Friday, 27 June 2014

Holiday helpers: or, How I keep sane when we are supposed to be relaxing

The joy of bunting
Earlier this year we went on our first holiday since we had our son. Before he was born we used to go on holiday a few times a year. Me and Hubbie do well on holiday as we enjoy spending time with each other and relax and decide most things without disagreement. Throw a belligerent toddler into that mix, however, and you have the recipe for a holiday that we just weren't prepared for. 

For weeks people asked if I was looking forward to my holiday and I was careful in saying "it'll be nice to have a break." What I didn't say was "I am praying that my son doesn't cause chaos on the plane," "I'm dreading that he'll create havoc due to us all being together for a whole week" or that "I really just hoped we'd get some child-free time, but it was unlikely as it was just us 3 going.
In the event he was fine with the journey there. When checking in we got a passport for his teddy Jiggles and he enjoyed eating breakfast in the airport. He was occupied during the flight, ate some of the meal, played a farting fish game that Hubbie had downloaded onto his tablet and even met the pilot when we landed. He banged his head while we waited an age for Hubbie's bag to come off the carousel and was a bit unruly waiting to collect our hire car, but as soon as we got into the car he promptly fell asleep until we got to our hotel. 

My boy on his one day at the beach
During the holiday he sustained a nosebleed at the kid's club, an ear infection that put paid to beach days and had more tantrums on a daily basis than I thought possible. You see for kids a holiday is not what it is for adults. Please allow me to explain. The reasons we go on holiday are:

To relax:

Adults - sit by the pool, read books, eat nice meals, drink and generally kick back
Toddlers - don't relax. Why would they, they're toddlers.

To experience new things / places:

Adults - like to go sightseeing, take photos
Toddlers - want to go to the same park every day to do the same thing every day and will make it clear that they do not approve when this is not adhered to

To see a different people/cultures/lifestyles:

Adults - tick things off their bucket list like dance flamenco or eat at the highest restaurant in Las Vegas (we've done one of these)
Toddlers - kick off because it's all a bit different and they miss their friends - who wants to spend all that time with their parents really ?

To have a break from the daily grind:

Adults - lie in and stay up late, eat at strange times and try to do as much as possible in the given time
Toddlers - have just about got used to the meticulously enforced routine you instilled and now you're expecting them to freestyle it ?

Conclusion: as holiday companions parents and toddlers are entirely at odds with each other from the start.

We are going on holiday again and this time I'm armed with the learning from the first one. We're not flying this time, but we will be driving for a long time so I am prepared with the following holiday essentials:

Snacks - my boy will do almost anything for Bear fruit and Nakd bars - I keep one of each in every bag (and for Hubbie too)

Tablets - equipped with all manner of technology for grown ups we also have a portable DVD player for the car this time so he can watch Firehouse Dog. I've got all his favourite apps including; Cbeebies, Talking Tom and Farting Fish (thanks for that Hubbie !!) 

Activities - plenty of crayons, mini colouring books, playing cards and puzzles and stickers. Something will do the trick.

Holiday journal - a red hardback book with matching pen that Hubbie picked up at a conference. We kept it on the table so he could use it whenever he wanted to draw a picture, 'write' about his day or put stickers or souvenirs in it like his unused kids club wristband. This time I'm expecting pictures of all the animals he meets on the farm.

Bribes - so I have a new football for him, a new bucket and spade set, lots of small bags of Haribo sweets and more stickers.

I'm hoping it will be relaxing. I've packed a few books, my running kit and all of our wellies so we've got all eventualities covered.

Wish me luck - I may well need it !! 
Relaxing image

1 comment:

  1. Hey good luck you already sound so much better prepared. Our first long haul trip was very similar to yours, but by the second and third - with 2 month years olds in tow, respectively, I had a brainwave. Those amazing cool suitcases for little kids were packed full of a toy / snack / activity for each hour of the journey - 9 hours! This meant we were only really trying to fill a short amount of time each hour. They were too young for the films then, but it's amazing how long just walking around a plane can take - and the people you meet can be a great distraction!