We’ve been making more memories over the last few days as time and again my 7 year old son has tried new things and enjoyed them. He’s taking more risks and just being more relaxed about new experiences. He’s still not going to be rock climbing or high rope walking any time soon, but more and more I’m seeing him being just that little bit braver, and having a go. We’ve had some wonderful animal magic moments and more over the last few days.
We’d been invited to Woburn Safari Park on Sunday, a first for Monkey, and an experience I’ll be writing up about in more detail soon. It’s no secret that he loves animals and nature, but normally from a distance. He’s not that child who would volunteer to have a snake wrapped round his neck, or to hold a baby alligator. Petting area at the farm have never been his thing either.
So imagine our surprise, when he had the opportunity to stroke an elephant, and he took it! It was lovely to watch and listen to him describing how the elephant felt afterwards. He actually stood and waited in line so he could stroke the elephant three times. Brilliant.
Later in the day we popped into the aviary to say hello to some parrots and Monkey asked if we could buy a pot of food to feed them. That was unusual in itself, then when the lady said that the parrot might sit on whoever was feeding them, I honestly thought Monkey would hand the food back or give it to me or Daddy P. But no, he was excited and off he went to have some animal magic moments and more adventures.
He wasn’t bothered by the birds coming to him, and he loved walking between them sharing his pot. He laughed when a parrot landed on me, and was rather sad when none landed on him.
That wouldn’t have happened a few months ago.
Now boats are a tricky thing with my son. I’m never sure exactly how he will react to a boat. Even getting him on one in dry dock can sometimes be challenging. So imagine my surprise when he asked to go on the swam pedalo with his Dad. Really? Are you sure? Yes, I’m sure. Ok. Right up until the moment his Dad started to pedal away, I was expecting Monkey to change his mind. But the smiles told a different story and another step on the confidence ladder was taken.
We had animal magic moments and more besides at Woburn Safari Park, but Monkey was finished yet with his growing confidence. He had more surprises in store for me.
On Monday night Beavers had been invited to our local Fire Station and I’d offered to tag along as a parent helper. Monkey was very excited, as we’d visited before when he was in Year One. Then he’d been very timid and wouldn’t join in with anything, just standing at the back taking it all in. This time around the Beavers were called into line and told to call out a number from one upwards as they went along the line. Monkey was first, this could all go horribly wrong, but no, he called out number one. It may not have been the loud shout of others further along the line, but he joined in and was smiling. He went off in one group and I was helping in another group. Again, he was ok with that.
As our group were being shown round one side of the fire engine, Monkey’s group were getting to sit inside the cab. This is something he’s refused to do since he was a little toddler. I sneaked a peak and there he was, beaming smile, sitting in the cab. Blimey.
Later in the evening the Beavers were shown the water hoses and each got a turn at aiming the water at a tree. Again, this was something we’d struggled to get Monkey to do in Year One. He did need a little coaxing from Penguin, the helper he really likes, but he did it. It was lovely to watch. In fact there was another little boy there, who is younger than Monkey, but reminds me so much of my son. The child who stands at the back, the one who doesn’t ask questions, and doesn’t want to join in with louder boys. It was lovely to watch that little boy, with a little encouragement from us adults, holding things and getting up close to the equipment. He didn’t want to go in the cab, and that was fine, I know that one day, just like Monkey, that will change.