Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Travelling

I had thought I had travelling with small children pretty well sown up, having travelled with my first son, often alone, on 10 flights before he reached the age of 2. So I approached our journey to Spain for a family holiday with an unjustified sense of calm. So what if my husband had decided he couldn’t possibly travel with us, but would follow on later- I had Granny and my 13 year old niece instead. Never mind if we couldn’t carry even our hand luggage, we would hire a handsome Peruvian man to take the bags. It was all going swimmingly well – all ready on time, no tantrums, Peruvian man loaded with luggage - until all trains to Gatwick were cancelled. So the Peruvian bag carrier had to be ditched and a taxi procured. No need to panic though, still got 3 ½ hours to catch our flight (a consequence of travelling with Granny). Boys still cheerful – son number 1 cooperatively falls asleep and son number 2 is happy enough so far. But then it starts to come apart at the seams. Taxi is largely stationery. We watch as people abandon cars and drag suitcases along the hard shoulder. Not a good sign. Shame the Peruvian couldn’t fit in the taxi. Granny starting to look very tense. Baby starting to cry. But I am still calm. Still time yet. We finally get to the airport, and there is an enormous queue to check-in. We wait. Baby wants to be fed, but no seats. Now breastfeeding standing up. Orange-skinned girls with peroxide hair sniggering. I am not amused. We make the check-in deadline, just. We are running now, through security, Granny shouting at the security men when they ask her to remove her shoes. They are unmoved by her tirade. The woman behind us says loudly that we should have left earlier. Brave move as Granny is looking a bit wild about the eyes. But there is no time to punch her as we are running to the gate, closing flight signs flashing. Thank God for 13 year old niece, who has replaced Peruvian as designated carthorse and children’s entertainer. Son number 1 seems to be enjoying the occasion and, for once, is running in the right direction.

Once aboard, we start to recover. Except baby starts to scream and will not stop. So I sit under a black blanket with baby and I wonder whether it is all going to be worth it in the end. I wonder the same thing when Granny has a meltdown at the car-hire station. As I feed the baby in the back of the car (turns out this one will only feed in dimly lit environments –who knew?), Granny is shouting we should move the car to the middle of the carpark ramp exit, despite the inconvenience for other users, because ‘it is cooler there’. The car hire men know better than to interfere. One final hair-raising car journey and the trauma is over. Or is it? Why didn’t anyone tell me holidays are more work than staying at home? At least though we don’t have to get on a plane for a couple of weeks.

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