Sunday, 22 July 2012

Firsts For Kayleigh

In a moment of what can only be described as Granny Madness, I agreed to have the Small Child aka Kayleigh to stay overnight for her first ever away from home experience. In fact, I went even further.

'Drop her off at 9 on Saturday morning,' I said, brightly. 'We'll take her out for the day!'

So, yesterday, Kayleigh arrived with all the accoutrements required by a Small Person in Transit which generally weigh more than the small person involved and take up four times the space. 'We're going to the beach,' she announced, because I'd already said to Chris and Leane that we were going to the seaside and they had clearly been prepping her about what to expect. For this was to be Kayleigh's first seaside experience. I had already anticipated various potential disaster scenarios e.g screaming at the sight of the sea, refusing to put feet on the sand/ eating the sand/ demanding visits to all the tacky and expensive seaside entertainments. And that was just Andy. And as such I had come up with the ultimate diversionary tactic to overcome these potential disaster areas and that was The Promise of Icecream.

'We're going to the beach,' said Kayleigh, again.
'You have no idea what you're talking about,' I said.
'No,' said Kayleigh.
At least she is being agreeable, I thought.

Anyway, we loaded ourselves into the car along with seaside equipment - picnic, towels, rug, bucket and spade, baby wipes, sunblock - and off we went to that glorious stretch of land on the south coast known as Camber Sands.

Now, there are two approaches to Camber Sands. One is to park in the first car park you find and then have to haul yourself up sand dunes with a 1 in 6 upwards incline to get to the beach. This is vitual suicide WITHOUT a small child in tow - two steps upward, one step slide backwards on quicksand - so we went for the second option which was to go to the far-end carpark where you might pay a small fortune for parking but at least you walk across the flat to the beach and you don't lose the feeling in your calves.

'Look at the sea!' said Andy. The sea at Camber is VAST. Kayleigh smiled and made all the right noises.

She enjoyed walking on the sand. We located a good spot to park the picnic rug upon. We hired a windbreak. We unpacked the various buckets and spades. Kayleigh looked on in disgust as Andy and I monopolised the equipment and built a sandcastle.

'Let's go and paddle,' I said.
'Okay,' said Kayleigh, like she knew what I was talking about.

Off we went towards the sea which was quite a way out, but not as far out as it can get at Camber which is about 25 miles or thereabouts.

I waited for the scream as Kayleigh ran confidently towards the waves, which were heading towards Kayleigh with even more confidence because waves are brazen like that.

As the first waves met the until-now unbaptised-by-sea-water toes Kayleigh grinned. And promptly sat down. Fully clothed.

Pisces, you see.

Anyway, the seaside experience went well. We made sandcastles. We trotted back and forwards to the sea, collecting buckets of water, and shells and pebbles. The sea was coming in so the trips became quicker and quicker. We relocated our beach camp as the sea came a little too close. We ate our picnic. I told a couple of overly-bold seagulls to go away. Andy took photos. We watched yachts and kites. We moved the beach camp again, because despite my optimism that 'surely the sea won't come in any further,' it bloomin' well did.

Then this massive black cloud loomed overhead and it got rather chilly. So we packed up and went on to another well-known attraction on the south-east coast - the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Miniature Steam Railway. Another Kayleigh First.

Now the RHD miniature railway is a proper railway, only miniature. And full of steam. Proper Ivor the Engine stuff - kerche-chuff, kerche-chuff - I remember going on it when I was a small child. And yesterday we got to travel on one of my favourite childhood trains 'The Green Goddess.' Yes, they even sold the same metal souvenir badges in the gift shop! See - things don't always have to change to stay fantastic. Must remember to tell them that at school when I return in September.

Any hoo, We got on the train, we chuffed off to Dungeness, Kayleigh screamed and laughed like a crazy child every time the steam hooter hooted which was quite a lot, and when we got back to the station we bought icecream and most of it dribbled down Kayleigh's arm because the sun arrived for the first time since, oh, February.

And then we came home, had tea, inflated the newly-purchased teeny inflatable bed and because we didn't have a stairgate, Gran (aka moi) ended up camping on the living room floor with the Small Child overnight.

Things I learned:
1) small children have more energy at the end of a sea-side day than Grans do
2) small children enjoy waking at 1.30 in the morning and retelling the entire story of the previous day to their Gran in minute detail and in a very loud voice
3) Grans are not very good at sleeping on floors - not without feeling like they have been lying on boulders all night the next day
4) Gran's faces can acquire a whole selection of new and interesting lines overnight
5) small children can squirm their way off inflatable beds and end up in very odd positions between the sideboard and the hearth
6) living room camping is an activity for under-10s only
7) glo-in-the-dark bears are very scary when you aren't used to them
8) the amount of time it takes to recover from overnight weekend granddaughter adventures is disproportionate to the amount of time spent on the actual event itself when one reaches a certain age
9) any woman in her forties who decides she wants another child before 'it's too late' is clearly mad and should understand there is a very good reason why your hormones start going haywire at a certain age and it is wise to pay heed to that reason if you want to preserve your sanity.
10) it has NEVER occurred to me, in nearly 47 years, to sit, fully-clothed, in the sea.


Eileen said...

What a wonderful day, lucky Kayleigh.

As an auntie, no grankids here, I quite understand the exhaustion that comes with spending time with a little one. You're a very brave woman (or maybe a little crazy? those hormones might be to blame!)

Just a hint, never offer to take two at a time. ;>)

Denise said...

Hello Eileen!
Rest assured there is no danger of me taking two tiddlers at a time. Being a teacher I spend all day being 'in charge' of classes of 30ish, and I have no intention of that horror spreading into my home life!
Lovely of you to leave a comment x