Another Mummy Son Date

Back in May I planned a little date afternoon with Charles. I've been desperate to do that again, and with preschool finishing last Friday I thought that a trip to the cinema the following day would be a great start to the summer holidays, and my way of treating him for being so well behaved at school and enjoying it the whole year.
Also, recently the boys have become obsessed with Monsters Inc. and after seeing the Monsters University was on at the cinema I had to take Charles to see it. 
I felt a little cruel not taking Harry as he loves Monsters Inc. too but didn't want to risk him getting bored at the cinema and also wanted that one on one time with Charles.

We got to the cinema nice and early (early enough to pose outside for a couple of photos) and then went in. I talked him through getting your ticket, going to the toilet before hand so you don't have to walk out halfway through the film (which we had to do anyway!), picking sweets or popcorn (and the sweet/salty debate), picking a drink, queueing up then choosing your seat.
Charles has a fear of the dark although he has been to the theatre a few times so knows that the lights go down so thankfully was ok as the room got darker.

He was really good throughout the film, whispering when he needed to ask me something or to tell me that the film kept making him jump.
We snuggled, we laughed, we held hands, we exchanged a long sweet which was too tough for him to eat for a handful of my sweet popcorn and just had a perfect quiet relaxing time.

I was a little disappointed when it was time to go home as I loved spending that time with him but have started making plans for our next date day already.




Our Summer Plans

I have a bucket list with various things I would like to achieve in my lifetime. With Charles starting big boy school in September I wanted to make sure that we make the most of the summer holidays.

I am making two lists. One for just me and the boys to complete when my husband is at work, and one for us as a family.

The three of us:
I wanted to make the lists achieveable and didn't want to put too much on them. The reason I have left them until now, rather than before the school holidays starting, was so that I didn't put too much pressure on myself to get a start with it.
I think I have some easy things to complete (the zoo as we go there a lot anyway) with a lovely mix off not so easy (catch trout!).

If we pick fruit as a family I can't then cross it off the top list too, we have to do that as the three of us.
I plan to have a different boat trip as a family than the one I go on with the boys.
A picnic with my husband will hopefully involve him leaving work for an hour and walking to a local beauty spot.

I'm going to give us until September the 4th to complete, which I think gives us enough time to get the things done without the added pressure of rushing.
A matter of choice



Today I am a ticking timebomb, my emotions are anyway.
I can feel them bubbling away in my tummy, in my eyes, in my head, in my heart, waiting for the moment to come when I can't hold it in any longer.

Maybe to some I am over-reacting. That's fine. But I feel sorry that they haven't had this positive experience that we have for the past 11 months.

Charles almost didn't go to this preschool. We had his name down at a nursery within a school, but as it was out of catchment we didn't get a place. So I phoned this preschool and despite a huge waiting list we were given a place.
I am so thankful that he didn't get a place at the nursery. He may have enjoyed it, but I can't see him having the same experience he has had the past 11 months.
He settled in so well. Made friends quickly. And instantly had a crush on a couple of the staff members, which for one evolved into him having his first love.
He adores her. He giggles at the sight of her and when you mention her name.
He talks about her a lot, and always asks if she will be there. He looks out for her car as soon as we pull up, and if she isn't there he asks where she is or decides himself what she must be doing (shopping, at home having lunch etc).

In the whole time he has been there we have had no tears at me leaving him, only tears at me collecting him 15 minutes early once!
Every single day he has been excited to go, excited to see his friends, excited to see the staff, excited to see the activites they have out, excited to learn new things.

He has learnt so much there. Walking in all parents see are tables of various toys and activities, and it's easy to say "I could keep them at home to play with toys!" but within each toy, each activity, is a learning process.
Shapes, colours, how can we build things, what does that look like, how can we use that.
He has learnt more at preschool than I could have taught him by keeping him at home.

