"How was the play area ? We had to bribe, promise , threaten and beg the two boys to come out of it. It was that good."
It’s a funny little thing - life. Sometimes when you’re having a shitty time, out of the ashes can come some real human kindness, when you least expect it.
As those of you who read my writings regularly may know, lately we have been having a hard time. Those of you who don’t read regularly ; take my word for it, the above sentence is really all you need to know to read this piece !
Over on my Facebook page (It’s Me & Ethan
) , I decided to introduce my readers to some of Ethan's friends from all over the world. The reason for this was to raise awareness of Hunter Syndrome; in a bid to make people aware that May 15th is International MPS Awareness day. (Hunter Syndrome is also known as MPS type 2)
I got a message from one of my readers. She managed to get a few gifts for Ethan and my page in order to help raise awareness for International MPS Awareness Day.
I was taken aback.
I didn’t really know what to say to her; it was such a kind considerate thing to do.I was also surprised when she told me those who she approached were only too happy to give and to help raise awareness for MPS alongside ‘It’s Me & Ethan’.
Aren’t people kind?! So to you C, thank you so very , very much.
We’ve been giving Ethan CBD oil lately , we’ve seen a change (for the better) in his behaviour , so today, we decided we would use one of those gifted vouchers to take the boys out - and use this as an opportunity to try the venue before giving away a family pass.
I rang the farm and asked about their quiet times - as bringing Ethan onto a busy farm just felt like we would be pushing our luck. A quick google beforehand told me that it was wheelchair friendly. We packed the car up and left for the farm, to be there at 11am. It’s literally 28 minutes of a drive from our home. Imagine! I never knew of it until they gifted us two family passes to it?! ( I really need to get out more, I know!). We got there and the place was beautifully quiet, that was until the toddler vomited all over himself and Ethan yelped with excitement while J ran around like a free range chicken ; clucking and pointed at everything that moved.
I packed everything I could possibly need for Ethan, which meant the toddler ended up wearing clothes age 8 - he looked like a mini MC Hammer (remember those pants?!)
But alas, what's a bit of vomit between brothers? A lot apparently. J refused to help hold the vomit bag, while D and I tried to change the toddler who was insisting he was ‘fine’ in between gagging and Ethan? Well he was busy trying to Houdini himself out of his wheelchair.
I’ll not lie, I was flustered before we even got to the entrance hut. The pass was for a family of four, so we paid for the extra child (12 euro) The boys ran in different directions as soon as we got in.
D wheeled Ethan over to the first playground and helped him out of his chair. The paths all around were wheelchair/ buggy friendly, as the website stated. The toddler was busy trying to build sand castles while J spotted go-karts and a zip line. Ethan wandered around the playground and made his way over to two very friendly donkeys. It was just us. We could hear children screaming and laughing in the indoor play area but outside amongst sand, swings, go- karts and animals it was just us and it was a tiny slice of heaven.
Ethan with the help of daddy took a go- kart for a spin - it’s something Ethan used to love to do when he was younger , it was lovely to watch him smile as he steered the kart around the course.
The go-karts were too big for the toddler but it didn’t take him long to find the smaller ones , yes folks they have smaller go-karts just behind the sheep and lambs!
As for the lambs; I don’t think I've ever met cuter little lambs . They came right over to us expecting food- but there are certain times visitors can feed them ; so we didn’t feed them but we did play with them!
The toddler even sang ‘Mary had a little lamb’ to an unimpressed lamb and it's mammy. We met daddy pig and mummy pig too who were just as lazy as they are on TV! The donkeys were beautiful and had a lovely calming effect on Ethan who by that stage had done the go-karts, swung on a swing, tried an obstacle course and threw sand at me! The obstacle course.
My husband would like you daddy's out there to know ; never wear skinny jeans to a farm, never wear shoes either and never try to race your 12 year old through an obstacle course, especially if you haven’t kept up with your gym membership!
Poor D. He took a fall and I wasn’t quick enough to snap a picture .He’s fine and it was really funny.
We decided it was time to really test Ethan's patience. We ventured towards the screaming kiddies. Just off that area is a lovely marque with a wooden bowling alley and huge Lego bricks along with picnic tables. If it were not as wet and cold as it was today, that would be ideal , especially for a child with sensory issues like Ethan.
We went into the busy indoor centre. Here is the only difficulty I had with Ethan's chair. The spaces between the tables didn’t allow for easy access with a chair but it isn’t impossible and it really wouldn’t put me off going again.
Because Ethan has sensory issues we could not let Ethan out of his chair; there were far too many kiddies around and we felt it was safer for everyone if he stayed with us while the other two boys checked out the play centre.
When you’ve a child like Ethan, you come prepared. I had his iPad and his own food and drinks. Not once did I feel uncomfortable not having bought food while sitting in a restaurant area.
There have been times in other venues where I've been told that food bought on the premises can only be eaten on the premises - I feel it's important to say that the staff smiled as we ordered coffees and drinks for the other boys while feeding Ethan his own food. A little understanding goes a long way, eh?
How was the play area ? We had to bribe, promise , threaten and beg the two boys to come out of it. It was that good.
It was also well managed with young staff members ensuring the kiddies were being watched and helped when needed.
Was it suitable for Ethan. No. But not because he couldn’t physical use it but because of his sensory issues and now his peg , it just would not have been fair on him to even try it. It wouldn’t be fair on the other kids there too.
Did it bother Ethan? No. He watched two episodes of SpongeBob and then felt the noise getting to him. That meant we sat there for 40 mins. That was a huge deal for us and for Ethan. We walked around the farm one more time before leaving.
The farm is small and easy to get around. The picnic tables outside are ideally located, you could sit there and have a coffee while your kids run wild. We didn’t stay for the tractor ride around the farm as Ethan had had enough and MC Hammer was complaining about needed to vomit again.
He didn’t by the way.He waited until we were right outside our front door before throwing up the remainder of his belly contents. Loughwell Farm
is a busy little place. I can see why.
It’s so reasonably priced ; with a fantastic restaurant and so much , so very much for kids and adults, yes even the adults can do the zipline, obstacle course ( if you’re not my hubby and even the slides in the indoor play area) .
I feel the need to let you all know Loughwell Farm, did not invite me to review them; they simply gave us the family passes to enjoy and to help raise awareness for MPS.
Would I personally recommend this to families ? Yes.
If your child has sensory issues, ring the farm and ask about quiet times, they are very helpful.
If your child is a wheelchair user, it’s easy to get around and enjoyable. The farm itself and the play areas outside , I felt were inclusive to all.
If you’ve kids that need to burn some energy , lads, you can stay there the whole day! I plan to make a return visit over the Summer.
Thank you Loughwell Farm for your kindness and your support for MPS Awareness Day.
We will be back!
Written by Ger Renton, who keeps us up to date on her family life with Ethan & co.
Ger won best newcomer 2016 at the Irish Blog Awards!
Follow her on facebook at "It’s me and Ethan"
and check out her amazing blog at geraldinerenton.com