It’s school trip time of year again as things wind down to the end of term. This week I went with T on hers. It was somewhere completely new to both of us, but her school invites parents (first come first served till the coach is full) to go along.
The day began relatively well, we got to school on time, dressed & even with a bobble loosely tying back her hair! But T was anxious, she’d had a late night because she struggled to get to sleep, and she’d already used a lot of energy checking and double checking that what we had in my bag and what she was wearing matched what the teacher had said and what the trip letter had in it. We had ordered a packed lunch through school and although I had made a note on the first trip letter saying that I had & that we chose tuna it was a lot of effort to trust that, we had to go over and over the plan. The weather was checked on the computer, with Daddy & by standing outside but it’s hard when the letter says to put sun-cream on and bring a rain coat (neither needed at this point)! How sunny does it need to be for us to have needed to put sun-cream on before getting there? Was it ok to bring the raincoat in Mummy’s bag and not be wearing it?
As we walked to school (with the usual mix of walking and carrying) T rehearsed the bits of the plan she knew – check the coach list in the playground, go into the classroom for register (but don’t hang up raincoats on my peg – it’s in Mummy’s bag, leave Mummy waiting in the playground till we’re allowed to go out and get on the coach. She struggled as usual with the going in to the classroom without me, and after register when she was sent out to me she would not walk to the coach until a teacher had specifically told her she could.
She wanted to sit with friends on the coach but then made sure I was sitting between her and the others from school.
As we set off she continued to be anxious, checking where things were in my bag, checking who else was on the coach and had they checked on the list in the playground? We needed a few distractions from the noises of the coach, and from the feel of the seat belt.
We chatted about what we might see and do when we got there, and it became obvious just how anxious she was about going somewhere so new. Things got the better of her as we neared the car park and she dropped her hair clip … tears, nails in my arm, not wanting to move from the coach. We did calm down enough to get out, and I picked her up while we all waited to go in.
We were given a map as we walked into the park, T was keen to see where things were. We found the picnic place where we needed to meet up again at lunch time and I read out a few of the names of the different rides and play areas to see which she liked the sound of. As she walked in she was quite overwhelmed for a few minutes, just standing looking at everyone going off to explore. I suggested one of the houses off the courtyard which said it was a mouse story. We followed some of her friends in. It was busy, lots to look at, and led to a winter wonderland ride!
After that we found some wonderful large sandpits with hardly anybody in. Perfect for T to calm herself right down! Shoes off, sand between toes, focus. 20 mins later she was much calmer, and eager to explore…
We found go-karts, and swings; a fairy tale village where each house told a story and had plenty to touch and explore…
Beyond the village we found the yellow brick road, and some of her school friends there too. Then we made our way to the meeting point for lunch and found her tuna lunch bag.
After lunch she seemed very keen to get going, she wanted to go to every part of the map! There were themed areas, a cowboy town with a train ride; a pirate ship and town – with a boat ride which got us a bit wet; a fantasy castle made of sweets; a farm tractor ride & Robin Hood’s castle – though we never made it to those last two as we popped indoors to find the toilet and discovered a soft-play!
Of course there was a gift shop on the way out to the coach, and we found some dolls things for Annie & Lucy (T’s dolls, I will introduce you sometime!).
The journey home was good with welcome distractions from school friends, and once finally home, ice lolly in hand & My little Pony on repeat I sat back with a smile – it’d been a really (intense) good day (only tea & bedtime to go!!) – I never take them for granted!