Ahh, holidays in the sun. They always begin with excitement, ramming clothes and jewellery into a suitcase, drinks at the airport bar and a spot of shopping, a gin and some Pringles on the plane before climbing off to be hit in the face by that amazing heat. The days consist of lying on rattan furniture with thick cream cushions listening to chilled out music while people bring me drinks. A pile of books by my sun lounger, where I’m clad in a bikini/sarong combo which coordinates with my toenail varnish perfecting my golden tan. Afternoon siestas before getting ready to go out for long leisurely meals and drinks before coming back and crashing sleeping in until the sun shines through the window waking me up reminding me I can get up and do it all again.
Who am I kidding, I’ve never been able to tie a sarong in a manor which covers me in a flattering fashion.
I’m lucky, I have had a few holidays in the sun without the monsters, just a few nights here and there, but it gives me a chance to re-live a time where I could read a book in the day, and sleep in the sun. However, these days it’s totally different.
Now the preparation is slowly pulling out my clothes to ensure there is space for nappies, sunblock, toys, netbooks, cuddly toys, dummies, specific cups/bottles. The airport is no longer a time to get excited, it’s toilet stops, negotiating hand luggage around a pushchair (which
I didn’t put back together leaving bits in the garage so that it breaks), and a 3 year old who refuses to walk anywhere. Tantrums in the queue whilst fighting through the Ryanair scum scrum, before negotiating collapsing broken buggy whilst holding fat baby, and ensuring the other child doesn’t climb into the engine due to sheer excitement.
No gin and tonics on the plane, just passing out pizza, crisps, raisins, picking up crayons, listening to Justin’s house, and apologising to the people in front of me who have dribble in their hair, and when we get off the plane, there’s no time to take in the heat. It’s all about pinning writhing non-bending toddler into buggy and make it to passport control, who question us severely about the children not quite believing that they are ours (how they are surprised that photos of 3 month old babies don’t look like a nearly 2 year old and nearly 4 year old is beyond me), but also don’t take my
suggestion joke that he can keep the children if he wants very well.
Once we’re settled, it’s all about the 20 minute work out of creaming up the children, not noticing until it’s too late that you’ve wiped some of the factor 50 “once” sunblock on your bum and backs of your legs so you have weird white hand marks in the middle of your slowly developing tan.
Lying by the pool is no longer an option, it’s all about preventing Fatso from drowning, even letting him flounder under the water for a few moments until he bursts up laughing hasn’t deterred his death wish of tantruming in any life saving equipment, which includes you holding him.
Heat of the whole day sun is to be avoided where possible these days, visits to zoo’s, parks (although the spanish sell alcohol in the park so not all bad) are essential, as are the regular stops for snacks, paddling, sandcastle building, hosepipe tunnels, dancing to cheesy music, being spiderman in your swimming cozzie and having your feet buried in the sand.
Books during the day need to be able to be put down at the drop of a step climbing/finger trapping/splinter getting hat. It’s also recommended that anything you value goes high up so it doesn’t have the potential of being deposited in the pool, sea, moat, middle of the sandcastle (I found my sunglasses just in time).
And don’t get me started on meals out – scrunched noses, rushed paella’s and the arguments where I refuse to buy burger and chips replace lazy tapas watching the world go by.
Although the children still go to bed at 7pm, and you can spend a few peaceful hours by the BBQ drinking wine, lie ins are not part of the package so staying up all night drinking isn’t recommended.
So I’m quite suprised to say, as I write all this, thinking of Uncle John’s holiday where he reads loads of books, drinks loads of drinks, and goes to bars (with free wifi), assuming that I am beyond envious…all I need to do is see these two faces enjoying themselves and suddenly it outweighs everything I feel like I’m missing and gives me the best holiday in the world.
Just don’t tell anybody I said so.