10 intense moments you can expect on a family holiday
We all have high hopes for the first family holiday.
Even though, on an academic level, we know that handling a sticky, sandy baby is like having an aggressive and unwanted exfoliation treatment. And sure, the heat might mess with the precious sleep routine, but still we imagine Instagram-esque family frolics in the surf and blobs of ice cream on button noses.
The 10 intense moments of going on family holidays (that kinda make you want to turn this car around)
1. The packing
Before, packing was a pleasurable process to be enjoyed and drawn out for several days. After musing on which holiday look we would be channeling this year, the pre-holiday Penneys trip would take place to stock up on impractical notions that would never be worn in real life (boho waistcoats). Post-baby packing, is considerably more haphazard as it is likely to be completed with a baby suctioned to your tit and another clamped around your leg. Upon arrival you realise that you brought one ratty pair of cut-offs and no bra, while the baby has a full 16 outfits but will spend the entire holiday wearing only a nappy and a hat.
2. The anticipation
The anticipation of the first family holiday MORE than makes up for the harried preparation and low-lying terror you might be feeling about taking the babies to a foreign country where the brand of dried mango that they like may not be readily available. You will most likely pack 25 packets of the preferred dried mango and stock up on various baby holiday accoutrements that will be sure to make you weep with wonder that the tiny creature that once sub-let your womb now needs teeny tiny swimming togs *GULP*.
3. The airplane
The airplane bit is always going to be a pretty intense few hours. By boarding a plane with an infant you are disobeying the only hard and fast rule of parenthood: Never be trapped in a confined space with a baby/toddler and several hundred hostile strangers. Buckle up, even if you're only off to Cork... it's going to be a LOOOONNG flight.
4. Seeing their tiny minds being blown by air travel
As much as the travel time can be a trying ordeal, it is still pretty amazing to see their big eyes grow even wider at the clouds passing by outside their window. Totes adorbs.
5. The seat-kicking
If heading away by car, by the second or third hour of incessant seat-kicking you may find yourself considering "the duck 'n' roll" – MacGyver's patented exit-from-a-moving vehicle move. It can get pretty intense as each seat-kick starts to feel distinctly more like a head-kick but hold on, good times are just a few (234) miles away.
6. Soak it all up
Once you hit your destination, the luxury of spending a whole week as a family proves that all the hassle (not to the mention having the mango slices confiscated at customs) was totally worth it, just to see them splashing in the waves and enjoying the sun.
7. The Sunblock
Oh right, the sun – the EVIL sun that will infiltrate every single defensive measure we put in place to protect our babies. It is pretty much inevitable that in the constant quest to protect THEM from the sun's rays (by holding them down during fraught and sticky applications of sunblock, for which they will hate you, by the way) YOU will invariably wind up getting burned. It's some kind of law of parenthood.
8. The mingling of holiday smell and baby smell
As intensly irritating as the constant sunblock battle is, the mingling of holiday smell and baby smell as you cuddle the sweaty, cranky, overheating baba makes it all worthwhile. Soak it up, there's only one first family holiday. In the blink of an eye they'll be in Ayia Napa, and you'll be ringing them every hour to make sure they're not getting sunburnt (or worse).
9. The "I'm in the ocean for the first time" face
The perfect blend of freaked out and freakin' amazing...
10. The return journey
Sure the seat-kicking/plane-hell will be even harder to take when returning home after the first family holiday but these, sometimes frustrating, sometimes intense and always happy, memories will last a lifetime.