At the beginning of the year when my mum suggested a holiday she asked whether I’d prefer to go in May or October. I voted for October. I said that Rae would definitely be walking then, whereas she wouldn’t be in May, so that would be better for us. You’re welcome to laugh at my naivety now. So last week we had Rae’s first family holiday in Portugal. I didn’t have the best of starts when we were checking in at the airport and I realised my suitcase was still in the boot of my car at my parents house half an hour away. (I don’t have the best track record when it comes to holidays as I once booked the wrong airport to fly to on a previous trip to Portugal, even though I’d been twice before). My brother wasn’t too happy about having to drive the suitcase back to the airport having already done the trip once to drop us off but we bought him some aftershave to make up for it (and by we I mean my mum). One of my big worries about the holiday was the flight with a two year old, but although she didn’t want to sit still for a second of it the outgoing trip wasn’t too bad. We got to the villa at about 8pm and while my mum and dad went out to get food and milk, I got Rae ready for bed. My other big fear about the holiday was Rae’s sleeping. Because I’m so OCD on routine at home and she sleeps so well I worried that she wouldn’t sleep in a travel cot, in a strange room and would probably wake through the night too. It turns out I had nothing to worry about because not only did she go to sleep fine and not wake in the night, most mornings I was awake before she was.
On the first night the clocks went back an hour but even so Rae still slept until half 7 the next morning. The day went by without too much drama, although who knew two year olds didn’t like to sunbathe?! In typical holiday mode time got away from us and by the time we got ready and sat down to eat in a restaurant it was 6pm. Rae normally eats her tea way before this but I’d figured she’d be OK to eat with us. What I didn’t take in to account was that her body clock was actually telling her it was 7pm and not only should she have had tea but it was also bedtime. So what I actually had was an overtired, over hungry, hangry two year old. And she let everyone in the restaurant know about it. Normally if you keep chatting to her throughout dinner she eats relatively well. Not today. A man on the table next to us nearly got scalped by a flying teaspoon. Someone may have found some veg on their plate that they hadn’t actually ordered. The crockery plate her dinner came out on nearly ended up on the floor on more than one occasion but when I tried to keep hold of it I got shouted at. So what did I do? I threw my own dummy out of the pram and whined like a teenager to my mum “Muuuuuum you’ll have to swap seats with me because I can’t handle this!!!!” And she did, but Rae continued to scream and shout and throw anything she could get her hands on. I cracked and told my mum to get my dinner boxed up (ours hadn’t even been brought out yet) because I was taking her back to the villa. My dad walked us back to the villa which took about ten minutes. We got to the door and I suddenly remembered the alarm. I asked my dad if he set it before we left and he said no, so in we went. It immediately started beeping. My dad may not have set the alarm but my sister had, and my sister and mum were the only two who knew the code. Then the real alarm started going off. I can honestly say I’ve never heard anything so loud. Even when I was shouting as loud as I could my dad couldn’t hear me. I managed to get him to lip read that he needed to go back to the restaurant and get the code and to take the baby with him because it was too loud for her to stay. It took him about fifteen minutes to get back to the restaurant and back to me and he could barely talk by the time he got back, the sweat was pouring off him, but he was more annoyed that he’d been running through the streets of Portugal carrying a child and no one had challenged him! I’d spent those fifteen minutes racing around the villa saying the word that rhymes with duck, looking for the piece of paper the code was on, which I later found out was in my mums bag. The bag that she had with her at the restaurant.
It’s safe to say our first proper night on holiday didn’t quite go to plan but I’m happy to report the rest of the holiday went a lot better. We had great weather, just the right temperature that the kids could stay out in it, and had successful meals out (having fed Rae before we left the villa). Rae wasn’t keen on the pool or sea but she loved the beach and kept Nanny and Grandad very busy round the pool. I managed to get some sunbathing done as she only wanted to play with them and not me. She also requested them to get her dressed, get her out of the cot after nap time, put her to bed and change her nappy all week! (I honestly didn’t encourage this at all…..much).
While we were away I started a Facebook page for the blog and put all my past blog posts on there. It was because of this I got a message from a lad I went to school with. He said the blog ‘Why don’t I have a daddy?’ had caught his eye and he wanted to assure me that having grown up without a father figure himself that Rae wouldn’t be missing out. He said he never felt like he’d missed out on anything and it had just made him love his mum more for being able to play both roles and show him more love than he knew possible. I hadn’t spoken to this lad in 8 years yet he couldn’t have messaged me at a better time. When we’d been at the beach I’d watched Dads playing with their kids and, even though she has her Grandad and uncles, I had a bit of a moment thinking about whether Rae was missing out. Thanks to his message I felt 100% better and replied to tell him so.
So after a lovely week it was time to go home. Our flight was at 7pm so we got to the airport about 5pm. The queue at check in was long but, as it was Halloween my niece had requested that her and Rae dress up in cat outfits she had made my sister buy before the holiday, so they spent the time walking around the airport entertaining everyone. Once through check in I fed Rae in the hope this would mean she would sleep on the plane. Walking through the airport to board the plane there was a girl standing there holding a sign up saying “Free hugs”. I’ve seen things like this on Facebook but never in real life and me being me I went over for a hug. I wanted to weep into her shoulder and tell her I’d survived my first holiday with a two year old but I might not have been allowed on the plane if security had seen so I resisted. And the holiday wasn’t over yet, we still had the flight home to get through. Being two years old meant Rae had to have her own seat, and she soon worked out how to undo her seat belt. To keep her still my mum gave her one of my nieces haribo. She’s never had sweets before because as far as I’m concerned she’ll have plenty when she’s older and if she’s never had them she can’t miss them. Now she knows what she’s missing. The sweet worked but obviously it takes longer than the time it takes to eat one sweet to take off, so we had to keep bribing her with them so she would sit still, after an air hostess had twice told me to keep her in her seat. Once in the air the haribo kicked in. She went completely hyper and wouldn’t sit still for a second. She was climbing the seat in front of her, which luckily my sister was sat in. My sister had her hair pulled more than once, and the lady next to her got hit by a flying dummy. It was quite obvious there would be no sleeping on this flight, by anyone within a 10 row vicinity it seemed. We were on the back row so obviously everyone was walking past us to go to the toilet. Rae spent a solid hour saying “hiya hiya hiya” to everyone, then an hour in to the flight she looked at me and said “poo poo”. “Oh god you haven’t have you?!” “Yeah”. Unluckily for my mum Rae still wanted Nanny to change her nappy so I got out of that one (thanks mum!).
Finally we landed after what was less than a relaxing flight and I almost wanted to high-five the air hostess on the way off the plane. But we’d done it, we’d survived a holiday with a two year old and had a great time. And I’m already looking forward to our next one.