Sunday, 16 August 2015

Our adventure in lavender

A couple of weeks ago we ticked off one of the things on my summer bucket list, and had a day out to visit a lavender farm. This is something we've never done before, so I was really hoping to get some great photos of our family with the purple fields as a backdrop.

We went to Snowshill Lavender near Bourton on the Water in the Cotswolds. It's a small lavender farm, but it seems to attract people from far and wide: when we visited there were lots of Japanese tourists, who were captivated by F, and gathered round us like he was some kind of baby celebrity! I took the tripod, which I've never been brave enough to use before, and it was great to get some shots of the four of us without having to balance the camera on something or asking a passerby to help.

The lavender was so beautiful - that deep purple was really intense and the scent was heady. We had a lovely little wander around and through the fields, bees buzzing all around us and M giggling as he explored. It felt like summer captured. We sampled one of the gift shop products, lavender fudge, but it was only M who actually enjoyed it! It was a bit too flowery for me and G. On the way home, we stopped in Moreton in Marsh for a mooch around the toy shop and a cream tea.  A lovely family day out, and something I'd like to repeat next summer.

 Here are some of the photos from the day.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

I thought I'd lost him: every mother's nightmare

I had a horrible shock on Tuesday last week.

I took the two boys to a country park to have a picnic and meet up with our friends.  It was a hot day, and the playground section of the park was absolutely teeming with children, with their parents looking on.  We'd finished our picnic, which hadn't gone very well, as M had been sick afterwards, and headed over to the play area while we waited for our friends to arrive.

F began to look like he needed a nap, so I put him into his pushchair while M stood beside us.  I looked up after fastening the straps, and just like that, M had gone.  No big deal, you can't always immediately spot your child when a playground is so busy. I scanned the section of the playground with the sand and wooden climbing frame. He wasn't there. My gaze moved to the fenced in part of the park with the swings and the roundabout.  He wasn't there.  I looked up at the top of the steps that lead to the slide on top of the hill.  He wasn't there.

Ok, I thought, he's here somewhere. There is a lot of kids. He's just standing behind someone.  I changed position a bit and carried on scanning the throngs of children.  I still couldn't spot him.  I heard my rational side telling myself to keep calm, and that if I keep looking, I'll see him run past in a second.  I made myself wait.  But, my little boy did not appear.

For a moment, I felt lost.  What should I do? Stay here and wait till I could spot him? Move about and check the part of the playground inside the fence?  Call his name?

I picked up F and began to move about, a sick feeling gathering in my stomach, and my heart beginning to thud a bit.  I moved all around the play equipment, scanned the nearby tree line of the forest, and walked down to the mini golf course a couple of hundred metres away. He was nowhere to be seen.  Increasingly frightened, I ran up to the slide at the top of the hill, clutching F in my arms, and checked inside the base of the wooden, carved slide. So many little boys. But none of them was my M.

My mind started to race.  Could he have wandered into the nearby car park or road?  Had he decided to explore the forest and had he got lost in there?  There were lakes amongst the trees. Oh God.  Had someone taken him?

By now, about 15 or 20 minutes had gone by.  Too long.  I started to call his name, and then to bellow it.  There was no response.  He didn't come running.  I got stared at strangely by other parents.  F started to pick up on my fear and began to cry.  I couldn't run like I wanted to while I he was in my arms.  My breathing began to get ragged and the tears started to fall.  Then, a kind woman asked me if she could help, and I was so grateful.  She told me to tell the park office staff, while she carried on looking for M.

The staff in the office were amazing. They sat me down, made me give a description of M, and then radioed all of the other park staff.  They all rushed out with instructions to search different sections of the park, and each with a description of my little boy 'dark blonde hair, aged 4, wearing denim dungarees and a colourful striped top'.  They assured me that they'd find him.  But, as I sat there, all my panicking mind would do was go through all the horrible scenarios of what could be happening to my little son, my baby boy. I was beginning to hyperventilate.

Within a few minutes, to my huge relief, someone shouted that they'd found him. I was in too much of a state to ask where they'd found him (but I think it was the kind woman who offered her help). He was looking bewildered: he didn't know what all the fuss was about.  He was safe.

For the next couple of hours, I felt shaky and scared. My legs wouldn't work properly.  I wanted to get away from the overly busy playground, into a space where I could see him clearly.  I didn't dare to take my eyes off him.

It was such a horrible experience.  I'm sure lots of other parents have gone through this kind of thing, but I don't think anything can prepare you for the horror of being faced with the prospect of your child being in danger.  I hope I never have to go through this again.

Have you ever had a similar scare?

My Two Little Brothers {Siblings: August 2015}

Another month has gone by: another month in which I've had the joy of watching the relationship between my two little boys develop.  As always, I'm grateful to Lucy at Dear Beautiful for hosting this lovely linky.  I'm looking forward to seeing my year's worth of photos collected in a collage at the end of this year's project.

There's a strong bond between my two boys already.  They seek each other out; they gravitate towards each other and find each other funny.  I will often be driving somewhere with both of them in the back of the car, and hear them dissolving into the sort of giggles that warm your heart.  It's usually centred around F blowing raspberries (he seems to have carved out a role for himself as the joker in the family), or M pulling funny faces.  They already have their own little world in that back seat that I'm not a part of.  And that's just what I want for them.

This month we have seen some little seeds of frustration between my two little brothers.  Now that F is crawling and cruising, and doing so at lightening speed, nothing that M builds, stacks, draws or creates is safe from his little brother's grasp, and his very natural compulsion to grab, knock down and tear up.  It makes playtime very difficult for me to supervise and it also means that a lot of M's new birthday toys are only played with during F's nap times.

On the whole, M is very tolerant of this bulldozing behaviour but, he is only just four, and of course, he gets upset and frustrated sometimes.  F, who now fully understands the word 'No!' and knows when he's being 'told off' by his big brother, reacts by sticking out his bottom lip in the most comical and pitiful way, and having a little hurt cry.

But, these two little boys love each other so much.  Even if they do frustrate each other sometimes!

dear beautiful