Tag Archives: Holiday

Guest post: Holiday thoughts from home

Holiday thoughtsAfter a lovely family holiday where I actually managed to read a book (an actual book!) my dad sent through some of his thoughts. Here’s a Granddad-eye-view on our extended family holiday.

I am very lucky – or at least I think I am – as my family seem to want to spend some holiday time with my wife and me, and not just in Cornwall. Whether Scrip’s and D’s Dad feels the same I don’t know, but I think he does, or at least he is a very good actor!

We have all just returned from a holiday in France having made our respective ways there at different times by land, sea and air. No doubt growing older decreases tolerance and distance lends enchantment to our view of the past, but it did seem that nowadays a significant number of children on our ferry were left to their own rather annoying and noisy devices, whilst parents – especially fathers – sat glued to their iPads or iPhones. Fortunately, we could escape to the luxury of a daytime cabin, something my family were keen to point out that had never figured when we all travelled together.

Looking after children is a tiring and stressful job and I admire the way that Scrip’s and D’s parents have coped – albeit, as I am sure they would admit, with help and support from their aunts. There is no more important job than bringing up the next generation and I am full of sympathy for parents today who have so many pressures on them. Life was much simpler for my generation, although I shudder to look back at some of the things we did – driving in an open-top sports car with the baby tucked up in a carry cot behind our seats or travelling through France with three unbelted children playing school in the luggage space of an estate car.

Of course we had had concerns in those far off days but personal computers were still a thing of the future, so there was no online ‘information’ immediately available to worry you or to make you compare your children to the apparently perfect family; phones were fixed, and not hearing from family members, often for weeks on end, wasn’t a reason for concern.

This holiday meant we were able to see how Scrip was coming to terms with a new baby and this was fascinating. Clearly having been the centre of attention for 3 years, adjustment was bound to be necessary. Her physical expressions of sisterly love sometimes bordered on the over-enthusiastic and D’s feeding times coincided with extra attention-seeking but she was able to vocalise and play out her feelings both about D, as well as her recent entry to a nursery, with help from a French supermarket acquired ‘Sofia the First’ doll – once I’d learnt to say the name right! Sofia was obviously able and did to say things that might have been taboo for Scrip.

As always the speed of change in the children came as a surprise, both in the case of baby D, who looks increasingly as if he will play in the second row, and Scrip. Her co-ordination and ball skills, helped no doubt by attending Playball regularly, and her increasing command of the subtleties of language lulled me into subconsciously regarding her as older than she is and made the few occasions where tiredness and frustration led to tears seem deliberately contrived when, on reflection, it was clear that they were not and it was my understanding that was at fault.

Still who can blame me when in the middle of ‘playing’ table tennis pre-lunch Scrip paused, look thoughtful and said ‘Hang on, there is something in the sky that shouldn’t be there’. Indeed there was, a full pale moon – try explaining to a 3 year old why despite being always the moon can only be seen sometimes. No wonder I am tired.

A very pleasing feature of the holiday was the way in which Scrip took to French food both at home and in restaurants. Frites of course, pain chocolate and croissants, and crepes, both sweet and savoury, were polished off with gusto, albeit at different times! Perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised, when she comes to Cornwall we have to buy in extra olives. D meanwhile stayed on his diet of mother’s milk provided with scarce a disapproving glance from the French.

The best part of the holiday was the privilege of seeing things – not just the moon – through the un-jaundiced eyes of a child and thus being able to rediscover the wonders that surround us daily, especially deep in the French countryside.

We’re all going on a winter holiday

A holiday is approaching – which means we’ll all be coming down with colds, the iPad will be groaning with the Sesame Street and Peppa Pig downloads and I’ll pack three times the amount of clothes I need and four times the amount Scrip needs.
If I sound ungrateful I don’t mean to – we’re really excited about going away and are very lucky to be able to. But as Scrip grows, so does the amount of prep and organisation needed.
This year I’ve taken a tip from a friend and mum of an almost two year old and bought some Continue reading

Five things we’ve learnt on holiday

We’re just back from a week near Limoges in France – freshly bronzed (those of us who weren’t plastered in factor 50) and so relaxed that we feel even more tired than when we went away. We had a lovely week and we’ve come back wiser (on at least five things):

IMG_50251.  Swimming pool alarms are no substitute for a gate. Apparently, it’s the law in France to have either an alarm on your pool or a gate around the outside – ours had an alarm. It was fiddly and temperamental – we forgot about it on one occasion and my husband was half way through a length when it sudden went off. We watched Scrip at all times and introduced the ‘holding hands near the pool rule’ (rather unpopular) but I’d have felt a lot happier if there was a gate instead.

