I don’t often post things that could be misconstrued as boastful, but on Friday, we (me and the kids, two on one. Where is my medal?) had what I would call a really good day trip to the farm.
By really good, I mean we got going almost on time, there were no traffic jams or delays, and the small one slept in the car there and back, with minimal whinging. Unusually, I didn’t forget to bring anything important, like nappies, wipes or the children, and I was well stocked up on drinks and snacks for the Whingelets.
I even had multiple changes of clothes on hand ready for when the toddlers both fell into a very muddy puddle (not as much fun as Peppa would have you believe).
No one insisted on going home, or made anybody else’s children cry, and the tantrums we experienced were relatively tame; a bit of foot stamping but no lying face down screaming and pummelling the ground. As much as a tantrum-free day out would be amazing, it is a little unrealistic to hope for more any than we got. To top it all, the sun shone all day long. Not bad for September.
Some things that I learned from this trip:
1) I didn’t confidently know the difference between an alpaca and a llama.
Obviously I do now (What on earth did parents do before Google and 3G?).
At least I knew they were not camels, although I only narrowly avoided our first tantrum by agreeing that they were.
2) I can no longer make enticing empty promises.
My not-quite-three-year-old has an insanely good memory. If I say we are going to stop for chips then by God there had better be chips when we stop or help us all. I should know this already; last weekend the small one was asleep and daddy was catching up on work, and I needed to pop into town so suggested she come with me. She wasn’t keen, so daddy told her I’d buy her a biscuit. Thanks, daddy.
I had to listen to the word biscuit being repeated at increasing volume and frequency for the entire journey there, around the shop I needed to go to and in the cafe until her blessed biscuit was in her hands. Pre-kids I would have said such behaviour shouldn’t be rewarded, but that was before I had a daughter who could take up whinging as a competitive sport.
3) Snacks snacks and more snacks; that is the key to familial harmony.
As many as you can carry. Toddlers will do almost anything for a rice cake.
And they’ll actually sit still for a fruit pouch although if not properly supervised it will cause one hell of a mess and necessitate change of clothes number two.
But there will be quiet. And that is what’s important.
4) Farms now have soft play.
Animals alone just don’t cut it anymore, obviously.
If there’s one thing I love more than soft play, it’s surprise soft play. If you have toddlers, you should definitely save some rice cakes for tempting them out.
5) I have no idea what to tell my children about where meat comes from
I’m now starting to regret getting her into Peppa Pig even more than I did previously.
It’s not like she has asked, she’s only two for goodness sake but it does cross my mind from time to time. The baby pigs were pretty cute. Smelly, really really smelly, but cute.
6) I have very low expectations of a ‘good day out’.
It no longer involves alcohol. Or necessarily fun. It might even involve soft play. If everyone survives and there are no major injuries, that’s pretty much good enough.
7) If both children fall asleep on the journey home, then bedtime is going to be awful.
Of course I already knew this one but there are limited options when you’re on the M25 and desperate to get home for a wee.
It takes the shine off somewhat when, rather than basking in the warm glow of success with a well deserved glass of Sauvignon Blanc, you’re still upstairs an hour and a half after usual bed time trying to wrangle two screaming children.
8) Just because you have a good day out, doesn’t mean that you can rest smugly on your laurels.
Apparently kids need to be entertained every day.
Don’t worry though, I can almost guarantee that my usual fairly lazy parenting will resume on Monday.