A ‘holiday’ or ‘vacation’ – a time, often one or two weeks, when someone does not go to work or school but is free to do what they want, such as travel or relax – PAH! ‘Relax’?…‘Free to do what one wants’?…No, clearly I haven’t returned from a ‘holiday’, more like a gruelling motherhood work-out or boot camp, actually boot camp may have been a little easier on the nerves! They started as we entered the airport, no tell a lie, they started as we parked the fully loaded car at one of those ‘long stay’ airport car parks and boarded the ‘convenient’ (there was nothing ‘convenient’ about being 20 minutes from the airport terminal in my view) shuttle bus service airport-bound. That was the precise time THEY started…when I say THEY I mean the sympathetic stares from fellow mothers.
It was Fin’s first plane journey and our first family holiday abroad, our destination? Spain. Yes, I’d heard it all from the mother and baby groups ‘oh it’s only a 2 hour flight, he’ll love it’ and ‘ah lovely, he’ll sleep on the plane, mine did’… yes ‘yours’ may have loved the flight and ‘yours’ probably did sleep…don’t tell me, ’yours’ were also the well behaved children sitting quietly colouring in (I would like to mention at this point, I did provide Fin with specially bought crayons for the flight in an attempt to keep him in his seat and all he wanted to do with them was throw them at the woman’s head in front of us). My lovable little man is just too active to sit still for 10 minutes (unless Fireman Sam is involved) let alone 2 hours. Half an hour into the flight ants very much appear in Fin’s pants (or in his nappy, I’ve still got the joy of potty training to come) and we receive the first sympathetic stare of the trip along with ‘ahhh, when my son was little he’d be asleep before takeoff’ (haha…THANKS!). It wasn’t all bad though, along with that perfect mother was her little girl who took a shine to Fin and with a great mix of her entertaining him, ample snacks and a new toy car, he (and, more importantly, we) survived the rest of the flight without any further sympathetic stares or annoying tuts.
On Spanish soil, most days were spent sitting by the pool while Fin went from one pool to another and back again until he got bored and demanded food or he got tired and did everything in his power not to sleep…I’d like to add we won most battles and that hour or so we got each day, was pure heaven (we both read our magazines in silence…who said romance was dead?!). It was the evenings when our patience was stretched somewhat. I think you get the idea by now but Fin just doesn’t sit still. He is not one of those children that ‘people watch’ in the highchair, and we’d given up on the crayons, so our evening meal consisted of us arriving at the restaurant, ordering drinks and some chips for Fin, (straight away PLEASE?!) closely followed by our main courses and the bill. If we were lucky, Fin would stay sat down until the bill was paid and we’d run out (with borderline indigestion), if we weren’t, one of us would have a cold meal…normally my husband (I am eating for 2!) and we would receive sympathetic stares from around the restaurant…don’t tell me ‘when your boy was little he would be fascinated with the table mats or something else fairly harmless’ (I guess that doesn’t include a steak knife or glass bottle?).
All in all we had a great week, and by the end of it we had it mastered and as for the evening meal times…my husband was occasionally able to have more than two pints and I enjoyed a few desserts (albeit sharing them with Fin) without any major dramas. And get this…on the flight home the unthinkable happened and Fin fell asleep! How smug did I feel? I shall be telling my story for years to come at mother and baby groups…how did it go again? ‘ah lovely, he’ll sleep on the plane, mine did’…