Zayan and Ayman’s first train ride

Yesterday was a really fun day for me and the boys (I like to think Ayman was having fun ..even though he has the same attitude to everything really – dopey smiles when awake, sleeping rest of the time).

I decided to go solo with the boys to London via train. Cue overwhelming excitedness from Zayan. Zayan is currently obsessed with trains. He loves looking at them, playing with them, watching youtube videos of train (real or cartoonised). And he knows where the train station is from picking people up but has never been inside the station. He would point and say (shout) ‘TRAIN STATION!’ whenever we drive by the station. Anyway, so we went on the train.

I had everything organised and packed the night before, bought my train ticket ahead – free for under 5s – and was all set to go. On day trips/day out, I like to pack minimally. The ‘go bag’ (M termed the boys’ bag as the go bag) at all times has:

1. Spare set of clothes for Zayan (baju, seluar, socks and pants)
2. 3 pull up nappies
3. Spare set of clothes for Ayman
4. Nappies (around 3-5x depending on if I remember to top it up)
5. Wipes
6. Changing mat
7. Mini plastic bags for nappies
8. BF scarf
9. Blanket
10. Snacks*
11. Bottle*

*age and duration of trip dependent

And usually Zayan would sneak in a toy or two inside. If I think they might be a long wait somewhere, I’ll bring an activity book for Zayan. We don’t bring the ipad out unless for long car trips (>1 hour ride), I’d rather him soak in the environment and learn to be bored! I read somewhere that nowadays kids do not know how to deal with boredom. There’s always the ipad or iphone to entertain them. By limiting the ipad/iphone when going out, I’m hoping Zayan can learn to deal with being bored AKA sit still, be in his own thoughts and use his imagination. More on that of him being bored on the train!

In terms of logistics of bringing two kids, I decided to have Ayman in the stroller and Zayan to walk. I thought at least Ayman would sleep peacefully and I’ll somehow convince and motivate Zayan to walk the entire time. In my head, I was thinking: Depart St Pancras. Go to Westfield via taxi. Meet up friend. Leave westfield to cousin’s house. Take taxi back to train station. Not THAT much walking *kejam*

And as we all know, mummies need minimal things too! Phone, purse, lip balm and I’m good to go.

So this is how the day went:

We woke up just before 7 am. Zayan wakes up early (grrr) and usually I can convince him to go back to sleep but it’s good this time as we need to get ready pronto! As we were getting ready, there was a delivery. The quinny buggy board that we just bought has arrived… and just in time!!! Alhamdulillah *first blessing of the day* So Zayan doesnt have to walk and can just use the buggy board. Yay to no dragging a three year old!

Taxi arrived at 8 am as planned. Decided not to drive to the station as parking there is horrendous at that time of the day and expensive.

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Got inside the train station and we had thirty minutes to spare. Hmm, so unlike me. I was thinking ‘and this is why I dont like doing things early!’ but I guess I dont really want to rush with two kids and a stroller/buggy board. So we went to get some stuff from the WHSmith. Thinking back, I should have bought refreshments earlier on, overpriced banar kalau di train station/airport apa ani. And I made a wise £3 investment for the day. A Ninjago magazine with a lil lego figurine with it. Oh, this is my tip for train/airplane trips: have something new BUT SMALL/THIN to entertain your kid. Nothing expensive, just something to entertain them every now and then. It may be stickers, an activity book, a small car (Hot wheels is like $1 di brunei. but then again I dont like buying too many Hot wheels cars, it annoys me seeing it at random places in the house!). In this case … lego figurine! I did buy the kindle egg with toy inside for our san Francisco trip… those are taken out on times of desperation.

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When we arrived at the platform, I bumped into a few Bruneians. Never met them but they looked like Bruneians! Tagur lah and we coincidentally were sitting in the same coach. Alhamdulillah! *second blessing of the day* They helped out with the buggy, putting it in the rack, entertained zayan the whole ride and generally were good train companions. I actually forgot to ask the boys punya names but insyaAllah maybe bump into them di Leicester. There was a girl there jua, who I do know the name, but she didn’t live in Leicester. Anyway, they were cool – and if somehow, they read this …. *waves* Thanks for helping us out!

It made me realise that it would be nice to have more Bruneian exposure on a regular basis for Zayan. I do try to talk to him in malay tapi (1) I dont know/inda biasa the words for things sometimes (2) he understands more in English, so it’s easier to explain in English. Ok these are all excuses. I should just talk in Malay with him as often as I can. He does pick up things inadvertently – like when I mentioned once that ‘ada cacing dalam tanah’… he said ‘cicang’ when he saw the soil in his flowerpot.

We parted ways at the train station. Zayan, Ayman and I continued our journey (eseh macam cerita adventure banar) to Westfield via taxi. Usually we would take the tube but finding lifts in the tube station is like finding needle in haystack… with ten million other people swarming around you. M and I would just carry the kid in stroller up the stairs macam raja zaman dulu. Or up the escalator would be easier but that’s M punya job, I’m too scared to balance it.

