So Sissyboo went back to school yesterday and into Year 1. (Year 1? How did that happen?) Is it wrong of me to say I had mixed feelings about it? I miss her, but she was ready to go back and the juggling of working, childcare and so forth was getting tougher as the days went on. Still, I admit to a barely audible sniff when she walked into class yesterday with her new teacher with a spring in her step and not so much as a backwards glance at her frantically waving Mum. Where did the time go?
Well, not on writing Play Agenda posts for the lovely Leoarna at Not Different But Interesting, that’s for sure! I had great intentions of writing weekly updates on the activities we did but after about the first couple of weeks failed miserably. On holiday in Devon, we played so much there wasn’t time to blog about it, and I wasn’t always feeling playful, to be honest, as tensions rode high in Booland.
Trying to blog about everything we did would take too long, which has to be a good thing, right? There are some trips I’d definitely like to tell you about, like our day at Forde Abbey.
Or the Pecorama. Or the Fleet Air Arm Museum (where there was a Doctor Who spectacular on).
Or the lovely Bank Holiday we spent just last week at Hever Castle, to which I’d won a family ticket at Sissyboo’s school summer raffle. But mostly, I’d like to write about the days when we didn’t do that much or pay that much. When we just sat on pebbly beaches or mooched about Lyme Regis or lucked out on free entry to a museum, or crabbing or fossil hunting. I will. Eventually.
For now, I thought I’d take stock. It’s the time of year to take stock don’t you think? And see how near (or far) I got to my aims for the holidays.
Well, we certainly made the first part of goal number 1: To have one big day out (to a splash park, country house etc.) each week. We’ve been to gardens, on steam trains, to museums, all sorts, and usually had a fabulous time (taking the packed and sweaty steam train for 90 minutes each way to Minehead to see a Red Arrow display that didn’t happen was not one of those). The second part of goal one – ‘engaging both kids (5 1/2 year old and 1 year old with additional needs)’ – was much harder to achieve. Beaches and Boo, we found are not always happy bedfellows, whereas Sissyboo stripped all her clothes of and ran to the merest sight of a drop of water. Gardens, we found, were best.
Boo loves being outdoors and the colours, scents, sights and sensations of places like Forde Abbey or Hever really held both of their interest.
Well…most of the time.
Trying to do something with Sissyboo each week was not as easy as it sounds, but I did it. On holiday we even managed an hour long horse-riding lesson together, which was fabulous. She was a natural. Me? Well, I enjoyed, it but no 2020 entry into the dressage for me. Most weeks, we just tried to shoehorn in some craft or baking with Boo getting cross in the background. I am so glad our Homestart visits have started again. Our lovely volunteer enables me to spend 2 hours a week with Sissyboo. We’ve both really missed this.
3, 4 and 5 were doddles. Boo’s therapy was harder to fit in on holiday, admittedly, but I am good at turning most things into a therapy opportunity, even meetings with friends (so important to me) and playing in the garden.
Goal 6 is a complete failure. The Oliver Twist Victorian puppet show I have been doing with Sissyboo on and off for 7 months still languishes on the top of the bookcase. But we will finish it soon. But we did lots of other crafts (goal 8), admittedly not as many with Boo as I’d have liked. Oh and the bike riding momentum was lost and the maths practice, well, I just couldn’t make her do it when I could see she didn’t want to. She’s 5. She’s bright. She’ll get into it when she has to. I have a feeling that’s now…
I certainly kept the blogging going over the summer and people still seem to be reading it (thank you!) and I took lots of photos. I hope you like the ones on here.
Most importantly, though, I achieved the main goal of the summer for me, which was not to sweat it. I am so good at setting myself impossible challenges. But I knew that I couldn’t use this holiday to compensate for those previously where Sissyboo has had to visit me and Boo in hospital or see things no 5-year old should see: her brother in a plastic box with a tube down his throat. Her brother nearly dying (both at Easter last year). Her brother having seizures (Christmas). I was much better at going with the flow this time around and it felt good.
So it’s been a busy summer of work and play, and a good one. I’m really grateful to Leoarna for giving me a reason to really think about our play agenda and the particular challenges it throws up for our family. I haven’t resolved them, but I am starting to see ways round them. And we’re all happier as a result, I think.