Well here it is…only a month or so late!!!
So we had a lovely couple of days away over Christmas at Center Parcs Sherwood. This was our second Christmas away after a really difficult time with Toby over the Christmas period two years ago. He finds Christmas really challenging but enjoys being away and if he’s happy then everyone else can enjoy themselves so it just works for us all.
From the moment we arrived it was magical. Even Santa was waiting to greet us as he checked in. The trees were covered in ‘snow’, there were lights and decorations everywhere, not to mention a large shed full of singing reindeer!
Center Parcs just works for Toby, there’s enough to do to keep him entertained but it’s also very peaceful, very few cars on site, large trees which make it feel very dark and enclosed and wifi everywhere!
A few days earlier we had visited Santa for the first time with Teddy. We’ve never really done the whole Santa things before as Toby’s not a fan of other people as it is. It was nice to feel like ‘normal parents’ and take Teddy. Teddy finds answering questions challenging, he’s great at talking (about things he’s interesting in) and repeating things back to you but often can’t answer when you ask him a question that doesn’t have a fixed answer. So we were so surprised when Santa asked Teddy what he would like for Christmas and Teddy answered, “a reindeer!” I’m not sure he completely understood what was going on but we thought it was hilarious. However we were even more surprised when he arrived at our lodge at Center Parcs and there was a cuddly reindeer on the table as a Christmas gift – magical!
In the past we’ve not bothered with any activities as Toby wouldn’t be interested or able to participate. However this year We decided to book a couple for Teddy. The first being a festive pony ride – which he loved! His pony Bobby kept sneezing which he though was hilarious and he had a huge smile on his face the whole time.
Teddy also did Mini Tree Trekking which he loved! Imagine a high ropes course but only about a meter off the ground perfect for action-loving toddlers. Teddy was fitted with a harness and had to navigate the course and collect magnetic puzzle pieces on his way round. Once they had collected all of the pieces the children had to make their jigsaw on a magnetic board. They then closed their eyes and were given a cuddly squirrel to take home – Teddy was over the moon with his. I asked him to say thank you to the man and he shouted, “thank you man!” at the top of his voice and had all of the adults giggling.
Teddy had been very excited by all things Christmassy….in fact we’re nearly at the end of January and he’s still singing Jingle Bells and wishing people a Merry Christmas! Last year we didn’t do presents at all but this year we did the boys a little stocking each. Teddy loves opening his and was very impressed that Toby got a Peso and some cereal bars too which he gave to him. The Winterwonderland lights and interactive displays were amazing and both the boys loved walking through Winterwonderland several times a day.
It wasn’t all perfect…Toby didn’t sleep particularly well and was up at 3am on our first morning. On boxing day he woke up at 1am and by 4am was having one of the biggest meltdowns I’ve seen him have in a long time. He woke everyone else up and in the end both Joel and I wrestled him in to his snowsuit, I threw on my coat over my pyjamas and pushed him outside in his buggy. I was convinced the the security guards watching on CCTV would think I had kidnapped this child who was screaming hysterically whilst I was pushing the buggy at 4am. Thankfully the Winter Wonderland lights were still on at that time of the morning and they seemed to calm him down and so after 45 minutes of walking around in the cold, he was settled enough to go back to our lodge. He then had a quick power nap for an hour at 9am and managed the rest of the day on about 3 hours sleep – I honestly don’t know how he does it!
In keeping with the tradition we made last year we had our Christmas dinner of chicken nuggets and chips by poolside. The pool was lovely and quiet first thing Christmas morning as I think most people were opening presents or cooking Christmas dinner. The pool at Sherwood is one of Toby’s favourite places ever! He loves the dingy rapid ride and all of the slides. The pool staff are also very helpful for guests who have disabilities and the changing facilities are really good.
The weather was also amazing and so we spent a lot of time in the outdoor playgrounds. Having wifi everywhere also really helped Toby as sometimes when it all became too much or places got too busy he would just sit in his buggy on his iPad and that would chill him out.
Hope that gives you a snapshot of what we got up to. We loved just having time together and remembering what Christmas is really all about and we’ve booked to go back next year too. I hope you all had a lovely Christmas too however you spent it.