Pants, ducks and mermaids

Last week we all went on holiday to Norfolk, to stay by the beach in a caravan.

It was wonderful and ‘intense’ in equal measure. Intense because we were living with a one year old and nearly three year old 24/7 with only a curtain to separate us at night. The unsurprising result being that after the first few nights they didn’t want to go to sleep…. ever.

We would put them in their double bed as far away from each other as possible. Mole would promptly scoot over the Hedgehog’s side and cuddle her head / attempt to crush her, it was not clear exactly which it was. I half expected to find Hedgehog strangled in the morning, but she survived.

After doing the usual bedtime lullaby’s we would leave them in darkness and run out of the caravan to hide in the awning, clutch our wine and hope for the best. After about two minutes we would hear a thump thump as their little feet hit the floor, a scrambling at the door, and then it would creak open to reveal two smiley expectant faces in the gloom.

At around nine pm they would hit a wall and Mole would go from her tenth declaration of “Daddy I’m not tired at ALL’ to lying flat out and comatose. After that all we could hear was Mole’s snoring and Hedgehog’s continuous thumb sucking.

At six am sharp they would toddle their way into our bed, with no cot bars or stair gates to contain them. By nine am we were breakfasted, dressed and on our way out somewhere, but not before Hedgehog had fed the ducks her porridge remains from the awning door, toddled out to say hello at any passing pigeon or rabbit, and flirted with the dogs from the caravan next door.

It seemed like the rest of Norfolk didn’t open until 10am. That and the fact we were in the first week of term time meant it was all relaxed and quiet. The difference in price between this and the week before was eye popping. We had the run of the tree top adventure playground at Holkham House, followed by miles of open, sandy and empty beaches. Term time holidays, I salute you. God knows what we’re going to do when they actually start school.

Mole started potty training herself about five days before the Norfolk trip, so we decided to roll with this happy development and took the potty with us, which I’m pleased to say has been very successful. My little Mole is now dry during daylight hours, and likes to do the entire ritual by herself. We can hear her talking in the bathroom while she does this… “First I get my seat, then I get my little step, then I pull my pants down, I’M DOING A WEE!, then I do the flush…’ you get the idea.

She is also very conscientious about washing her hands. It is true that she flooded the caravan bathroom by leaving the tap on with the plug in the sink, but what is a soaking wet carpet and all of our towels to mop it up next to a child with clean hands?.

In the course of the week in Norfolk, Hedgehog went from doing nine wobbly steps to running the width of the beach (about fifty yards) or any distance to the nearest duck. Hedgehog is less crazy about the water and prefers to sit and make sandcastles, while Mole is off doing long walks with me in the shallows, fishing for ‘weeds’ and singing the mermaid song from Ben and Holly, over and over and over and over and over again. Now she’s seen Disney’s The Little Mermaid and the obsession is complete. I’ve relented and arranged for her to have a mermaid birthday cake.

By the end of the week we were all a bit more tanned, our blond bombshells had grown up a little more, we had lost some sleep but had plenty of cuddly snoozes together and came home with sand in our shoes (and in most crevices).

Seaside holidays are the best.