With baby number 1 turning 2 this week and baby number 2 fast approaching When 3 become 4. . . A few days off in a row was the perfect excuse for our little family to enjoy a break before our lives get a whole lot busier. It just so happens that our little guy also turns 2 this week so what better way to celebrate then a family holiday.
As all parents would know, it doesn’t matter how well thought out your plans are, more often then not those plans will never go exactly how you want them to. Today Mrs Down Under had a checkup to make sure everything was going alright with Baby number 2, again as most parents – and anyone who has experienced a waiting room knows that there is no way to tell exactly how long you will be there.
Without going into too much detail we didn’t end up leaving our place until lunchtime.
Luckily our destination was the small town of Pokoblin in the heart of the Hunter Valley. For those reading abroad this is just a short 45 minute drive from our hometown of Newcastle.
Long Overdue Lunch Break
After driving past our hotel as lunch was more important then checking in, we arrived at the village attached to the Hunter Valley Botanic Gardens. A short stroll around and we found exactly what our stomachs were looking for.
The place was only small but the fireplace in the corner was definitely welcoming given its still the middle of winter.
One thing about this place that really stood out was the service. By this stage our little guy was approaching the danger zone AKA past his usual nap time. This was made easier by the waitress who didn’t make him sit in the high chair (a phase he is going through) but rather got him a cushion so he could sit on the normal chairs, then gave him some coloring in to do. When she found out it was his birthday this week she also gave him a car!
note, the car was a matchbox car that had been left behind by a previous customer.
Given that this is a parenting blog and any parent readers know just what toddlers can be like, I feel it important to mention that none of the over and above actions of the waitress actually improved his mood – but it was still a nice touch.
As you can see the food was just as good as the service. Pancakes for Mum and Son, and Corn Fritters with a home made sweet chili jam for Dad.
After lunch it was time to visit the park that Mum and Dad (but thankfully not son) had spied on the way in. Regular readers would know by now that our little guy loves using the play equipment in parks Weekend Adventures so this was a required stop in our eyes.
While it does look like he has the run of the grounds to himself, what you can’t see off camera is half a dozen other children sharing the park. Keyword there being sharing, something we are still trying to teach our little guy.
After we got bored, or sick of sharing – you can decide which. It was time to check in to the hotel. While the hotel did have one of those big fancy driveways where you stop right out the front (its the little things in life), it was full when we arrived, so we simply parked and walked with our suitcase. To an adult a suitcase with a pullout handle and 2 wheels does make life easier when travelling. To a toddler who feels the need to drag it by himself, it does not. Unfortunately I don’t have a picture for that one as it didn’t last long. Instead Dad had a toddler in one arm and the suitcase in the other.
When we eventually walked in we had 2 options, left or right. Right allowed us to deposit our bags while we checked in on the left and have them brought to the room for us. Hotels should consider this service for children as well, allow parents to deposit them while they sort out the paperwork and take everything out of the mini bar so the kids don’t accidentally open the $10 bottle of water.
One thing the hotel did give us – or rather the little guy was a stuffed animal frog with their insignia printed on the foot. While this might not seem like much to you and me, to a 2 year old it was amazing.
I do need to describe our room to you though.
- 2 double beds – we had the illusion that at least one of us might get a good nights sleep each night which would have been great given the recent Toddler Sleep Regressions but more on that later.
- Bath Tub – this is a big deal for us, as our bathroom at home lacks this feature. While we have perfected the art of showering a toddler, nothing beats a bath in his eyes.
- No Microwave – something we should have considered, but more on that later.
- A View – when we booked the room it was described as having a view over either the golf course the hotel was situated on, or the pool area. What they didn’t mention was the pool area wasn’t due for completion until 2019
Our little guy got so excited about the presence of a bath tub that he decided then and there that he needed a bath, immediately.
Given the fact the only time our toddler had rested today was in the car (which is no replacement for a proper nap in my opinion), an early dinner was in order. On the way we thought we should check out the ‘games’ room we had seen on way in.
Pro-tip for parents – unless you know exactly what is in said ‘games’ room, don’t go anywhere near it, don’t even mention it.
The games room was full of arcade games, AKA money drains if your kids understand them and want to play them. Or if your kid simply wants to sit in the car and pretend he is driving like ours, good luck getting them to leave.
It was at that time we reaching breaking point in the danger zone, While Mum and Dad tried to order a meal and then enjoy it. The little dude was not having a bar of it. Without sugar coating it, it wasn’t the most pleasant experience.
As soon as dinner was done it was straight back to the room for bed. Given the last 45 minutes or so we had no grand ideas about how this was going to go down especially given we were in a foreign environment. What made this more difficult was the delay in warming up a bottle. No microwave made this difficult, as did the fact the plug in the sink didn’t actually stop the water from draining away.
note if anyone has an easier way to warm up a bottle then running it under hot water from the tap when you don’t have a microwave I’d love to hear it for next time.
But Surprise Surprise, A warm bottle, a dark room, cuddles with Dad, and 15 minutes of your favorite movie, was all it took to get him to fall asleep.
That was Day 1 of a 3 Day adventure – you can find Part 2 below,