This Much I Have Learned – holidays with small babies
Going anywhere nice this year? Planning to go or just back and regaling friends with all-nighters, mountain walks, that little bistro or hidden cove up the steps or the golden beaches you walked for hours?
Or have you enjoyed that secluded villa at the top of the hill or fun in a caravan?
This much I have learned, with Didsbury Son now at an age where I see more of the top of his head than his face, the Mighty-Headed boy on the march and able to get object to mouth in the time it takes to rub sleep out your eyes AND as my sweet pearl-headed girl deciding summer nights are for singing, not sleeping; it’s tricky.
We have opted for short breaks around Wales.
We love Wales. We enjoy remembering to take bags to every shop, like the weather lottery and feel that not being able to shop after 7pm or find baby change facilities a challenge that can really make a holiday special. As I daydreamed about room service, pain-free moving and walking past Boots occasionally, I realised that my parameters had been re-set my checklist is:
1. No budget airlines. Babies fly free under 2 years old. We have already used this loophole and will do until its closed. However, the equipment you now need with you needs a roadie and you look like The Tweenies on tour. I planned a break, found flights but the baggage cost dwarfed the ticket price to such an extent it would have been cheaper to buy popcorn at the cinema.
2. The time limit a Didsbury Son can go without wi-fi is three days. After that the pained expression at a life lost and disconnected is no longer entertaining and worse, if the 3G fails I can’t check the transfer news.
3. Caravans are fantastic. Until you have babies crying. Then you have nowhere to go. It’s one up, all up and here’s a tip. Anyone who says to you they had a lovely romantic break in a caravan thinks communal washing is foreplay.
4. Remember the supplies. Wherever you go in the world there is a small shop selling the errant nappy, wipe, formula for the same price as a small car.
5. It’s your fault.
6. Time differences are dangerous. At. 9pm the twins are finally asleep; Didsbury Wife and I crave the small gap they have left between them in bed and Didsbury Son is revved up for a film, preferably with mild swearing. It’s a tough negotiation. If it goes wrong there will be harrumphing on all sides and worse, I may have to feign interest in some Alien abducting, world creating pixelated odyssey that Didsbury Son has had on hold for three days as the promised wi-fi is lost somewhere in the field of sheep behind us.
7. A double pram on sand is a nightmare, get a pool.
8. Keeping twins fed, changed and entertained in a caravan without crying is a test they missed on The Krypton Factor.
This is not to say that there have been those magical holiday moments. When Didsbury Son looked up at me and said those three little words that mean so much, “dad, Free Wi-Fi!”. Paddles in the sea and chips on the beach at night. These and a hundred other happy times that will be etched into our family story.
I hope this prepares you and warns you. It does all have one huge advantage. When you see the sign A34 Didsbury and get the first flatulent waft of Subway drifting up Wilmslow Road it’s bloody marvellous.