Arrived at Westfield around 11. The taxi costs around £18 if anyone is interested. I remember taxi from St Pancras to Paddington averages around £12. Did some window shopping whilst waiting for my dear friend Farah, which was the main reason of the day trip. I wanted to look for work shoes, seeing I’m gonna go back to work soon… kira motivation lah ahha. Girls will always find an excuse for new pair of shoes for an occasion! I did find these cute, pretty shoes and feels comfy but it has thin soles, so will see how it fares after a grueling 12 hour shift!

And finally, jumpa Farah, her baby Keisha and her mum ( who is the coolest mum btw). We last saw each other three years ago but it felt like time has never passed us by! That’s the great thing with good friends… you just meet again and hit off like it was yesterday you last met. It was nice seeing Keisha and seeing Farah as a new mum. *air kiss* We had lunch at the food court, and boy was it a long lunch. Well, feeding babies and changing them included. We finally departed around 2.30 pm from the food court, walked ten steps out and found a lil cafe to have cake and tea. Haha! Lady of leisure banar. As she said, it feels like there are no worries in the world right now. Good food, good company, the sun is streaming through, kids are behaving…. We’re starting back work in two weeks time but who cares about that?? Haha!

*shout out to the Japanese teriyaki food I had. So yummy, halal too! It’s owned by malaysian I think. Well, the woman who seemed like the boss is Malaysian*

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I had to go around 3.30 pm as I planned to go to my cousin’s place. Zayan has been harping on seeing ‘Abang Mysha, Abang Uzma’ (KAKA! KAKA!). The night before, he saw their picture and said ‘my best friends’ as he looked at their picture in adoration. Their house is around 10-15 minutes walk from Westfield. Didn’t get to stay long as we had to leave to St Pancras around 5 pm. It was peak hour and I didn’t want to be stuck in traffic and miss our (ridiculously expensive ride of a) train ride.

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Sorry Kaka Mysha, Kaka Uzma… I know the kids were psyched to see Zayan jua. They hit off every time and riuh rumah selajur. InsyaAllah soon, ok? Maybe bank holiday in May. Eseh plan udah tapi alum tanya tuan rumah and tuan suami.

By that time though, I made an error in judgement: I should have used a backpack! I had a bag of my shopping stuff and bag of food (nasi lemak made by my Tangah. NYUMS!). So that’s a lot to hand carry aka when I get on the train. Imagine an awkward mum with a baby in car seat, three year old kid, carry bag and shopping bags. Ooo-err. Baik jua gentleman urang British ani. Had a few asking whether I needed help – as I dismantled the stroller – and then helping me on and off the train.

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Tip for day out: Bring snacks for kids!Even if you know you can buy food from the shops. I brought some cheesestrings and some sandwiches (“toast kaya”) and Zayan downed it. He had some on the way to London and some at the train station whilst waiting for the train. Full kids = happy kids!

Now here’s the complicated bit when you’re travelling with kid(s) on a train. You have reserved your train seat but unable to confirm that you can have a spare seat(s) next to you unless you paid for their tickets as well. Ideally you want a table seat and can have all kids within viewing range. On the train to London, I sat with the bruneians who secured a table seat and let me sit with the boys there. On the way back, it was busier and difficult to secure a table with three seats to spare! My reserved seat had someone else sitting next to me, dang it. In the end, I took Ayman out of his car seat and had him on my lap whilst Zayan sat across me (the woman next to me insisted to sit in her seat because ‘she had to sit facing the other way of train ride’. FINE FINE, since you paid for that seat). Zayan was then sitting diaganolly (sp? is there such a word?) of me but he seemed fine with it. He was still playing with his lego figurine by this point. On hindsight, I should have taken Ayman out of car seat and waited for everyone to sit and train to disembark. Then I can look properly where there are available seats are.

Ok, and the last train ride ani… we were all tired and sleepy. Zayan looked pretty knackered. He was playing with his lego figurine for the first 15-20 minutes and then wanted to put it away. He then just sat there, looking like he was bored and wants to do something. I told him to just sit back and relax, close his eyes if he wants to. He did that for half an hour, which is like a lifetime in toddler time. We changed seats to one nearer to the door and I can get all our things near to me, our stroller, car seat etc, and he had a window seat then. Keluar tia energy nya lagi. “WOW TRAIN SO FAST!” “SHEEP! SHEEP!” “Train koo” (cool).

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Mumtathil picked us up at the train station and it was so good to be back!

During bedtime, I usually have ‘bedtime conversation’ with Zayan. We would talk about what we/he did during the day, whether he had fun, what he remembered. It’s funny sometimes to hear what he remembers, like when we went to octonauts show, all he talked about was the octopus, which made him cry. So last night, as we laid our heads down, he immediately said ‘Zayan fun, mama. At Abang Uzma house….’

Pictures to be included soon. Ayman now awake and whimpering for attention!

Love, me

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