January 7. Well into the first week of 2015, we are all settling back in to routine. Boys at school and me chucked back in to work (while I was hoping for a week off for myself!). Papa unfortunately worked through most of the holidays but now he can work in peace without me screaming out for help with the boys every now and then!
It was not half has crazy as I expected it to be with 2 little boys bounding with energy. I came to realise also that they were not looking to be kept ‘busy’ and ‘entertained’ all the time. They were definitely tired from their first term of every morning Nursery plus all the weekend activities, and they actually slept in an extra hour to an hour and half! Yay for us, the extra sleep was definitely welcomed after almost 3 years of being sleep deprived!
So, how did we survive our first ‘staycation’? (The last 2 Christmas’s and last summer we spent in Sunny California).
1. A good friend hosted a Toddler Christmas Party at her house with Secret Santa, Musical Statues, Bubble Machines and Christmas Cookie Decorations. Y & A really enjoyed the experience as they were still grasping the concept of Christmas and Santa.
2. We baked cookies together! The boys were fascinated watching my Kenwood mixer whisking eggs and butter, then they helped me put in the dry mix in to it and again watching the batter being made. Obviously, scooping spoonfuls and placing them on the baking tray was fun, and then the anticipation of the finished product that they got to taste! (Yes, just taste. We still limit their ‘sugar’ and ‘junk’ in take and we eat ‘pretend’ cakes!)
3. Visiting one of the many Santa’s Grotto. We went to Westfield, Shepherd’s Bush where they first watched a short movie on ‘munions’ and presents flying across the screen with each child attending’s photos on them. (If you ask me my opinion, this film left much to be desired! but I’m not 2.5 years old). Papa joined us for the Santa experience, then left the 3 of us on a lunch date. I have to recommend ‘Fire and Stone’ as they are VERY child friendly. A nice and yummy Children’s Menu with smoothies on the side, and great management and staff that stayed close to me when they say I was managing 2 boys!
4. Another Christmas play date at another good friend’s home. More play, more gifts, more treats!
5. I hosted a Christmas party at home with just desserts and cocktails at the run up to main day. The boys once again helped with some of the preparation in the kitchen with the Kitchen Aide!
6. Oh! and I did the unthinkable! yes, I plopped them in front of the Tele every morning for 20 mins! Like sugar, I’m not a fan of television either, but this one – if you need it, you’ve got to use it. And that’s why it’s known as the BEST baby sitter!
7. And now it’s Christmas Day!!! PRESENTS!! WOW!! SO MANY!! Y & A were soooooooooo overwhelmed and excited with all their gifts (half of which I had to swiftly put away before they were ingrained in their memory), that once we got to my cousins’ Christmas Lunch, the boys wanted to turn back home and play with their ‘new toys’. Well, this kept us busy for a good 4 – 5 days with a few outings here and there.
8. We took them to watch Gruffalo’s Child at the Arts Depot in Finchley. I purchased front row seats as it was their first theatre experience and I wanted to maximise on their attention span by placing them right in front of the stage. It worked!! I read the book to them as a refresher in the morning and so they were quite enthralled by seeing it all in live action. They still talk about it and do funny things and say, ‘the Grufallo did that’ and ‘the Grufallo’s Child did that’.
9. Letting them run wild at home! Down to their underwear and vests and letting them be as silly as they wanted to be. No agendas. No where to go. Just monkey around! Many times they were in their 1st Halloween Costumes – I had a little cub and a baby elephant running around the house!
10. Santa Land at Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park. We got there with an hour left of day light so they experienced it by day and night. A whole 1 1/2 of rides, crowds, music, sounds. Too many rides to choose from and some they wanted to repeat! Adrenalin high! All this excitement and madness followed by dinner at Maroush Gardens on Edgware Road. Nothing like a good bowl of humus to settle them down!
11. Soft play areas AND Play dates with older cousins! Now that’s when I get to take them to a soft play area – this time Gambado in Watford – and get to enjoy a good cup of coffee with my cousin while my 12-year-old niece whisked the boys away for a good hour and a half! This was probably one of their best outings with their Didi (older sister). The key to enjoying a soft play area – having older siblings, cousins, older children of good friends to take the kids through the hoops, climbing the walls and sliding down poles and slides.
The 3 1/2 weeks I was apprehensive about turned out to be a lovely, bonding time with my sons and just doing fun things, day by day. They say kids need a routine and I agree to a very large extent, but letting go sometimes also is loads more fun!
So, here we are, 2015…. let’s see what fun moments the boys bring in to my days!