The NC’s dad would like to take the NC and Mini to London for a day out. As far as I can make out from the NC it would be a proper touristy day taking in the sights and sounds of the capital. I think Mini would love it, but I’m worried that all that buzz, noise and excitement could mean that the day isn’t enjoyed as it should be, and at 5 is he old enough to appreciate it yet?
All those new things – an hour and a half on the train, followed by the rushing, people, keep to the right escalators, ticket machines and ‘Mind the Gaps’ of the tube, then hundreds of pigeons, lots of people and traffic, tall buildings to look at, not knowing where the nearest public loo is, excitement of Daddy and Grandad all to himself. Exciting, scary or both for a 5 year old who struggles with hand driers, police sirens and noisy motorbikes?
We’re only just starting to get a handle on Mini’s behaviour. It’s difficult at times, and we have strategies we use at home, but until now we’ve been very much limited what we do outside of the home because we just couldn’t deal with Mini. We’ve now started venturing out again, but very slowly and only when Mini is in the right frame of mind and not too tired, and to ‘safe’ places that are close to home.
So what do we do? My concern is that NC struggles with Mini at the best of times, without the props we use at home, would he be able to cope if Mini had a meltdown – given all the exciting, but scary new things they would encounter?
They are far from home, and even coming home on a train could spark meltdowns as it’s new and different and wobbles and is noisy and there are strange people and passing views and it’s hard to wee because everything shakes! There is nothing familiar anywhere (except Daddy and Grandad) to help calm Mini down.
Although there is always Starbucks.
Now don’t laugh, but Mini knows Starbucks well, he is very familiar with their green logo, he knows what type of cakes and drinks he likes (and is allowed). In our town, where there are several, Mini can navigate the streets to find the nearest one (avoiding ‘those other ones’). When my own mum and stepdad have visited and asked where he’d like to go, Mini’s answer is always Starbucks (not the beach, zoo or farm!).
Can we therefore use Starbucks with it’s familiar layout, and samey furniture, style, atmosphere and smells as a safe calming place if Mini starts to show signs of stress? Is it the same as that safe, warm, calming ‘time in’ hug?
Do you know, I think it might be…
Now I’m not suggesting that the NC and Mini are about to embark on a journey to the big smoke with grandad on the basis that there are plenty of those particular establishments there - I don’t think they’re ready, and the NC is in agreement with me - but I do think we ought to explore the comforting and calming properties of our (slightly overpriced) favourite cake-serving coffeehouse more. There could be something in it, even if it’s just a calming hug for me from one of those extra-hot, decaff, no froth, caramel macchiatos!