2. Saying ‘thank you’ works. Those repetitions have finally paid off – Scrip can now say thank you (in her own rather appealing way) and seems to understand what it means. Unfortunately, she also thinks if she points at Continue reading

Changing times

When we were in Greece last October, sitting by the pool in the last of the summer sunshine (with a slightly subdued Scrip), we got chatting to another couple staying at the resort. They had a 2 and a half year-old, Cameron. In amongst the general anecdotes and advice I like to soak up from parents slightly ahead of us, I remember them saying how slowly the first six months go, and then how everything speeds up, and before you know it, your baby’s 18 months and you wonder where the time’s gone.

photoFor me, it was probably the first eight months that went at the most leisurely pace. I was grateful for that as time went on – I remember being on maternity leave during the summer and revelling in the fact I had a few months of sunshine (hopefully) and Scrip gradually growing and changing stretching out in front of me. But, as I’ve said before, the first three or four months were pretty tough and I vividly recall counting down the hours from around 5pm until my husband came home, and being particularly relieved when the weekend came around.

At eight months, Scrip started crawling competently, and I went back to work, part-time. I was still getting my weekly and monthly baby updates (‘your baby at ten months’) and reading them as much as I could, but each month seemed to roll by much more quickly, and my newborn became my baby and then my little toddler. Her first birthday was suddenly upon us and before I knew it she was 13 months, and developing all the time. Cameron’s parents were right.

Continue reading

Reading allowed – reading to our baby

When I was pregnant, in a rush of enthusiasm, I bought a book of beautifully illustrated fairy tales. Encouraged by my weekly baby updates from various sources (‘your baby can now hear sounds’, ‘your baby can now recognise your voice’), my husband and I read to the developing Scrip. A story a night for a while. And we were rewarded with the occasional kick or turn.

Having always been an avid reader myself with fond memories of bedtime stories, I was looking forward to following this by reading aloud to my new baby. In my idealised world, we’d be curled up on the sofa together, me narrating complete with funny voices, her delighted and her attention rapt.

Unfortunately, as with so many things, the reality hasn’t actually turned out that way. In the first few months I found nursery rhymes and songs were much more popular with the fledgling Scrip. Then, when she was ready to sit rather than slump in my lap, I tried again. But she was much more interested in grabbing the book than letting me read it. Each time I gently prised it from her paws and tried to carry on, unsuccessfully. This progressed to picking it up and chewing it. I tried cloth books, plastic books and board books. It wasn’t that I didn’t want her to play, I just wanted to introduce her to the joys of reading too.

A story didn’t sit naturally with our bedtime routine, either. I started worrying – what if she didn’t take to reading? What if she was more interested in moving around than sitting quietly and concentrating? It wasn’t an age thing – friends’ babies seemed to enjoy being read to so much more (‘books are Alfie’s favourite toys’)…
Continue reading

Happy holidays

Quite relieved to be back from our second family holiday. That’s not to say it wasn’t a lovely place – it really was. Periyali in Zakynthos is made for parents and pre-school age children in particular, with a friendly creche, plenty of safety features and toys on tap. No, it was more about the tummy bug Scrip picked up just before going away. That made for some long grisly days and us seeing far too much of the inside of our pretty villa, plus my husband succumbing to the nasty virus.

As Scrip is so small, bugs tend to hang around so the plane ride home was probably the most challenging part – luckily for me my husband was in the aisle seat and so had to do the majority of the changes (and there were quite a few). So we’ve vowed to return next year to the same place – something we’ve never actually done before – and see much more of Zakynthos.Image

Continue reading