Monkey has gone back to school today, and although at times he has driven me mad, in general he’s been a pleasure to spend time with. It’s been wonderful to watch his blossoming confidence aged 7 years 4 months, this April. From trying new experiences in London, and coping with staying away from home to going on a big wheel. He’s amazed me at every turn.
The month started with our trip to London and a really successful trip with London Duck Tours, which hopefully has helped quell his fears of boats. We then headed to Shrek’s Adventure thanks to some complimentary tickets from Vosene. I wasn’t sure how he’d cope with the experience at all if I’m honest. I was hoping that the lure of a How to Train Your Dragon Egg hunt would help him overcome any fears he’d have. I made sure the staff knew that the 4D bus journey at the start of the adventure might not go too well, but he managed so much better than I’d expected. He wanted to get off at one point, but squeezed my hand and stuck with it. He wasn’t the biggest fan of the overall experience but he kept going and loved seeing the special event at the end, even if he wouldn’t have his photo taken with Toothless and Hiccup.
He certainly deserved a big ice cream that day, as blossoming confidence aged 7 years 4 months needed to be celebrated!
When we stayed at The Manor Country House Hotel the following week, he was totally relaxed, even when he realised he was the only child staying that weekend. He loved exploring the grounds and found a little snug that he took ownership over for our stay. It was his special place to sit. Monkey was such a joy to be with, and helped make the weekend really memorable. More to come on our stay later in the week.
The hotel break signalled the start of the school holidays and I was looking forward to seeing Monkey’s blossoming confidence aged 7 years 4 months in the days ahead.
We visited Paulton’s Park and my non thrill seeking child loved a couple of the smaller rollercoasters, we went on one a number of times. He squealed with delight and it was lovely to see him facing a fear and trying something new without masses of coaxing beforehand. But almost a bigger step forward involved a photo being taken. As the son of a blogger, Monkey is used to me taking lots of photos of him. But he’s a total nightmare normally if someone wants to take a staged shot of him. It never goes well. Visiting attractions where you’re asked to stand as a family and have your photo taken, often results in Monkey hiding behind me. Imagine my total surprise when Monkey agreed to have his photo taken, alone. Blimey! A first.
He was so chuffed with his Park Ranger Licence, which when not worn round his neck, sits on his bedside table.
We were staying in Bournemouth overnight and enjoyed a visit to the beach, both being shell collectors, we had a great time. We’ve been trying to persuade Monkey to go on the London Eye for ages, but he still isn’t keen. There was a Big Wheel by the pier and I suggested that we could try that instead, as it was smaller and we could have a car to ourselves. With a lot of persuasion and Mummy being a bit naughty and pulling the ‘it’s my birthday in the morning’ card, he agreed to get on. Holding my hand ever so tightly, our car started to move, and I hoped that I wouldn’t end up being the worse mother ever. But it worked out really well. Once he started to relax and realised we wouldn’t be going round at a million miles an hour, he loosened his grip and started to look out and enjoy the views.
I was so proud of him, for the third time in one day, he’d faced a fear and done it anyway. To the point that an hour after our Big Wheel trip, he was asking if we could go on again! Witnessing blossoming confidence aged 7 years 4 months totally rocked. Another ice cream treat might have been in order!
I’d been having a conversation on Instagram with Jenny from The Brick Castle recently about Monkey’s love of tractors and diggers. But his total reluctance to get too close to any of his favourite vehicles. Over the years he’s missed out on getting up close and personal with diggers, tractors, combine harvesters and even refused the opportunity to stand on the footplate of his beloved steam train Bittern when it was stationary in steam on the Watercress Line. But this has clearly been the month for Monkey to show me that he is growing up with his blossoming confidence aged 7 years 4 months! We saw a tractor on the promenade near Alum Chine and Monkey was straight there and wanted his photo taken.
A trip out to the Lambourn Open Day saw Monkey’s confidence on show again. He’s never been so close to horses before, but there was no fear at all. He loved meeting all the horses at the stables and was the instigator of our trip around the event grounds on a Shire Horse drawn trailer. Clearly any fear of horses had evaporated.
This new-found confidence was on show again on a trip out with Daddy P. We’d been to Croome Court for the day, and had a quick stop at the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway in the afternoon. We didn’t go on the main line, but had a trip on the narrow gauge line instead. The guard asked Monkey if he’d like to wave the flag to signal the driver could set off. Daddy P and I were both amazed when Monkey eagerly held out his hand and took the flag. It was so lovely to watch and see his enjoyment.
As regular readers know, we make very good use of our National Trust membership. Monkey is always very good at exploring the grounds, and these days it’s quite easy to look round the properties without having to run through at breakneck speed. But it’s rare for Monkey to want to follow a particular trail and join in a set activity. All that changed on last week’s trip to Canons Ashby. Not only did he want to try the house activity trail, but he was reading most of the booklet himself, and writing down the answers. Blimey, is this really my son? He may have refused to do his reading homework challenge – Mummy, the Easter holidays is time for family time, not school work! Hard to argue with that. But I’m not going to complain when he’s willingly reading things when we’re out and about.
It’s been so wonderful to watch Monkey’s growing confidence over the last six months or so, but this month, we seem to have seen so many steps forward. It’s just lovely.