It’s been nearly a month since we took our first ever plane trip with 2 children and I think I feel ready to share it with you now.
OK here goes…
We arrived at the airport a good 2 hours before our flight leaving plenty of time to leisurely make our way though security and have breakfast before boarding. However I hadn’t considered that 2 hours only feels leisurely if you are travelling alone, with kids it’s a totally different ball game.
Factoring in the bag drop, car seat drop, monumental tantrums, toilet trips and lost comforters we were seriously running low on time. I stressfully grabbed coffees at Starbucks in an attempt to keep our ‘we only had 3 hours sleep and want to die!’ thoughts at bay but with minutes to get to our gate, way too many bags/children to carry and only two hands I had to very reluctantly chuck them straight in the bin.
Luckily we made it to the plane on time and flipped a coin for who got to sit next to who. Winner got the four year old, loser got the two year old. Turns out four year old’s are pretty awesome to sit next to on planes, seeing their excitement and wonder at the world has got to be one of the best bits of parenting. Even if they do end up making you feel pretty stupid…
Sitting next to a two year old on a plane is errr… interesting?! Actually sorry, it just sucks.
I’m in a little bit of shock right now because I’m sure it was only yesterday when my biggest boy started school and then all of a sudden it’s the last day of term before duh duh duh SUMMER!
Like most parents of school starters around the country I took a picture of F on his first day looking proud and pristine in his new school uniform. A lot has changed since then, he’s in trainers because he’s ruined two pairs of shoes, the t-shirts are all greying and covered in strange orange stains and yeh, I don’t really do any ironing except a half arsed go over with my straighteners if it’s all looking particularly crumpled.
He looks scruffy, but who can’t pull off scruffy with a cheeky grin? The cheeky grin reveals he’s happy and melts away all the worries I had about him starting school at just turned 4.
If you were to ask me how he was getting on it would be a tricky one to answer for I have, for the most part, absolutely no idea what goes on between the hours of 9am – 3.15pm; apart from Power Ranger/Ninja Turtle battles which i’m assuming (hoping) happen during break time. One of the longest conversations I’ve ever had with him about an event that happened at school was this:
Me: So did anything exciting happen at school today?
Me: (EXCITEDLY) Ooh what?
Him: There was a poo in the playground!
Me: Oh right… like a bird poo or something?!
Him: No like a boy poo. A boy did a poo in the playground!
If you were expecting this post to be about what a nightmare our holiday was (me too!) then you are going to be disappointed because guess what? It was amazing! The boys were in their element being outdoors and in the water all day, and happy children (and cheeky daytime cocktails) make for happy parents.
The aeroplane bits were another matter but I’ll save writing about that until I am slightly less traumatised.
For now I want to talk about something nice – you see under the Majorcan sun my biggest boy had his heart stolen, by a GIRL! She was a lovely, chatty Scottish girl with long blonde hair and they met one afternoon in the pool. He was immediately taken by the fact she was significantly older than him and could swim without armbands. Total catch right?
I worry that her parents might be concerned that my very lifelike portrayal of her may reveal her identity so let’s not name her specifically, from here on in I’ll refer to her as ‘Not Lucy’.
Now Not Lucy turned out to be 6 years old but she wasn’t put off by F being a paltry 4, like he would have been if it was the other way around. 50% more life experience is a big deal in kid world!
Anyway long story short, despite the age gap, they got on well and the next day he was eager to see her again. But something happened which I hadn’t really witnessed before – a level of shy had kicked in.
We are going on holiday tomorrow, it will be our littlests first time on a plane. We have ventured out of the country before but our preferred destination is France. largely because you can get there via a car filled to the brim with stuff that makes them happy. This time around we are limited to the amount we can squeeze into our suitcases which gives me the fear because… considering packing, is it actually worth going on holiday?
The last few days have been spent in preparation mode, I’ve been sourcing kids crocs on eBay rather than hunting down the perfect shimmery sun tan cream and it got me thinking about how different pre-holiday preparations are now that we have children…
Researching the destination
- Before kids: Look up nice bars, restaurants and cultural places of interest to visit.
