For the last week or so, people have kindly been questioning if I’m looking forward to our impending travels, as tomorrow is the day we set off on our first ever family holiday as a septet to Greece. Whilst I would usually smile and reply congenially, I’ve found myself being perhaps overly honest with a reply of “NO, I’m frickin’ dreading it.” I can’t help but think my answer, along with this blog, is some sort of cry for help – a desire to “talk it out”, to make it all better?!
I’m not sure what part of getting up at 5am with 5 ridiculously excited boys, herding them through Gatwick Airport amidst half-term madness, boarding a jet propelled metal tube rammed with potential onlookers and juggling a toddler on my lap in my solo seat for 3.5 hours, is supposed to be something to look forward to. It’s bad enough trying to contain them in our own home, with plenty of room for movement, a fridge full of food and surrounded by their creature comforts – let alone chucking them to 30k feet with a 250 strong audience and restricted personal space. Of course, the seven days that will follow the aforementioned parental nightmare will be beautiful, sun drenched moments upon moments of joy, but for now, I’m struggling to see past my main areas of concern…
Packing for the equivalent of a small village. Why is it every time I wash the clothes ready to go in the bag, they pluck them from the pile for their 8th outfit change of the day?
Getting them to sleep the night before. Last night (T minus one bedtime) was bloody hell on earth. The toddler – no problems, he was a dream, but that’s as he’s none the wiser that we’re about to embark on a Thomson Holiday’s extravaganza of swimming pools, kids’ clubs, all you can eat buffets and free fizzy drinks 9am-midnight. The big four, on the other hand, are not only aware of these facts, they’ve Googled the living daylights out of our hotel and have witnessed it in all it’s techni-colour glory. To say they’re excited is beyond an understatement – they’re buzzing with more energy than the Hadron Collider. Getting them into bed and asleep at a reasonable hour will be like shoehorning my arse into my pre-natal size 25 jeans – it just ain’t happening.
Toddler on Board – it would appear we were the last people to find out about online check-in, thus, we were given the “left over” seats. The boys are far enough away that I could plausibly deny ownership but that leaves me with the smallest sprog, in a lone random seat – on his first flight – at nap time.
Funnily enough, Mr Only Girl’s assurances of “Don’t worry, I’ll take care of the big four, you’ll just have Casper!” didn’t ease my rapidly increasing stress levels. I wanted to screech “No Deal” – how is that a good offer? Whilst getting the big 4 to the plane and settled in their seats without a fist fight might be a small challenge – it’s then plain sailing. They’ll be happily engrossed in their iPad catalogue of pre-downloaded Youtube videos (see THIS which will explain the Youtube obsession) for hours, the only parental role required is throwing snacks in their direction every 30 minutes. Meanwhile, I’ll be wrestling a mini bucking bronco whose only mission is to waddle the aisle of our plane continually, whilst stopping to examine even the tiniest bit of dried up, discarded chewing gum from 1997 stuck to the carpet. There is no comparable determination than that of a restrained toddler!
So there we have it, my somewhat first world, but very real fear exposed, do I feel better? Mildly. Will I still be forced to face my fear head on at 5am tomorrow morning ? Damn right! Will I be drinking a G&T to make it all just a little more bearable – most certainly.
I’m actually filled with warm, fuzziness at the prospect of us spending seven whole days and nights together as a family in a bloody awesome location and I can’t wait to get those monsters out where they belong – having fun in the sun. We’re bloody lucky that the great (read: brave) guys over at Thomson have accepted the challenge of keeping my brood entertained for a week – so expect plenty of snaps and updates as to how this adventure pans out!