You may have noticed that things have been rather quiet at Nunn the Wiser HQ. That is because we have been on A Holiday.
“Aha,” you are likely thinking. “A lovely, relaxing break where you read your book, do nothing and bask in the sunshine.”
And you would be perfectly right. That is exactly what a lovely, relaxing break is. However, when you have children, nothing is ever relaxing again.
I used to travel a fair amount, both for work and pleasure. I remember dreading long flights, the tedium, the delays, the dreadful food, and then – the sting in the tail – the jetlag at the other end.
Now I do all of this with two small children in tow, I wrack my brains for what on earth it was that I hated so much. Twenty hours by myself to read my book, watch films and snooze if I felt like it? Jetlag for the next few days where if I felt a bit groggy, it literally didn’t matter – it wasn’t like I was trying to keep two children alive.
Let me describe for you, in blistering detail what our journey home from holiday was like.
Countdown to return to England
T-2 days EldestGirl feels a bit sick, but isn’t.
T-1 day TheBloke (TM) feels a bit sick, but isn’t.
T-12 hours I wake up in the middle of the night and vomit, copiously. I feel wobbly for the next 24 hours.
On the connecting flight between Port Elizabeth and Johannesburg airports YoungestGirl is happy as can be. She is playing a Peppa Pig game on the tablet, and smiling away. Suddenly, she puts the tablet to one side, lets out a single high-pitched cry, and then reenacts a scene from The Exorcist as she opens her mouth and violently spews red liquid everywhere. She covers herself, the seat, the floor and a little bit of TheBloke (TM).
I start panicking at the fact that my youngest child appears to be vomiting blood, and mentally go through everything she has eaten that day: porridge for breakfast, fish fingers and broccoli for lunch… shit, shit, shit, this must be blood. Then I remember the huge helping of red velvet cake she had. This enables me to relax enough to fish around in the changing bag for her (single) change of outfit, and carry my scarlet-dripping child to the world’s smallest aeroplane toilet.
Have you ever tried to change a child dripping with vomit in an airline toilet? I have. This wasn’t even my first time. However, it’s not possible to do it without ending up smelling very faintly of vomit for the rest of your twenty-hour journey home.
Finally landing at Johannesburg airport, feeling still quite unwell (and smelling very faintly of someone else’s vomit) I needed to sit down, and TheBloke (TM) went to buy YoungestGirl an overpriced and ugly change of clothing in case of further vomiting.
We boarded the flight to Heathrow. Thankfully there was no further vomiting. EldestGirl watched a My Little Pony film, picked at her child’s meal and went to sleep. The person behind YoungestGirl put her feet through the seat onto YoungestGirl’s armrest. YoungestGirl thought this was a game and spent the next twenty minutes trying to pull this passenger’s socks off.
The flight from Johannesburg to Heathrow is about ten hours and is overnight. Between the hours of 8 p.m. and 4 a.m., YoungestGirl alternated crying, whining, shouting, “NO NO NO NO NO NO” for no apparent reason, and finally threw a massive tantrum because we wouldn’t let her get off the plane (at twenty thousand feet).
At 6 a.m. as they turned on the cabin lights and served breakfast, she fell into what I can only describe as a Very Spiteful Coma. She slept through breakfast. She slept through landing. She slept through disembarkation, through being put in her buggy, through passport control, baggage collection, through customs, and through an hour-long taxi journey.
She woke up, ready to start the day just as we arrived home and were hoping to get a quick nap in ourselves.
So yes, we had a lovely, relaxing holiday, thank you. For our next holiday we will be going no further than the garden. Ideally without the children.