Typical bank holiday weather I thought as I pulled back my curtains. Grey skies and no sign of the sun coming out. After breakfast and way too much um’ing and ah’ing I decided ‘bugger it’ I was going to take the kiddies out and if it rained, it rained, so what!
I packed a lunch as I have Riley on one of the many autistic diets. He is gluten, dairy, GMO and aspartame free. I pack the bag with everything but the kitchen sink just in case! Enough picnic food to last us a week, extra juice, coats, wellies, iPads, blankets, nappies, wipes and plenty of toys, most mums out there will probably understand where I’m coming from.
All in the car and set to go. Riley was happy on his iPad which I obtained through the Family Fund last year. This has been a complete godsend and has unlocked something in my little boy. Summer however was singing the bing bong song (Peppa Pig) that is my que and reminder that I no longer know any current music and that I could in fact sing almost every word to the CBeebies and Peppa pig albums! On goes the kids playlist, thank goodness for Apple Music!
Over an hours drive of having to follow my sat nav with a rather irritating voice that interrupted my CBeebies tunes and having to enviously watching Summer snoozing in my mirror (when she had me up 2-3 times the evening before!) We’re here!
We arrived around 12 ish and the car park was chocka. There was a large overflow car park and not many people around so I decided to wait around so I could park close to the entrance. I’m a bit funny like that when it comes to my babies, avoid all dangers and quiet areas ‘just in case’ especially when I’m on my own. I get out the trailer thinking this would be comfier than the buggy. Riley’s still glued to his iPad and Summer’s having a moan after I woke her up, here we go!
I was both surprised and happy that the entrance was free for us all. Riley as he’s registered disabled, Summer is under 3 and I went as Riley’s carer, this was a nice little bonus after the long drive. I bought 2 bags of food £1 each (I would recommend 4-5 bags per child!) we ran out of food very quickly. My inner child did come out when I saw the lambs so perhaps I was to blame mostly for this!
Within seconds of entering the beautiful outdoor gardens Summer was wanting to get out the trailor and walk. We fed the lambs, sheep, pigs, chickens and goats together. Summer laughed her head off with excitement to see the animals as I sang ‘old MacDonald’ to both the kiddies, not caring who was looking.
Riley’s favourite apps on the ipad are babytv and the babytv jukebox, so as Riley listened to his jukebox I tried to draw the remainder of his attention to the animals but he didn’t seem interested. Riley doesn’t have any understanding, social, verbal or awareness skills. The fact I make every effort where possible to encourage Riley to join in is enough for me. If Riley is happy to look up now and again and maybe notice an animal then I’m happy. I refuse to force Riley to do anything that will cause him to become overwhelmed with anxious.
I managed to find a lovely little enclosed garden tucked away and I had built up enough courage to let Riley out of the trailer to explore also. It was time for multi tasking Mummy! One eye on Riley the other on Summer and to keep checking in on the trailer which had my handbag, mobile, cash, car keys and the iPads in!
Both Riley and Summer had a blast, running around and exploring. It overwhelmed me with joy that they were both having such a lovely time and I almost felt in control. Well that was at least until Summer spotted the bouncy castle! She ran off heading towards this whilst I grabbed the trailer and attempted slowly to encourage Riley towards the bouncy castle. Once he was had noticed what was going on I couldn’t get him off!
I sat on a close by bench watching both my babies bouncing on the castle laughing and shrieking with joy and felt such an accomplishment, the hard work was finally paying off. I almost for a second didn’t know what to do with myself.
After a good 40 minutes of moving between the bouncy castle and the park (just next door) and having to put shoes on and then take them back off I decided to move closer to the amusement rides. Summer ran ahead whilst I tried to manage Riley who was refusing to leave and swinging from my arm. A pregnant lady carrying a small baby on her front caught Summer otherwise she would have gone face first into the moving ride! I couldn’t thank this kind woman enough for her help. The lady explained she knew how hard it is to have 2 young kiddies but said she thankfully has help, I didn’t, don’t ever!
Summer wanted to ride in the small car on the merry go round and whilst I got Summer settled in the car I managed to get Riley’s attention back on his iPad in the trailer. I feel so guilty putting Riley in the trailer or the buggy but I only have one pair of hands and I need to think about both my babies safety.
After the ride I felt thoroughly warn out and said to the kiddies that was it for today and we were heading back to Mummy’s car. On goes the kids playlist and you’ll never guess what happened on the way home…they both slept! Grrr, if you’re anything like me you have a strict routine and if it gets past 3 pm there is NO sleeping! Even opening the car windows, putting the music on and singing wouldn’t wake the kiddies up!
Some days I really feel the struggle of having a severely autistic 3 year old son and a 1 year old daughter who’s already going through the terrible 2’s. Thank you so much Apple for the pure genius of the iPad and all the educational apps that not only help my son with his development but also take away his attention from the sometimes overwhelming world.
Other than needing an extra pair of hands it was a really great day and we will definitely visit again!
Mumsy Mum x