This week has marked a big stage in both Éowyn’s development and our own as parents. For Christmas my mom, Nanny Fran, bought us a two part present a ‘Couples Experience’ voucher, and while we were taking advantage of that, she would look after Éowyn. You could say that mom bought a day with her grandchild but she knows that she doesn’t have to do that.
We decided to use the voucher to book a spa day at the Marriott Hotel and Country Club at the Forest of Arden for our wedding anniversary and then on the back of that a night at the hotel. This meant that Éowyn would spent over 24 hours with Nanny Fran and Auntie Liz but without Mommy and Daddy. To make this as easy as possible we travelled up to West Bromwich on Sunday. It had been a while since Éowyn had seen her Nanny Fran but had soon made herself at home and was more interested in her nan and auntie as new playnates than her mom and dad. We had arrived in West Bromwich a little earlier than we thought and had more than enough time to take Éowyn’s Great Great Uncle Albert out for Sunday lunch. I think that she amazed him with how much she enjoys her food and how vocal she can be.
Sunday evening, Liz’s friend and Mom’s surrogate grandchildren paid Éowyn a visit. It was really interesting to see Éowyn interacting with older children. She loved it as you can see from the photos below and I’m sure that Amelia and Finn enjoyed it too.
So Monday morning came and as usual we woke with Éowyn and after her first morning feed we took her downstairs. It was quite strange knowing that we were going to leave her for a day and have no way of telling her. So after breakfast Nanny Fran took her upstairs to get washed and dressed and we left for our day (and night) away. No kisses or waves goodbye as we drove away. We were in two minds as whether this was best but listened to Nanny Fran’s advice and hoped that all would be well.
The hotel is a couple of miles from Meriden a village that lays claim to be the centre of England and after a day of relaxation and massages we decided to walk into the village for a gourmet pub meal at the Bull’s Head as we were assured that it was only a 20 minute walk. Nearly an hour later we found ourselves in the village at the centre of England. At just over 3 miles we would have needed to have walked at 9 miles an hour to have made it into Meriden in 20 minutes. That is the equivalent of running a marathon in under 3 hours! Not part of a relaxing day, especially up hill and down dale.
It was strange not to have Éowyn with us, and Lucinda obviously felt that more than I on the Monday and I had to prevent her from phoning mom and texting constantly. However, Tuesday morning the roles were reversed and it was me that was anxious to get back.
Our return was a mixed blessing: Éowyn had not missed us as much as we thought she would. Obviously this is good, as it means that we can leave her with others and have some freedom and time to ourselves but at the same time a little disappointing that she didn’t miss us. It is, I suppose, only our egos that assume that only we can possibly know what our child needs and it is good, nay crucial, for her development to realise that there are others that can look after her. Not to mention good for us as parents to have time for us and our relationship.
Éowyn had a fabulous time at Nanny Fran’s as she was the centre of attention. They went to the Sea Life centre in Birmingham (about as far from the sea as you can get in the UK!) as well as meeting Nanny Fran’s friends and visiting her Great-Grandma.
The journey back home was eventful too. Lucinda had bought a rocking horse off ebay (for the grand total of £5.50) from a family in a village near Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire. Conveniently this is not too far from our way home, so we decided to pick it up on the way back. The transaction was smooth but as we left with the horse the call of the bladder and Éowyn’s feed, time beckoned and there was no welcoming hostelry on the horizon. Sitting on a bench rocking a baby in a pushchair an elderly lady was the only person around to ask where the nearest pub or restaurant was. ‘There isn’t one near”, she said and Lucinda returned to the car. Before she had managed to climb back into the car to head home the lady called her back. “I can’t see you without a cup of tea or the baby without her feed,” she insisted. “Come back to my place.” The lady was most insistent and it seemed as if it would offend not to take her up on her offer, so we did.
Her husband did not bat an eyelid that his wife had invited two strangers with a baby back to their house for a cup of tea and the chance to use the loo. We sat with them for 90 minutes or so, drinking tea from china cups being forcefed kitkats while Éowyn nursed. They were a lovely couple, so friendly and welcoming. They were both approaching 90, yet scarcely looked over 70. It was so uplifting to meet such kind people when there is such a barrage of depressing news in the media. Marge and Len we tip our hats to you and only hope that we are enjoying life as much as you guys do now when the calendar reads 2060.
Today, saw another journey, this time south, for a rocking horse. Yes Lucinda’s winning streak on ebay listed rocking horses extended to two (well Éowyn does mean ‘lover of horses’). This one however was in Southampton and was actually a donkey. In all fairness this second horse (donkey) will last her much longer and is much nicer (although don’t tell the frst one that!) As we were down in deepest darkest Hampshire we decided that it would be nice to visit Lucinda’s friend Pam in Andover. It was good catching up with Pam as we have not seen her for a while and to see her youngest daughter Zara who is growing up so fast.
Éowyn took another step in her development too, although not one under her control. Finally she has teeth. After what seems like an age her top two front teeth have cut through the gum and are growing well. However, it is a little strange to see her with teeth after nine months with none. Our little girl is growing up so fast!
Enjoy the new photos (and I have uploaded more of our wedding photos onto the Flickr pages too)
Peace and Love