So Alana, tell us how you felt when you received the news you and your family had been selected to meet the young royal family? Were your friends and family excited, or did you keep it a bit of a secret?
I couldn’t believe it! I had joked to my husband that we should arrange for a playdate with George when we heard they would be visiting Wellington, but it seemed like someone was playing a joke on me when we actually got the phone call! I think Lily’s Grandma’s were both almost more excited than we were. Initially we kept it quiet, as we had to go through a police check and a couple of initial meetings prior to the actual event, but once it was confirmed we started to tell people. I had quite a few people tell me how envious they were! We were very lucky to be chosen to go. It was because I had taken advantage of the Plunket services in the community – seeing our local nurse, attending a session on sleep and calling the Plunket helpline – all of which were free and super helpful!
Were you nervous upon meeting the young royals? What was the experience like?
I wasn’t nervous really until the day. Unfortunately we’d just had daylight saving in NZ and Lily had taken that time change as an opportunity to start waking at 5.30am! The playdate was in the afternoon and it meant she would miss her standard afternoon nap so I was a little worried about having a tired and grizzly baby there. Fortunately the day of the event Lily blasted out a 3 hour morning sleep, much to my relief! It was an amazing experience, certainly one that we’ll never forget. I look forward to sharing it all with Lily when she is old enough to understand.
How did baby Lily enjoy the royal playdate?
She had a blast! Though I think that was more to do with the whole range of brand new toys to play with rather than the company! My favourite part of the day was seeing her on the floor with all the rest of the babies. She had Prince George right behind her, but she was far more interested in a green block that she had discovered!
Talk us through the royal playdate, what was the highlight for you guys?
When we arrived at Government House we were to taken through to a lovely big open room that had been set aside for our use. There was a large amount of toys on the ground and we all made ourselves, and our babies comfortable. The Governor General and his wife then joined us and introduced themselves. The Duke and Duchess and baby George then arrived and were very good about talking to each and every one of us. Kate and George came to speak to us first and she was holding George, while I was holding Lily. He seemed a little tired (perhaps just woken up!) and reached out and held Lily’s hand while Phil and I spoke to Kate. It was very cute! After being introduced to everyone we all sat down in a big circle and the babies all just went crazy with the toys.
How did Prince George get along with Miss Lily and the rest of the bubs in the group?
He was great! Kate was telling us that he had played with other babies, but hadn’t been in such a large group before. But he seemed completely confident and not at all clingy. He got amongst all the toys and really seemed to enjoy himself.
Can you give us any clues on Prince George? Maybe his fav snack or fav toy he likes to play with?
There was a large toy there that he seemed to enjoy pulling himself up to stand with. He’s certainly a bonny wee lad so although we didn’t find out exactly what his favourite snack is, its clear he enjoys his food!
Did the royals impart any parenting tips you can share?
The biggest impression I got from them is how relaxed they were with George. He obviously would have been jetlagged and I’m sure they were worried that he would cry or grizzle in an unfamiliar environment in front of the world’s media, but they seemed to be quite laid back about it all. I was impressed that they let him play with all the toys (putting everything in his mouth!) and got amongst it on the floor with all the other babies – no airs and graces at all!
How did you feel after the experience was all over?
It was all a bit surreal really. After they left we all enjoyed an afternoon tea together and reflected on it all. It was a little bit “I can’t believe that just happened!”. Afterwards I spent some time trying to collect all the newspaper/magazine/web articles about it all so I could save them for Lily to look at when she is older.
The only other thing I would like to add is that they were just so friendly and easy to talk to. They made everyone feel really welcome! Kate called Lily “sausage” which we’ve adopted as her new nickname – as christened by the future Queen! We also got an inkling that William has a good sense of humour – as he was leaving he joked “so, same time again next week then?!”