OK I’m ready. I have put enough space between me and the trauma to feel I can speak about it without triggering the PTSD.
I work the school year, so I had about 5 weeks off over Christmas/New Year. I was dreading it. We had not one, but two family holidays booked. One with my family, one with my husband’s. Both involved about 3-4 hours of travel. Car. Plane. For the love of all things holy, won’t someone think of the children? We clearly didn’t.
I really can’t answer the question ‘how was your holiday’ at the moment. Not wanting to come across overly negative, not wanting to load the enquirer with my sad story and not wanting to lie, there isn’t much I can say. I’ll try to pick out the good bits. Holiday #1, Yamba: We had a great cabin at a Big 4, it had a BBQ on the deck which was awesome. Said deck also had an unbarricaded one foot drop off (so awesome). It had a fenced mini water park – truly awesome! My parents’ cabin did have an enclosed deck so we took our serenity busting team over there. A lot. Had many afternoons with wine and cheese and relatively happy twins running around on the deck. Had a great lunch at a local pub with an awesome kids play area. All good times are completely dependant on the containment and contentment of the twins. Complete exhaustion by the end of the week. Just shy of two weeks to recover and then, holiday #2, New Zealand (good bits): Caught up with an old friend a few times, so awesome! Had one day where Andrew, Archie and I got to go ‘out’ (read = away from the twins) and engage in such leisurely pursuits as canoeing and fishing. Took one twin, 4 year old and another 4 year old to an indoor play centre. SO awesome. I got to sit and have a coffee. Massive water slide for the kids down a grassy hill, that was fun to watch and Arch loved it. Arch idolising his older cousins. Complete and utter exhaustion.
The one day off in NZ occurred because one morning, being first up as usual. Andrew and I sequestered ourselves in an end room (we were staying at a big church camp site for a huge family reunion) to keep the noise away from sleepers at 5:45am. I had woken with a splitting headache and Andrew had just had it. The two of us were laying on the floor like two massively hung over teenagers, almost groaning in despair. Andrew’s Dad came in, took one look at the pair of us, sent us back to bed and almost didn’t let us near the twins for the rest of the day. Sweet respite. I actually had the chance to go for a couple of runs that week and one day I was wishing that a car would come along and clip me so that I could go to hospital and have a rest. Have someone bring me food. Nothing serious, just maybe a broken ankle. Just enough so that I would qualify for a medical airlift back to Australia and not have to deal with….THE FLIGHT.
There is a reason why online traffic is so vitriolic toward people who fly with toddlers. Because it’s FREAKING INSANE!!! So we have three of the four seats in the centre. On the way over, nobody was in that empty seat, thankfully. If you flew on that flight, I am so, so sorry. I had to take trouble into the toilets for about 30 minutes as it was so out of hand. I wanted that bloody toilet to swallow me up. Humiliation. He finally fell asleep and once back in my seat, I was scared to move. Dead arm, dead leg, dead bum (right side).
On the way back, as we neared our seats, I saw that there was a man sitting in our row. Right, smack in the middle of what was about to be the worst three and a half hours of his life. I begged the cabin crew to please move him, upgrade him SOMETHING!!! This man will never fly with you again, I’m not kidding. After a lot of blustery arm flapping, they mercifully moved him. I truly hope he got first class. Twin one screamed like a banshee for about the first 30 minutes and then fell into a deep, long, Phenergen induced sleep. We managed to get him settled in the (now) spare seat. Twin two, not sedated (we were worried that the Phenergen had triggered the performance on the first flight) was OK for a while, but in true body snatchers style, once his brother was settled he turned it on. Hello toilet. This time I was in there for over half an hour. There was a queue outside. Believe me, better that you should have to wait for the toilet than have to listen to this. He finally, finally slept, and again, one half of my body was numb by the time we landed. While sleeping on me, I took full advantage and knocked back a couple of MUCH needed glasses of wine (by this time I was past caring what kind of a parent I appeared to be to others) and EVEN managed to watch about an hour of Contagion. Don’t anybody spoil the ending for me, I am bound to get to the DVD shop one day.
So in the future, any and all family holidays will involve no driving, complete fenced containment, availability of chilled wine and cheese and absolutely NO flying. Until the twins are, say, about 30. My local dog park has a fence…..we just have to pop down to Bunnings for an esky.