I felt such guilt at first by sending him for the full 15 hours we are allocated with funding. Was I being too hasty at pushing him away for such a long time? Would I regret him going there everyday?
Looking back. I absolutely have no regrets at all.
He has loved every.single.minute there and if I had sent him for less than 15 hours I'm sure I would have asked to increase them as he would be begging to go everyday, he would go at the weekend if he could!
I know that if I hadn't sent him for all of this time, or even at all, that he wouldn't have had any other interaction with other children, because of the lack of groups around.
I felt jealous of these ladies who would be spending this time with MY son, enjoying things with him, having fun with him, listening to his laughter and giggles, and comforting him if he hurt himself. All these things I thought only I should experience, and do with him.
Now I am glad and proud that other people have been able to share my son (not sure how else to phrase that!) and to spend this time with him. I am glad that he has been able to laugh and giggle with other adults.
I love that he has been able to build his confidence, and although he is shy with other people I am glad of that (stranger danger) and I like that he wants people to make an effort to be his friend.

Today is his last day.
The day we say goodbye to his amazing keyworker, the brilliant staff members, who have all been such a big part of his life since September last year.
Although Harry will be starting there next year (September 2014) Charles won't be there at all, and this is where my sadness lies.
It has seemed like such a short time that he has been there, and it feels as though we are cutting it short. And although he is ready to move on, to learn new things, and be around children who are his age and not a mixutre of two and half-almost 5 year olds) I am sad that he is leaving this environment that he is so comfortable and confident within.

This week has already been full of tears from me. Yesterday as I queued to sign him out my eyes were full of tears. I kept my head down so no one would notice, trying to calm myself down and 'get over it'. And then a voice shouted across the room "Mummy, why are you so sad?".
Everyone then noticed, we all said "awwwww" and we all laughed. Except my laughing turned to sobbing.

I wish I didn't have to do this. But I know I have to.
There is no way to stop it. It has to happen, and I have to cope.
But tears are fine. Crying is ok.
And I would rather be sad about him leaving than glad.
I'm delighted that we are able to leave with nothing but happy memories. And that in years to come when we talk about his school life I can start the story with this.
A happy time.
A time we have all loved, and will forever hold in our hearts.



Coming to the End

I didn't want to write about this. Funnily enough I can write about my anxiety issues, other things in my personal life and feel fine to be so open, but this feels too personal to talk about.
But this week is horrid. And I think the migraine I have suffered all day is due to the emotional bomb ticking in my head, exploding every now and then, resetting itself ready for the next day and getting bigger and bigger.

My little Charles is leaving preschool.
And although I am fine with him going to big boy school, well as fine as I can be, there are certain things I am dreading but he is SO excited and so ready for the next step in education and learning that I know it's right for him.
But the issue with this week is him leaving preschool. And as ready as he is to leave I feel so sad. So broken hearted.
The staff there are amazing. Absolutely amazing.
He has best friends there.
Yes I know, I could try and keep in touch with their parents but it's easier said than done with school holidays, other siblings, and working parents.
On Thursday he will say Goodbye to one of the friends. And it breaks my heart that he will be saying goodbye for the last time.
And that they don't really understand.
I wish I could fix things so that his friend was a little older (he is a year younger so not starting big school until 2014) and was going to the same school as Charles.

Anyway. Just thinking of it makes me so sad.

I know Charles will get over it, in fact he doesn't seem at all bothered now. Although I think maybe he doesn't quite understand that he won't see these friends again, or his keyworker who he absolutely loves.
Yes he may forget about them.
But I won't.
These special ladies, and special children, who have meant the world to him. These people who have made my son laugh, giggle and smile.
These people who have made him so excited about preschool. So excited to see them everyday.
So excited to learn new things, to play silly games, to be creative.

Today he has his end of school party.
We go at the end to hear a few songs they've been practising for us.
I wonder how anyone will hear over my sobbing.
As I walked into the preschool Monday I burst into tears when the manager asked how I was. I then made her cry by telling her I was upset at Charles leaving.
I had to tear myself away, I didn't want to leave.
And I've spent the past two days crying at silly little things.

