If you didn’t pay any attention to current events this summer you probably missed two major events that happened in the UK this year: the Queen’s Jubilee and the summer of sport, otherwise known as the Olympics and Paralympics – London 2012.
We, as most others living in the UK, applied for the ticket lottery back in April 2011. I remember franticly applying as we were packing for a two week holiday to Egypt (ah…sun…beach…heat…sea…and a few pyramids) and hoping we got a couple of tickets to some events. We actually ended up being some of the very lucky ones and not only got a couple of tickets, but tickets to six events during the two week period of the Olympics. One thing, though, was we got two for each event, as Little Man was just a thought in our mind then. We got the exciting news that we got tickets in May and then we knew we just needed to wait the year and some to go. Between us getting the tickets and the summer of 2012, the news broke from LOCOG that every body (yes, individual body) needed a ticket. That meant one for Little Man too. Apparently, the issue was due to capacity requirements. Surprisingly, it wasn’t even a Health and Safety issue. What we needed to do was to get a ticket for our then unborn baby and we’d be all good. Not just any ticket to let him into the venue, but a ticket in the same class as our ticket as he had to go through the same entry way as us. But there was a catch. Everything was sold out. Completely and utterly sold out.
Around the same time, a few lobbying groups highlighted this issue to LOCOG and the media – how were they to discriminate against women and their babes in arms when the ticket we were required for our infant was going to be empty (as our babies were still too young to sit on their own)? Better yet, how could we be expected to tell the future in April 2011 that we’d have a four month old in our lives? I know some are probably thinking why would we want to bring our little baby if he wasn’t going to remember anything and if he could potentially affect the event for others around us. We wanted to bring Little Man because we didn’t want to spend all that time away from him, plus I was still breastfeeding and hadn’t introduced the bottle to him with success and we also just wanted him there with us.
Fast forward to the summer right before the Olympics started when they made the decision that babes in arms will be allowed in without a ticket. Score.
So off we went! We went to: diving, handball, boxing and weightlifting at the Olympics and athletics at the Paralympics. We took Little Man to everything and we had a blast. Everyone in the village was wonderful, the crowds were awesome and the spirit of sport was infectious.
The biggest piece of advice? Bring ear defenders for your little one. We had them and were so thankful we did as the crowds were LOUD. There were several other babies we saw without them and when there was a noisy bit, the babies were plain uncomfortable and unhappy. Not Little Man – he was unaware when the big cheers came and went and even managed to have some really good naps during the events. The ear defenders we got were a headband style – from Earmuffs for Kids – and he didn’t even notice them. There are some that are more of an earmuff style, but some professionals say that those put too much pressure on a baby’s the skull too much. We’ve got friends who have those and their little one doesn’t had any issues with them, even at an all-weekend festival. Honestly, I think it’s a personal preference.
We also had a backpack, our stroller, our baby carrier (Beco Gemini), big muslin for feeding, all the nappy changing paraphernalia we needed and some extra water bottles for us (there were loads of fountains to fill up your bottles). Each venue had stroller parking so we would drop off the stroller and put everything else in the backpack and tote Little Man in the sling to our seats. We didn’t bring the stroller to the first event at the Excel Centre, which worked too, but we decided to give our backs a rest in the Olympic Park which is why we brought his stroller.
Also, don’t expect to be able to fully focus on everything. With a little one, you’ll need to make sure he/she’s entertained as well as catching the events. If Little Man needed changing, you couldn’t always wait until the next point…as we couldn’t one time with a massive blow-out nappy that almost required me dunking him in the sink. Almost…
I thoroughly enjoyed the Olympics and Paralympics and am so happy we took Little Man with us. We’ve used his ear defenders whenever we thought it would be loud and noisy and they’ve been brilliant. We get lots of comments on what a happy baby we have even in the loudest of situations and we look forward to taking him to even more with them.