It is possible that at some point I will write about how awesome my son is, and how much fun we had at London Zoo. I might find the energy to write about him coping on the tube, even when Camden Town station was so over-crowded they were closing the gates and only letting a trainful into the building at a time. I might write about how much he loved seeing all his favourite snakes, not to mention penguins and wild dogs and meerkats and lemurs. I might write about how I, Johnny-Morris-like, provided voices for all the animals we saw, no matter how stupid I looked in front of all the other, more normal, adults around me. I might write about LittleBear eating a packet of hula hoops, a banana and a chocolate brownie for lunch. In the rain. With his gloves on.
Or I might just leave you with that cluster of images and tell you that I lay awake from 4am to 6am, worrying about how to acquire a cuddly stingray for my son. And then, even though my lovely friend has offered to try and acquire one when she went into work, I decided to run back to the museum to be there when it opened, queue up, dash round three museum shops to find one of the last remaining stingrays and then run back to the hotel. And before undertaking this absurd performance, I shattered the childhood dream of surprises at Christmas by gently explaining to my son the impossibility of purchasing his heart's desire anywhere other than actually in the museum, and that he needed to decide if he really, really, really wanted it. As you can surmise from the outcome, he concurred that he did really, really, really want it, more than anything in the world, and that he was prepared to sacrifice time in the zoo in return.
So here we are, back home again, with our eyelids drooping closed, the cat frantically over-excited to see us again, and a sense of deep relief to be out of the seething mass of humanity that is London.
And I think I was a better mother today. Whether it was the warm glow of knowing I had a cuddly stingray in my bag, or the calming and reassuring presence of BigBear to take the stress out of solo responsibility, or the additional sleep that LittleBear had had, or a combination of all three, I don't know. Suffice to say, I was much more patient, much more loving and much more kind today. And LittleBear made me so very, very proud by being the best little bear in the world.