Holiday. Sea, Sand, and suncream in your eye (is that not that the most annoying and PAINFUL thing in the world?) All jokes aside, is there anything quite like the feeling of going on holiday? From figuring out where to go, to booking, to realising you don't have the correct travel adapter* the night before you’re due to fly and then… having a Prosecco and full English at 5 am in the airport because you’re now officially on your ‘olidays!
Well, I must say when we were very kindly gifted ‘The Babys First Holiday’ by our parents for Christmas, I didn’t experience any of the above pangs of excitement nor did I eat one less pig in blanket at Christmas dinner because I’m not crazy. I’d take pigs in blankets over a washboard stomach and the-beach-is-that-way swan arms ANY DAY. Instead, I instantly scrambled for my phone (after saying thank you, of course) and WhatsApp’d one of my closest friends who has a plethora of ‘mum knowledge’ asking what on earth I should expect and “how do I pack everything we’ve required for the baby over the last 6 months into a suitcase without hitting the 20kg limit?”. In a nutshell, don't expect any margaritas at 10 am at the swim-up bar, no dancing on the bar at CocoBongos (or any nights out for that matter) and definitely no 3-hour naps in the sun. Oh, and book an extra suitcase.
By now you’re probably thinking, first world problems and all that but honestly taking a 6-month baby on an EasyJet flight to Lanzarote on the busiest day of the year to fly, with a borrowed pram off a mate that we had no idea how to put up and down is a bit stressful. However, there was one big thing I was forgetting in my neurotic going-on-holiday-with-a-baby cloud, Grandparents.
Now, the dictionary says;
a parent of one's father or mother; a grandmother or grandfather.
What it should read is;
Humans sent from heaven keeping the holiday and sunbathing dreams alive.
I can't speak for you but for me, the key to holidaying with a baby is to take the Grandparents. At.Any.Cost. Instead of 4 hands to look after the baby, you have 8 and more importantly, there are 8 beady eyes making sure that not too much sand is ingested by your child instead of 4 very slow and tired ones. It may seem obvious that everything would be made easier but I hadn't really thought about just how much easier and seamless it would be. So, instead of the better half and I crying into a villa sunlounger every morning due to B refusing to sleep in his travel cot, we sunbathed uninterrupted, we ate weird German breakfasts uninterrupted and B got to spend copious amounts of time with 2 of his favourite people on the planet. Win, Win, Win.
Some people say your parents love your child more than you and I can safely say for our parents at least, I believe this is to be true, they do not talk to me in the same coo-ing way that they speak to B. In fact, I don't think they speak to me about anything apart from B (Mum, I know you’re reading and yes, its true). This isn't a bad thing. There is nothing more special than seeing your parents, whom you love, create memories with your child. Especially when you’re skipping out of the front door for a night out when the grandparents are babysitting - what a perfect time to create those memories. Adios amigo, this Mama is out out. Jägerbomb come at me. Well… not quite, I’ve not been a fan of Jägerbomb or any kind of shot since 2012 in BCM Square. If you know, you know.
However, day one on holiday, The Glorious Grandparents strike again as the sweet words of “You two stay out, we’ll put him to bed” drifted over the dinner table and you didn't have to tell us twice. Champions League Final. Am I a football fan? No, but I was there, I was ready - get me to the nearest Irish Bar! Why do my nights out always escalate so quickly? Is it just me? I'm a mother now, should I reign it in? With absolutely none of these questions going through my thirsty-for-a-prosecco mind, 1 am creeps upon us and we’re scouring the streets of a small town in Lanzarote looking for a burger, the double cheese kind (hold the pickles) after one half of the Parents on Tour brigade had been passionately singing a version of “Country Road” only a Man United fan would know to the whole bar. I thought that was the worst of it until we returned back to the Villa for the mother-in-law to tell me my dress was firmly tucked in my knickers. I’d last used the loo about 5 hours ago but what the heck? Who cares? We’d had some proper lush quality time, laughed till our stomach hurt (that may have been due to gorging ourselves on tapas) and sang songs with an Irish man playing the fiddle. Also, some locals got to see a bit of cheek - what more could they ask for?
The next 6 days mimicked the first, just with less boozing and impromptu nudity. The tapas kept coming. Memories were made, lots of pictures to behold and a cracking tan that's yet to fade (thanks Cardiff summer for keeping me topped up).
If only every holiday in the future was going to host the god-like Grandparents. Alas, sooner or later we’ll have to brave the task alone and all of the realities may hit us and there will be no hungover naps in the sun or extra hands to help but, as cliché as it sounds, I wouldn't have it any other way. I’ll take the staying in the shade and applying factor 50 to a crawling baby over a couples massage on a beach in the Maldives any day because let’s face it, who’s going to look after me and make me a G&T when I’m old and grey?
*Top tip: Take a multi plug extension lead and you’ll only need one travel adapter. You’re welcome.