Summer Fun With a Little One in Hastings

Thomas attends a private nursery and preschool which doesn’t close over the summer holidays. In fact, it closes its doors only on Bank Holidays and for the week between Christmas and New Year. This really suits me, since I haven’t yet figured out how any parents (working or non-working – although for different reasons, obviously) cope with school holidays and no child care. Ah well, I suspect I shall find out in three years time!

Despite the fact that we’re not restricted by term dates at present, there is still a very definite demarcation of the “holidays”. Gone are the paid activities like swimming lessons and music groups, and even the regular free sessions at the library and local drop in toddler groups take a break. These are the things around which I normally structure the days I spend at home with Thomas. Something from which to springboard everything else. And something which very definitely gives me cause to get out of the house and let Thomas burn up some of the omnipresent toddler energy.

So what I’ve already had a taste of, in relation to school holidays, is the sudden pressure to come up with fun stuff to do. Or even just “stuff to do” to fill the hours between waking and bedtime.

I know that kids, especially little ones, don’t need an awful lot to entertain them. I know that Thomas is quite content to run around the garden, splash in the paddling pool, play endless games with his trains and spend long afternoons at the park. But staying at home, or venturing only as far as the park, ends up making me feel anxious and slightly morose.

It’s not simply a feeling that “I should be doing more”, although I’ll own up to thinking that more often than I probably should. It’s not that I feel Thomas learns any less from being at home rather than out and about, or that he has any more fun, because he can find joy in almost anything. It’s more to do with boredom that I feel. And how that makes me feel like an uninspiring parent. When we get out and about the temptations of my own activities, or of social media, are very much lessened. Outside the walls of our own home and off our familiar turf we concentrate more on one another. We interact in new and varied ways. It’s fun for both of us. And although I know that Thomas won’t remember this summer directly, I most definitely will.

I guess these days out are almost more for me than for him!

That said, however, following on from full day at home and in the paddling pool yesterday, I asked Thomas this morning what he wanted to do today. His answer “Go to the seaside!” How could I refuse?

So we spent the day in Hastings. It’s under an hour on a direct train from us. Of course, it wasn’t perhaps quite the seaside Thomas has envisaged. There was no actual digging in the sand or paddling in the sea, since Hastings is a largely pebble beach. In order to take all that we would have needed to actually venture down to the sea, I needed the pushchair to help me carry it. But with the pushchair – our Maclaren whose wheels are well worn down – there was no way to negotiate the stones. One of the drawbacks of going solo on a day trip! Nonetheless, Thomas told me that he had a “great day in Hastings” and couldn’t wait to tell Daddy all about it!

Photos are a little sparse, as I was more focused on enjoying the day together, but here we go:

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Thomas had a good run around on the pebbles, repeatedly bringing me new ones to look at. “Look Mummy. Another stone!” Yes, sweetheart… they are everywhere! He also enjoyed Pelham playground, running round and round the pirate ships, crawling through tunnels and playing the drums (above).

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Next up was the aquarium, where we saw sharks, rays and “Nemo and two Dory fish Mummy”. Ahh, the Disney generation! (What can I say – he absolutely loves that film – it’s pretty much the only full length film he’ll sit through!) We also caught the ray feeding time, which was fun.

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Next up was lunch. We shared a portion of fish and chips – proper seaside fish and chips, eaten out of the wrapper whilst looking out to sea.

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Thomas wanted to take a picture of “you and me and the pushchair Mummy”. I’m not sure why the pushchair (usually much hated) has suddenly been afforded friend status, but I thought we could leave it out! As we were taking the selfie above, a lady stopped and offered to take our picture, saying how happy we looked. Thomas, predictably, spoiled this second picture somewhat by sticking his finger up his nose! An accurate representation of him at two adn three quarters, however, since his hands are usually down his shirts or fingers up his nose!

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We stopped off for a few minutes of trampoline fun. I know they are ridiculously expensive, but the look of joy on his face when I set him free and told him he could bounce was totally worth it!

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Next was a ride to the top of the hill on the cable car/lift/funicular. Technically I don’t think it qualifies as the latter, but whatever you call it, to Thomas it was a train going up a steep hill. In other words – heaven!

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At the top we admired the view, and Thomas had a good run around. Of course, there was ice cream!

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We finished up with a walk along the promenade – or should that be a shunt, since Thomas insisted we were trains for most of the way. Must have worn him out though, because he fell asleep in the pushchair – sign of a good day out, since it never happens otherwise! I took the opportunity to try and capture some shots of the pier, which is now undergoing renovation, but I had the wrong lens and the light was quite right, so I couldn’t capture what I really wanted to.

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It was a totally spontaneous and unplanned venture down to the coast, but a very successful one!

(I’m well behind on updating some of the other family adventures we’ve had recently, including more from Berlin, old fashioned funfair and fete fun and our trip up the Shard a couple of weeks ago. But I thought I’d get this one down while it’s still fresh. If I wait to catch up, I never will!)

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2 Replies to “Summer Fun With a Little One in Hastings”

  1. What a wonderful day out – even if you didn’t quite get to touch the sea you were definitely at the seaside (the fish and chips proves it!) and it looks just beautiful!

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