We recently went on a much needed and highly anticipated family holiday to Thailand. We’d actually booked it 14 months ago, after a post in the Hills District Mums Facebook group asking about a particular deal – thanks to the mum that posted! So 14 months was a looong time to wait. We also realised that as it drew closer, we really hadn’t considered what phase our 20 month old would be in when we booked – at that point she was a delightful immobile easily entertained 6 month old. Not so much now!
Packing with two small kids is an epic ordeal. Gone are the days where you throw in a few outfits, two cozzies and some sunblock and off you go. Usually I pack for everyone else then forget heaps of stuff for myself and I’m left with some weird combination of a long sleeved top and one pair of shorts for a week long holiday in 35 degree heat. But I was hip to this issue and didn’t let it happen this time – win one. The second learning on the packing front is that it seems the proportion of suitcase space you get is inversely related to your size. 20 month old had ¾ of a suitcase, husband had about an eighth.
The plane. Oh the dreaded plane. I had really low expectations and said to a friend a few days before we left that all I was hoping for is that we all arrive alive. The good thing about thinking it’s going to be hell on earth (or in the sky) is that it’s usually a little bit better than you expected. And it was. All in all, they really were great. Mr 3.5 only lost his s&it about 15 minutes before we landed – and really, he was just verbalising (loudly and passionately!) what everyone else on the plane was feeling after 9 hours – ‘GET ME OFF THIS PLANE! I want to get off NOW!’ We hear you. The overnight flight back ended up being the better of the two flights, as they slept for a 5 hour block. Admittedly it was lying across us, but at least they were quiet and not wriggling.
Here are a few other key learnings from our time away with two little people:
- Sultanas are even more annoying on a plane than they are in the car. F&*king sultanas.
- An entire backpack full of books and assorted activities is nowhere near as fun as the in-flight entertainment, including watching the map with the plane inching its way along – and checking it every 5 minutes.
- A second backpack devoted to snacks WAS popular…. just remember to stash some for the flight home too.
- A small child can survive days on end on breakfast cereal alone.
- Same small child can also survive without ABC Kids, although a strange Thai replacement filled the gap every now and then.
- Much time is spent anticipating the two hours the kids go to Kids Club, only for those two hours to be a) the only two hours it rains that day and b) spent worrying if they’re ok!
- A dinner of potato chips, an Up and Go and a cookie is consumed in silence, in its entirety and without any complaints. If only I could get away with serving that for dinner regularly in normal life.
- It seems happy hour not only means half price, but double shots as well. Very happy hour indeed.
- The above point is moot when you need to remain vaguely coherent should you be required to save a drowning child.
- If you send a 20 month old down the waterslide in front of you, it’s impossible not to land on their head at the bottom.
- If your holiday has been incident and accident free, then there’s bound to be a massive poolside stack resulting in a grazed face and a howling toddler 20 minutes before you depart the hotel.
- And if the above wasn’t quite enough to remind you that you’re first and foremost a mum and not a young carefree globetrotter, a toddler vomiting on the driveway as soon as you arrive home brings you right back to reality!
All in all it was a great holiday. Sure, it’s not the same as holidays when I was younger and I will fully admit to missing that kind of travel. But I’ll get back into it at some point in my 60s and in the meantime the fun the kids had fills the void well. And although the afternoon poolside cocktails were fabulous, it was nice to get home to our own beds – or the lawn in hubby’s case, who was out the back mowing within two hours!