I know you can’t go on holiday with children and expect it to feel like the same kind of holiday as when you went without. And I, of all people, should know that holidaying without children doesn’t always happen without incident.
Last time we attempted a holiday, on the second morning, my 2-year-old kicked a football to her cousin, fell right over the top of it and broke her femur. Just like that. Cue a week in a French hospital, many tears (from all of us!), and many, many questions about how it happened (apparently, it’s not that easy to break such a big bone just from standing still!).
Worry, panic, x-rays, language barriers, more tears, then a return home to the UK from France via ambulance because you can’t travel flat in a hip spica in a car. Then 6 long weeks with a bed bound toddler in a lot of pain and a small baby to look after.
This interspersed with more visits to the (English) hospital, each time via ambulance again, more questions about what happened and how it shouldn’t have, to the point I even started feeling like I had somehow been abusive to my child.
Anyway, roll on 2 years and she is perfectly fine, so we thought we’d try again! You can imagine I was a little anxious about going on holiday again, this time with three children, but luckily it was totally fine. No trips to the hospital needed, so I’m calling that a success! You can read our holiday review here, really recommend it for a great family holiday.
But, I guess you can’t expect everything to go without a hiccup, so I’m going to share my misadventure on holiday with you, if nothing else but to hopefully give you a giggle and make you feel smug about your own parenting abilities. Please try not to judge – sometimes as a parent you just panic and don’t know what to do!
I’ll set the scene. We made it. After hours of ‘Are we nearly there yet’s, traffic jams, ferry delays, a crying baby who just wants to escape her car seat, a 4-year-old who insists she needs a wee till you get to the services, then insists she doesn’t until 2 minutes past the services when she decides she actually does need a wee and is now desperate. Anyone relate?
Anyway, after a surprisingly argument and tantrum free day of swimming and visiting the playground (twice), Mummy and Daddy take the children to the indoor soft play to get out of the sun for a bit. Daddy decides to take the baby back to the lodge for a bit leaving Mummy with the 4-year-old and 2.5-year-old.
They are both playing nicely until the little one starts shouting ‘I need a poo!’ from the top of the slide. Mummy shouts at her to wait and that they’ll go and find the toilet, but it’s too late.
Mummy frantically tries to navigate soft play equipment that’s obviously not designed for a somewhat overweight 30 year old, to try and stop child 2 from sliding down the slide. Gets to the top to find it is worse than she thought and thanks God that she got there in time to stop the sliding! The Poo (it’s horrendous enough to deserve a capital) is all over clothes, legs and feet. Mummy picks her up and clambers down out of the soft play.
After grabbing the 4-year-old they head out of the soft play to find the nearest toilet. Toilet has a hand dryer in, so naturally biggest child (who has a phobia of those) completely refuses to come inside. Mummy tells her to hold open the door and stand still. Meanwhile child number 2 has pooed again, this time straight onto the toilet floor.
Mummy starts the delightful job of cleaning up both the child and the floor when she suddenly realises the door has shut and child number 1 is gone. Panics. Leaves little one standing in the bathroom with her shorts round her ankles covered in shit while she runs around like a mad thing calling for her other daughter. There are 2 corridors in different directions, and a staircase going down plus a door leading outside. Finds her daughter back in the empty unmanned soft play room, shoes off and put away in the cubby hole, playing by herself.
Grabs daughter and runs back down the corridor to the toilets where she finds other daughter standing still where she was thankfully. Finally cleans her up and has to walk her back to the lodge naked.
There are reasons parents try and avoid going to soft play.