It’s been an eventful couple of weeks for us, starting off with a trip down to Cornwall for a week’s holiday at Coombe Mill. On the whole, we had a lovely time. The children loved joining in with the feed run each morning; we enjoyed a few days out around the area and made the most of being able to switch off and enjoy some family time together.
Emotionally it was quite an up and down week. Our first full week away since Jessica died; our first family holiday that wasn’t a Christmas break. There were a lot of memories from that very last family holiday with Jessica that came rushing back. The realisation on putting Sophie and Thomas to bed in the same room on the first night that the last time we’d had two children sleeping in beds next to each other on holiday, it was Jessica and Sophie. That last holiday with Jessica is quite a painful one to remember as she wasn’t well that week and died a week after our return. The memories bring up a lot of guilt and questions over decisions made during that time. Things that did need to come back up to the surface and be worked through.
Emotional rollercoaster aside, it was a nice holiday though. It was lovely to have that time away; to see the children making new friends and to slow down for a few days.
This last week has been an eventful one too. We’ve started potty training Thomas. This is probably my least-favourite stage of parenting a toddler/preschooler. I found it quite a stressful process with both the girls (‘potty training hell’ is how we describe it!) although they did get to grips with it reasonably quickly. The first day with Thomas was much less successful than it had been with the girls. I did wonder at one point if we were going to run out of pants! But he’s now starting to get the hang of it, and there’s been fewer accidents since the first day than I was anticipating, so fingers crossed for a less stressful process this time around.
Thomas has been keeping me on my toes in other ways though. Yesterday while enjoying a day out, he ate a yew berry that was decorating a mud cupcake. I managed to fish some of it out of his mouth but the stone in the centre (the toxic bit) looked crushed and I wasn’t sure if he’d swallowed any. 111 advised us to go straight to A&E where we spent several hours under observation. Sophie was quite frightened by it – she gets very scared and worried that Thomas might die if he needs hospital treatment for anything, which is understandable given her memories of the night Jessica died. One of the nurses who saw us was the one I remember being on shift after Jessica died (she was the one who took us to the mortuary and also happened to be the nurse who triaged us when Sophie broke her arm a few weeks’ later). Thankfully Thomas was fine but I’ll certainly be watching him like a hawk around mud kitchens from now on!
The boiler stopped working during the week. Thankfully it’s summer and we have an electric shower so the lack of heating and hot water has not been too much of an issue. We’ve got someone coming to have a look at it today.
Finally on the eventful front, I’ve set myself a challenge this month to do 400,000 steps to raise money for The Compassionate Friends, who provide peer support for bereaved parents, grandparents and siblings. It works out at an average of nearly 13,000 steps per day (a bit more my 9000 per day average in July!). So far I’m managing to stay on track and hopefully I’ll manage to reach my target.
What I’ve been grateful for this fortnight:
- Day 211 – I am grateful for friends who are brilliant at keeping my children amused.
- Day 212 – I am grateful for the simple joy of two children swinging together on a tree swing.
- Day 213 – I am grateful for Thomas’s joy at helping to feed chickens. He was quite determined to try and catch one but they were too quick for him!
- Day 214 – I am grateful for a lovely walk around the Lost Gardens of Heligan.
- Day 215 – I am grateful that Thomas is still quite comfortable to carry on my back in the Tula toddler carrier.
- Day 216 – I am grateful for a lovely afternoon at the beach.
- Day 217 – I am grateful for teaching Sophie how to play Mah Jongg. It’s been a long time since we last had a game. Brought back happy memories of playing this late into the evening at Christmas with my family.
- Day 218 – I am grateful for an afternoon following a treasure trail.
- Day 219 – I am grateful for a wonderful week away at Coombe Mill and the joy of seeing the children feeding animals and making friends on the feed run each morning. Was also lovely to take a detour on the way home and catch up with some friends.
- Day 220 – I am grateful for a play date at the park.
- Day 221 – I am grateful that bedtime brings a brief respite from the joyousness of potty training.
- Day 222 – I am grateful for a teddy bears’ picnic with stories followed by a lovely impromptu play date for Sophie with her best friend from preschool who she hasn’t seen in a long time.
- Day 223 – I am grateful for warm weather and watching Sophie and Thomas play in the garden.
- Day 224 – I am grateful that Thomas is okay after he gave us a scare earlier by eating a yew berry while out and about. We’ve had a few hours in A&E with him being kept under observation but are back home again and feeling very relieved!
Other things that have made me smile over the last two weeks:
- Being able to let Sophie go to the playground or games room with her new friends by herself in the safe environment of Coombe Mill.
- Enjoying the peace and quiet of an early morning breakfast on the decking before the rest of the family woke up.
- Bumping into some friends from Southampton while visiting the Lost Gardens of Heligan.
- Waking up in the middle of the night and going for a walk outside to admire the stars.
- Thomas introducing himself to other children with, “I’m Thomas. T-H-O-M-A-S. Thomas.”
- Thomas falling asleep on the potty.
- Going pond dipping with Sophie and Thomas.