Round Four: Attempting an Enjoyable Holiday as Parents with Small Children. (Be warned: There Will Be Vomit.)
We have taken a summer holiday of some type every year since Gigi was born. So four holidays in total. Sounds good, right! As many parents know, holidaying with smallies is a world of a difference from holidaying as a loving couple solo. So parents, we have to get our heads around that first. Let it go, as the Snow Queen once warbled and then we might stand a chance.
It isn’t that easy.
In Gigi’s first year we bravely ferried to the UK and rented one of those fairytale Castlecombe cottages.
We literally brought everything we own. Truth be told, I personally insisted we bring pot loads of equipment. I was Mummy Pig. I actually brought the kettle.
The holiday was both lovely and exhausting. Imperfect in an idyllic setting. You see, I was always just a little bit uncomfortable. I was totally unable to relax.
A year later, with a one year old and a baby on the way, we tried staying in Ireland. Sligo. Rented a full apartment and brought the grandparents too. It rained a lot. The holiday was OK. Not really relaxing though. Moments of idyllic scenes- but very momentary.
Last year I was very late to book. A baby and a two year old- I was in the fear. I wrote about this last year in Holidays with More than One Kid-a Whole New World. Another family rental. Another holiday bringing grandparents. We chose Ring in Waterford. All looked lovely. The owner of our rental was a very strange lady and I clashed with her instantly. Unfortunately the rental cottage was their converted garage- on the family site. I hated that! The views were amazing. The place is pretty. I couldn’t wait to get away from it. There were a few more lovely times on this occasion (A Magic Moment )but it was mainly tough and uncomfortable. Brutal honesty. Again, I think we were just never fully at ease.
So as the holiday season rolled around again, Mr Paper took matters into his own hands. Euro Disney will happen in August. A life time dream- Disney and France. My girls adore princesses (especially Layle-ell Ariel) and ‘Minnie Mooshee’. Here is to hoping we meet Ariel and The First Lady Mouse.
In a desire to travel with grandparents (we like to bring them away once per year) and have a trial run, I booked two nights in Sligo again. Don’t panic- two nights in a four star hotel. No crappy rental. A family room (which must have been upgraded as we are in a suite). We are the Clayton (former Clarion and former hospital) which looks a bit like a castle/ institution but is impressive beautiful with lovely grounds.
My girls think they are staying in a castle. Gigi wanted me to call in Princess Belle to admonish her baby sister over dropping blueberries on the floor.
We are still here. Day two. We are surviving. I don’t hate it. It hasn’t been treacherous. In fact, I would have enjoyed another night.
It hasn’t been perfect. What is perfect though? Parents can’t compare holidays pre-children with holidays as parents. There are meltdowns. Soup is pronounced yucky one minute and delicious the next. They will poke each other in the back seat of the car with every prodding device known to human. We lost one of Gigi’s shoes. In my newly zen state of not overpacking, they were the only pair. The weather hit such temperatures (good thing, good thing, I know! )that a packet of crayons that I had left on the front seat of the car melted into a swirling pool of khaki patterned wax, hitting my jacket on its way.
This is Ireland! ! We are not meant to hit Crayola Melting Temperatures. I have lived it though and once seen will never be forgotten. Gigi has been ill. Exorcist style, you can guess yourself, at a beautiful Sunday market (future blog) as she sat in her buggy. Everywhere. My lovely newly valeted car now bears an interesting aroma. Not a pleasant one. A questionable one. Ah well. That was the girls’ first and last ice-cream on this particular holiday.
So we have had challenges. We have met them head on like Roman Gladiators.
Occasionally we have ignored them until they went away like Romans who never made gladiator.
Once or twice we smiled insanely through the chaos, where I tend to find myself singing a few bars of the Girls Aloud tune Something Kinda Ooh. (I find that has happened a lot since I had the children. A little like Mannie’s Moomin Papa in Black Books for anyone who gets the reference. Have a little watch here Chattanooga Choo Choo Earworm If not, take it as solid comedy recommendation ).
This is what I think may be called a coping mechanism. My girls are so used to hearing it that they join in. Everybody Ooh, hear my heart go ooh ooh…
So yes, a few challenges. Overall, a LOT less than previous years. Maybe we just deal with them better. A good trial run for travelling abroad. A good sign for future holidays!
Here are to changes in touring with teeny kids and toddlers. Holidays might be fun again soon. We won’t say relaxing- not just yet! Memorable? Yes. For good reasons? Yes! Thankfully!
I will be blogging highlights. People who read that will see a joyful rundown of lovingly encountered pretty moments. Those who read this post will also be aware of the Pull Ups War in Sligo’s Tesco (both girls had an epic argument over who got to hold a packet of Pull Ups with Minnie Mouse on them), the Waxy Bottom in the car park from Melty Crayola Conditions, The Lost Shoe and the Apocalyptic Post Ice-cream Throw Up of the adorable market which features in the highlights to come.
Weren’t you lucky to be in the know!
PS. Any parents of one or more under two- it DID get easier. A different easy to what you might expect, but a very distinct change from exhausting, tear inducingly tough with nightmarish moments that you cannot awaken from. Cheers to that! (Raising my Diet Coke because I am too disinterested in wine, and diet as I still have a big belly that I call baby blubber but I DON’T CARE anymore!!!!). My babies are happy. In fact, so am I.