The Half Term Holiday

After an incredibly busy and stressful few months, I was ecstatic to be going away for a few days with my family. Just the three of us, in a lodge with a hot tub at the seaside. Idyllic right?!

When we got back, I was quite literally heartbroken to be coming home to normal life again.

We had an amazing time.

At least I think we did… The photos on my phone certainly suggest that it was fantastically flawless family fun.

I did get thinking though (you know, while waiting for the third of four loads of washing to finish) that we’ve heard about the concept of making our lives look better for social media, but I wondered if we also edit our lives for us. Do we filter out what’s NSFF (not safe for Facebook) in our memories?!

When I think about our lovely family holiday, I think about my husband hilariously throwing Leo in to the hot tub naked, about us crying with laughter at the immature fun that is a Whoopee Cushion, about it being perfectly acceptable to sink a bottle of wine on a Monday, and about donning a bin bag for the smallest Halloween party ever.

But I think I may have mentally blocked out all the normal and, frankly harrowing, family stuff…

For example, trying to get a 6-year-old boy with a super cool pair of new trainers to wear wellies is an effing nightmare. So of course, before heading off for a walk on the beach, there were cries of “PUT THEM ON. Please… You can choose what we have for tea? We’ll go to the Play Gym? Please?… I’ll buy you a little present? I’ll buy you a massive present? …Fine, forget it! THANK YOU FOR RUINING THE WHOLE HOLIDAY”.

Now, the above may well explain why the boy has come to expect an undeserved gift every time we leave the bloody house. “Are we going to Big Tesco? If I don’t swear, can I get a toy?” If I’m good at getting in the car can I have some sweets?” (Just to be clear, I am aware of what an unashamedly pathetic joke this parenting tactic is). And this absurd behaviour is somewhat amplified on holiday. When you’ve already forked out £50 for three admissions to an oversold local attraction, the last thing you want to do is pay another tenner for a branded pencil sharpener.

Yes, we made the fateful mistake of visiting The Deep on a rainy day in the school holidays. One hour after joining the queue, we had almost got to the ticket desk to be let in (despite already buying our tickets online). We then found ourselves waiting for 10 minutes just to be uncomfortably close to strangers whilst we huddle around a clown fish. Of course, the whole visit was essentially just counting down time until we got to what all kids are actually interested in… the gift shop and retrospective bartering.

Now, as we will all be painfully aware, the journey for any holiday, or in fact anywhere, is a whole new level of hell. The newest way in which our little darling makes it especially unbearable is with his decision that motorways are his “worst enemy”. Cue seemingly never ending moans and high-pitched whines of “How many minutes ‘til we’re off the Motorway? 23 minutes?! How many seconds is that? The motorway is so boring, I’m so bored, this is boring… How many minutes left? And how many seconds?…” And because nothing ever goes to plan for us, we managed to hit a city centre exit at 5pm, so you can only imagine for how many minutes (and of course, seconds) we were subject to this incessant whiny mental arithmetic.

Leo also seems to have become obsessed with speed limits. Now, having sat through two Speed Awareness courses, I can confidently say that I’m a pretty decent and safe driver. However, this probably isn’t purely down to the good old DVLA. These days, it’s more on account of my six year-old screaming at the top of his voice, “THIIIIIIIIRRRRTY OOOOOONE MUUUUUUM! SLOW DOWN!” Diligent, yes. But it doesn’t half bloody wear thin quick.

And the irritations harp on… A new and adorable quality the boy has picked up is the ability to play us off against one another. Yep, absolute Only Child syndrome. All it takes is the slightest disagreement; such as “Toast for breakfast?” “Nah, let’s have bacon”. He loves it. He’s right in there with, “I’m on your team Mum” and “Mum’s mean to you anyway, Dad”. If it wasn’t so worryingly devious, it might be funny.

Finally of course, we were also inundated with the Ignorant Accident. Also known as, not listening to my repeated hypersensitive anxious ramblings and therefore nearly cracking his skull open by falling on the slippy floor, giving himself third degree burns on the red hot kettle and almost drowning by carelessly messing around in the hot tub. At least that’s how I saw it anyway.

Apart from all that, the holiday was perfect to be fair.

I am sure that we’re not the only family to edit our lives for social media. But it’s important to remember the perfectly imperfect. Otherwise, how the hell will I make his life a misery when he’s older?!

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