Day Out With Babies & Toddlers
I know its been a while, what with moving house, illness, renovating and general life stuff, my blogging slipped. Well I'm back and been thinking about this one for the past few weeks.
A few weeks back we took an anniversary trip away (1 night) with Ottilie (22months). We decided to take Ottilie for a few reasons, the first being guilt. She's been stuck at home just as much (if not more) as us and it just didn't sit right leaving her at home. We've been out plenty of times without her but not away. The second being money, we've just moved to a house that literally needs everything doing to it and what with starting a new business we're not exactly swimming in cash. So we decided to pick something we would all hopefully enjoy. That's when I come across Port Lympne. It's been on my radar for a while mainly because of the Lion Lodge, that being slightly out of budget we find Pinewood Pods. The stay includes a safari, access to all the restaurants and entry to Howletts Zoo. We book the Safari for when we arrive, check out the restaurants, we decide to book the Garden Room for a treat, then plan the Howlets trip for the next day.
I'm aware Ottilie is a lockdown baby and because of this we have a routine, she eats and sleeps at certain times, we occasionally break this for the odd day out, long journey and Ottie goes to nursery 1 day a week, so I knew it would be a change but I thought she would cope well. We were armed with all the snacks, activities and white noise machine and black out blind for the night! I planned and timed things around when we thought she would be hungry and sleepy. We've got this!
Err wrong. The day gets off to a good start, we leave on time Ottie takes a nap on route (as planned). We arrive and have a little wander around and head to the Safari. It was around lunch time but I'm armed with lunch on the go (snack pots are a life saver for mess free snacking on the go). What I hadn't planned was it being over an hour....oh. We got around with a lot of snacks a few screams and some Paw Patrol. Oh and did I mention dropped Bens phone from the truck, a Keeper had to drive out, find it and bring it back to us as no one can leave the truck for obvious reasons. This added another 10 minutes to the trip. In hindsight I think maybe she was a bit young, she's not really a sit still and look kind of child. Are there any toddlers who are?
After the Safari we wander around more animals, monkeys etc. Then off for a coffee and snack by our Pod as we wait to check in. It's 3pm now, Ottie is tired but wired. She destroys the game of connect four the children are playing around the communal area on the Pinewood site, all whilst being the noisiest and whiniest person there. The Lions are starting to stir, did I mention we were staying next to the lions? The next 3 hours are a blur of trying to unpack, clear up sick and entertain but settle a toddler. I feel for the other guests. Dinner is fast approaching (the bit we were looking forward to the most), I decide a nap was needed. We lay in darkness, reading stories and she falls asleep relatively easy (weird). After half an hour its time to wake her up, this doesn't go down well. Looks like were not going out for dinner. We mange to cheer her up with a bowl cereal, it doesn't last long, she cries until 6pm when I decide I give up and it's bed time. It takes a few attempts before I can finally sneak out onto the porch (it's a one room pod) and sip prosecco from a mug. It's welcomed after 3 hours of screaming. Cheers. Ben pops out a picks up Domio's. Ha. So much for our fancy dinner. :) We watch the campfire burn whilst children roast marshmallows and people come and go from dinner. We listen and watch the Lions. Falling asleep listening to Lions roar is very surreal. I feel bad she's missed out on all of this. Tomorrow is another day.
We're up early the following day, nothing new there and head out for breakfast at The Bear Lodge it's a 20 minute walk but lovely to walk around when the park is closed. Breakfast is lovely, Pancakes for Ottie, Coffee and an English breakfast for us. Perfect. We then head back to load the car up and make our way to Howletts. When we arrive we head straight for the Gorillas, which were lots of fun, especially the baby ones running a muck. As we move on the heavens open, we check the weather app, it's not supposed to be raining. We shelter under a tree and try and get Ottie under her rain cover in the pram, she's not having any of it and wants to be cuddled but also isn't happy she is getting wet. We're all wet now so we decide to carry on, we all have rain jackets on and try to convince Ottie to play and splash in the rain, again she's not having any of it. Lunch? We find a place to take shelter and have lunch but it doesn't look like the weather is changing anytime soon. So we decide to head back looking out for the Elephants and Tigers along the way. We pick up a Tiger from the gift shop and head home. Shell Shocked and wet. My Mum calls and takes pity on us and offers to look after Ottilie for the evening so we can have that anniversary dinner after all! Thank god for Grandparents.
The moral of my very long story is, it's HARD. Hard work trying to organise fun, hard to be fun when your lugging around a wet crying toddler, or a bored toddler or a tired and hungry baby. I wont give up doing things for her and us but I will also try not to put too much pressure on everything be perfect. There are lots of tips to help days go smother and easier, do they work? Maybe? Who really knows. It really doesn't matter how much we plan or are prepared sometimes it just doesn't go right. Roll with it. There were also lots of highs and memories made over these days. I would do it all again in a heart beat.
You've got this !