Holidays with four children under 10 might, on paper, seem like fun. Indeed, there are many moments when they are fun, but the travelling part may not be one of them, particularly when one of those four is barely two months old. The baby has welcomed every new country [and there have been several en route] with a wailing session. Just as he has got used to France, we go and introduce him to Belgium and just as he gets accustomed to Belgium, he’s entering Holland. The journey to Holland seemed particularly long and not even Cheryl Cole with all the actions and a toweringly dramatic interpretation of Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat seemed to make any difference. I also exhausted all my car journey games – from I-spy [difficult with children who are not too sure of their spellings] to first person to spot a cow [difficult when we are on a motorway with very high fences on either side] – by Belgium.
On Friday evening, after four hours in the car and a session of dancing with a giant rabbit plus being endlessly woken up by bonkers daughter wanting to swing him around, big girl daughter kissing him and asking for anything sweetie-related and rebel daughter complaining about bonkers daughter, the baby was beside himself and I was considering whether I could abscond in the middle of the night with my passport. Just for one night. The main hurdle was that I was too tired to leave. Plus, of course, I wanted to take the kids with me which kind of defeated the purpose.
By Saturday, the rains had arrived and after a session of Happy Swimming [a misnomer if ever there was one. It’s more like wet childcare on acid], we got marooned in the car park and had to make a run for it to the place we were staying. I went first, with two children needing the toilet desperately and a hungry baby. Unfortunately, bonkers daughter dropped the card key in a puddle and it wouldn’t work. We stood in the rain for 10 minutes trying to dry it before we finally got indoors. By Sunday, the holiday had picked up as bonkers daughter and rebel daughter headed to the beach for a wave jumping session. Of course, bonkers daughter got soaked and big girl daughter needed the toilet NOW while we were stranded on a huge beach. Their dad was around 500 metres away with the hungry baby screaming because the very expensive “all terrain-look” buggy we were leant doesn’t do sand. He thinks I am overly anxious about bonkers daughter disappearing under the waves after attempting one wave jump too many, but I consider that as long as we manage to keep these children alive until adulthood I will feel I have done a good job as a parent.