- After kids: That place you booked because it said it was ‘child friendly’ and had decent Wi-Fi? Now look up what country it’s actually in. Then look up the nearest A&E.
- Before kids: Download some new music and order 3 books from Amazon for relaxing by the pool.
- After kids: Charge the i-Pad to within an inch of it’s life and fill it with an abundance of irritating crap. Don’t bother with anything for yourself because your entertainment can consist purely of making sure your kids don’t drown.
- Before kids: Allocate the evening before for a beautifying session. Have a nice bath, shave legs, paint toes, apply fake tan. RELAX.
- After kids: Allocate the evening before to have a fight about who was meant to book the airport parking (not me!) before angrily clipping your toenails and butchering your legs with a manky blunt razor.
Although there are many good things about school, including the main benefit of free childcare, there are also some negatives… basically having to be there every day. On time. Not in your pyjamas.
I am pretty lucky in our household really though, J gets the kids up and does their breakfast so I can get washed and ready in peace. Being A LADY it does obviously take me more time to, you know, style my hair, apply make up, select a stylish yet practical outfit and generally look like I have my sh*t together.
Don’t hate me though – my littlest is often awake at a time starting with 5 and I am the one who can’t get back to sleep for being kicked in the head repeatedly.
It’s not all plain sailing though, I am responsible for the duh duh duh SCHOOL RUN and to be honest I’m not a fan. In the before school times I used to enjoy our lazy mornings pootling about in our pants before deciding what to do for the day. Now that we all have to wear actual clothes things seem to have gone down hill.
And whilst we are distracted with the task in hand the toddler always seems to be doing something incredibly, incredibly annoying.
There are people who have kids that get on and look out for each other, and then there are people who have kids where the best possible scenario is that they are completely ignoring each other at separate ends of the room. We fall into the latter camp – YAY!
If I’m honest It often feels like I can’t leave the room for five seconds without a full on war breaking out. Here are a few of the things that they regularly argue about while I am trying to make tea/hang the washing up/generally get sh*t done: –
1. ‘That’s mine!’ related arguments.
Doesn’t matter what it is, some screwed up bit of an old Cbeebies magazine that was plucked out of the bin, whatever, If it was once yours and someone else is now touching it then that is grounds to go batshit crazy until you get it back.
Then when you get it back you can immediately discard it because you never REALLY wanted it in the first place. Obviously.
This also extends to feeling threatened by another person because they are LOOKING (gasps) at something you are playing with.
2. TV related arguments.
Including – ‘He’s watched two episodes of his programme and I’ve only watched one of mine’, ‘He’s standing in front of the TV and I can’t see’, ‘He turned my programme off and It wasn’t finished yet’, and ‘He is shouting and I can’t hear’ etc. etc.
Even If I find something they are both happy to watch and I’ve managed to get them to sit down sensibly on the sofa we get…
We are going through a bit of a hard time in our family right now. It came out of nowhere and knocked us for six. It all started a few days ago, a sight so terrifying we were left quaking in our bed socks…
What’s the one thing more scary that being woken up in the middle of the night by an axe wielding mad man? Yup – seeing a toddler who has learnt to climb out of his cot.
You see I’m not one of those parents who is all up for their kid hitting milestones as soon as possible. TBH I’d been hoping the cage, I mean COT, would be sticking around for a while longer. But alas it was not to be.
So with the choice taken out of our hands and a Google for Velcro bedding or cots with lids proving fruitless, we had but one choice left *cries a bit* – A BIG BOY BED.
Usually in our household, if either me or J has a hangover we are nice to the other one, fully understanding how horrible it is to be hungover whilst around noisy, bouncy children.
But if you, for example, said you were going to be back by 11ish, missed all your trains, neglected to think about the fact someone else might be waiting up worrying you were dead in a ditch, and then turned up home at lunchtime the next day, you might find that sympathy levels were a little bit thin on the ground.
I did phone at 1am! But apparently that was a bit late in the day – time just seems to go so fast in the pub doesn’t it?!
