Sunday, 25 May 2014

The trials of life (and homesickness)

Afternoon tea treat
I've been a bit absent lately and it wasn't entirely intentional. We went to visit the in-laws for a few days and I expected we'd be a bit busy. We took our boy to Peppa Pig World on Thursday. He's been a few times before and loves it there. It was torrential and there was thunder and lightning, but once the sun came out he went on all his favourite rides at least twice and some three times.

On Friday we went to Bournemouth for a spa day. It's going to be my birthday on Tuesday this week so this was a bit of a treat and after hitting the gym, the pool and having a steam and jacuzzi we had a nice afternoon tea. Grandma and Grandpa took care of the boy while we were out and by all accounts he was pretty good. I'd left his scooter and some craft bits for him to do with Granny, who loves painting and gardening so they usually do fun things together.

On Saturday it looked a bit cooler and I had a salon treatment booked first thing so I went to get my nails done and when I got back we decided to take the boy to a local Gruffalo trail. It was at a site called Bolderwood and some of the locations in the woods were just stunning.

tree roots
look at me !!

Of course we'd hoped the boy would enjoy it as he is a big fan of the Gruffalo and we are taking him for a Gruffalo birthday picnic in a few weeks so this was a sort of preview to get him used to what to expect. It did involve a fair bit of walking, but he was unbearably whingey about it all the way round the trail. He kept complaining about having to walk and even when hubbie tried to distract him with an impromptu game of Pooh sticks he just moaned.

watching a stream 
looking for the Gruffalo 

In an attempt to cheer him up I gave him a snack to bolster him along. He ate it and carried on grumbling. When we spotted some massive puddles I said he could jump in them because he had his wellies on. He jumped joyfully and then kicked at the puddles so that we all got splashed with mud too - thanks son. Then he whinged a bit more. Then he had yet another meltdown.

walking on cattle grids
playing peek a boo 

By the end of the walk we had all tried to cheer him up whether it was playing hide and seek with him hiding behind trees, or carrying him for bits of the walk or encouraging him by racing to get to the next signpost. We were all a bit fed up of the screeching, kicking, complaining - and by now squelching - threenager in our midst. It was horrible. He clearly hadn't enjoyed it at all and three adults had basically spent the day being yelled at by a monster of a child.

When we got back I looked up train times to come home and told Hubbie I wanted to leave and try to salvage at least some sanity while he spent more time with his parents and the boy could at least have his precious time with Daddy - who is his best friend apparently. Hubbie sat next to me and said we could all come home a day early. I felt terrible, but relieved.

When I sat with the boy at bedtime and told him we were going home he asked why. I explained he wasn't being nice and that it wasn't fun for anyone so we would go home. The reason I do 'Mummy and boy time' with him is so that we can talk about our day and sometimes he opens up to me about what's on his mind. From chatting to him I found out he was missing his teddy bears, his room, our cat - basically he was homesick.

A little while later I heard a plaintive voice asking for me or Daddy to lie with him in his bed. I closed my laptop and went to lie down next to him. He softly said, "I'm going to miss Grandma" and I said, "so is Daddy. He won't get to spend tomorrow with her now." My voice broke a bit and he looked at me, then he turned and put his tiny arm around my neck. He looked like he was going to cry and he started to stroke my cheek. "I'm sorry Mummy." I asked if wanted to go home and he said he did. I stayed with him until he fell asleep then gently took his hand and put it round one of the bears in the bed and went downstairs.

We came home today and I was shattered, emotionally wrung out and felt massively guilty for us leaving early. I've reorganised the downstairs of the house, defrosted the freezer and Hubbie has cut the grass in the front and back gardens. We took the boy swimming then let him play with his favourite toy cars and watch his favourite film and generally just hang out at home. It was like managing a tiny time bomb of screeching, kicking, yelling hysteria.

I can only hope that if he's like this at three and a half he's going to be an angelic teenager.

That's how it works isn't it ?

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