It turned out to be great practice for being on holiday. Years ago I wasn't able to relax at all, then I met Hubbie. Before we met I'd have a long list of expectations from my holiday and would feel like a failure if I hadn't done all of them by the end. It meant I'd stick to the itinerary regardless and not be spontaneous at all. As a result I'd have tonnes of photos, but I wouldn't necessarily have had a great time. It was when we were in Rome and I was feeling guilty about wanting to have a lie in that he said, "Rome will still be there tomorrow. Relax. That's what a holiday is for." This was before we had kids - of course. In the days when it's about taking it easy, wandering round the souks in Marrakesh and buying ethnic tat, riding the Gondolas at the Venetian casino in Las Vegas as a birthday treat and drinking martinis at lunchtime because we could. Now the thought of being able to go out for dinner in the evening on holiday is like a distant dream that I aspire to when the kids leave home. Being on holiday with kids is at worse an endurance exercise, at best a chance to see how many activities you can fit in to wear them out enough to get some quiet time in the evening to sit outside and have a drink in peace or watch a movie that isn't animated.
As we prefer to take our holidays in the UK we also have a fair bit of driving to contend with. I always plan ahead with snacks and drinks, movies and plenty of things to do with stops on the way to make sure we don't have any panic about needing to go to the toilet. It's our first break with Baby Boy too so this year I've called in reinforcements to assist with this aspect of the journey. We have a bigger car than usual to keep the boys apart so they don't try to thump each other when they get bored - good luck with that. Sun shades for when it's too bright outside the window, a seat back mirror that plays nursery tunes - including a night mode - for Baby Boy and a seat back organiser for Big Boy that he can keep his games and toys in so he doesn't lose them in the car. I've also got them both a 'snack pod' that has a no spill compartment for snacks and a cup holder. With the no spill cups that I've got for them both I hope this means we won't have too much back seat drama.
Of course there are no guarantees that the boys won't get bored, fight, spill stuff or generally create havoc, but with all these helpers I'm hoping to stave off at least some of the risks. Wish me luck.
What do you find helps keep your kids busy on holiday ?