My baby is growing up. Autumn walks at Itchen Valley Country Park

When I pick Jasper up from nursery we usually head straight home for him to have his afternoon nap. For the past few weeks though he’s pretty much consistently dropped¬†them even if he’s been exhausted. Initially we still went straight home, partly in the hope that he’d decide to have a little snooze but also because an exhausted Jasper is much easier to handle at home than out in public!

As time has gone on though he’s adapted much better to not napping during the day and has become less groggy and has had more of a need to get out and do things. He still asks to go straight home but he’s usually full of beans and climbing the walls within an hour so it’s easier now to just get straight out!

This afternoon the weather was beautiful; it had been foggy in the morning but by nursery pick up at 1pm it was sunny yet cold; a perfectly crisp Autumnal feel. I packed our snuggly clothes and we met some friends at Itchen Valley Country Park near West End, Hampshire for a brisk walk. Itchen Valley is quite small as far as country parks go but it has a couple of nice play parks; one for older kids and one more suited to the younger ones. It also has a little cafe, Go Ape and a nice woodland walk which had been scattered with spooky pumpkins, bats and ghouls for a Halloween trail.

Jasper has always been a typical boy; loving nothing more than to run around in the fresh air with fistfuls of dirt and leaves but today he really surprised me with his bravery. He didn’t do anything particularly courageous; I’m not talking scaling a tree to save a kitten or anything but he played with his older buddy in ways that he would normally show caution. He ran along the edges of ditches; even ran into them and climbed among piles of sticks and logs. He’s always wanted to do everything, but his leaps and roars usually come accompanied by a ‘help me mummy’ or ‘hold my hand mummy’. Today though I found the roles had reversed and it was me saying to him ‘hold mummies hand’ and ‘let mummy help you’.

Now I’m not overprotective at all; I push Jasper to be independent and explore for himself. I spent a lot of the time telling Jasper to let go of my cardigan and run ahead but then spent the same amount of time calling him back as he’d ran just that little too far ahead. I don’t know how I feel about it really; when I look at the pictures of him climbing and foraging I want to burst with pride that he’s such a brave little boy but at the same time it scares me that I’m sure to experience that panic that every parent goes through; you know the one where they run too far ahead and for a split second you can’t see them?

I’ve always loved the rush of watching Jasper climb the play equipment at parks but felt at ease with the control of standing right next to him; protecting him from falling or boisterous children. Today made me realise that it’s all going to change soon. Soon he’ll be up the top of the climbing frame before I’m quick enough to provide a human shield/net and that scares me.

I knew this moment would come but I didn’t think it would come this soon. I also know that it isn’t a one off; I’m sure to experience many a bittersweet moment as Jasper grows up but I just don’t think I’m ready! Are you ever ready?

Well I’m off to¬†sob into a pillow at the thought of my baby becoming a boy so I’ll leave you with some snaps from today. If you feel/ have ever felt the way I’m feeling now please do comment below and let me know I’m not the only crazy one; we can sob together haha

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Thanks for reading!
Jess x

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Hi I’m Jess, Single Mum, Accredited Life Coach, NLP Practitioner and Beauty Business owner.

I chat about all thing female empowerment, spirituality and positivity