The easter holidays have been BUSY!
After thankfully recovering from my awful chest infection, it’s been pretty full on for the last two weeks!
Last Monday was S’s 11th birthday, and as it was her first one with us I really wanted it to be special so had splashed out on lots of presents (including her first phone, although admittedly a refurbished one!). Her party was all planned for Wednesday as we weren’t able to do it on the right day, so on Monday morning we picked up 2 of her friends and drove to Bicester to “Rebound Revolution” trampoline park. I’d never been to one before and it was lots of fun! Little A had the best time too and after treating everyone to some ridiculously overpriced toasties and disgusting slushies we went home and the girls all hung out and played until it was time for dinner and football practice.
As I’d been ill the week before, and nothing had been in the news about it, I had no idea there had been a localised petrol shortage in the south-east due to a protest at a depot somewhere. Most of my local friends knew about it but I had only realised on Sunday when I tried to fill up! We tried 2 petrol stations on Sunday and both were completely closed (no queues, no supplies left at all). I had half a tank left so knew we’d be fine to go to Bicester and back on Monday but wasn’t sure about the rest of the week. So on Monday after trampolining we plotted our route home past as many petrol stations as possible, including 3 in Bicester, two in Yarnton and three on the Oxford ring road, and every single one was closed – not a single queue, they were completely dry! I was feeling slightly panicked and trying to work out my petrol tank capacity and how many litres there were left in a 1/4 tank, and how many miles you can go per litre etc, but thankfully on the way home from football we spotted a queue at Tesco’s so we managed to fill up at last!
Tuesday I had booked in S and her friend to a gymnastics activity day, so A went to nursery and I drove the girls over to Berinsfield for that, and spent the rest of the day cooking up a vat of curry for the freezer.
Wednesday morning we made S a birthday cake and then her friends arrived for the party. We walked up to a local hall where the girls did an aerial silks class that was LOTS of fun (Studio2 in Oxford, I highly recommend it – it was amazing!). The girls all had the best time, and then we came home for cake and pizza followed by a sleepover. I was a bit worried about S as she barely ate anything on Wed and said she wasn’t hungry – didn’t even eat any of her birthday cake. She seemed a bit worried and anxious about the sleepover I think, and she got given a lot of sweets and chocolate for her birthday so I’m not sure how much she had eaten in secret – possibly she’d just made herself feel a bit ill by scoffing sweets!
On Thursday morning the girls took S’s new football to the park and happily thrashed some local boys at football before they all went home. The rest of the day we just chilled out at home.
Friday we had a big day out in London which was really fun. We had tickets to see my mum’s partner’s show that was on tour (Meal One – a rather bonkers children’s play at the Southbank!) so we took the train to London in the morning. We were supposed to be meeting my mum and sister etc for lunch and a day out in London but sadly they all had Covid the week before and were all still positive so we arranged to meet my godmother in North London instead. We had a lovely day out – rather arduous journeys as the northern line was closed so we had to keep changing trains over and over which the girls didn’t like much, (S complained that we had been on TEN different trains and it felt like we spent the whole day on trains!).
However we also saw Big Ben and the London Eye and the river, and saw the play and my godmother and some amazing street performers and so lots of fun was had by all.
On Saturday we drove up north to my mum’s house in Yorkshire where S got another birthday present – rollerblades, so she happily taught herself to skate up and down mum’s hallway, and we spent a few lovely sunny days hanging out with some extended family and going on a steam train day out (I was the only one excited about the fact that they filmed The Railway Children there….). Grandad taught S a few chords on the guitar as well so she was happy pootling on the guitar for a bit too.
We drove home on Wednesday and on Thursday went swimming and visited L, the girl’s foster carer, who S hadn’t seen since she moved in. She has been missing her foster carer a lot so it was nice to visit, though S spent most of the time playing with L’s grandkids and barely spoke to L in the end, but I think she just wanted to reassure herself it was all still there and they hadn’t moved away!
Friday both the kids had playdates with friends, and on Saturday S had football and A had a birthday party to attend, then we had a bit of quiet time at home before my friend came to stay for the weekend. We had a marvellous time seeing an old friend of mine and after he left on Sunday I had planned a very quiet, chilled afternoon/evening to wind everyone down before the back to school rush of Monday morning.
Sadly my chilled-out evening was scuppered when my elderly and rather batty neighbour locked herself out of the house while I was in the middle of cooking dinner, so I had to juggle feeding the kids, unlocking her gate, helping her to sit down in the garden, calling the police, googling locksmiths, bringing her into my house to feed her and keep her warm while we waited 3 hours for the locksmith to arrive, (No mean feat as she can barely walk and needs hefty assistance!). Meanwhile overtired A screaming into my face as it was an hour past her bedtime, and S got annoyed that A was staying up so late as I couldn’t put her to bed with the elderly neighbour in the house calling out and wandering around about to have a fall, and waiting for the locksmith etc. It was all VERY stressful. We finally got her into her house again and I now have some emegency phone numbers we can call next time this happens!
So basically it’s been busy busy busy!!!
But it’s been really fun to see so many people and do so many fun things. S has coped really well with so much change and meeting so many new people, and A had a few tantrums but was generally pretty ok. They’ve both wound me up a bit at times, but no more than anyone else’s kids would wind them up 2 weeks into the holidays. It’s the first time S has pushed my buttons a bit – it felt like she was constantly disagreeing with me over silly things (for example, I said “By the way sometimes Grandma’s fridge door gets stuck” and she instantly said “No it doesn’t”). Sometimes I feel like she’s trying to pick a fight or just being contrary (I asked if she had a nice day playing with her friend, she said “It wasn’t a day” so I said ok well you were there for 5 hours, so it was half a day, “no it wasn’t, it was only 2 hours” etc). She also refuses to admit if she’s having fun or a nice time, which I know from all my theraputic parenting training can be difficult to do, because admitting you had fun means letting your walls come down a bit and it’s still very early days for us as a family. But it was a bit hard after making such an enormous effort to spoil her for her birthday and do so many fun things and to get a fairly “meh” response to it all. But I knew going into this that was a likely outcome so have to try hard not to take it personally or get annoyed by it.
In some ways the fact that S has started to push back a little is a good thing, she’s feeling safe and secure enough to be a bit cheeky and talk back etc and the world hasn’t ended so I think she is learning it’s all going to be ok.
We are all pretty knackered now that the holidays are over but hopefully we’ll get back into a calmer term-time rhythm soon and everyone can catch up on sleep!
Speaking of which, I’m off to bed…….. zzzzzzzzzzzzzz