In true middle class British fashion we've had a holiday in Devon, staying in a charming cottage near the sea. Lunatic Child and the dog were living their best life this past week. Lunatic Child made dams, collected rocks and seashells and searched for crabs. He dug moats and built sandcastles and tried to hold back the sea with his spade. He basically stripped down to his pants the second we got on the beach no matter how cold it was. The dog, meanwhile, fetched the ball until he was ready to drop. We've still not discovered what his limits are. I suspect he's so stupid he'd fetch the ball until he died of heart failure. He's not the sharpest knife in the drawer. And he farts.
On the other hand, my sweet Trouble wasn't so keen. He's never loved the beach. He doesn't like the sand that much and he struggled all week with a really heavy cold. Poor wee babby. He did really enjoy our trip on the steam train and ferry to Dartmouth, but then he fell asleep in the restaurant and when he woke up was appalled to discover that they'd taken away his lunch. It was that kind of holiday for Trouble...
Devon is famous for its crabbing, which is fantastic for kids since it's instant gratification. You drop a net filled with bait, and you basically get a crab almost every time. Fun Daddy and kids filled a bucket in Dartmouth, which was fabulous for the the children but a heart attack in waiting for the parents as the jetty had about a 20 foot drop to the sea and there was no railing. The kids are roaming around all these lines tangled on the ground and turning around backwards and generally having no spatial awareness and every parent was standing there with pale faces and twitchy hands waiting to make a grab for a falling child. Low stress!
On our last day, we went on a walk in Dartmoor. Lunatic Child found it boring until we discovered that every puddle on the moor was absolutely heaving with tadpoles. It's been dry lately so the puddles were disappearing and the tadpoles were dying. Lunatic Child was frantic so we brought back a whole heap of them in our water bottle. This meant that Harried Mum was carrying a box full of tadpoles on her lap for the entire trip back from Devon with Lunatic Child threatening not to buy me a birthday present should I happen to be careless enough to let them die.
We got home and transferred the tadpoles into a small aquarium. I sent Lunatic Child out for some pond water from the small pond round the side of our house. We've poked around in there a bunch, and although Lunatic Child has been convinced there's something pink with tentacles living in there, I didn't think there was anything to it. So he brought in a big bowl of pond water and pond weed and plopped it on the table. The water starts to move and Seb is screeching that he's got the thing with tentacles. I look over and there's a big old green frog in the bowl. I shriek. (I was surprised!) Seb shrieks. The dog freaks out. Trouble is like, what the hell is going on? The frog took the opportunity to make a bid for freedom. This led to a short comedic interlude with everyone stumbling into each other in the kitchen while we attempted to catch the frog and keep the dog off it.
Eventually the frog made it back to his pond, and the tadpoles (still alive!) are hanging out on our kitchen table. I suspect we didn't have to drag a bunch of tadpoles back from Devon and probably could have gotten some from the pond round the side of the house, but whatever. Lunatic Child has loved the whole experience. I suspect that frog is not going to have a very tranquil life now Lunatic Child knows he's there and can be caught.
In any event, the kids are going back to school tomorrow. Thank all the Gods. We had a lovely holiday, but we have all had a *lot* of togetherness. Harried Mum is actually looking forward to going back to work, and that is really saying something...