Since child number two arrived it has been over fourteen months since my family has been away from the house and on holiday together. Given that previous holiday attempts with child number one were less than successful, it was with a sense of anticipation, fear and trepidation that we set out on a week-long family holiday over the recent Easter break. Frankly we shouldn’t have bothered. We should have stayed at home.
This is part 1 of the diary. Part 2 will be released later this week.
- Family holiday day 1
Bags packed and ready to go! However, son, recovering from a sickness and diarrhoea bug, vomits at breakfast time, bringing up bowl of half-chewed Cheerios. I try to score points with wife in personal ongoing vendetta against Cheerios by suggesting they are too sweet for son. Wife scores most points by making me clear up son’s vomit.
Holiday postponed by one day, due to Breakfast Cheerio Vomit. Holiday suitcases remain by front door. Daughter spends day whingeing – repeatedly – about not going on holiday. Son also spends day whingeing and clinging to any adult in sight. Wife reflects it’s like being on lock-down in an old people’s home, where all the old people are on Speed. Stressful day ends with wife sobbing in bathroom.
- Family holiday day 2
Son, hasn’t vomited in 24 hours, but is clearly still not fully recovered. Hold telephone consultation with rest of family (brother, sister in-law, two kids and Grandma), who arrived at separate, but nearby, holiday houses the previous day. We decide to travel to our holiday house, but under strict self-quarantine rules.
Both children fall into deep beautiful slumber on the three hour journey from Oxford to Kent. Wife and I dare to believe that the holiday is back on track.
However upon arrival at holiday house, both children melt-down. Daughter wants to go play with cousin, but nuances on the concept of quarantine are lost on her. Two resulting time outs for daughter. Son, teething for England, screams his way through the day, and nearly chews his own fist off. In order to delay onset of parental tinnitus wife and I take shift turns with son.
One brief conversation through holiday house window with rest of holiday party is our sole contact with the rest of humanity. Our holiday house is renamed The Plague House by my niece. Cold, wintry and miserable outside. Snow starts falling. It’s April.
- Family holiday day 3
No sleep due to daughter and son spending the night in a relay race, passing The Baton of Screaming between each other. At 4am, after approximately NO hours of sleep, I consider picking up The Baton of Screaming and whacking myself over the head with it. Seems like the only chance for some sleep.
Son still unwell and doesn’t eat breakfast. Bitterly cold and miserable outside, barely reaches above freezing all day, feels colder with barbaric North-easterly blowing in off Siberia. Children really tetchy. Pattern set for rest of day.
We are locked into Plague House, with no contact with the other holiday party except for stolen conversations through Plague House window.
Highlight of day is when daughter has a poo on toilet, looks down and squeals “It looks like Makka Pakka’s house!” I can confirm it really did.
- Family holiday day 4
The Baton of Screaming is dropped. The house is silent at night. Sleep results. Eight, lovely, unbroken hours of it. Both children wake up happier, smiling. Son attempts a few wobbly steps after breakfast, daughter back to usual charming and charismatic self. It’s been over 48 hours without an incident of diarrhoea or vomiting. Disinfectant is locked away! Recovery is complete!
Ring other members of holiday party. Sun comes out. Daddy and mummy rejoice. Celebratory decision made to go to Safari Park en-masse.
Arrive at Safari Park. Colder than hell, despite sunshine. Queue for hours waiting to get onto safari transport. Son goes quiet in pram, little nose frozen. All other children begin whingeing. Safari finally gets under way, vehicle passes through massive Jurassic Park style gates “Welcome to another world!!” announces driver triumphantly. This other world looks suspiciously like cold, empty fields. In Kent.
Son falls asleep, probably hypothermic. Safari passes field after freezing field, no sight of animals. Vehicle passes empty lion pen. Grandma suggests Friesian cows have kidnapped the lion and are torturing him for escape route information.
Vehicle eventually stops at an outdoor restaurant in the middle of nowhere, with no shelter, no cover. Bitter wind blows through restaurant, food takes over one hour to arrive. Son wakes up starving hungry, screaming for food. Food doesn’t arrive. Son eventually stops screaming, reverts to guttural protest growl and worrying thousand yard stare.
Food eventually arrives 80 minutes after it is ordered. Utter garbage. Utter expensive garbage.
Family huddle around a tropical lizard tank, along with 30 other people, to try and defrost. Tropical lizard tank is only piece of warmth remaining this side of hell.
Daughter wets herself. No spare trousers, so spare trousers borrowed off sister-in-law. Daughter refuses to wear spare trousers and escapes my grasp, running half naked out of the toilets and into the outdoor restaurant screaming “Get off me! Get off me!” I die of embarrassment in front of hundreds of startled onlookers. I suppress the urge to shout “It’s OK! I’m not a paedophile, I’m her father!”
Family troop back onto safari vehicle. Still no safari type animals. Plenty of squirrels though. Hands frozen with cold by this point. Children melting down. Final ten minute walk to car park is most miserable, cold walk ever taken. Cost of family outing totals over £300. Would have had more fun if we had spent the day sat in a big freezer, looking at pictures of squirrels.
All children put to bed, so I open the first bottle of wine of the holiday and pour into glasses. A split second later I am immediately alerted by crying coming from children’s bedroom. Daughter has vomited all over bed sheets and herself. Half digested, open-air-freezer-restaurant pizza stuck in her hair.
Daughter spends rest of night vomiting, one particularly strong hurl goes down my front, with splashback onto face. I note that vomit is surprisingly hot.
Wife and I painfully strip skin off hands through over use of soap and disinfectant.
I begin to wish I was back at work.
Look out for Part 2 of – The Diary of a (yet another rubbish) family holiday – later this week