So we’re back from a great two and a half weeks on the stunning Pembrokeshire Coast in Wales. It was a lovely break in a whole load of ways that have nothing to do with sleep and relaxation. The three kids had a ball – with Spidey and Yoda becoming expert crab fishermen, and Woodie learning to roll. The adult slaves that are their parents had a great time, managed a fair few beers and balked at the revelation that family days out in Ireland aren’t bad value afterall.
In time for the holidays the amazing Colorine’s Wonderful is running a blog link on wonders of holidaying with children. I’m not so sure that my thoughts reveal much about any ‘wonders’, but here’s my contribution based on our weeks just gone. It’s 50% rant, 50% recommendation.
1. Ferry travel is hard to beat. Paying 30 quid extra for a cabin on a 3 hour crossing may seem stupid but it’s worth it just to ram your husband and older kids on the top bunk with the laptop and a movie, while you sprawl on the bottom bunk feeding the baby. Throw in a rough crossing and you’ll delight in sharing a loo with pukers you’re on first name terms with.
2. Schlepping around in a 7-seater complete with roof box, is the equivalent of wearing really big knickers. It might not be sexy, but everything fits in and it’s very, very comfy.
3. When you play i-spy with two illiterate pre-schoolers you’ll soon discover that rules are for fools. Also there are many exotic animals and pirates in the fields of West Wales but they are only visible to three- and five-year olds.
4. Meals out are made way more bearable by an investment in a few euros worth of tat. Wreak revenge on those restaurants that don’t give free kiddie packs by bringing along your own sticker packs and colouring. Tip proportionate to the resulting stickiness of the table.
5. For a surgery-free boob-job, encourage your 4 month old to feed through the night, every night. You return from your holidays with a slight tan and a significantly enhanced cleavage.
6. Young children make the application of sun lotion into the bane of your holiday. Invest in non-sticky, quick dry sun lotion (like Soltan Kids Dry Touch 30 SPF spray from Boots) and 50 SPF suits / swimwear and you’ll save yourself lots of stress, peeling shoulders and ensure that you bring those kiddies home the same colour as they went. A lovely light purple.
7. No fancy screens, parasols or gadgets will keep the sun off your sleeping baby better than a Dunnes Stores towel that has seen better days.
Bugaboo pimped with heirloom towel
8. The owners of holiday rentals believe in tissue-like curtains and ‘rising with the sun’. The parents of young children believe in black out blinds and eeking every second of sleep that is possible. Bring a Grobag Gro Anywhere Blind … and then curse the fuckers when you discover the room has two windows.
9. In spite of travel bed rails someone will fall out of the bed every night. There will be bad dreams and all sorts of requests for snuggles at all hours of the night. Simply, prepare to wake up in a different bed than you went to sleep in. It’s a lot like college that way.
10. Beware the ‘pied piper’ effect. If seen having ANY fun with your own children you will passively adopt the offspring of any nearby families. Watch as their own parents disappear off for a beer.
He starts with two kids and ends up with four. Strange that?
11. Accept that you will come home without a presentable family photo. If you manage to get a kindly stranger to take a photo for you, the baby will be asleep, a parent will be dishing out a ‘smile now’ bollocking or someone will make such a god-awful-whinging-face that the photo will be destined never to see the light of day.
12. Children who know what age they are, and can tell a random stranger manning an admissions desk that they are five not four and that mummy is very silly, are the enemy of every parent trying to save a few quid.
13. If you bring your kids to the amusements with the express idea of teaching them that gambling NEVER pays, expect to eat your words when their £2 of 2p’s to yield a massive loot of tacky plastic delight.
14. Strange thing coming from a blogger who has an affinity for single fingered (snigger, snigger) web browsing, but a holiday without Wifi and indeed barely any mobile signal, is a real holiday. Last week I found myself watching the news to find out what was going on in the world AND actually listening to my husband. A strange break from normality.
So there it is. Now for some more solidarity during this family holiday time check out the other entries in Colorine’s Wonderful linky.