Monday, 17 January 2011

Choo Choo Twit Tweet

This week's outdoor playgroup outing took us a bit further afield, to Lochwinnoch Nature Reserve. I felt adventurous and decided to take the suggested train, because really the train station is right next to it and Cubling just loves going on the train. It was the first time I travelled into Glasgow Central and out with two kids, and it was definitely stretching my comfort zone. Due to the many steps at our end of the train station, I carried Snowflake in her sling, which meant carrying her all day. That in itself is not so bad, but add a rucksack with a day's provision in nappies, wipes, food, drink, oh, and a camera, and the pram becomes an attractive alternative. There is no way though that I would have been able to manage two kids and a pram up the stairs to our local train station.

So slinging it it was.
Scotrail didn't play game and the train was cancelled. Staff were rather unhelpful, and I called them Dummerchen (silly billies) which Cubling remembered all day and kept telling to any Scotrail employee she spotted which was a rather delightful sort of revenge. Imagine the scenario, 6 kids and 3 mums, kids running riot on a busy city train station, between waiting for train, snacks, drinks, nursing, toddling, running, chasing each other or pigeons amidst hundreds of other travellers. I was glad Cubling wore a bright pink jacket, I'm sure I'd have lost sight of her otherwise. One hour the next train, and the joy to have them finally contained in the enclosed space of the carriage was short lived as they discovered that you can climb on top of the seats and jump off. While the train was moving for added fun.

By the time we reached Lochwinnoch Nature Reserve, I was in dire need of a coffee and chocolate. Which they had, phew.

The centre has great viewing equipment to do plenty of birdwatching, and activities associated with it. Nature trail cards to take along on walks, feeding stations and so much more, a fabulous resource and great to wait out a quick shower of rain if you don't want to get wet. We were lucky though and set off for a walk.

I should maybe mention that Cubling is a bit shy with other kids, very selective about the children she plays with and generally prefers adults to children. All of this worries me a bit at times. It was a pleasure to see then how the walk and exploration with the other children led to her explaining a map to a younger child, how she engaged with pretend play suggested by an older child, how she both followed suggestions and initiated ideas, while at all times making her own choices of what she wanted to do. Throughout the day she was independent in cooperative play and individual exploration. There was such a beautiful balance that it made my eyes almost water. She discovered mushrooms and huts, the first signs of spring and little streams, explored a broken bridge, the streams underneath, and the sound of a train rumbling overhead while stood under the railway bridge.

The wet winter colours were almost magical. We were very tired at the end, smelled of the outdoors and brought home rather a lot of mud. I asked Cubling if she had a good day and her face lit up. I asked her what was better, nursery yesterday or the woods today. "Der Wald!" she exclaimed without even the hint of hesitation.

I was exhausted when we finally got home at half past five. Yet it was so worth it.

This post is part of Outdoor Challenge Monday, which is hosted at 5orangepotatoes. Outdoor Challenge Monday.



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