“Its not a holiday.. It’s relocating somewhere else with less of your stuff…”
This is a guest post by the lovely Kate – who you can find on Twitter @F_etaK, thank you Kate x
By definition, a holiday is a day of “exception from work”, although if you have children you know that they are a 24-7 job, and that a holiday is no longer a holiday in the traditional sense, but merely a relocation somewhere else with less of your stuff.
BC (before children) we used to go on adventures; we visited El Salvador, we trekked in the jungles of Guatemala, did a road trip across Spain and saw the historical sights in Greece, but as soon as our children arrived everything changed.
For us a holiday is no longer about putting our feet up, sleeping late, having some down time, eating out every night and suiting ourselves. With our children, we could be on the moon but they will still wake at half six every morning regular as clockwork, still needing to be fed, watered and entertained. As soon as we got our heads around this and stopped longing for the relaxing holidays gone by, the more enjoyable our relocations became, So in our family, we treat every day as an adventure (no matter how small) and get our thrills from the little things and the new experiences we can share with our children.
We have two children. Beastie, a three year old boy into bugs and pretty ladies in equal doses and Mini Beast, who is a very sweet but loud 18 month old who eats like a horse and copies everything her brother does. As a duo they are a mass of energy and noise, very cheeky, feisty and I adore them, despite being driven to distraction almost daily.
We have just come back from a week in Norway, a week of adventures and new experiences and a week that was not too dissimilar to being at home. Was it a holiday? No but it was an adventure, if you see it through the eyes of a child.
Ok, so what do I mean by that? Take the airport for example, usually somewhere to stress, get through as fast as possible, a place where you need to hurry up and wait.
But we left a ridiculous amount of time to get to the airport and check in, I mean hours and hours! But it did mean that we could deal with a meltdown if it happened (with two adults and two children up at 3am the chances were high!), that we could go at toddler speed, marvel at the things us grown ups take for granted, like the moving floors, watching the bags get taken away, chatting to the lady at the desk and seeing the planes take off. To a toddler, an airport is a magical place, that produces many questions such as “Mummy what’s that man doing?” “Where are the bags going?” “Can I sit on this?”
Beastie asked how the plane took off and was told among other things that planes are unable to take off if children made too much noise (worth having up your sleeve!), we let them pack their own Trunkies with toys. We had sticker books, cars, dolls and even Mini Beasts tea cups – I’m not sure security expected to see that! We had the familiar favourites because being 18 months old new things are scary and if a small teapot helps you have fun, then so be it.
Beastie used the toilet and declared to the plane “Daddy, I had a sky wee!” because even that was something very cool! Everything, no matter how small they seem to us, are huge new experiences for children.
We tried new foods, walked by the fjords, watched the boats pass by yelling HELLO at the top of our voices, we hid from the wind and rain in the trees. We stomped in the woods, skimmed stones on the lake, went to the shops, held a fish that was as big as Mini Beast and got plenty of early nights.
Did we get to see the Scream by Edvard Munch? Did we drink cocktails by the fjord and experience Oslo nightlife? Of course not, but we found a fantastic park in the middle of Oslo with a climbing frame that sent the beasties off the scale of excitement! Ok, so it wasn’t high culture but we wiled away an afternoon playing and running about. We sang songs as we walked along, chased pigeons and looked at the statues. The highlight of the day? Finding a big hill and watching as hubbie and Beastie rolled all the way down to the bottom
At the moment, as I write this, I am in the Isle of Wight on ‘holiday’, in little cottage on the south coast for a week. Would I call this a holiday? Not after the day I have had.
Just this morning a very mischievous beastie was removed from the aquarium for being naughty, loud, dropping his trousers and doing the exact opposite of what we were asking him to do. We had a melt down followed with a wailing of “Mummy, I don’t want to go home!” repeated multiple times, through tears, screams and sobs.
We know why, the night before, we stayed up late on the beach playing. Bedtime was about 3 hours later than normal but we all woke at the same time. The whole day Hubbie and I have played good cop, bad cop and referee.
We always pay for our pleasures!
So we scrapped our plans for the day, headed back to “the little house” for lunch and had an afternoon of doing nothing. Hubbie is reading, Mini Beast is asleep, Beastie is playing with his train and I am doing this.
But I’m relaxing, I have no washing, housework or jobs hanging over my head. I picked up a book yesterday and Hubbie and I have drunk more wine and spent time together these last few days than we have done in what seems forever. Our evenings are full of late evening sunshine and chat, rather than getting things done before they wake up in the morning.
So we are on holiday, but not in the usual sense, and despite today I am unwinding in a funny sort of way, and I might not be watching the sun set in Ibiza or soaking the culture in Italy, but I have relocated, with less of our stuff, and a different mindset.