The extra inset days from EldestGirl’s school seemed like a gift at the time. “Let’s use the extra week to take the cherubs on a holiday we could only normally do in term-time!” we squealed excitedly, before booking a Butlin’s break, because, frankly, we’d forgotten the bad bits from last year.
This time EldestGirl and YoungestGirl would be sharing a room, plus instead of her cot, YoungestGirl would be in a Big Girl Bed with no bed guards
because we left them at my parents’ house by mistake but it would be fine. It would be FINE.
It was not fine.
The first night, TheBloke (TM) got out of bed just after midnight. He had heard a noise. He went into the girls’ bedroom to discover YoungestGirl crying because “EldestGirl won’t talk to me.” EldestGirl was fast asleep. He settled YoungestGirl back down, explained the concept of unconsciousness – a concept that was quickly becoming alien to us – and came back to bed.
Twenty minutes later, we heard another noise. I went into the room. I found YoungestGirl had not only got herself out of bed, but had crossed the room and was literally poking her sister in the eyes to try to get her to wake up. EldestGirl slept on. I explained to YoungestGirl that there would be no treats tomorrow if she got out of bed again. She looked at me with her trusting little face and said, “I wouldn’t, Mummy.”
Another hour passed. There was a rattling at the door. TheBloke (TM) shot out of bed, and into the girls’ room. YoungestGirl was standing at the door, rattling the handle. As TheBloke (TM) opened the door, she calmly trotted into the hallway and said, “We have breakfast now please, thank you?” It was 1.30 a.m. She was promptly dispatched back to bed, and was told that if she got out of bed again, we would all get in the car and drive home. Thus started the Very Long List of Totally Empty Threats.
By this point, EldestGirl was also wide awake. We settled her down too.
I was just drifting off to sleep again when I heard the most almighty crash, followed by the unmistakable noise of YoungestGirl crying. I dashed into their room just in time to see YoungestGirl on the floor, and hear EldestGirl’s not entirely sympathetic riposte, “Well, that’s what you get if you climb on the furniture.” YoungestGirl had apparently got out of bed, and for reasons best known to herself, climbed onto the bedside table, slipped on a copy of My Big Shouting Day and had fallen flat on her arse.
At this point, I brought her into our bed to calm down, and so EldestGirl stood a chance of getting back to sleep.
“Would you like to sleep in our bed for a special treat?” I asked YoungestGirl. This is a massive special treat in our house. We did a bit of co-sleeping when she was a tiny baby, and a very few times with EldestGirl when she was poorly, but YoungestGirl has never spent a night in our bed before.
“Yes please,” YoungestGirl said, her little face lighting up. “Night night.” There was an awkward pause. “Night night,” she reiterated. “OK, you go now.”
When we asked her if she wanted to sleep in our bed, she thought we meant that she could have our bed to herself and we would get out and sleep somewhere else.
On being disabused of this fact, she started a massive, massive tantrum. Eventually, I took her back to her own room, and got into the (single) bed with her. I stroked her hair until she calmed down. Her breathing regulated. I thought she had fallen asleep. I stopped stroking her hair.
EldestGirl – who hadn’t been anywhere near sleep for at least three hours – started giggling. YoungestGirl started giggling. I started giggling a little bit, but it might have been hysteria. I made more empty threats in the following order 1. No pancakes for breakfast tomorrow 2. No swimming tomorrow 3. I will throw your teddy bear in the bin. (I am not proud of this last one but it was 4.30 a.m. She didn’t believe me anyway, giggled, rubbed the bear in my face and shouted “BEAR FACE”.)
The rest of the week was exactly as much fun as you might imagine a week in Butlin’s with two under-6 year-olds might be. Plus someone threw up in the pool.
At the end of the holiday, TheBloke (TM) edited together a lovely video of all of our best moments, which shows their happy little faces doing archery, PlayDoh, fairground rides and so on. This blog is to remind me of all the shitty bits he didn’t capture, in case we’re stupid enough to do it all again next year.