Tuesday 22 April 2014

A Trip To The Farm

Each year since Leo was a baby, we have taken a trip to the Cotswold Farm Park. I absolutely love seeing the difference that comes around in the space of a year. Each year new doors open to Leo, new opportunities that he was too small to understand or appreciate during the last time we visited.

This year Leo is 2 months shy of turning 3 years old, and can be a real cheeky little guy. The whole ride there, Leo was so excited at the prospect of giving the lambs a bottle, in fact it was all he would talk about. Arriving early Leo had a lot of time to think about feeding is baby sheep, or Timmy as he likes to refer to them as. When the lady came to open the gate I was pretty sure Leo would have already scaled it and been deep within the farm… But luckily we kept Leo on the right side of the fence until the gates were opened up.

Being the Easter holidays we were among a big crowd of farm goers, who had all seized the good weather to pay a visit to the Cotswold Farm Park. I do much prefer to visit during term time when all of the older kids are at school, you get to see so much more and have a much more hands on experience. Going with Leo who has no concept of waiting in line, this suits us and everyone else for that matter, much better.

You know those days where toddlers are nothing but trouble? Our trip to the farm was one of those days! From entering the park to the time we went home, Leo had a bee in his bonnet. I put this down to it being so incredibly busy, Leo thought everybody who spoke, were directing conversation towards him. In matter of fact those conversations were between other people’s families… but of course Leo and this bee in his bonnet had lots to say. One man said ‘Come on kids! Let’s go and feed the lambs!’ and the next thing I know.. Leo is piping up and saying ‘NO! I FEED THEM!’. This pretty much sums up how Leo reacted to people generally that day… Moody little monkey!

Our first point of call was of course to the play areas, Leo is at an age where he is just drawn to these places. You can’t possibly walk past them… You have to bypass all of the animals and go for a play. Leo could have quite happily spent his entire day just within the play areas if we had given him half the chance. After prising Leo out of the first play area… He discovered the electronic tractors. He was over the moon, he was still under the advised height to play, but you trying explaining that to a toddler who wants to drive a tractor! Keeping him off the tractors was quite simply not going to happen. Before it got really busy this wasn’t such a problem, he could make the tractors move by putting his foot on the accelerator, but steering was his downfall. Leo bumped into walls and needed pulling out, he caused traffic jams when other little children refused to go around him…It was wall to wall mayhem for my little farmer.

Of course Leo thought it was hilarious that he was causing such a palaver, the more traffic that came to a standstill the better. We very, very quickly got Leo away from the tractors as  my toddler along with his road rage were just going to get us into trouble!

Leaving the play areas behind we ventured into my favourite part of the farm park, the area where all of the baby animals are housed. They have all sorts from lambs, kids and piglets, to baby chicks and rabbits. It is a great hour to get really hands on with the animals, and also the area where Leo’s wish to feed a lamb was to come true.

We grabbed a spot in line near the very front, and Leo was having a great time patting the baby goat as we waited. He got so engrossed with what he was doing, that he seemed to think that he was the only one who was allowed to stroke the animals. I caught my mischievous 2 year old shooing other little hands away from the goat. I had to explain to Leo that the animals were there for everybody’s enjoyment and he had to be kind to the other people who wished to get involved. Luckily the bottles were now being brought out, so Leo was very soon feeding the sheep as he had been promised.

Leo’s mood didn't improve much even when we moved on into the next part of the farm, the only smile that spurred across that beautiful face of his was when he was climbing hay bales! Leo and his Aunty were watching the milking session that was being put on when Leo decided to stumble and take a little fall. Hearing Alice scream I ran over to see her pulling Leo back up, he had fallen down one of the hay bales… But thought the whole experience was fantastic. I on the other hand had my heart firmly in my throat…

Moving quickly away from the hay bales we thought it best to make our way to the bouncy pillows, it was apparent that Leo had lots of energy that needed to be let off. Along the way we came across the zip wire…. Of course Leo wanted to have a go. I explained to my dare devil toddler that he was too little to ride alone.. But Mummy would take him on. Because obviously.. That was the safer option. Right?

We took our place in the line, and we waited patiently. Leo took this opportunity to growl at a man and his children who were talking about how it was their turn next… Being a stickler for the rules Leo growled ‘NO! MY TURN!!’ at them. I once again apologized for Leo’s waspy behavior and hoped they would just ignore his bad tempered ladybird attitude!

So it was now our turn to ride the zip wire. I sat on the seat and placed Leo on my lap, I got him to hold on and made sure he was safely on. Then… I pushed off. We quickly began to pick up speed. We went faster… and faster.. Until I thought ‘Oh dear! We are going to bump at the end!’. And with that thought we went *BUMP*!

Our combined weight had hurtled us down the zip wire at a speed no one else had picked up! Had I seen what was going to happen to us before I considered taking Leo on… I probably would have thought twice! The bump at the end of the zip wire swung us upwards, and we were pretty much upside down by the time the swing had reached it’s peak. All I could think about was falling off and taking Leo with me. It really was an ‘oh sugar moment’. 

As luck would have it I managed to keep us both on the swing. We came to a stop and we both dropped to the floor, and do you know what the toddler said? He said 'MORE! AGAIN!' There was not an ounce of fear in his voice at all. Just pure excitement!

Obviously... I didn't really fancy going for a second ride!

The rest of our time at the farm was spent on the swings and of course the bouncy pillows, a toddlers introduction to Bounce Inc! After a whole lot of bouncing fun we decided it best to take my tired, grumpy two year old home. The general public had endured more than their fair share of Leo's attitude for one day!

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