I often wonder what my life experiences were like pre-baby, I still blame baby brain for my lack of memory even though we’re 18 months on. I can’t remember leaving for work without the drama of brushing teeth, dressing, shoes, coats, nursery bags, lunches, and then the mad rush of trying to get Harley to walk with me at a reasonable pace in the right direction of the car, we pretty much fail at this every morning. So why do we choose to put ourselves in situations that are less than favourable? Like going on “holiday”, its more of a holiday for the kids than it is for you, because you’re still expected to feed, clothe, bath, play with and have responsibility for your offspring, not the relaxing break we used to get.
We are lucky enough to have taken Harley for a few holidays or weekends away, which definitely does the soul some good. The first experience we had was taking him to Bulgaria, which was wonderful, good food, good people, super family friendly and warm enough to tan but not too warm for Harley. The week before was not so fun, there were lists upon lists of things to pack for who, in what bag, how many of each item was needed, but lets double it just in case. So we ended up with three 20kg suitcases, one cabin sized suitcase, one duffel bag and a change bag. We had to transport all of those, plus ourselves to the airport in one piece, so we did the sensible thing and booked ourselves into one of those fancy park and ride to the airport places. You drop off your keys, swap it foe a ticket and off you go, pretty simple right? The issue we then had was that we had to get ourselves, a pushchair and all of our bags on to the shuttle bus just to get to the airport doors, to shuffle all of our luggage back off of the bus to the right check-in desk. It was relatively painless, but next time I may just wear the same outfit all week to avoid the balancing act of a pushchair and 2 cases at the same time.
The plane journey both ways was pretty painless as it was only a few hours, but flying in the night is not something I wish to repeat. Harley was so overtired all he did was cry until he finally gave in at 11pm and fell asleep on daddy, which lasted all of 40 minutes before we had to wake him up to land and then get him all the way to the car before we could hope for a second shot at him sleeping. We took it in turns to walk around the plane, singing, reading stories, playing games, giving him strategically times snacks. Hats off to those who travel further than 3 hours in a plane, I’m not sure I would survive the journey.
The hotel we stayed in was all inclusive and had a great dining area where they set up the highchair before we got in there to save some hassle for us. Harley ate like a total champ, which was fantastic. But being under 1 we still had to take the full works, bottles, formula, sterilising equipment, dummies, blanket, bibs, cups, nappies, wipes. The whole process was so exhausting, I was so worried we would run out of something, or forget something. Luckily we managed, but we pretty much took double of what we really needed, which was a lot of packing and unpacking, and a lot of luggage to drag to and from the airport.
All in all we had a pretty good time, Harley napped in his pushchair in the shade in the day and fell asleep quite quickly at night time in his cot, but it did mean we were confined to the room and balcony as he’s far too nosy to sleep anywhere interesting at night time. He also loved swimming, so much that it was tantrums getting out of the pool, unless we managed to bribe him with food from the snack bars. We’ve definitely learnt a few tips and tricks for the next time with brave a plane with Harley, everything takes twice as much planning and twice as long to achieve but its so worth it for the memories and the experiences we gain with it.
This past weekend we went away with friends for a few days to a nice lodge with a hot tub on the river, sounds amazing right? Add in 2 small children and suddenly your idyllic weekend away turns into strategic planning. Between us we took 13 bags of stuff, for four days, I know it seems excessive but we had a 3 month old and an 17 month old to entertain, and of course pack for every weather extreme possible, because this is England after all. with four of us working together we all managed to eat 3 square meals a day at a reasonable time, get showered and ready each morning, and even spend a few hours in the evening relaxing in the hot tub. It was lovely for the boys to have new surroundings, different people to play with all day and new places to explore. It was so much fun but the packing was still crazy. We ended up running out of wipes and James had to go driving all around this small town to try and find somewhere that actually had any sort of baby wipe in stock.
We decided that some nights it would be nice to go out to eat, saves us washing and time in the kitchen, and it also meant we could all share a table and eat pretty much at the same time. The one night we decided to do this nothing opened until 6pm, but we didn’t know that so we went driving round pubs trying to find one to serve us food before Harley’s starvation took over and drove us all mad. We eventually found one, which was insanely busy, probably because it was the only place in a 10 mile radius that was serving food, and the meal ended up being a bit of a let down, so it wasn’t really worth all the driving up and down and frantic googling. We squeezed 6 of us onto a 4 person table in a corner, had to keep a hungry Harley entertained and when the food came I shall quote Molly for her summary of her dish “the chicken was like one of those squeaky dog toys”. Apart from that small setback, the whole weekend was super fun and I would definitely go again, maybe just without Harley…
I think what we’ve learned from these experiences is that…
- More is ALWAYS better, even if you have to juggle bags and end up with a long term muscle issue
- There is strength in numbers, the more adults the better, the more hands to help and the more entertainers you have the easier your life will be
- Be organised, try and make lists and pack the essentials, but as long as everyone gets fed it doesn’t really matter anyway
- Do your RESEARCH, if we had made some form of itinerary for our weekend then we wouldn’t have spent half the evening trying to find somewhere to serve us rubbery chicken
- Go with the flow, after all, you are supposed to be on holiday