Are We Having Fun Yet?

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You might think this is an odd question, yet on our recent family holiday my son asked.

“Are we having a good holiday mum?” Due to extra sensory needs, sensitivity to noise, constant hyperactivity, add to that a severe case of anxiety when out in public and you will find, for us, holidays aren’t anywhere near relaxation time. They are a necessity, but to enjoy them we must work hard to find the perfect balance.

It breaks my heart, when my darling boy cannot see that he is having a good time, sometimes, to him he really can’t tell if what we are doing is fun. Yet he watches us enjoying the moments and hopefully one day he will look back on his childhood and remember we were doing our best to support and nurture his needs, along with his sisters.

Anxiety is a crippling condition, anxiety drives fear, the fear drives anger, what you are left with is a lot of trouble if you don’t recognise the signs. Keeping anxiety down is something we are trying to master, we are becoming experts in spotting the stress signs before they get too challenging. Although some days you just can’t plan for the unpredictability that is life.

We take a week of holidays every year within school time. No, not because its cheaper but because there are fewer people around. Trust me when I say crowds and too much noise do not mix well with our kind of paradise. If you had a child with extra needs wouldn’t you try to design their break to suit? If you are not a social butterfly the idea of empty beaches, bird watching and bush walks might be your kind of thing too.

We Are Different not Less

What regular kids find exciting and a whizz bang day out, my boy finds either really dull or far too over stimulating. So how do you find the perfect balance?

For us it is a fine line between keeping him happy and entertaining the other members of our family. Sometimes we have to split up, one parent takes our daughter to the movies or the shopping mall or to a fair whilst the other goes somewhere quiet for our son. Sometimes we have to push his boundaries and show him that certain experiences are fun in a supported environment. I admit also that some days we let him win and we don’t go anywhere, we call that down time.

Precious Moments

A day spent at our favourite rock pools on the beach at Kattang Nature Reserve on the mid north coast, is a day we all look forward to. The winter sun was warm and the air felt invigorating with the a tang of eucalyptus. Our daughter counted 47 sea stars on her hunt through the pools. My husband walked and stalked the wild life with his camera. My son played in the water splashing about with a stick, as boys do. I found serenity watching them being happy, content we were all together and I, like my husband also fell in love with the patterns in the sand.

Maybe our holiday does not sound exciting, no fun parks or large crowds. Just us on the beach, living, breathing and laughing, our precious, peaceful memories a chance to recharge our well-worn batteries.

“That was really fun! We found 47 sea stars.” Yelled my daughter to her dad as we headed for the car.

“I liked the red one best.” Said the boy, throwing lumps of wet sand in the air. I smiled hoping one day he will remember the calm moments and know that yes, his holidays were golden.

How do you spend your holidays? With the crowds or on your own in the wilderness? Share your memories here with me.

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About Minuscule Moments

Everybody has a DREAM. Today is the first day of the rest of my writing life. Its a lonely world out there when you are learning the craft. This year, as the same as last year, I want to finish my first children's picture book. I have learn't many wonderful lessons on this journey. You are never too old to learn.
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37 Responses to Are We Having Fun Yet?

  1. Thanks for sharing, Kath. Your holiday on the beach sounds perfect. Your 47 sea stars put our measly one to shame! I am in awe of your patience and selflessness to support your son. I am sure he will appreciate the moments you have provided for him. Glad to hear you had a peaceful break.

  2. Kath, you know the answer to that one…empty windswept beaches, nature, ocean…I don’t like crowds and is not a social butterfly at all. Mojito and Me only see cities as a place to buy supplies and spare parts.
    Love your pictures, the patterns on the sand, ART. I think your son and I will get on very well together. He’s my kind of guy…how old is he? Joking of course.
    Much love from a quiet and windswept beach in southern Sardinia.
    Pxx

  3. This was so beautifully and lovingly described. These days my time is my own, time to be home writing or time to drive and possibly find inspiration. Late next week I’ll take a day-long drive west through the mountains and visit my daughter on the other side where I’ll have the opportunity to share moments again for a couple of days.

  4. mrsgillies says:

    A book, with food and drink lying in the sun. In a peaceful environment.

  5. Audrey Chin says:

    Kath, like your son, my best holidays are “on retreat”, practicing silence. There’s nothing more refreshing.

  6. Memories last longer than the moment of fun, so I think those are more important. He’ll hold the memories for the rest of his life, which is what childhood is all about.

  7. Your time at the beach is what I long for. I want to sit idle and watch the waves. The sand art was unbelievable. LOVED it. I do not go towards the crowds, but to the quiet. Had some time at a family gathering and the constant noise did a number on me. So instead of staying overnight, which we had planned. We headed back home. Thanks for your post.