It may sound like I'm over-reacting, but I honestly don't know how to pull myself together enough to get him to school the next three days, and to pick him up.
He see's me crying, I tell him why I cry, I'm not into hiding emotions and the reasons behind them so I won't lie to him.
In fact, when a group of boys saw me crying on Monday they laughed at me, then showed off the bruises and grazes they had all gained over the weekend, trying to out-do each other. Which really made me laugh.

Charles has brought home his snack mat, and a couple of paintings, a certificate and this, one of the proudest and cutest photos of him I have (photo of a photo, hence the quality).
Grab the tissues, hold my hand tight, lets go.


Harry Aged 2...Loves...

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A Second Birthday at Bewilderwood

If you ask anyone in East Anglia for suggestions of days out there is one place which is recommended time and time again.
Bewilderwood, The Curious Treehouse Adventure.
For years I have heard how amazing this place is. How fun it was. Photographs I've seen on Facebook show families having an amazing time and people generally tend to visit two or three times a year.

I'm quite a girly girl. I can't climb trees, I won't even attempt to, I don't like heights and I don't like assault courses.
But seeing as we've made a rule that we need to stop thinking of ourselves when it comes to days out and think about the boys I suggested we visit Bewilderwood for Harry's Second Birthday.

The week of Harry's birthday we booked our tickets (these were complimentary) and had a good look at the website. Although the heights and active side of it didn't attract me at first, I liked the fairytale woodland story that has been created around the attraction.

As soon as you drive in you are taken in by the theme of the attraction. Although it's not completely in your face, it's subtle but really lovely.

We walked down to the gate and was surprised to see a 'Happy Birthday Harry' message on the chalk information board. This really made us smile and was a great start to our special day out.

There are three things I'm particularly fussy about when visiting attractions:
1- Cleanliness. For a woodland adventure park I expected the odd piece of rubbish to be flying around, and various cigarette butts, but there was NOTHING. The whole place was spotless.
2- Toilets. Ok the toilets are tiny cabins which can be expected in the middle of the woods and although basic they are usable. (leave your bags with your husband/family as there isn't much room to move within the cubicles).
3- Staff. Probably one of my biggest bug bears, and most likely to get me complaining, is rude, grumpy, unapproachable staff. Every single person we encountered at Bewilderwood was exactly as I would hope. Happy, friendly, and any member of staff we passed as we walked around would acknowledge us and ask if we were having a good day.

There is SO much to do there. Really. Every way you walk there is a new bridge to cross, ladder or steps to climb, slide to go down, log to balance on and walk across.
Harry was probably a little to small for half of it but there was plenty of other things for him to do, and it didn't stop him from having a go.
Going back to the mention of fantastic staff, we went on the little boat trip around the scaaaary lake. The 'driver' of the boat tells a story about the woods and the Crocklebog, we couldn't help but wonder how many times a day he has to tell this same story but he was a brilliant storyteller and was still cheery at 4 o clock despite being out in the sun all day.

We usually take our pushchair for Harry to sit in once he gets tired but we didn't take it here. There are lots of places to sit down for a rest as you walk around and I really think children will be far too busy to even want to rest.
It's not too far to get back to the car park if you need to grab a pushchair of course.

We decided to buy lunch there. Although it was yummy I think next time we would take a picnic. This is one regret we had, not due to the food they had on offer, but because the location is perfect for a picnic.
Coffee lovers must grab a coffee from the Munch Bar, it was beautiful!

We all had an amazing day, yes, even girly girl me! The highlight for me was discovering the little houses high in the treetops, and the tiny steps and doors at the bottom of the trees.
 There's the opportunity to build a den, which my husband would have loved if he was capable of building a den.
The boys pretty much loved every single thing. I think at 2 and 4 they are now the perfect age to enjoy Bewilderwood.

These are four of our 'top tips':

Stay late: When we went it was quite quiet with the odd school group but I think with places like this people tend to leave earlier because they are so tired. Our trick is to arrive later and leave later, you get the majority of the attraction to yourself therefore more chance for the children to get a chance to go on the slides without having to queue for ages.
Wipes and anti-bacterial gel: As expected hands get dirty, as do feet if you wear flat sandles like I did.
Take a picnic: As I mentioned before this is the perfect place for a picnic. There are various picnic tables situated around the woodland and grassy areas too.
Insect repellent: A must! We suffered with a few bad insect bites, obviously not a complaint as there's nothing the attraction can do about gnats and mosquitos. We will definitely be taking insect repellent with us next time though.

