We've just returned from a wonderful holiday at Center Parcs. I would go so far as to say that (except for hubs contracting the Norovirus on that last day) we had the best holiday ever as a family. The sun shone for the entire week; it was warm and coats were not required. Because we'd booked the early bird package and could access our accommodation early we had the little beach on the lake to ourselves again so Katie ripped off her shoes and socks and paddled in the lake with the ducks! She got so wet we had to cycle back to the lodge minus her trousers (thank heavens for the bike trailers!). We whizzed round on our bikes enjoying the exericise; we swam daily in the pool and shot down the flumes and slides; we jumped up over the waves in the wave pool; we zipped down the zip wire in the playpark; we soaked it all up and slept very well at night. I also ate far too many chocolate mini eggs and put on 3lbs despite all the cycling but that's a different story!
Going on holiday with any child, let alone a child who is adopted, can be stressful. We have learned over the past few years that Katie can take a while to settle on holiday and the change of environment. Last year's holiday in Spain was pretty awful for the first 48 hours if I'm honest with Katie pouring bubble bath all over her bed as one example of her behaviour. I actually threatened to come home and was glad the house had a washing machine. She doesn't seem to mind being away from home and doesn't appear to have any anxieties that we won't be returning home. She loves packing and deciding which toys to take with us. I think it's the change in routine and the excitement of new things to do that brings out more challenging behaviour. I'm reliably informed however that this is the same for most children, and is not simply because Katie is adopted.
We try to maintain a routine re meal times and bedtimes as far as is possible when on holiday and we've also learned that continuity of location works well for us. Katie loves Center Parcs. We don't actually stay in the exact same accommodation but in the same type of accommodation so the layout and bedrooms etc are the same each time. This enables Katie to settle much more quickly because she knows her environment and what to expect. This is our third visit to Center Parcs and, this time on our first night, we had minimal misbehaviour. Katie is very familiar with the pool and the surrounding areas now. I will just say that Katie was beside herself with excitement for the entire holiday, and that can be pretty wearing after a while (especially the running up and down and general silliness), but she was actually fairly well behaved. She smiled and laughed almost the entire time. We tried new activities with great succcess. I think the fact that she is that bit older helps as well. She tried ballet and Meet The Owls and even swam down the outside water rapids with us. We watched the rabbits and baby bunnies who had a burrow just outside our front door which was amazing! Being able to share all that as a family was, quite simply, brilliant. We didn't want to come home. Katie enjoyed having Daddy home for the week and their relationship continues to blossom as a result.
It was, quite simply, marvelous!