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Alfie and I came back from our travels yesterday and it was quite an enlightening trip for me, not least because it is the first time that the family have been separated for any length of time since Alfie was born and it was interesting to see how we all coped. This isn't a diary entry, I really just wanted to share some highlights from our time away.

The time we spent with Sal and her family was just lovely, not least because Alfie struck up a new love affair with Dan, their eldest. Dan was equally taken with Alfie and watching the two of them interact was just so beautiful it gave me heart ache.
On the subject of Dan, in years to come I hope I can explain to him that he really helped me this weekend.

For various logistical reasons I ended up watching Dan and Alfie on Saturday afternoon and it was the first time I have ever been ‘in charge’ of him. We played, had lunch and then played some more, all of which involved negotiation, and motivation.

I had always been determined that I was going to achieve both with my kids by positive reinforcement – so praising the good so they choose to display behaviour that gets a good reaction – but had always doubted that it could really work. I don’t doubt it anymore. Dan responded so beautifully to being given the opportunity to make the right choices it really made me feel like we both walked away from the day more empowered. The little dude is 3, so he’s not going to think about things like being empowered, but hopefully one day I can thank him for helping me be confident in my parenting choices.

Next we stopped off at mum’s, where I got a lesson in baby proofing. Alfie is mainly crawling at light speed and cruising with care. Within 5 minutes of hitting the carpet he had zoomed into the kitchen where he had discovered a new fun pastime. He has entitled it “How to pull the white twiddly things off the end of radiators leaving a lovely sharp spiky bit to chew”.

Dragging him away from his new toy, I chose one of the rooms to lay up in for the night and set up the travel cot. Several hours later I heard the noise I dread on a night alone, when Alfie decides he wants out of the cot and into bed with me. Luckily part of my choice of rooms had been around my ability to safely contain a co sleeping Alfie without a daddy shaped motion sensor to fence him in on the other side. Confident that there was a wall in place to stop any mishaps I cuddled up with him and after listening to his little baby snores for a few minutes, drifted off ...

... only to be woken up again by

*THUMP*

(Waaa-ROOOOOOOOOO)

My arm grabbed thin air where once there was a baby, my head was back in the primeval world of “where’s the dingo?!?” and for the life of me, I could NOT work out what had happened. I could hear him but I couldn't find him.

Then I remembered the radiator and slowly my brain reached out to me like some Alec Guinness hologram.

“Check the gap Tash”

What gap you ask? The tiny wafer thin gap where the radiator doesn't run the full length of the bed, that’s what gap. The gap so tiny I had looked at it and dismissed it as impossible for anything larger than a gecko to fit down. The very same gap where my child was now lodged and still bellowing in an amusingly muffled manner.

And I do mean bellowing, because that boy was PISSED.

It was all I could do to compose myself enough to reach down into the void and haul him out, I was laughing that hard. He was fine, no ill effects and not even much of a grumble after he was freed from the evil gap monster’s jaws.

Our last visit of the weekend was to see my little sister which involved, amongst other things, a trip to Wellington Park.
We had a ball, mushroom picking in the woods, swinging in the adventure playground and then petting small furries.
I would like to thank Otis the Guinea Pig for his patience and apologise for the attentions of my son.

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