I honestly cannot praise this place enough and we cannot wait to go back!


Admission Prices

Ticket type Price
Born to BeWILD under 92cm £0.00
Almost WILD 92-105cm £11.50
BeWILD Now! 105-250cm £13.50
Used to BeWILD 65 yrs+ £9.00
We were given complimentary tickets to Bewilderwood.


Our Day at Heveningham Country Fair

In the past 2 years we have discovered various country fairs in surrounding villages and towns near where we live. These are held at either Henham Park (the same place Latitude is held) or Heveningham Hall.
Last year was a complete wash out for Wings and Wheels which is usually held at Henham, but the country fair at Heveningham Hall went ahead despite the not so nice weather and we had a really enjoyable day.

When I saw this year that they had moved the Wings and Wheels event to Heveningham, combining it with their country fair I knew there was no way I could miss out.
Rain most certainly wasn't going to scare me away.
As it happened the weather was glorious (I have a tiny bit of sunburn to prove this) and we were able to walk around in maxi dresses, open toed sandles, stopping off for ice creams and to reapply suncream.

My husband had to work Sunday which almost meant I would have to cancel my plans to attend the fair, but thankfully my mum agreed to go along with me and the boys. And we ended up having a really really wonderful day.

We watched acrobatic plane displays as we queued to get into the carpark.
We watched monster trucks pull apart a Ford KA, and crush some Rovers. It s weird seeing these big beast like machines infront of a beautiful house in an azing setting.
We watched dogs chasing after shredded carrier bags.
We watched horses paraded around the area and later watched tractors there too.
Charles went on the same roller coaster he rode last year, as well as teacups. And had a go on the bungee trampoline.
He also went on a massive inflatable slide. He was given a mans tshirt to make sure his arms didn't get burnt as he slid down and the man in charge of the slide very kindly helped him up the ladder (twice), the first time by picking him up and carrying him on his shoulders.
Although Charles came down super quick, and had a look of terror on his face, he was itching to go on again. He only got two goes which was enough I think, although quite pricey at £2!
The boys then went on a bouncy castle. Harry wasn't too impressed and just wanted to sit and feel the effects from other peoples bouncing. Charles wanted to play fight with his brother and roll around with him but was told he wasn't allowed to (not by me) which was slightly harsh.
Also I couldn't quite fathom how it was appropriate for this bouncy castle company to be blaring out songs with swear words when their products are for children.

We ate jacket potatoes, hot dogs, and Thai food. Had a pint of lager and blackcurrant (my mum) and half a lager and lime (me). We ate giant merigues, chocolate cake and banana bread and all slurped on fast melting Nobbly Bobblys.

I spent a lot of time going to the many stalls within the various tents. I have had a real love of craft tents since I was around 10 because my mum used to sell various handmade things at them. I ended up buying a dotcomgiftshop small lunch bag in the fox design for £4, funnily enough the previous evening I was on the website with various items in the basket but I didn't check out!
I fell in love with jewellery by designm. Her items are so cool and funky and fascinating (and priced really reasonably!). I ended up buying a chocolate cream biscuit keyring as I couldn't leave empty handed. As soon as I got home I headed to her website to buy an item we had been discussing whilst there. A post is coming up about that soon.
My mum bought me a candle set. There is 3 different sized candles, wrapped in a bamboo outer to create the stand. They are useful for inside or outside, although we will probably keep them indoors as I don't want them to be ruined.

We arrived at the car tired and hot but we had a fabulous day.
It was £10 each to get in with free parking, and the boys were free. Considering the entertainment available, the organisation and the setting the price is completely reasonable. We couldn't help but to look back on last year and agree that no matter what the weather is like, the organisers do such a great job to make sure everything runs smoothly and that everyone has a great time.

We can't wait for next year already!

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