10 Ways in which holidays are different post-children
1) You forgo your much dreamt of exploration of Scandinavian countries and decide to combine a trip to beautiful Paris with a trip to the dreaded Disneyland!
2) The journey itself becomes a thrilling adventure and the whole family becomes apoplectic with excitement at the prospect of driving ONTO a train to cross the channel!
3) A tour of Paris includes stops for the kids to sketch the landmarks and an unfortunate incident in which two overzealous museum attendants reduce your 9 year old to tears when it looks as though she might be about to touch the frame on an priceless Monet (well OK, she actually WAS about to touch the frame on an priceless Monet, but a more measured response that wouldn’t put two children off ever setting foot in a gallery again might still have been possible!).*
4) You become the proud owners of this stunning snow globe:
5) You congratulate yourself hourly on the fact that you were able to sound enthusiastic as daughter number 1 chose to spend her holiday money on this tasteful souvenir. Never once did your face lose its awed expression and never once did the words ‘Seriously, you have 8 euros and you want to spend them on THAT?’ leave your lips. Parenting win!
6) You have conversations like this:
Faith: ‘What happens in this show?’
Me: ‘It’s a Stunt Show. They show you how they do stunts with cars and fire.’
Faith (pause): ‘So do skunks do the show? Like, are they the actors?’
Me: ‘No. There are no skunks. Just stunts. S..T…U…N…T…S’
2 hours later AFTER the stunt show, Ana tells a stunt related joke….
Faith: ‘So did a skunk make up that joke?’
7) After 20 minutes of queuing for the Aerosmith roller-coaster (which didn’t seem too terrifying from the outside and had children smaller than ours in the queue ahead) you find yourself alone at the front of the queue after both children (the brave one and the not so brave one alike) break down in tears and beg to leave.**
8) After Aerosmith-gate – and in a bid to liven things up – your husband starts a dangerous and rebellious trend when he encourages the family to put their hands in the air on the ‘terrifying’ (read: not in the slightest bit scary), ‘fast-paced’ (read: actually quite sedate), ‘adrenalin-fuelled’ (read: you may nod off to sleep as a result of the gently soothing rocking motion) Slinky Dog ride!
9) You finally arrive home at 1am exhausted and unable to function only to find yourself searching under the nearby cars with a torch after a cuddly otter goes missing in the transition from car to house. After a fruitless search, the otter reappears in the other child’s onboard luggage leading to huge relief all round.
10) You find yourself reflecting back on the holiday and realise with a start that, despite your Disney-related misgivings, you have actually had an amazingly fun time with your little family. Holidays with kids may not be what they once were, but you can’t say they’re not a flurry of excitement and adventure!
*In fact, this incident resulted in numerous queries from the 7 year old as to whether items on every passing wall could be touched: the frames of posters on the underground, the touch screen ticket machine, the flush on the public toilets…I kid you not….museum-gate left its mark.
**For once, it turns out that listening to your pleading children was a good decision when you brave the ride alone and discover that is it actually a shockingly terrifying roller coaster that would clearly have been akin to torture for both children and would have left them unable to see a picture of Steve Tyler without trembling in fear.