One-on-one

Isaac Winchester Science Centre

Another year has flown by. Isaac’s school broke up for the summer holidays on Wednesday, and to celebrate I took Thursday off to treat him to a one-on-one day together.

It’s safe to say he was excited. On Monday he typed up a list of things we could do together, which we then whittled down over the next two evenings before finally settling on a trip to the Winchester Science Centre (formerly Intech, which I’ve written about previously here).

It had been over a year since our previous trip, so we were pleased to discover that the centre, which features 100 interactive demonstrations which allow kids to get hands-on and have fun while learning about key science concepts, has had a facelift. There were several new exhibits, while existing ones had been improved. Being the summer holidays, a number of live presentations and ‘makes’ were also being run throughout the day.

I took Isaac into the attached planetarium for the first time, which sadly got a thumbs-down for being a bit scary. However, we had no problem filling half a day with other activities.
Isaac Winchester Science CentreAfter we’d finished, we drove back to Newbury for lunch at Isaac’s favourite restaurant in the entire world, Pizza Hut, where I think it’s safe to say we, er, carbo-loaded.

To finish our day out, we then indulged in some light retail therapy. (Yes, I’m a soft touch.) Isaac came away with a mid-year diary (we had already agreed he’d keep a journal as a holiday project), a Matchbox-sized model car (plus one for his brother, so he knew it wasn’t all about him) and The Lego Movie on DVD.

I admit there was an ulterior motive behind this last one. I’ve had enough of Frozen and Let It Go, which all three kids have been bellowing non-stop for the past month in a style which has been more cacophony than harmony.

Yes, I realise I’m subjecting myself to wall-to-wall Everything Is Awesome. I’ll cross that bridge later.

The journey, not the destination

Ultimately, though, where we went and what we did wasn’t the real point of our boys’ day out. It was all about the opportunity to spend some extended one-on-one time with my eldest son. With me starting a new job this year, work has been pretty hectic over the last six months, meaning I’ve had less time to devote to our three kids, especially on an individual basis.

Spending a day together with no siblings around gave us time to just chat about life at school and home, and for aspects of his personality to emerge that don’t always get to come out when we’re frantically dashing from A to B. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like we’re strangers, but there’s a world of difference between us having several hours together versus five minutes here and there as I’m hurrying him to his martial arts lesson.

I’ve got a couple of days alone with Toby and another with both boys later in the holidays, and I should have Kara on her own too over the next few weeks as Heather spends time with the boys. I’m looking forward to all of these with no small amount of enthusiasm. For as much as the boys like having their individual patches of ‘daddy time’, I enjoy it just as much too. These are days for me as much as they are days for the kids.