their mannerisms and nuances weren’t as good as they could have been. It was good though and definitely worth the money.

Once out of the theatre we headed back to the quiet spot by the church to eat some lunch, the girls having lots of fun chasing the pigeons away to “protect” their food…hilarious!

Then, unfortunately, the day’s fun-factor started to take a bit of a nose dive. Elisa started to complain about having some tummy pains and needing the toilet. Now, as any parent knows, finding a public toilet is hard at the best of times but in the middle of London? Almost impossible!

We started to walk towards Oxford Street while I racked my brain as to where the nearest toilet was. After a few minutes thinking I remembered there were toilets at the top of Carnaby Street – just round the road – so we hurridly made our way there, all the time trying to placate Elisa’s moans and tears bless her.

Fortunately the toilets were open and we spent a few fraught minutes with her trying to go, unsuccessfully I’m afraid to say.

Knowing that the best place to be would be at home if this was going to continue we walked – me carrying Elisa – to Oxford Street and jumped on a tube to Paddington. Once there we picked up some Calpol from Boots and swiftly gave Elisa a dose to try and ease the pain.

The medicine seemed to do a reasonable job as we managed to get back to Twyford – lots of eye-spy played on the train – and back home, again me giving Elisa a piggyback with Alice carrying my rucksack (hilarious!), without too many problems.

I guess all this training I’m doing has been worthwhile as carrying Elisa home was a doddle, even when Alice could no longer carry my rucksack so I strapped it to the front of me, still carrying Elisa.

The rest of the afternoon went by quietly, the girls playing on the computer, watching DVDs and playing games. We had tea, the girls spoke to their mum and, it having been a late night the night before and a long day, I got them ready for bed and soon they were fast asleep.

All hope of having a normal night was soon blown apart as Elisa came downstairs in tears, complaining about the pains in her tummy again. I gave her some more medicine and we had a cuddle on the sofa – her wrapped in a blanket – while we watched In the Night Garden on the TV.

By the end of the program, and a quick bedtime story, she’d calmed down and was feeling a lot better so I carried her back upstairs and again hoped that that would be it for the night.

Three hours later, obviously around the time the medicine’s effects wore off, she was back up again and at this point I gave up trying to do anything and took her upstairs with me to sleep in my bed for the night. She was really upset and spent quite some time in the toilet trying to go and at one point feeling quite sick.

I think the hardest part for me was where she wanted her mum and only her mum. That hurt but I guess it’s a normal thing for children to want their mum at times like that? Still hurt though.

I managed to get her calmed down and back into bed but it was a tough job. So much so I sent her mum a text saying that Elisa wanted to come home early in the morning because of this. We text back and forth for a bit and agreed to see how things were in the morning.

It was a good couple of hours before she dropped off to sleep and I think I managed to grab about three hours myself, constantly getting disturbed by her moving next to me. Not a great night by any stretch of the imagination.

One thing that did make me think was the fact that her mum had said that she’d had a similar episode two weeks before. I couldn’t help it but all I could think was that this was something to do with Elisa being upset about coming to see me or wanting to be with her mum instead of coming to my place every other weekend. I hope that’s not the case but I couldn’t help but put the two things together and come up with that, which upset me a great deal.

I’m pleased to say that in the morning she looked a lot better and even managed to go to the toilet properly. I guess she was a bit bunged up, which had become quite uncomfortable for her? The good thing was she didn’t want to go back to her mum’s early – hurrah!

It was a shame Elisa was so unwell as it put a bit of a cloud over what was a really good time in London. I hope this doesn’t stop Elisa wanting to go into London with me in the future. We’ll see.