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Lickey Hills Country Park -Freedom for your little people and your furry friend
Outdoor adventure, avoiding death and an ice-cream to finish - another day in the life of a toddler-mom
For those families with young kids and doggies, this one's for you. I’m talking about a free afternoon outside and enjoying family time. Sounds wonderful doesn’t it? Well it is, for the most part, but it wouldn’t be a ‘toddler-mom’ piece without all the ‘not so precious’ bits too.
Let's start with bundling your precious family into the car and having a number of arguments with your significant other about who forgot to get the wellies and “why did I have to be the one to remember the dog!”
Once that is done you will be ready to travel for your winning day. Kid 1 (the big kid) will undoubtedly ask “are we there yet?” every 30 seconds until you actually arrive, and kid 2 (the toddler) will, of course, cry every time you have to slow down or stop at a red light. Arrival at the Lickey Hills will be greeted by an overflowing car park and a 10 minute circle around to find a space.
At last you are ready. You pull on the kids' wellies, let go of the dog and you are surrounded by beauty.
You can stay ground level and walk the circle of the woods. Kid 1 will climb every tree while kid 2 will run as fast as her tiny little legs will take her and yes most likely fall face down in the mud! (Don’t despair, this will make for a great photo).
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Now unfortunately if your dog is anything like mine he will not respond to recall and will make a beeline for anyone who is NOT a dog lover and jump! It’s fine, mildly embarrassing, you will deal with it and move swiftly on. Kid 2 will eventually realise she can climb up the hills and will be up there faster than spider man on energy drinks. You will run after her and be amazed at how easily she made it up this HUGE HILL considering you have nearly fallen to your death several times in your pursuit of her.
The dog will run himself wild chasing his ball through the trees and you will have to decide which child you like more as they both run in opposite directions toward unknown danger.
Eventually once the dog has run himself ragged and the kids are caked in mud, you will have to endure an hour in the play area. If you are smart you will pretend to busy yourself by tying the dog up and searching for his ball so that your partner will have to be the one to watch kid 1 ascend and descend the slide, exactly the same way, at least a hundred times (you are not allowed to look away and you will have to be amazed each and every time she does it). You will undoubtedly have to retrieve kid 2 from the bottom of the slide several times as she just loves to annoy kid 1 by blocking her sliding fun.
Ok, here is the part where I told a small fib. It won’t actually be a free day out as your kids will want a ridiculously overpriced ice cream from the tiny little café that is blocking your exit to the car park. You can take a picnic and sit on the benches for lunch, but they will still ask. You will also fall prey to buying a not-so-nice coffee that never ever cools down and never has enough milk. You will not enjoy it one bit.
Now you will have to use the dog to pull you up the hill whilst piggy backing kid 1 and swinging kid 2 to get them back to the car park without tantrums. Tired kids are extremely unpredictable. You will do whatever is necessary to arrive at the car park unscathed. Eventually you will all get back to the car, and you will have to tug the children out of their muddy clothes. Attempt to kick your wellies off without stepping in more mud. Then stuff everyone and the smelly soaking wet dog into their seats.
Finally, you make your way home to get everyone clean. It’s not for everyone, but I for one love the outdoors with my kids, I love to see them all snuggled and worn out after a day out in the open air and the Lickey hills for me is a place of beauty. Freedom for your little people and your furry friend.
I have walked these hills when dating, 9 months pregnant, with babies in their carriers and now as a family of four and I do not think I will ever tire of our outdoor adventures.
Written by Samantha Franklin
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