The winter school holidays were a little tough this year. The small lad was lamenting the absence of his besties, The Twins. He was hoping they would come to NZ again this year, like last year, but we never heard a word from the family despite our constant emails. Kind of rude if you ask me, but I guess you aren’t asking me! I tried to acknowledge his feeling without letting him mope around.
Some love the school holidays, I do and I don’t. I love not having to make lunches, I love not having to get someone up and moving early in the morning. I love the lack of schedule. People with several children complain about their kids fighting when they have too much time on their hands, but having a lonely only is harder to deal with IMHO. The only way I know how to manage having no siblings to play with, no friend invites or meet ups is to keep him busy, no grandparent input. I kept him busy, but scheduling down time too.
One thing I always used as a gathering activity when I was an Occupational Therapist for the Otago Youth Wellness Centre, was a puzzle. A big one, 1000 pieces at least. We set it up on the table and would leave it there, as each of the kids arrived they would sit and try to place pieces, it was our opportunity to catch up with them, see how things were going. Puzzles are wonderful activities to move in and out of, because conversation is not the focus you can talk when you want or stay silent.
I got a big puzzle from the supermarket one morning and thought it would be a good activity for Mac and I to work on during the holidays. We found our ‘Warbird Rally’ puzzle from the Country Road series by Ken Zylla and we got to work on sorting the edge pieces out first and putting the perimeter together. Mac remained very focused and determined. I noticed that he because frustrated when a piece he thought should have gone in a certain spot didn’t fit but that’s all part of the learning that comes from doing a big puzzle. We completed the puzzle in 3 days, with Daddy joining in to complete several sections.
Never underestimate the power of a puzzle.
Usually during the July school holidays the city puts on a lot of activities for the kids calleds KidsFest, some free, some not. BUT they fill up FAST. I didn’t get the booklet about it until the last day of school so when I called the places Mac wanted to try everything was booked out already except horse riding and trampolining.
Our first activity was horse riding. Mac LOVED it, now as a mother I think GREAT he had a good time, wasn’t hurt and it filled in some time doing something outdoorsy…. but as an OT I think WOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOOOO…. horse riding is amazing for postural control, which supports good penmanship – something my aspie boy struggles with. As an OT I am also thrilled about him having contact with animals because he so desperately wants to have a pet. I was surprised that this mild mannered boy within a very short time was solo, reigns and all.
We had to do a bit of babysitting so for the second week we had Olivia on the Monday, we went to a play as a family on Monday night, Bailey came with us. Tuesday was our rest day of blobbing and watching movies, then Wednesday -Friday we had Bailey staying and Livy staying on Friday.
I took Bailey and Mac to Orana Park on Wednesday. They had maps with the feeding times for each of the animals so I got them to pic two animals in each category and we made a point of going to those feedings. It was a long day but fun.
we saw Monkeys
Black and White Lemur
Giraffes, the kids got to feed the Giraffe too. Which they thought was super dooper cool.
Barnyard friends like this little cutie
and a llama and a bunch of alpaca
This wild little beast is a Tasmanian Devil. weird right?
A little unnerving to have this big cat on the opposite side of water from us. He looks to be sizing us up as his next meal.
The rhino with the backwards horn was entertaining
My favourite area was the New Zealand alpine bird and native bird aviaries.
These Kea are vicious looking but aren’t.
The leopards were a big hit though.
feeding the rainbow trout thrilled them too
Our next KidsFest activity was Trampolining. Both the kids loved it but again as an OT the proprioceptive feedback prompted me to sign him up for term long lessons.