What a difference a day ( and some deep breaths) makes.

The last few days have been a bit of a struggle to keep our little ship afloat. Noah seems to be determined to get a reaction from me (by ANY means) and it has been pretty bloody exhausting to balance on the knife edge. If you have a very free spirited 3 year old, I’m sure you understand what I mean!

From spitting full on in his little sister’s face when I’m not looking, to kicking the dog and everything in-between. Honestly I haven’t been able to take my eyes off of him this week for fear of him hurting someone 😦

Yesterday I realised that maybe actually he does need me a little bit more than I thought. I spoke to a lovely helpful member of the children’s centre on Monday and she reminded me of all the things I already know, but I need to hear. 

Things like young children usually do 1 ‘good’ thing to 20 ‘naughty’ thing in a day. It’s a case of picking your battles with the 20 things, and praising the 1 thing until you are sick of your own voice. I know this, I also know that he isn’t ‘naughty’. I hate that word, I hate that it can taint a child’s view of themselves and they can end up feeling shame and turn in to a self-fulfilling prophecy. I do not want Noah to think, “they think I’m naughty and it gets me attention, it’s easier than being ‘good’.”

So I let myself stop worrying about the washing that doesn’t end and played on his trampoline with him and Oswin. He was so surprised and happy to have me there that he kept kissing me and saying I’m the best jumper ever. What more could you hope for? 

Today I woke up ready to be the positive and gentle parent I want to be. I don’t want to be the mum who says no just out of habit and to hurry him because I think he’s taking too long. Today I tried again and will no doubt loose my temper and have to try again another day. The thing is, today, I had an observer. I had my family friend’s daughter with me, she is 11 but wise beyond her years and a fantastic help with little ones. 

Today she said to me, after a whole day of seeing how I talk to my kids and how I deal with their demands and tantrums, “you are such a happy person, you’re like sunshine”. She said I don’t let noah get to me and I don’t get tough when they don’t listen to me and I’m not at all like her mum. 

To begin with I did the are you mad? Laugh. I had no idea why she thought I was so happy when I feel like I am in my own little anxiety filled storm cloud most days. But then I looked back through the many points in my day where I have had to battle with Noah, break up fights in soft play and deal with winnie constantly trying to undress me whist shouting “boobies, Yeh, boobies?” in public. I realised that actually I was pretty calm, we dealt with each issue without shouting or threats. We made races out of getting in the car or putting shoes on and had the ‘one more play’ before we left the playground. Noah didn’t fight me, I spoke to him like a very clever child, not a naughty toddler and he responded brilliantly.

 I’m not saying this always works but God it’s nice to be told I’m doing OK. Even if it is by an 11 year old! 
I’m goin to do my best to ignore the behaviour I know only appears when he is tired or wants my attention and flood him with praise and attention as much as I can from now on. It’s hard work but jesus, arguing with a 3 year old takes years off your life I’m sure! They do not back down. 

We have walked in the common, made a bed outside and have eaten quite a lot of popcorn. They were both asleep by 8 without a battle and I don’t feel like crying. Let’s see what we can get up to tomorrow! 

A Beautiful Day On The Dartmouth Steam Railway

When we arrived at the quaint and beautiful Paignton train station I suddenly felt much more excited than I thought I would be to go on a train. Originally this day out was for my little Noah who is 3 and loves any mode of transport he can get to, but the classic painted murals on the wall and the vintage look of the station entrance gave me a wonderful feeling of nostalgia that I loved.

When we got to the ticket office we were met by the lovely Sarah who was more than helpful to advise us of what trip would be the most suitable for us to go on with a very fidgety toddler and a teething baby. We chose the shorter option of the Steam train to Kingswear where we would get the pedestrian ferry to Dartmouth and return to Paignton when we were ready.

Just look at this beautifully maintained platform, can you feel the vintage vibes?

 

 

Noah loved the big clock and attempted to wait patiently for the smoke to appear in the distance…

The train was just amazing, a rare glimpse in to a much more decadent time, even the narrow doors that had to be opened through the window from the outside were a novelty! The view…. I didn’t expect such a beautiful panorama of the sea front. Even after seeing the photos on the Dartmouth Steam Railway website, I was still in awe.

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The journey to Kingwear lasted for 30 minutes, this was a perfect amount of time with toddlers, however I would recommend bringing a drink and snacks if they get restless like Noah. He loved watching the scene changing but I think there is only so much time toddlers can appreciate scenery for. He did happen to entertain himself for a little while by ‘train surfing’.

happy noah

When we pulled in to Kingswear station we were once again met with beautiful scenery of Kingswear and across the estuary, Dartmouth in all it’s sun light glory.  I was so impressed with the effort Dartmouth Steam Railway had gone to to ensure the train is accessible to as many people as possible. When walking down the platform I was really surprised to see a disabled access ramp and a cleared carriage to allow room for wheelchair users and buggies. This is not something I was expecting on such an old Steam train but it really was brilliant to see the adaption.

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The whole station, including the driver and workers on the train were great with and for children. The station included a small ride on train (just in-case they haven’t had their fill quite yet), a small gift shop, a cafe and a squashed penny machine! We happen to collect the pennys so Noah was over the moon! The drivers were also very happy to wait a few moments for us to take some photos of the train before it went then happily waved to us as they move away.  They have really put thought in to this day out, there are even plenty of vintage signs to direct you to the bathrooms and baby changing, both ordinary and disabled access. (who knew such an old station could be so accommodating to the modern world).

 

We jumped on the ferry and in under 10 minutes we were in Dartmouth! Sarah in Paignton had advised us of a lovely park and cafe a short walk down the embankment so we headed that way past the beautiful moored boats and gardens.

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Noah loved the park and didn’t hesitate to run straight for the pirate ship. We made use of the tiny park-side cafe for a Tea, but we had our picnic which there are a few tables set up for. We stayed to play for an hour or so then went for a lovely walk around the town before catching the ferry back to Kingswear. We saw the train across the estuary and were very excited to get back on!

We were not expecting it to be even more beautiful and comfortable than our first journey but look at this for a vintage train carriage! DSC_0669

The journey back to Paignton was so relaxing and comfy I didn’t want it to end, Noah was in his element and even my partner Matt enjoyed himself (he wasn’t expecting to).

It really was a journey back in time and in my opinion one of the best ways to view the wonderful coastline. I will definitely be taking Noah and Winnie back on the Dartmouth Steam train but hopefully next time we will be able to do the river cruise too. On it’s own this takes about an hour from Dartmouth so for my little people it would have been a it too much.

There are lots of different trips you can take such as the round robin, which consists of the steam train, river cruise and then an open top bus tour. This was what we had hoped to go on and what we plan to do next time, what  an amazing way to explore the area!

If you are planning on visiting South Devon I cannot recommend Dartmouth Steam Railway enough for a very different day out. If you need help with what trip would suit you don’t hesitate to contact them for advice 🙂

Dartmouth Steam Railway and River Boat Company

Thank you so much to the lovely staff at the Dartmouth Steam Railway and River boat Company. I have told everyone how much we enjoyed ourselves and have shown the beautiful photos of the coast and Dartmouth to our families.

We will hopefully see you again next summer!

 

I was not paid for this review but we were given a trip of our choice in return for this post. The link above is not an affiliate link, I do not receive anything for you clicking the link.