Recently Mrs O and I decided to make the most of the beautiful sunshine we’ve been having, so after much debate, we settled on a plan to have a relaxing picnic in the park with our little people.
We both managed to prepare our picnic food, nothing luxurious mind: cheese sarnies, crisps and some fruit for good measure. I’d describe us as the picnic ‘survivor’ mixed with ‘the rest of us’ (see our fellow blogger ‘Snot on My Jumper’ for further explanation: https://snotonmyjumper.wordpress.com/2016/08/29/parenting-at-the-park/)
I arrived first with Cal – we attempted to enter the playground whilst we waited for Mrs O and Little Miss O. To say this was a mistake is an understatement – due to it being summer holidays it was obviously jam packed with kids, mainly older ones who ruled the playground roost! Cal was desperate to join them on the ‘big kids’ equipment, so I had to rescue him from climbing higher than I could reach him, whilst simultaneously steering his buggy and my loaded up picnic prep behind us. It all became too much and luckily I easily distracted Cal from the playground by suggesting we look at the ducks on the pond whilst waiting for Mrs O and Little Miss O. They soon arrived to join us.
Our picnic ideal:
- Soaking up the sunshine whilst our little people merrily played together
- a relaxing picnic lunch enjoying and sharing our snacks
- a gentle game of ball all together
- suitably worn out children who happily leave and snooze on their way home in the car
Our picnic reality:
- Picky little eaters who suddenly hate everything you’ve lovingly prepared for them but want everything Mummy or the other child has
- Turning into shouty mum when your little treasure decides they want to chase after the dog furthest away from us / kick their ball as far away as possible
- Children developing selective hearing meaning running around after them to bring them back to our base
- Requests for every food under the sun you’ve failed to bring along
- Ultimately becoming a hot sweaty mess whilst trying to satisfy our little ones at the same time as trying to get some form of adult conversation going
- We upped and left the park, deciding instead to head to nearby Mrs L’s house
- Result: 2 happy children running around my garden with many toys at their disposal whilst 2 happy mums had a much needed coffee, and of course cake whilst managing a full conversation.
Keep it simple – why overcomplicate plans when the back garden is just as good as any park
The next time:
So next time round, we handled this all in our stride. No big plans, no prepared picnic, and this time we brought along Mr L and Mr O. The children (and parents) were happy with just an ice-cream in the park, followed by a cheap and cheerful pub lunch once the little ones were all played out. All we needed was 1 scooter which both children shared nicely, 2 picnic blankets as a base, followed by half an hour in the playground area for the kids to burn off more energy and build up an appetite. Obviously having Mr L and Mr O in tow was helpful, but our spontaneous arrangements worked out much better than our previous carefully planned get together.
Our recommendation, therefore, to ourselves, and anyone else is keep it simple and don’t overcomplicate things. We’d love to hear your stories of best-laid plans vs keeping it simple…..