Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Olympics live

I have written before about me wanting V to experience the Olympics - or the "Lympix" as they are known in our house - and last weekend was her big chance as we had tickets for the football at the Ricoh Stadium in Coventry.

I have been to hundreds of footie matches over the years, so knew on basic terms what to expect for myself, but I had never been with a toddler before so this would be a whole new ball game, if you will pardon the pun!

I am pleased to report that it was both fun and relatively painless, and to be honest, it was only the Olympic element that caused any problems at all, such as they were, as watching the match itself was fine.

Being an Olympic event just made it a bit harder to plan as the list of rules and prohibited items made it all seem a bit daunting. A normal match it would have been easier to prepare for.

Mei tei

For starters, I would never have taken a buggy to the game anyway, but can normally work out a place to park where walking to the game wouldn't be too much of a trek for a 2.5 year old.

In this case though, while the designated car parks weren't far, it would have taken an age for V to walk, especially if we had to stop and look at every leaf and stone along the way, as you do!

The answer was a mei tei sling which Mr A wore to carry her on his back which worked well. We hadn't used one before and after getting over her initial confusion at what the hell she was expected to do - V thought it was a huge game! "Giddy up" - she kept saying, much to her father's annoyance! 

Once at the stadium, it was the security checks that were a little time consuming but as it was all for the best, I wasn't too bothered.

At the bag check, they took everything out, and placed it all in a see through plastic bag which was sealed until you got into the venue.

Pared down

I was pleased that I had pared my bag down to the bare bones and had removed half the rubbish I seem to think is necessary to have in a changing bag like the pile of forgotten, and therefore stale, wrapped baby biscuits which must have lined the base for months.

It's unnerving having some stranger analysing all your possessions so I narrowed things down to basically nappies and a change of clothes, a drink for V and the "small snack" we were allowed, according to the rules.

The guy checking, who honestly looked about 12, looked at my high factor suncream with suspicion and made me put some on. He did the same with the sudocrem so I smelt delightful for the rest of the afternoon.

Reading the prohibited items list beforehand, I was a bit worried by the liquid allowance of 100ml. I knew you could buy bottled water inside but I didn't think you could give mineral water to young children and I didn't want her getting too much of a taste for the other sugary juice drinks on sale inside.

I put 150ml of water in V's sippy cup to see if I could get away with a bit more but of course, I couldn't! I had to drink it down to 100ml. I put the cup down and stared at him as if to say, "look, I haven't keeled over, it's just WATER!" but my steely glare was lost on him.

He allowed the banana through without question - a far more dangerous weapon in my opinion!

Going in through the turnstiles, another eagle eyed security bloke spotted the offending pink sippy cup and stopped us again because HE had been told that you could only take baby milk in. NO other liquids at all.

There followed a few minutes of us remonstrating - our main argument being that "the other bloke said it was alright!" until he called in yet another man who confirmed that our precious 100 ml of water was legal!

Once inside I bought a juice drink to top it up, the sugar content of which probably added top V's already heightened excitement!

Pooey nappy

One thing I hadn't realised about football matches from my previous visits was that the baby changing facilities, even at the new modern stadia such as the Ricoh are non-existent.

We ended up in a cubicle in the ladies, changing a pooey nappy with us both standing up! It was a trifle fiddly and I'm sure we probably left stray poo somewhere, but it is only the home of Coventry City so frankly I wasn't bothered!

During the game itself V was as well behaved as we could expect of a little one of her age. She was fascinated by the Mexican wave and the green, white and red wigs and commented loudly on both, and joined in with the cheering and clapping with a massive smile on her face.

Yes, she got restless at times, but sitting her between us and folding the seat up gave her a little place to play and dance about to Take That and the Scissor Sisters on the tannoy. And when all else failed, games on the iphone stepped in.

Her commentary on the game - "daddy, that man kicked the ball too far", entertained the crowds around us and luckily the friendly atmosphere was quite unique in that I didn't hear a single swear word - a big relief as my daughter is a sponge and I didn't want her singing any version of The Liquidator or other tunes with some choice lyrics.

She saw two goals, the first of which gave her a bit of a shock as she had never before heard the collective cheers of a 28,000 odd crowd live, but by the second she was clapping and cheering with the best of them!

Back outside, we were fleeced at the merchandise stall but it had to be done, then on the way back to the car the heavens opened and V refused to keep her head down and her hood up, preferrring instead to turn her head to the skies and open her mouth wide to catch the rain water!

Soaked, tired, but strangely exhilarated we got back to the car and got home with relative ease!

On the whole, the event was well organised and buoyed up by this success we are now preparing for sailing on Saturday. A whole different kettle of fish awaits there but I will report back!

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