We’ve just booked a summer holiday at a lovely-looking place in Totnes, which seems to tick all of our boxes – play area and ducks for her, pitch and putt golf course for J, pub within walking distance for me. But it’s safe to say that the excitement I’m feeling is slightly tempered by that little voice in my head bellowing ‘are you chuffing serious?? I’m STILL recovering from our last stay-cation shit-storm!!”
She has a point. Whilst every preparation was made to make our last getaway as toddler-friendly as possible, with a veritable smorgasbord of kiddie delights just a stone’s throw away from our beautifully-appointed holiday cottage, the truth is, kids don’t give a monkey’s that you’re trying to make magical family memories here.
Let’s relive some of last year’s highlights:
– As it’s such a long drive, we ‘wisely’ decide to spend the night in a hotel en-route and break the journey up a bit. This meant spending the first evening of our holiday sitting in silence in a blacked-out hotel room from SIX PM so as not to wake the baby. Ever tried pouring wine into those tiny bathroom glasses with just the light from your phone to guide you? It’s a real skill…
– 30 minutes from our destination, she’s making ‘the face’ and the car smells like a skunk’s arse. Next thing I know we’ve got a code-red poomaggeddon happening; it’s pooling in the car seat, she’s got her bloody hands in it. Absolute carnage. Time for a hasty pit-stop at the local service station, which, weirdly, appears to be some kind of hotel. Miss O screams blue murder on the changing table, which is of course only installed in the ladies toilets, so J hovers awkwardly outside the door whilst I scream at him to get another vest; “everything is covered in sh*t; it’s in her hair for f*ck’s sake!”. As we exit, I realise that the room adjacent to the loos is currently hosting a (now deathly silent) pensioners lunch. Dinner and a show, you lucky devils!
– We arrive, and spend what feels like at least a fortnight unpacking all of Miss O’s stuff. I’m seriously considering putting an offer in on this cottage, because we’ve basically moved in now and the idea of packing everything up again on Sunday makes me want to chew my own arm off just to get out of doing it.
– Time for the beach! Time to make life-long memories and share #blessed, sun-drenched selfies on Facebook. Or not. She LOATHES the beach. The things she dislikes most about it include, but are by no means limited to, the sun, the sand, the sea, the breeze, everybody else there. We take the obligatory ‘beach-fun’ photo and leave 15 minutes later. Not quite early enough though to prevent an epic rolling-around-in-the-sand tantrum, which, with the head-to-toe lotion job we’ve done on her, transforms her into some kind of sand-coated, toddler/goujon rage-monster. Truly a magical time!
– Do you know what would make this holiday even better, I think? If we could stay up ALL NIGHT! Despite making every effort to recreate ‘the routine’ in our home away from home, Miss O’s sleep goes completely and utterly to sh*t. Cue hours of bleary-eyed despair whilst watching endless In the Night Garden episodes on repeat. If I’d wanted to spend my summer with a truckload of oddbods riding in circles around the countryside, I’d have taken a sodding coach trip.
– Undeterred, we trek dutifully through various parks, zoos and cafes, capturing the odd smile here and there so that we can show the folks back home what a lovely time we’re having. About half-way through the week, it transpires that the vomiting virus she’d miraculously escaped at nursery has merely been lying in wait until we were all running on empty. I’ve genuinely never seen, or smelt, anything like it. At one point, every item of clothing I have is either soaking wet or covered in toddler-vom, giving choosing what to wear of a morning all the appeal of deciding which Chuckle Brother I’d rather snog.
So yeah, all in all, an absolute bloody riot.
To be fair, by the end of the week she’d recovered and settled-in sufficiently to actually enjoy herself a bit, and those are the days that I look back on really fondly. But f*ck me it was hard work.
Still, I’m hopeful for this year’s attempt, maybe it was just a one off?
Is a relaxing toddler holiday achievable, or just a wine-induced pipe dream?
I’m the mother of a gorgeous 17 month old daughter and live with my husband in Northamptonshire. Parenting for me can be something of a beautiful nightmare; I wouldn’t change being a mum for the world, but do spend rather a lot of time swearing quietly into the fridge and counting down to wine o’clock.
It was such a relief in those early days of sleep deprivation and constant wailing (at least 80% me) to read blog posts from other mothers and realise that not everyone was frolicking about blissfully in parks living the #blessed lifestyle, and I wasn’t the only one adhering to the ‘trial and error / panic-induced midnight Googling’ approach to bringing up baby. So, if you’re looking for useful advice or definitive answers, I’d probably try Google again. But, if it’s soft play horror stories and random CBeebies musings you’re after, then please visit my blog. You can also follow me on Twitter
Image credit: Siobhan Butel