Normally during the week we go to playgroup. The kids play while I watch from the side and have a little chinwag with the other mums. It’s like a holiday from the usual routine. But recently it’s not been as relaxed as that.
My son is going through a phase of never wanting to leave my side. Everything is a phase when it’s an undesirable behaviour isn’t it? I almost squirm every time I use the damn word. But a phase it is.
When we visit family he’s off like a rocket dragging Grandparents to whichever activity he sees as interesting until the chosen Grandparent no longer has energy to sustain a dozen activities a minute. He’s also pretty similar when we visit friends, as long as there are only a couple of other children there he dives into play-time like Tom Daley competing in the Commonwealth games.
He’s a relaxed little soul in the company of close friends and family (in small groups), but when he’s thrusted into the surroundings of a party, playgroup or nursery he clings to my leg for dear life, moans a fair bit about nothing in particular and is generally uncomfortable with the noisy crowds.
I’ll go into his anxiety in another post because it’s not a bad thing at all, it’s a personality trait but something that not many people understand.
So on our usual playgroup day I didn’t want to force him to go knowing he wouldn’t enjoy himself. Even though his sister thoroughly enjoys playing with toys without her brother screaming THAT’S MINE every five seconds. So instead I found some common ground and decided to cover their sticky little bodies with even stickier suncream, throw them and their toddler-related paraphernalia into the car and drive us all down to our favourite local spot, the beach.
The best time to go to the beach is in the morning. You get that crisp fresh air, the beautiful golden haze over everything the sun touches and the air is always a lot cooler which was a welcome change to the heat we’d been having.
Plus I’m a stickler for my kids being in the sunshine even with three coats of factor 50 I’d much rather keep them out of the sun when it’s at its peak.
As we drove along the tiny track leading to the sea front I spotted two armed police officers patrolling the area. It was only a couple of days after the Manchester attack which left our country very sore, sad and frightened. Security had been increased everywhere but I didn’t expect the beach to be classed as a terrorist hotspot.
I considered stopping and asking if it was ok to be there but as I drove closer they stuck their thumbs up. And the logical side is that we were going there anyway with or without extra security, the fact that they were present should have just been a bonus.
When I freed the kids from the car they raced off hand in hand like wild animals that had just been released from a cage. They ran along the boardwalk straight down to a spot on the pebbly beach, right on the cusp of the sea.
We sat there for such a long time throwing pebbles into the sea, finding unusual shells, watching the ships pass us and burying each others feet. Then we had a wander along the shore.
We walked along the sea front and it wasn’t long before my son announced that he needed a poo.
I picked up my daughter, held my son’s hand and we ran to the miniature railway where there’s a toilet. We were not crapping on the beach, not today.
I threw my body into the door yanked his bottoms down and sat him on the toilet. We waited, and we waited, but nothing happened.
A good few minutes disappeared as we waited for him to drop something into the toilet. But the boy had nothing to give.
Of course my girl then needed the toilet so at least one person used this lavatory visit wisely.
We all washed our hands and we left to watch the trains.
Just as I sat on a bench my son roared at me that he needed a poo, and it’s for real this time.
We rushed back to the toilet, I sat him on the throne and again, nothing happened. So we washed our hands once more, because toilets are the breeding ground for every disease there is, and we left to see the trains from a different angle.
Then for the third time we had to rush back to the toilet because apparently this time it really was coming out. It wasn’t. Nothing came out.
We unnecessarily scrubbed our our hands and headed back out to watch the train leave the station before walking back to the car.
Halfway back to the car my son looked at me with a pained expression and I simply said ‘no’.
He promised me he’d go this time but I was not walking us all back into the toilets for the fourth time. Past the same people, that probably thought one of us had a dodgy burrito the previous day, only to be disappointed. What has my life become that it’s a disappointment when my child doesn’t relieve himself.
We piled back into the car ready to head home and during our journey my boy didn’t once complain about needing a poop. Instead, he peed in his carseat and waited until I picked him up to notify me of this. All because I didn’t succumb to his fourth request.