Holiday times seem to be what we all live for. It’s been a tough few months (more about that in upcoming blogs) so I was super excited when a friend invited us camping. The plan was to go down the night before and stay in a hostel so we’d be there when the rest of the gang arrived the next morning. As usual my expectations and reality were slightly out of kilter. This is the story of my Easter weekend away.
Expectation 1: We’d both look forward to the holiday in happy anticipation.
Reality: Little one was a hyper ball of fun the night before we left. Bedtime went down OK. But fast forward three hours and he was awake…for the next five fricking hours! I wanted to rip my own eyeballs out. To be fair, they were so painful from the sleep deprivation I don’t think I’d have felt a thing.
Expectation 2: My excellent pre-packing would mean everything was really simple in the morning.
Reality: Sleep deprivation (see point one) would mean I was still dragging my son out of bed ten minutes before we were supposed to leave and shouting at him to eat his breakfast (a great negotiation tactic with three year olds I find).
Expectation 3: The long train journey would be some nice quality time for me and little one. OK, so this was a bit of an unrealistic expectation to begin with but in my defence I had a bag full of books, small toys, colouring things, stickers, cards, cutting things. You name it. I had it. Surely we could enjoy some arts and crafts and fun. After all it was a four hour journey, we had to do something to keep the boredom at bay.
Reality: I forgot the bag of fun (see point one and two above) and spent the train journey being jumped on by a crazed toddler.
Expectation 4: Once we’d arrived we’d enjoy a little late afternoon stroll on the beach followed by fish and chips.
Reality: We arrived. We got lost. We eventually found the hostel. Little one flooded the room before I’d had time to get the backpack. We made it to the beach just before the sun went down. Little one stripped off. Got freezing and snotty. We found the chip shop and purchased said fish and chips. The chips got dropped on the floor (little one still ate them). I had to carry a cold, snotty, screamy toddler home on my shoulders with a bag of shopping in one hand whilst his digger dripped wet sand on me as he repeatedly shouted, “I want telly. I want to go home.” Welcome to hell folks. Otherwise known as your friendly Easter break.
Expectation 5: The camping would involve the kids all running around like little outdoor forestry people. The fresh air would knacker them out and the parents would get to stay up late drinking.
Reality: The kids fought over all their plastic crap and ignored the great outdoors for most of the time. Come bedtime, my son was the last one to fall asleep. The rest of the night in our side of the tent was #blessed with one of the toddlers screaming about being freezing (note to would be campers – those cute toddler beds with mats are not made for English camping) and the other toddler (my one) screaming “I’m hungry”. In all fairness I’m not surprised he was hungry given he’d only eaten crisps, crisps, more crisps and crisps and refused all offers of dinner. After scrambling around in the tent I managed to rustle up two oaty bars which he ate with great gusto. Only I also managed to trip over the door of the internal tent bit, rip it and break off the zip. Luckily there was another opening. Unluckily it wasn’t my tent and it looked like a good one that probably wasn’t “purchased” on freecycle like most of my stuff. Needless to say, the idea of the parents staying up late for some booze never quite materialised.
Despite all that though, it still ended up being a lovely getaway. Sometimes it doesn’t really matter if expectations aren’t met. The sun shone (admittedly only for a few hours), the kids were smiling and had moments of
playing together nicely not beating each other up, and best of all I was with friends. I’m clearly a glutton for punishment. I already know that even though I was cursing loudly as I dragged little one through the town on his trunki at break-neck speed, rushing to not miss the train home, whilst hauling a big heavy backpack around and trying to dash to the supermarket to buy some (cheap) supplies for the journey, that if I get invited back again I’ll jump at the chance. No matter how hard it feels at times like those, this is what memories are made of. Although, of course if some kind millionaire is reading this, I’d also be happy with an all expenses paid holiday which wasn’t quite so exhausting.