Now we're in the swing of the holidays, and we've had a super busy week - a trip to Great Nan H on Tuesday, and a surprise (to us anyway) meet up with my uncle, aunt and cousin who've been on holiday. We went out for lunch in a strange (to the kids) town, in a pub that even I've never been to, but the kids were strangely relaxed with their Great Nan, and pleased to see my little cousin who is just a year older than Mini. They were angels ALL DAY! Nan gave them a surprise fiver each, and I made a surprise trip to a big toy shop on the way home, and so there were big smiles.
It was a long day, we hit heavy traffic on the way home, which made the usual hour's drive even longer, but both Mini and Dollop were so well behaved, and didn't complain a bit.
On Wednesday we had another busy day with Daddy who'd taken a couple of days off work. So first a game of ten pin bowling (Mini didn't win but he didn't tantrum either), then strawberry picking, out for lunch, onto a garden centre and pet store, and then into our local town for coffee and a bit of birthday present shopping. Several of those could have triggered a meltdown, but we only had one low point, and it blew over very quickly.
Thursday was a day out in London. We'd talked about where we were going to go, but on the drive down both children made it very clear that they'd rather go to the M&M Store than the Natural History Museum. And I really wanted them to visit Hamleys. So, a last minute change of plan meant Leicester Square, lunch off Covent Garden, up past Trafalgar Square, past the Trocadero, to Piccadilly Circus - a quick snap in front of Eros, then we headed up to Fortnum & Masons, over to Regents Street for Hamleys (the best toy shop ever! - Mini), and then through to Carnaby Street and a drink/cake break at Choccywoccydoodah.
Mini had recognised - before we left home - that the tube worried him and asked for us to take the Rescue Remedy gummy stars, he asked for them just 3 times - just before we got on the tube into London, whilst we were on it, and then again on the tube back out of London. We were thrilled that he recognised this fear, talked to us about it, and came up with something that would help him.
We were a little apprehensive that Hamleys might overwhelm Mini (and little Dollop come to that) but they took it all in their stride and actually really enjoyed seeing all the demonstrations, looking round the different floors, trying out some of the toys and choosing something to bring home.
And we were complimented by the staff in Fortnum & Masons on our 'exceptionally well-behaved children' - you can imagine how thrilled the NC and I were to hear that. Biggest grin ever and lots of praise to the little people! Thank you to that man for making my day!
We had a day at home to rest, then headed out yesterday to visit my other grandmother - Great Nannie B. Again, we were surprised by my aunt and uncle also visiting, and the kids were very much at home, playing inside and out, kind, polite, pleasant and engaged really well with everyone - no hint of shyness, just comfortable ease.
We'd planned to come straight home, but the kids had been so well-behaved, we took them to nearby Southend on Sea for chips and an icecream. In case you didn't know - the chips in Southend are the best, and Rossi's icecream is far superior to any other I've ever had.
And despite the long day, again we had brilliantly behaved children - calm, relaxed and just a pleasure to be around.
Of course, it couldn't have ever lasted and today has been hard work. Mini is definitely becoming more relaxed when we visit people and places - less of the worry about moving on, but it's still there a little, so we got a bit of pay back today. But, nothing that we couldn't handle therapeutically, and with a bit of one to one time. Today in fact, it's been Dollop who has been the hyper little whirlwind, tumbling around all over the show, needing attention, putting on dance shows and singing constantly!
I'm really pleased and proud of the children this last week. It's been tiring, it's been busy. In fact, my aunt commented that she doesn't know anyone else who does so much with their children - it's true, we keep busy, but it helps keep the meltdowns at bay; hopefully ensures Mini feels a sense of safety, togetherness, family and security; tires out the children so they sleep reasonably well (at least Dollop does), and it gives them new experiences. Isn't that what parenting is all about?