Ok the title maybe a slight exaggeration but it nearly sums up our holiday!
I am writing this on the last day of our holiday while on the plane in the way home. If you count the night we spent in the hotel at Gatwick before we flew, this is day 13 of our holiday.
That night away was truly dreadful! How can 1 pre teen roll their eyes as much as Spud did? I lost count of the number of tuts and oppositional behaviour shown to the point I was ready to leave him with the grandparents and go on holiday without him!
Fast forward to the next day and the real Spud appeared. He was happy, laughed, joked and was great company. He even feel asleep on the plane for a couple of hours which is unheard of!
When we arrived at the hotel it was very, very quiet with less than 100 guests and running at around 10% occupancy. I was very concerned that Spud maybe the only child here. Within minutes a mother and her 12 year old son came and introduced themselves. Suddenly Spud was off down the water slides with the boy and they had the time of their lives for 4 days. The other boy had his own quirks and he and Spud just clicked. They had fun the the pool, ate together, laughed,giggled and played cards. We had lots of relaxed fun.
They chatted non stop which was lovely to see and hear. They were children without a care in the world.
Then on the day that the other boy was going home we had a very sad Spud. He was sad his friend was leaving, had another loss to deal with and another transition. On the surface Spud coped very well but his eyes were sad.
Within a few hours another English family arrived. 1 teenage daughter, 1 pre teen daughter and mum. After what seemed liked hours of awkwardness from Spud, he allowed me to go and say hi to them. Spud took great delight in showing the girls around, taking them to the water slides, showing them the best pizza place and they quickly settled into a fun, easy friendship. Both girls have the longest legs you have ever seen and towered above Spud which they would all laugh at.
They joined in with activities with Spud being a very good sport and taking a lesson on belly dancing.
The last couple of days have seen the number of guest rise in the hotel and this has linked with some increase in attitude, eye rolling and controlling behaviour from Spud. Of course it it also linked with Spud knowing the holiday is nearly over, he is going to have to say goodbye to the girls and more loss.
We have also seen a sudden dip in Spuds confidence and his need for reassurance and top up hugs, he has taken to launching himself in me while I am in the sunbed as this is an “acceptable hug.” Also a return of “my mum” instead of “mum.”
The positive to that is he has allowed us to get close again and go back to some of the games we played when he first came home.
One of his favourite games has been writing words on our backs with his finger and us trying to guess what he had written and then us taking turns to write on his back. Lots of acceptable closeness in the sunshine.
He has eaten a wide variety of food, eaten well at the majority of mealtimes, chatted and been animated. He has joined in with poolside activities, laughed at jokes and been a delight in the whole.
Tiredness is setting in and the need for control is creeping up. The selective listening is definitely there as is the need to be a bit more physical/sensory seeking.
The journey home has not been relaxed with the need to control rising, the not listerning increasing and the wall around him going up. The need to be fiercely independant is back.
We have had a very difficult few months since Spuds birth mum died and we all needed this holiday more than ever before. I feel the holiday has given us time as a family, time to relax and be us, time to heal and time to make memories.
It has given me hope. We start an assessment for therapy in June but to be honest, I think another holiday like this one would be as much therapy. It has given me the strength to get through the next few months as I know there are school battles waiting to be had on Monday – had emails over the school holidays! Assessments to go through and life to get on with.
I think for this holiday we have seen glimpse of being an attached family and certainly fooled the majority who we met on holiday that we were “normal”!