On Friday, I dropped Jaxon off with Chris at Heathrow Airport. Them two plus Our Sidekick and my Mother in Law could go on their Crazy Adventure. Due to the amount of luggage and space in the car, it was decided they I would bring Jaxon from Bedford to Heathrow on the train and meet everyone at the airport. This also meant that I could be an extra set of hands at Check In. Eight suitcases to check in plus hand luggage while juggling Jaxon. But first Jaxon and I had the train part of the trip to complete.
My first trip to London with Jaxon was November 2014 when he was about four months old. Mum and Dad were going to the Tower of London to see the Poppy display as part of the commemorations of the Centenary of the outbreak of WW1. (You can see more here) I had written off going at first because of the challenge the trains and underground would be by myself while juggling the buggy and Jaxon. In the end, with help from my Mum and Dad, we were able to go and between us managed to get Jaxon through the underground.
We’ve had other trips since then but they’ve nearly always involved traveling with other people or not needing to use the underground (or had stations that have step-free access).
This was going to be our first trip just Jaxon and I, without the buggy and in the end without the carrier too.
I was anxious about the trip because I kept having feelings I was going to lose Jaxon in the crowds at St Pancras or something like that. I dressed him in his brightest sunniest yellow shirt so I could spot him easier. Maybe it sounds silly but it sort of set my mind at ease a little bit.
At Bedford station, we got on the train and it was really packed. I tried to find two seats together as I knew Jaxon wouldn’t be too happy about sitting on my lap all the way if he could sit on his own (grown up) chair. We made it near enough to the end of the train and there weren’t any seats so we started heading back along the train. Something was going to be better than nothing.
As we walked along the train, a gentleman got up out of his seat and offered it to me. It was one by itself but it was something. As I thanked him, his friend got out of the window seat and gave up his seat too. Thank you, chaps!
Jaxon loved being able to watch out the window and see the world go by for a few minutes. I let him play puzzles for a bit of the journey. It was so busy I was conscious that he might be making too much noise by shouting what he could see out of the window.
We got to St Pancras and had a brief stop in the new Kikki K shop there. Once again the staff excelled themselves with their friendly and welcoming attitudes. The lovely lady who served me even chatted to Jaxon – on this occasion he was lovely in return and said hello and goodbye. (Rather than just No!).
With Step 1 complete it was time for Step 2, through the station, through the ticket barrier, and down the escalators. I’ve done it hundreds of times by myself. No problem. Just follow the signs and we’re there.
I’ve got this, I can do it.
Time for the Piccadilly Line
We follow the signs through the station to the Piccadilly Line. I kind of know where it is but I think we were directed a slightly different way this time. We got to the Northern Ticket Hall which I always come through on my way off the underground there. Jaxon was in front of me going through the barrier and the gate had obviously recognised him going through then closed. I tried my ticket again but it wouldn’t let me through.
(Okay, Mamma. Do not panic! You’ve got this!)
First I shouted at Jaxon. Now, this wasn’t a mean or angry shout but an “I need you to listen to me on the first time of asking right now” kind of shout. He stopped, turned round and saw that I was still the other side of the barrier and walked back to me. While I’m thinking how am I going to get through to him in the crazy or how am I going to get him back to me. I lean over the barrier to try and pick him up but he’s fractionally too small for me to reach under his arms. I thought about trying to pick him up by his arms/wrists but I was worried I might injury one of us, so that became the last resort idea.
Thankfully a lovely gentleman who’d been through the barrier next to us spotted what was happening. He turned round and asked could he do anything to help. I said could he pick Jaxon up and pass him over the barrier to me. The gentleman bent down to speak to Jaxon and said “Mate, I’m just going to pick you up and pass you to Mummy” then he did it. I’m so grateful he stopped to help but I’m also grateful that he said to Jaxon what he was doing before he did it. It meant Jaxon knew that he was safe in that moment and that he didn’t need to freak out. Thank you, friendly stranger!
My ticket wouldn’t then let us through so we went to find a London Underground person. I explained what had happened and he made a comment about Jaxon walking too fast and let us through the barrier. Thank you, London Underground man.
I was feeling a bit frazzled now, not just by the heat! We made it the rest of the way down to the Piccadilly Line. We got on the train and thankfully there were seats available. While there was space Jaxon was sat next to me but I was prepared to move him if needed.
There were an older couple who got on the train, the gentleman in the couple sat down opposite to us in a spare seat but his wife was having to stand. He offered her his seat instead and she said no it was okay he could have it. So I scooped Jaxon out for the chair next to me so that she could sit down. This was a good idea at first but as the temperature climbed throughout the carriage we were playing hot water bottles next to the other and Jaxon was getting more and more sweaty.
The lady chatted to Jaxon and I as we went and Jaxon was chatty for a bit of the trip but as he got hotter he got quieter – poor sweetheart was feeling it by the time we finally got to the above ground bit.
As we carried along the line more people got on and off and some of the seats freed up, so the lady moved to the other side next to her husband and Jaxon got his seat back. He ended up kneeling on the chair looking out of the window. There was a little girl a few seats along who then joined in and turned round in her seat too. As we got closer to the airport, the lady wandered towards the door to stretch her legs.
When we arrived at the Terminal 4 stop, Jaxon and I got off through one door. As we walked past the next door, I said “Jaxon say goodbye”. He looked up, waved at the lady and she waved back while shouting goodbye and have a great trip. She was so lovely!
While above ground, Chris and I had been having a text conversation about where they were waiting. Finding out way from the underground station to that point was really easy. Chris was exactly where his texts said he would be. I managed to spot him long before Jaxon did.