Booking a holiday. Groan. You’d think it would be an enjoyable task. I thought viewing gorgeous poolsides and colourful slides and imagining the HOMEMADE wine I’d be sipping on my balcony over the SUPERMARKET wine I’m knocking down my gullet in front of the telly would be just bliss.
It’s a frickin nightmare.
We have two problems. One, we’re a bit broke. Two, those pesky terrorists have narrowed the entire holiday market because shock horror, people don’t want to fly their families out to countries like Egypt or Turkey for safety reasons. Throw in a musician hubby who happens to be pretty busy during the summer months and sure, there you are, studying a two star low rise prison block in Greece, wondering if you could bear to swelter in it for a week.
Apart from our first world problem of where to go and burn ourselves for a break from the ol’ Emerald Isle, the major issue that’s on my mind is herself.
The two year old. Or, if we’re being factually correct right now, the 21 month old.
If you’d said to me a few weeks ago – hey, why don’t you pack up the baby and head off to the sun for a week, I would have, probably, hit you with something. Her dirty nappy perhaps. (And let me tell you, lately, they’ve needed their own toxic waste licence).
So I guess it shows how far we’ve come that we are even at the holiday search stage because we feel we could bring her and bear it.
Himself is very positive about the whole thing and tells me he’ll mind her. I have visions of sunburn in strips where the factor 50 missed and her rapid dashes for the pool, rendering me heart attacked. I see us in sweaty Spanish restaurants, rolling a buggy back and forth hoping her blanky is thick enough to bounce out the sounds of adults trying to have a good time. In short, I see us pretending to be enjoying ourselves, when really, it would have been easier if we’d just stayed at home and stuck to our regular bedtime routine and not packed ourselves and our overweight luggage on a plane in search of family fun in the sun.
That’s very negative of me. I don’t mean to be. We are very lucky to be even considering taking a family break at all. But I just can’t shake the feeling of is it really worth it?
In fairness to the husband, we did spend the guts of a year being pregnant and the following year after that coping. (Badly) Third summer on and it does feel like things are getting back to normal – or rather forming into a beautiful, relaxed family life, that I absolutely adore, so maybe it is time for a family holiday.
We love nothing more than seeing her enjoy herself. I drag old games or books out of the attic and spring them on her like an enthusiastic puppy. Himself is on a mission to stream every film Dreamworks, Disney and Pixar ever made in some sort of Generation Game conveyor belt in front of her until she points and shouts stop at the ones she wants.
All we want to do is make her happy. Because it is joyous when she is.
I cuddle the head off her. She’s fairly affectionate too, but to be fair, there are many a bear’s hug, where Mammy holds on just a bit too long. I can’t help myself. I blow raspberries on her belly and tickle her feet and prod her and poke her in the neck and at the hips (cattle prod style) because it makes her laugh convulsively.
At bedtime we’ve developed a game that I think may affect her future mental health. I tell her she’s going to bed and she agrees and I lift her, doddy in mouth, blanky wrapped round my neck and we go over to kiss Daddy goodnight. There’s a bit of a handwave and then the eyes.
This is where Daddy looks at baby, baby looks at Mammy and then we’re off – thundering up the stairs, in a mad dash to get to the bedroom, because what’s that, oh my God, Daddy’s CHASING US!!
Sure enough, Daddy is creeping up behind us, waiting behind the corners, long enough to have us glance back and see him jump out. Each time he does she screams and laughs and shudders because there’s an ADULT MAN chasing her.
It’s weird, hilarious and the best craic we have in the day. It’s our thing that we do – our family time.
I’m still worrying about her language. She has very few words. There’s the regular hi, gone, all gone and shoe, but after that her communication involves pointing and EUGH-ing at everything and pulling me by the hand to seek out what she wants.
She still has three months to go to being two of course, and it’s only then we should be able to tell if she’s a bit behind in her speech. She did develop the word ‘Mam’ though during the week, and if I’m truthful, my heart melts everytime I hear her saying it.
‘Yeeeeesssss?” I ask in a singsong voice every time she says it. I know, when she gets going and ‘Mam, Mam, Mam’ becomes the rhythm of my day, there’ll be less patience and more ‘what? What? WHAT DO YOU WANT?’ but for now, I’m savouring it.
She’s a wiry little thing and loves to climb and jump and get stuck into whatever game is going. She ambles the stairs, up and down on her own now, though I don’t like her doing it, if we’re not there beside her. She’s social and isn’t afraid of anything – not scary Daddy men who chase her into her room at night, or tall, booming voice uncles who lean over her at parties. She just reaches up to be held – whassup style.
We’re in a great place right now. We’ve come through those tough months where she learned such helpful skills such as opening doors and gaining access to anywhere in the house, particularly the bathroom where toilet brushes appealed and dog nuts were tasty candy. She still goes wherever she wants, but she’s a bit more trustworthy and a little more grown up.
We’re so proud of her and her pigtails, so addicted to her hugs. Sometimes I look at her and think, don’t ever change.
She’s miniature, beautiful, it’s hard to remember not having her around.
So about that holiday, whether it happens or not, I’m just thinking- two year old bathing suits and arm bands.
GAAAAAAAAAAAAA. Can’t deal with the cuteness.
We’ll see what the world wide web throws up this week. But c’mere to me, if you do know of anywhere that offers family holidays, in Spain, peak season for about a fiver, let me know, will ya?