The Olympic Sport of Baby Wrangling
When we applied for a gazillion tickets for the Olympics last year, it was almost inevitable that the only ones we’d get would be tennis. Which is fantastic, but when you already live in Wimbledon and go to the tennis every year, it kind of loses a bit of magic.
But hey, I’m not going to complain. Some people didn’t get any tickets at all, so at least we got to see something with five rings flying above the stadium.
The exciting bit for me was that we were going to bring Baby. She can look back and say that she was at the London Olympics.
I, however, approached this with a tinge of trepidation. Baby + Tennis = Lots of meaningful shut-that-baby-up looks from other spectators. On the other hand, why would they sell tickets to babies if they were going to be as strict as Wimbledon Tennis about noise? We paid £2 for her ticket, so they knew her age.
I’m happy to report that Baby sat on our laps for two hours during a Roger Federer match and behaved herself magnificently. The players didn’t seem to mind the baby babble – not that they could hear her from our seats in the gods. The people sitting in front of us may have received the occasional thump on the back of the head, but we apologised profusely and I think we got away with it.
She then slept on Henman Hill/Murray Mound while mommy and daddy watched the big screen. I think more than two hours in our seats would have been pushing our luck.
My advice on bringing a baby/toddler would be:
1. Bring your own food for the little one. Finger sandwiches, raisins, breadsticks, apple slices. Sometimes, keeping them eating is a good way to keep them quiet.
2. Bring bottles to fill with water. There are plenty of places to fill up your water bottle on site.
3. Plan your travel route carefully. Go overground if you can. If you are going to the Olympic Park, our source tells us that it’s easier to take the overground to Hackney Wick and enter via the Victoria Gate, which is much less crowded. From Clapham Junction, Hackney Wick is one hour.
4. Accept that your little one will be noisy. We pre-emptively apologised to everyone around us when we arrived, sort of as a joke, but also sort of seriously. If your little one is especially noisy, do take pity on the poor souls around you and leave the stadium until junior is less vocal.
5. Enjoy the atmosphere. Even though Baby was very good today, I didn’t actually watch much tennis. I mostly watched Baby aim raisins at people’s heads.
After we got back from the tennis, James sent me this article from the BBC website on what it’s like to bring kids to the Olympics. I laughed when I saw the part about choosing a noisy sport. Yes, that’s great advice. Unfortunately, choice didn’t have much to do with the tickets we got. For me, it was tennis. Again. Yay!