I’ve just come back from a weeks holiday with my children which is why I have felt the need to write about this particular topic. I completed just shy of 1000 miles with my beautiful daughter gleefully booting me in the back of my seat for most of that time. It was throughout this period of spine readjustment I thought “who is really getting a holiday here?” as my discs and vertebrae weren’t exactly getting one.
Getting shit ready.
Whenever I go away on my own, I manage to squeeze everything into a small suitcase, I can even get on a plane with it. I don’t tend to take much more when I go away with my brood although I admit I do add more pants and t-shirts, however this is not the case when you have kids in tow. We took three suitcases, 1 large (big enough for a body) and 2 small (still big enough for little bodies). We then took a bag for life full of shoes, a bag full of coats, a bag of wellies, a bag of waterproof trousers etc, a push chair, a bag of food, a cool box, picnic blankets, a bag of associated toys and computer tablets, a bag of calpol and other associated childrens medicines including plasters and 2 x wash bags of which I had approximately 5 items plus a toothbrush and one which was the size of a small suitcase (my wifes)…..We went to Lincolnshire by the way which whilst it is slightly out of the way, it isn’t an under developed third world country with no access to food and medicine.
Packing the car.
I have a big people carrier and the space inside is frankly obscene, until it comes to going on holiday when it then turns out that the boot isn’t quite big enough. Packing the suitcases and associated bags of stuff turns into a puzzle that would be at home on the krypton factor. My two eldest children want a zoo full of cuddly toys in the front with them, along with blankets and a gallon of water each which they insist on jamming into their built in cup holders on their seats. But the packing doesn’t stop there, oh no my wife also has to pack the front of the car where both her and I sit. Tissues, wet wipes, mints, chargers etc you name it, we have a space for it.
10 minutes is all it takes for my eldest to start with “How long have we been travelling?” followed by “how long until we get there” I lose my shit at about 15 minutes and threaten to turn the car around and go home. This is a complete lie as I have no intention of knocking an expensive holiday on the the head no matter how naughty my kids are! About 40 minutes in and my daughter loses her shit and as she can’t talk this consists of screaming and grunting along with a flurry of further kicks to my spine. “lets play eye spy says my wife” my heart sinks, I hate eye spy and it is even harder when some of the contestants can’t read or spell. “I spy with my little eye something beginning with COW” that will be a cow then (repeat x 5). Before long the game normally turns to poo, willy and bums as my two boys find all three of these subjects the source of huge amusement.
About 1 hour in my daughter falls asleep, 90 minutes in No2 falls asleep, 93 minutes in No1 sets out on a mission to piss everyone off by waking up his two sleeping siblings. I look at him in the mirror as he tries hard to touch their ears or blow in their face. Nothing will stop him apart from the threat of turning the fun bus around, but by this stage he is pretty sure it’s a bluff. Give him another year and I will have to threaten leaving him at the services to get the same effect.
Motorway services are normally shit holes, especially when it comes to the toilet side of things. I naturally always end up with the 2 boys and bimble off on my mission to try and find a toilet that doesn’t look like its been pebble dashed by some hairy arsed truckers bowels or one where someone has actually managed to piss in the bowl rather than all around it and the surrounding cubicle walls. Once found I then have to try and squeeze all three of us into a cubicle whilst repeating “don’t touch anything”. The water is rarely hot in services which is a disgrace really, so I opt for shit loads of soap followed by some of my wife’s chemical hand cleaner. Then we get onto the food, I try to take a pack up but when we can’t we end up taking out a small mortgage to pay for a limp cheese sandwich or an overpriced sausage roll. I shit you not I once paid £1 for an apple, an apple! But that did shut one of my kids up for 20 minutes so in hindsight it wasn’t a bad investment.
This part should be the best, you’ve endured hours of hell to arrive at your holiday destination, out you jump gleefully like a deer in the winter snow….wrong! Your job is to now unload all of that stuff in your boot whilst your beloved children charge around the place seemingly hellbent on trying to lose your deposit for breakages. Your enjoyment of the holiday starts once the kids are in bed fast asleep and about an hour after that you’ll be joining them!
Fast forward a week and go through the same process again all in reverse!