Monthly Archives: June 2010
The boy was quite excited by all the World Cup paraphernalia. The flags, the bunting, the football t-shirts. The three lions everywhere. The England themed mini-footballs for sale in the grocery store.
But he wasn’t quite as excited by the actuality. He didn’t like watching football. And he didn’t like me watching it either. Screaming, shouting, demanding Scooby. At one point he told me “We already watched football.”
This weekend it was the knockout stags for the two nations for which he holds a passport. USA v Ghana on Saturday. England v Germany on Sunday.
On Saturday night, Simon asked him “Who do you want to win?” – “Ghana?” he said in a small disapproving voice. “Or USA!?” he said in an excited, encouraging voice.
“Ghana,” said the boy. And just to emphasise the point “Ghana,” he said again.
In a neutral tone, I asked him yesterday. “Who do you want to win? England or Germany?”
“Germany,” said Bill.
Now, as far as I know the words Germany and Ghana had never before crossed his lips. But he was resolute, despite the fact I’ve been teaching him to say “Come on, England” and chant “USA! USA!”
OK, you may say that it was lacklustre performance, an absence of heart, a dearth of defense or bad calls. But I’m a superstitious sports fan. During his first football season ever (2007 Tennessee football) we noticed a correlation between him wearing orange and winning. That’s enough scientific proof for me. The boy determines the outcomes of sporting competitions.
So, we know who’s to blame. Sorry everyone.
Oh, the backwards cap. The following of fashion. He saw another boy at the botanical gardens wearing his hat backwards and had to try the look. Our influence is ebbing away.
So, England finishes second in Group C and doesn’t get knocked out. Excellent. That was an agonizing 90 minutes, but at least England led for most of the game. They play Germany on Sunday. Not so good. C’mon England. I sure hope Fabio has them practicing those penalties.
And USA finishes top of the Group and so go on to face Ghana in the next round. Good? Maybe.
The last time the US played Ghana in the World Cup it was the last game of the group stages. I was speaking at a performance management conference and though I had planned to sneak off for a little footie in the afternoon, it was at Earl’s Court and there wasn’t any place to go. I planned to keep my head down and my eyes away from the Internet avoiding all talk of scores and watch the game replayed on the higher up channels of the satellite tv.
A good plan.
Until I got out of the train station at Tooting. And I saw this:
There was literally dancing in the streets. They were thrilled. It was the first time they’d ever reached the knockout stages. Let’s hope the Ghanian community of Tooting are crying in their beers on Saturday.
For Bill’s third birthday, he got the scooter he’d asked for. It hasn’t been an unmitigated success. As a toddler he was fearless, but now he worries about falling and he worries about potential embarrassment even more. But after closing time on a deserted stretch of access road in front of Ham House near Richmond-on-Thames, he was willing to give it a go.
A slow, careful go.
Sunday was quite the sightseeing day for me. I started off in York where I’d been attending a weekend conference, with little time to take in all the fabulous things to see except from the outside. But I got a few shots of York Minster from the outside
And then I met my husband at a pub in borough to do the childcare handover thing. Unfortunately, the pub we chose didn’t allow children, which they only told us after we ordered food. They let us eat, though. And Bill was fortunately remarkably well-behaved, only kicking up a slight fuss when I wouldn’t let him play the fruit machine.
I left Simon with his role-playing chums and Bill and I went off to tour the South Bank and take lots of different forms of transport.
We went up via London Bridge station and Bill was desperate to go on the HMS Belfast. But it costs a lot of money. And frankly I didn’t fancy chasing him around a cruiser single-handed. It’s all a bit head-banging low doorways or gangways or portals or whatever they call doors on ships and treacherous stairs and railings inadequate to prevent a small boy from flinging himself into the Thames.
I told him we couldn’t go on the ship but he spotted the entrance. Clever boy.
Fortunately he was distracted by the elephants currently populating London. He wanted to ride the elephants, but I’m not sure that that’s allowed. And anyway, their high, slippery fibreglass backs looked quite dangerous.
He dashed from pachyderm to pachyderm in front of the GLA building.
We crossed Tower Bridge on foot – something I’d never done before, and well worth doing. It took some persuasion to get him to pose on one of the few safe areas of the balustrade. He slumped in his stroller and said “I too tired. I very, very tired Mommy.” His latest phrase whenever we want him to something that he doesn’t quite fancy.
But I told him if he posed for a few pictures we could go and see the castle on the other side. We didn’t go into the Tower of London either. Another costly tourist attraction. But we enjoyed an ice cream moatside:
And stopped to look at the Traitor’s Gate. Bill asked me if that’s where princesses went, and it certainly was. I tried to explain that it was mostly for ‘bad people’ but sometimes princesses used that gate, too. I told him how Princess Elizabeth had gone through those doors and up those steps, but that she was one of the few to come out again free. And that she wasn’t bad. He nodded.
Because the Northern Line was closed for the weekend, we needed to either catch a train home from London Bridge or Waterloo or catch a dire ‘replacement bus’ from Kennington. Since he’d said he wanted to ride a boat, we caught the Thames Clipper from the Tower up the Thames to Waterloo. If you have an Oyster card loaded with cash or a travel card you get a nice discount and fabulous views of the Thames.
At Waterloo, the dock sits right underneath the London Eye and Bill wanted to ‘ride the eggs’. But that also costs money (there’s a theme here). And anyway, I’ve taken my last ride on a Ferris Wheel of any description since my mother’s neighbor fell from the top of one while riding with her grandson at the fair in Lawrenceburg a couple of years ago. (She lived!).
At this point, Bill was genuinely tired of having his photo taken from the outside of visitor attractions. “I don’t like pictures,” he told me.
But he likes rides. By the end of the day he’d ridden the Underground, the Overground, a commuter boat and a bus. Exciting day, even if we didn’t go in any pay attractions.