As parents we are bombarded with messages that suggest we give our children educational fun and support their development. Nevertheless, the good intentions and dreams of a happy, giggling child in a positive activity do not always turn out exactly as you wish. Recently, I took Number One Son on a rainy day to the Newark Museum, which I think is lovely, with a children’s play room, street-o-rama, a full-sized First World War trench and a small shop corner for children in a reconstructed cloth shop (or was it groceries). In my mind’s eye I saw my son happily climbing the stairs and running around the playroom. Sadly, the only thing way he wanted to run was out of the entrance door. I managed to show him the playroom and the shop corner, but with no success. He wanted to run out. He was much happier in the nearby Waterstone’s and ran around the book stands instead. The experience was improved more by a shop assistant offering Number One Son a Halloween sweet.
Even more recently we headed to the botanical gardens. Again, I had dreamt about a happy, giggling child running around and kicking the yellow autumn leaves. This time around he happily ran to the long water garden, but seeing that there were no fish in the water, he immediately sat back to his stroller I take still with me – just in case. He was crying about our ‘Vrmm Vrmm’ and was totally oblivious to the lovely sunny weather. He wanted away whereas I wanted to see the Pinetum. The only thing he got excited about were the cars on A6 driving by the Pinetum. Afterwards, he was excited about driving in a Sainsbury’s trolley, going for a car ride and seeing clown fish in a pet shop. Have I managed to bring up a retail junkie?!
If there are other children, does not necessarily help. He recently also declined to go to a play group. He was not happy about this particular group with the earlier lady who did not allow children to play and check the toys, but expected them to sit nicely in a ring – something Number One has never been too keen on. However, with new people running it, he was happily doing activities at least a little bit for some weeks. But this time he was much happier going to the rainy park and having a bit of a run. While mummy got wetter and wetter, since I had expected a nice indoors activity.
What is common for these events was that he was sleepy and was woken up from a nap. However, the days are now short and he should be getting away from napping any way, but I cannot ignore the fact that I may have a better success rate, if I just let him to sleep and took him to the park afterwards. Or for a short walk in the dark to see the street lights on a walk way. Learning fun is not always as successful as expected.