Today started and ended perfectly, with happy smiles and lots of laughter all round, but the bit in between was “rather testing”!
We had all enjoyed a really good night’s sleep, in dark, airy rooms and comfortable beds. I got up and went out for a run along the vast sandy beach, returning along the promenade with a bit of sprint work. (I only had half an hour, so it made sense to make it a decent workout!)
I showered quickly and we all went down to a very busy breakfast room. It was the usual buffet breakfast, and we scoffed our way through all sorts of things. Cornelia basically ate all of my food (natural yoghurt with honey, watermelon and a pear) as well as her own (a bowl of cornflakes with raisins), so had a happy full tummy by the time we started our day properly.
We needed to do some laundry, and I’d found a highly-recommended place about a mile away. Being keen to practise some cycling, Cornelia took her bike (which she has randomly named “Henry” today!) and was doing brilliantly, pedalling furiously along the pavement and into the park. She posed happily for various photos amongst the sculptures and made it all the way to the launderette perfectly, bar the odd squawk at Ian to help her push off properly.
Once the laundry was on, we went to the mall across the road, as I’d promised Cornelia an ice cream to refuel from the cycling energy she’d used, and Ian and I were both feeling the need for a coffee. We found somewhere immediately and Cornelia was given an ENORMOUS bowl of chocolate ice cream with enough Smarties to fill about three tubes! Uh oh… I am pretty sure this is where the trouble started!
I nipped off to get some shopping and when I returned, Ian was looking pretty pissed off. After the ice cream, she’d asked to go on the travelator (she loves a good escalator and travelator!) which he had agreed to. She then spied the indoor play area and asked to go on that, which he agreed to. He then asked her to come back to the travelator area, as that was where they had agreed to meet me. She screamed at him out of nowhere, saying that he was a liar and had the most enormous outburst, throwing her shoes at him and all sorts! Ah, those good old Smarties kicking in….!
She had calmed down by the time I had found them (still in the kids’ play area) and he went off to Decathlon for a while. She played happily for a bit, not letting the kid who kept knocking down the tower we had built upset her, and generally having fun. She even put on her shoes and socks when it was time to go back to the launderette, and was very helpful, folding up her clothes in her toddler-esque way and packing them into the bag. The owner gave her a balloon on a stick, much to her delight, and off she went on her bicycle again, for a trip to the massive outdoor playground we’d seen on the way over.
Then Ian asked her to come off her bike while we crossed a busy main road and all hell let loose. She threw her bike on the ground, then held onto it, so we couldn’t cross the road. The cars had stopped to let us over, so we were keen to get moving and avoid an accident. She half-walked, half-dragged herself over, screaming blue murder all the while. I stopped her on the other side in the park area, and she threw herself all over the place. She hit, kicked, pinched, spat and threw her belongings over the path, all for various different reasons: she wanted Cowbat (back at the hotel – bad Mummy moment); her balloon popped; she wanted to go to the play ground, but refused to apologise first; she wanted to go to the beach, but refused to pick up her gloves first. And so on…. she stomped off over the shrubs to a grassy patch before throwing herself onto the ground and having a full on screaming cry. Once again, passers-by seemed concerned that she was okay, but saw that we were watching her, and several mothers smiled that sympathetic “been there, done that, thank God it’s not my child today” smile…! I find these whole episodes slightly amusing, and I love the parenting challenge that it brings. Ian finds it a bit tougher to keep his cool, but he was brilliant today, following my lead in terms of the language and tone that we used to resolve things. I put a timer on for 15 minutes and explained to Cornelia that whilst I understood all of the reasons she was feeling upset, that this was all the time we had left in the playground, so she needed to pick up her cycling gloves quickly, so we could spend what time was left having fun together. She refused, demanding that I reset the timer and then she’d pick up her gloves. Well, this went on and on, until there were only a couple of minutes left. When she realised, she started sobbing, telling me how sorry she was, and that she was just being horrid because she was so sad. She begged me to reset the timer, but that was simply not happening, and well, would you believe it, she stopped crying, said that she was too tired to go to the park now, and would I please just carry her back to the hotel for some lunch? RESULT!
She snuggled into me, still quietly sobbing, until we were able to distract her by asking her for directions back to our hotel, and then she changed completely again, into the loving little toddler that she usually is.
We ate lunch in the apartment without any issues, then decided to go for a swim in the hotel pool, followed by a trip to the beach and dinner in a restaurant on the beach. We were in the pool for ages, playing and practising her actual swimming (she’s amazing – can do a whole width of the pool in (albeit dodgy) front crawl with no swim aid!), and diving down to collect her dive ring. I managed a crafty ten minutes in the sauna, then after two “Mummy, I need a poo” exits, decided to get dressed and head for the beach. It was getting quite late in the afternoon, and had clouded over, so I asked her if she’d rather go to the indoor play room at the hotel, and we could have longer on the beach tomorrow instead. She agreed (phew!) and we played together for an hour or so, while Ian went off for his much-needed run.
The restaurant we went to for supper came highly recommended on Trip Advisor, but we were a tad disappointed after high expectations. I had salmon and boiled potatoes, Ian had battered fish & chips, and Cornelia had fish fingers and chips, and she definitely had the best plate. Still, we had an amazing view of the very choppy sea, and watched a kite surfer whizzing along the shoreline for ages. She was just gorgeous and sweet, and dishing out the Mumpa and Dadda cuddles, and generally enjoying herself.
She had a shoulder-ride home on Ian, before washing off the day’s efforts and chatting to Charlotte for a while, before declaring herself ready for her bedtime story.
So, the long and short of it is that, despite my desire to explore Gdansk and perhaps see if I can find any family connections here, it ended up being reduced to managing the toddler’s mood and behaviour as best we could. And such is life on the road with a three year old! Wouldn’t change a thing. 😬♥️