Age: 10 months
I like: Biting, blueberry yoghurt, unpacking things, boobs, chattering
Last weekend was Easter weekend so both Friday and Monday were bank holidays and we all got a nice long weekend. We decided to take advantage of the extended bit of time off and the whole O clan went away to Centre Parcs at Elveden Forest. Basically you stay in a cute little cottage in a forest where there are no cars, only bikes and partake in fun indoor and outdoor activities (if you want to). This was the third time we’ve been as a family since I have known Mr O but the first time with Little O.
In many ways we had a wonderful time. The surroundings are idyllic and everything in the Village is well arranged for children, plus no one expects you to get your baby to behave calmly anywhere. Mr O rented a special bike with a little carriage on the back for Little O to ride in, which he loved. We spent loads of time in the domed, climate controlled swimming park where we were all surprised that Little O was keen for the most aggressive waterfalls possible. He kept spurring on whoever was holding him like a mad little jockey so he could get splashed more and more. Clearly his swimming lessons are paying off.
Other parts of being away were more challenging. Little O doesn’t like his cot at the best of times but he really didn’t like the cot in the chalet, which meant that I mostly had to just go to bed with him at about 7pm. We stupidly forgot out baby monitor and it turned out the place was almost totally soundproof so I was constantly worried I wouldn’t hear him if he woke on the few odd occasions he deigned to sleep in the cot.
It was also a real eye-opener into how much our lives have changed. When you have a baby you kind of seamlessly adapt to organising everything around the baby. You don’t even realise you’re doing it. It just happens. Obviously for other people around you, who are not the parents of the baby, this is not the case. So we ended up in a bit of a scenario where as many activities as would have been booked pre-Little O had again been booked, without all that much thought about who was going to look after him or when he would nap, eat etc.
I suppose I could have negotiated with everyone so that I did a few activities and we rotated who was looking after Little O and I don’t think anyone would have minded but that would really have made me feel like I was impacting their enjoyment. So I spent a lot of the break, noodling around the cottage with Little O and taking him for walks in his buggy. I think I had kind of expected that I would get a little bit of a break and a rest over the weekend with so many adult hands about to help out but that didn’t really happen and I came back more tired than I had been before we left.
As much as I love Centre Parcs and our trip, I might wait until Little O is a little bit older to go back again so that he can participate in some activities himself and enjoy the amazing playgrounds for more than just the swings.
Oh and just for a laugh, here’s me before and after the one activity I did get to do, which was climbing some very high trees.
We live quite close to Elveden, but have never visited Center Parcs. I think you are right to wait until Little O is much older, and can make more of the experience with you. At least you had the pool, and it sounds as if he really enjoyed that.
Best wishes, Pete.
It’s a really fun place and my in-laws in particular love it. I suppose it depends on how much you enjoy the kind of activities they offer. I think we’ll definitely be back as a family in a couple of years.
I went to Center Parcs years ago and had a really fun time.
Glad to hear you enjoyed it!
I really must go again.