  8. These are the vacations my children would recognize–and loved from their childhood. Now, as adults, they have all those ‘typical’ vacation spots to look forward to. My daughter is in Hawaii for the first time–at the age of 27!

  9. What a beautiful post, you’re really an excellent mother and friend for your children.
    I think memories of the moments filled with love and peace are much clearer and more lasting than the memories of moments filled with excitement. To me having fun is simply feeling a deep happiness in your heart, whatever makes you feel like that is a great fun!

  10. nannus says:

    I am having holidays at the moment. I am home. I am reading books on philosophy (at the moment: philosophy of science), preparing for an exam in September. Yesterday I spent 3 ours weeding my vegetable patch (a vegetable patch, it turns out, is a sports device – every muscle was hurting afterwards :-)) and harvesting the last peas as well as some fava beans, at the same time listening to an audio book lecture about the history of China. Day before yesterday, I went on a 70 km bike ride. I am also thinking about some new blog articles I want to write. I am planning to go to the library and to an arts exhibition one of the next days, and do some more bike riding. I am having a great time :-).
    I think nowadays children are often overstimulated by TV and other things, becoming dependent on constant stimulation. The temptation then might be to go with them to some place where there is “animation”. But children don’t need to be animated. If they complain they are bored, don’t feel forced to entertain them. If left to themselves, boredom will sooner or later kick-start their creativity. I see playing as a self-regulating activity (I have written about this, see http://asifoscope.org/2013/05/13/aesthetics-and-pedagogics/ and http://asifoscope.org/2013/03/03/falling-off-the-ridge/).
    When I was a child, we used to spend our holidays mostly in places where we could go for long walks through the forest or things like that. I still love that (on foot or by bike). It increases sensitivity: children will find out it is fun to observe starfish, for example.
    I have never been in a fun park my whole life. I have never been on a roller coaster. I don’t think I have missed anything in life by not doing that.

    • Thank you your words mean a lot to me, we don’t have to follow the crowd my father often said just do what feels right for your own family, thanks for stopping by appreciate your input.

  11. Kath, what a beautiful holiday picture you painted! It almost felt like we could be there with you. My husband and I haven’t had a vacation in a long time, but we live in southern Florida, so I sometimes feel like we are always on holiday. The beach is my happy place and although I love people it’s nice to get away. Your children are very blessed to have parents who care so much and want to give them all some fun. Some day they will thank you for that.

  12. Tammy thank you for the lovely words and reading my words I appreciate you dropping in to say hello. I never got to Florida but it sounds pretty tropical to me and yes the beach has some healing formula for sure.

  13. grovewithin says:

    I was so touched by your words and somewhat felt ashamed that just earlier today I told my husband I was not looking forward to our upcoming vacation because of the crowds, but your post reminded me that i had planned this trip for my little boy and like you, i hope he remembers how fun it was when he is older. You reminded me to look forward to all the smiles I will see from him, despite my frustrations with crowds…thank you for your beautiful post and pictures!

  14. What a beautiful post! Love the images, they are a beautiful complement to your lovely writing. When I look back at my childhood, it is moments such as these shared with my family that stand out the most. Well done, Kath, on your parenting skills as well as your blogging about it. x

  15. Gorgeous photos, Kath. I was touched by the beginning of your blog. I sense the trust your son has in you to be able to answer his questions. I also noticed it was a question about “we”. He feels a part of your family, and knows he is loved.

  16. Sounds like a perfect holiday to me Kath, tears in my eyes reading how thoughtful you are about all of your family. Have lived with anxiety myself…and didn’t do as well as I thought I would with my own boy..well done you 🙂

  17. Oh, to just have quiet time in nature listening to the wind and the waves. That is an extraordinary gift.

  18. WordsFallFromMyEyes says:

    What a wonderful, wonderful precious time with your family. My gosh, this is just lovely.

    Great post, dreamy. Bless you & your lovely son! 🙂

  19. Desi Clown says:

    Amazing pictures! I’ve been to the beach dozens of times, but I’m guilty of looking at only the ocean, or the setting sun at the expense of sand. Hard to believe those pictures are just SAND!… And I’ve never seen a sea star before! Thanks for showing me one. What’s most striking though, and its something that comes out in all your posts is the level of patience you’ve developed in planning and handling things. I bet your son will look back and see just the fond memories from these trips 🙂

    • My lesson in this life is patience, I am far from mastering it but better than i was say two years ago. I am hoping my son will form some precious memories but like I say happiness is so different for him. Thanks for reading Desi.

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