Last Week of Holidays and Back To School

Last week saw the end of the school summer holidays. I hate to be one of those people who complain about the holidays and I don’t actually think 6 weeks is too long for them to have off school, but as the weeks have rolled by I have become more exhausted thanks to being constantly in demand my multiple children. Since we came back from France Baby Boy’s sleep hasn’t been great, but the part that has been particularly challenging is the evenings. There have been very few nights recently where he has slept for a few hours from the point I put him down to bed. I leave his room and I have no idea how long I’m going to get before I have to rush back up. It can be anything from a few minutes to a few hours, but often less than an hour. It makes it hard for me to think about working, I don’t get a break and G and I are hardly spending anytime together.

A 7 year old girl in school uniform holding a baby with a 3 year old holding on to them
My Trio on the first day back to school

Before we went on holiday and for the first few days when we were away Baby Boy had several nights where he had just 1 or 2 wake ups. At the moment I don’t even know how many times he wakes up during the night. I manage to get up the first and sometimes the second time he cries to feed him, but then I’m too tired to move so G gets Baby Boy and puts him in bed with me. For the rest of the night Baby Boy and I go in and out of sleep, feeding and adjusting our position until the morning.

Often the cause of him waking up seems to be digestive discomfort and he takes some comforting. Last night he refused to feed and cried for nearly 10 minutes before burping and then being easily settled again. Despite all this he is a much better sleeper than Little was at the same age so it seems wrong to complain. Little went through long stretches where she woke up pretty much hourly after an initial few hours stretch of sleep. To make it worse she would only go back to sleep with me, whereas her brother will be settled by his Dad if he doesn’t want a feed.

I have been craving the return to school and nursery so I could hopefully get some time to myself again while Baby Boy napped in the morning. The long awaited break didn’t happen on Thursday when nursery (preschool) started though because Baby Boy napped on the way home then wouldn’t go down again when we got back. This totally threw me and I have struggled to get my motivation back. I’m determined that this week I will get back into the swing of things though.

Meeting Friends At The Beach

School didn’t start until Wednesday so I decided we would head to Norfolk on Monday to visit my Nana. It’s a few hours drive which isn’t easy for Little who gets car sick or Baby Boy who gets bored so to make it more worthwhile for them I arranged to meet a few friends. We decided to have a picnic at the beach and headed to Old Hunstanton on the beautiful Norfolk coast.

The weather was sunny, but with a cool wind it was a little chilly on the beach (compared to what we were used to). We ate lunch in a gap between the sand dunes which provided a great wind break and the 7 children all enjoyed themselves running around and finding things in the sand. Baby Boy was mostly entertained by eating sand, stones, sand covered food and trying to steal other people’s food. It was great to see them all playing and I loved being at the beach after not visiting since Christmas.

It was also brilliant to spend time with people that I rarely get to see, but talk to frequently online. I am lucky to be part of a group of incredibly supportive and caring women. We are all (well mostly) slightly dysfunctional in our own way. Many have been through awful experiences, many suffer with mental health and we have many differences of opinion, but we all know we can share our experiences and opinions in safety and acceptance.

Old Hunstanton Sand Dunes

5 children of various ages digging on a sandy beach

3 year old playing with sand and a blue plastic crab

3 year old looking out to see on a sandy beach

Back To School

M went to school on Wednesday without much fuss and I think I remembered to send her in with everything she needed. Little and I headed to meet some of my friends in a local church and then we went home to catch a delivery. We spent a quiet afternoon at home ready for the first day of preschool on Thursday and I decided to finally be brave and let the children play with my Grimm's toys. They have barely been away since.

Little mentioned that she was a bit nervous about her new preschool, but as soon as we told her that it was the day to go in she was very excited. Her Dad came with us and after a few seconds of shyness she was happily playing. There was no need for us to stay so we headed home for a few hours before collecting her at lunchtime.

As soon as I saw Little at pick up time I knew we had made the right decision to send her to preschool in the (optional) uniform. She was covered in paint. It was the same when I picked her up on Friday. Despite washing they still have lots of paint on them, but it’s fine because I will keep sending her in with the stained tops and it saves the rest of her clothes from being ruined.

A pair of girls legs with knee high white socks and black shoes
Ready for school

A castle complete with Prince, Princess and King made from Grimm's pieces

A 3 year old in grey trousers, white t-shirt and green cardigan
Ready for Preschool

A 3 year old girl pulling an unimpressed face and wearing a white t-shirt covered in paint
A busy morning at preschool (based on the t-shirt)

Stratford Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and Tumbling Bay Playground

We spent Saturday mostly at home doing housework apart from a brief trip out to in the afternoon. I headed to our Aquababies class for the first of Baby Boy’s new term of swimming lessons and G took the girls to the playground for a run around. After having a quiet day we decided that we should go out for the day on Sunday and we headed to Stratford.

We parked in Stratford International Train Station Car Park before walking through East Village to the Tumbling Bay Playground. The East Village development is lovely and has been nicely landscaped, plus there are also various eateries open on a Sunday so it's a good place to wander through. We stopped off first at an ice-cream place (La Gelatiera) which I knew does lovely vegan sorbets from a previous visit, but sadly their range on this occasion was limited (someone in another shop told me their ice cream maker had been off for 3 weeks). I didn’t fancy the chocolate, chocolate and hazelnut, watermelon or melon sorbets so I went without. Little tried the chocolate one, but didn’t eat much of it as it was too dark for her really.

We stopped in a few other of the shops on the way to the park picking up some lovely fresh bread, sliced meats in the delicatessen and some juice.  They often have vegan (and dairy free) products in these rather hipster places so I enjoy having a browse.

Once in the Olympic Park we stopped for a picnic and a quick toilet break in the cafe by the sand pit (Timber Lodge), then we went to the far end of the Tumbling Bay playground where there is a big, beautiful, wooden climbing structure. We were there for ages and then we moved back towards the cafe where there are various hand pumps for water and sand. Again we spent ages there so it was nearly 5 o’clock when we headed towards Westfield for dinner. 

We went to Pizza Express in Westfields partly because it is easy for all the children (and me) to be fed and partly because I had a gift voucher which would mean we didn’t have to spend too much actual money. It was a fairly calm meal for once despite the girls being really tired. Only interrupted by 4 toilet trips by the girls.

Perhaps the most impressive thing was that despite heading home at 7pm (we had to have a brief play in the playground after dinner) we managed to keep both girls awake for the 20 minutes drive home meaning they went to bed easily when we got home and woke up easily this morning making the Monday morning school run surprisingly easy. I don’t think I even shouted!

Eating vegan ice cream at East Village
Ice cream at La Gelatiera

On a swing attached to a large natural wood structure
Tumbling Bay Playground

Climbing up a wooden slope
Tumbling Bay Playground

A 3 year old in a very wet dress pumping water at Tumbling Bay Playground
Water play at Tumbling Bay Playground

Westfield Stratford Playground
Playing as a frog and a tadpole (apparently) at the Westfield playground outside Stratford International Station

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