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. Whilst I would usually smile and reply congenially, I’ve found myself being perhaps overly honest with a reply of “NO, I’m fucking 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.
I’m not gonna lie, this week over in mamaland has been hard – Tom Hardy/Vinnie Jones/the heels of my feet pre-pedi kinda hard! With a 12 month old cutting his first molars and a desire to get out in a currently not-quite-toddler safe garden (pre-extension) there’s been a lot of whinging, tantrums, tears and mud coated snot.
This week saw the first day in Casper’s 12 months when I watched the clock for bedtime. I filled with resentment every second that passed beyond 6:15pm when Mr Only Girl didn’t walk through the door in order for me to pass responsibility of small person for a molar-induced-whinge free 5 minutes. So, in the sickeningly positive spirit that everyday starts anew, what do you do when life throws you a shit day with a baby on board? Go out! Go out anywhere, just get out! Things are ultimately better when doused in sunshine – this apparently goes for teething bubbas too, as smiles, giggles and eating resumed in the great outdoors.
It doesn’t take a kaleidascopic imagination to please a little person – a duck pond, a park and his favourite ball are sufficient entertainment to ensure sore gums are forgotten and mummy’s sanity is kept in tact. And who knew, apparently swans quite like stale chilli tortillas…
What are your first thoughts when you think of Butlin’s? Prior to this weekend, my only experience of Butlin’s was the day trip my great-nan would take (read: drag) me on every Summer – cue memories of wet, windy weather and a somewhat grim, outdated seaside family holiday park in need of good clean, some Weedol and a lick of paint! Some distant relatives would rent a beige looking, damp “chalet” for a week, every year,cramming kids, grand kids and anyone else with the same DNA in their bleak bolthole. But like the poor relations with tongues wagging, Nanny Flo and I’d hop on the train to be granted a day pass to experience a measly slither of their holiday. It’s memories like these, in-ground in the psyche of 30-something parents of the UK that gave Butlin’s it’s stigma as a less than desirable holiday destination. Fast forward 23 years, a £70 million overhaul, and with a Butlin’s Holiday Ambassadorship to my name – we were cautiously off on our very first Butlin’s Break.