It was my own fault.
|Big Ted in happier times|
The screaming commenced. The emergency box of raisins was retrieved from my coat pocket. I have them stashed in any given coat like dog treats.
"Rai-dan! Rai-dan!" shouted the toddler. One single raisin was dispatched. Whilst still chewing, "Rai-dan! Rai-dan!" was demanded.
"Say please," I said, hopefully, more for the benefit of other passengers, so I could pretend for a little while longer that I was a decent parent and my child wasn't a despot.
"NOOOOO!" screamed the toddler. I gave her a raisin.
"Say thank you," I suggested, optimistically.
"NOOO!" she screamed again and reached for the raisin box. I am not an idiot. This was a terrible idea. We were on a non-moving train; the entire Central Line had been suspended. I had no idea (nor did the driver) how much longer we'd be there for - and we had no way of getting off the train, as there was no step-free access, and the last time I had asked a TFL employee to help me on the stairs, he told me to fuck off and gave me the finger. I love the Underground.
The raisins needed to be rationed.
But the toddler wanted the raisin box. And she was prepared to scream for it. The noise that followed is - I imagine - the exact same noise you would get if you electrocuted a guinea pig.
My fellow passengers shooting me death-stares, Reader, I gave her the raisin box.
"Rai-dan," she gurgled happily and set to work opening it up. She achieved this in approximately 0.2 seconds. And - little genius that she is - her next step was to shake the box vigorously, thus sending said rai-dans flying all over the floor of the tube.
Securely strapped into the buggy, the toddler could not reach the dropped raisins, nor would I pick them up for her. We generally have a 5(00) second rule at home with dropped floor food, but even I draw the line at tube floors. If their cleaners are as committed to their jobs as the station staff, they probably mop the floor with their own piss.
The biggest problem was this: the tube - now stationary for over 30 minutes - had no other seats. And the toddler could see the dropped raisins that she wasn't allowed. There was nowhere to move to. The next five minutes involved the most tortured wailing I've ever had the misfortune to witness. I tried to give her Big Ted. "NOOOO!" she screamed, hitting Big Ted halfway across the carriage. I tried my failsafe fall-back - showing her videos of her narcissistic little self on my iPhone. "NOOOO!" she wailed, knocking my iPhone (quite hard) into the lap of a disapproving-looking older lady.
The raisins were gone. The iPhone distraction wasn't working. The tube wasn't moving.
And I'm sorry, TFL, but the £1.30 compensation you're offering me for a journey which caused a migraine and necessitated an emergency slice of cake in the John Lewis cafe doesn't begin to cover it. Much less the fees for boarding school. Can you send them from age 2?