And The Trainline app with it’s ‘where are you going?’ and ‘what time are you leaving?’ interrogations is such a bloody killjoy after you’ve had a couple of drinks.
Anyway the crux of it was that I not only had a hangover to deal with but a guilt ridden hangover. The unspoken form or atonement was to assume role of chief childcare provider for the remainder of the day (ouch).
Recently I’m sure I was like 25 or something. I’d just been going about, enjoying my business of being young and down with the kids when WHAM – what the hell?! Suddenly I’m no longer in the 25-34 age bracket, I’m in the 35-44 bracket and it hurts (like literally in my back when I bend over).
Can I really be more similar to a 44 year old than a 25 year old?! (No offence to 44 year olds it’s just, you know, you are older and that’s not my fault).
On a bad day if I look in the mirror I can see my skin slowly sliding off my skull. So I did a frantic Google for Sali Hughes anti ageing recommendations, followed by some spendy action and I was armed with the products promising to make me look 25 again. Whether they work, or whether they just make gullible people feel a bit more proactive I don’t know. Who cares. Right now they are worth the money either way.
Of course the changes are not just physical. There are many things that I now think/do that lead me to believe that night serums are not going to be a complete fix : –
- If I go to Topshop I walk around thinking – too tight, too short, too midriff baring or too trendy.
- My friend Emma told me that she buys her jeans from M&S and they are great. I am actually excited to try them myself.
- To be honest though I prefer going pyjama shopping to clothes shopping.
- I didn’t even feel vaguely tempted to watch Big Brother this year. Why is there nothing good on the TV these days?!
- I felt stupidly pleased with myself for finally ordering a new cutlery basket for the dishwasher but it ruined by morning (day) when it didn’t fit properly.
- I take my slippers with me when we go away.
- I feel really pleased when It’s a nice day, mostly so I can dry the washing on the line.
- I don’t like trashy magazines any more. I don’t know who all the people are.
- I read the local neighbourhood magazine and enjoy it (more than Heat magazine).
- I don’t really go out very much and I don’t really care.
- I sometimes feel glad when people cancel plans on me.
- In fact 95% of the parties I go to are kids ones (maybe even 99%).
- On the rare occasions I do go out I am a total liability.
- And then I still wake up at 6AM and my hangovers last 3 days.
- When the toilet roll runs out I always put the new roll on the holder instead of leaving it sitting on the floor.
- I don’t like it when technology changes. Windows 8 made me want to weep and my new laptop has a touch screen that I can’t seem to turn off. When I point at something on the screen, a keyboard pops up or something minimises and/or flies at me. I HATE IT SO BAD.
- When I recently found a pair of boots I really liked I bought two pairs so that I wouldn’t have to feel sad when the first pair wore out. I feel very smug about this.
- Sometimes I wonder if I should have bought 3 pairs.
- We joined The National Trust and I fricking LOVE it.
- Sometimes I work out the actual cost per visit vs. the price non members pay and I feel very smug about that too.
- Feeling smug about stupid unimportant sh*t is definitely something old people do.
We have a 5th member of our family that I don’t really talk about much on here, a lovely rescue cat we got about 7 years ago. She used to be called Tiffany which we didn’t like (If you have a pet or child called Tiffany then apologies but, hmm, how to be tactful? I don’t know. I just hate it).
Anyway we decided to change it. I wanted to call her ‘Little Pretty’ but J thought that might make him look like a pervert.
I guess he had a point.
So after much thought and deliberation we decided to call her Pickle. I feel I can reveal her name on the internet as she’s a bog standard black and white cat, just like 95% of the other poor nondescripts in Battersea’s reject bin. I doubt anyone would try and nick her and I’ve not heard of identity theft in cats being a thing. Even if she did go missing we could just go and get another one exactly the same so, yeh she’s Pickle. Help yourself.
She’s been a nice cat over the years, stayed away from cars and not cost us much in terms of medical care. She used to be the apple of my eye and at one point in my life I ‘may’ have referred to myself as her ‘Mummy’ (*vomits*). Sorry.