My husband and I are people who love to go out and experience things. See new places, meet new people, do new things. But with four children, so far our experiences have been limited to mini local trips or splitting the family in to smaller groups.
However, now that Ted is now 6 weeks old, we felt the time for a bigger trip had come. The problem was where? In these days of deep cold snow and many minus degrees, outside time is limited to winter sports, and despite enjoying a bit of sledging or ski-ing, it’s not really appropriate for a newborn – and not always for a newly three year old! For the same reason, ice-skating, swimming, bowling and the cinema are out. And if you don’t want to go to an inside kid’s play place – what’s to do?
Museums. Obviously. There are so many excellent museums in Stockholm. However, many are small, and many are popular, especially during the Christmas holidays – so which one?
And for that reason, we found ourselves at the ‘Sea History Museum’ (Sjöhistoriska Museet).
It felt like a mission. Getting all the kids in the car through the freezing snow, getting them out again and in to the museum. Richard did an excellent job of leading the older three through the new exhibition ‘Shipping and Shopping’, answering the questions throughout the museum, and finding the hidden treasure chests and the objects inside. The kids learnt which products came to Sweden by ship from different parts of the world – excellent learning for the older two, and even Alfie enthusiastically ran from treasure chest to treasure chest with a smile on his face.
So far so good. Mummy during this time was feeding , changing and rocking Ted. In various parts of the museum, catching up the family where I could. Occasionally popping off to change an item of clothing (on the baby, not me!).
Next. The play area. A bunch of wooden boats and a play shop on a fake lake. Maya and Alfie rushed in. Sign post “For children 8 and under”. Leon is 9 – and takes rules VERY seriously. Hmmm. So after perhaps 20 minutes of convincing him that it was okay, and a game of hide ‘n’ seek that looked too good to miss – he joined in.
Step three. Lunch. All good. And expensive. Must try to get Alfie to eat more lunch though. Properly.
Step four. The craft room. Leon was happy to draw – that’s fine. Alfie walked in and out again – it all looked too scary for him, with all those people and tricky crafts – plus the play area was much more fun. And Maya chose the most complicated and time consuming craft to make – and having myself as a mother, I couldn’t say no. So there we sat, holding two sticks of wood (masts) upright (VERY still) to dry in a cardboard cut out model of a ship. Meanwhile, Alfie, having not eaten enough lunch, proceeded to have a tantrum. And Ted, needed feeding. Or was it to sleep?
Hurriedly we finished Maya’s craft, rushing to the car through the snow, hoping the model boat wouldn’t fall apart on the way, and that our tired three year old wouldn’t fall over in the cold snow.
So there you have it – our first big trip out with four kids of four different ages – 9, 6, 3 and 6 weeks.
And I wouldn’t change it for anything.