Crazy thing travel – you always want to do it, and rarely make time for it. Especially when there are kids in the picture. By the time you think about packing their clothes, yours, snacks, cameras, and all the other odds and ends that cover the potential “what if”s of having multiple children in tow; your zeal for a trip dies before your credit card has time to be frightened.
But not this summer. This summer, we decided in our infinite wisdom not only to travel, but to travel overseas to England. With two children under the age of eight.
And it’s not like it’s hard, nowadays – we didn’t have to cross over on a three-week steam ship trip or paddle across. But you know you’ve done the “unusual” when you get the incredulous and wary stares as you walk down the aisle of the plane, and most people have a shudder as they think, “Not next to me, please!” We realized that Virgin Atlantic must have some sort of system down as we headed towards the back of the plane and were surrounded by children with already-weary and dazed parents. Perhaps that’s why they ask for ages online – so they can lump everyone under ten in one vicinity of screaming, crying, parental pit of anguish . Maybe that’s why they didn’t charge for drinks?
We were lucky this trip though, with only ten hours to Heathrow, we were off by late afternoon, arriving the next day in London. I was thinking, we’ll sleep on the plane, awake refreshed and ready to go when we land at 10AM (no seriously, stop laughing; it could have happened!)
What REALLY happened was we barely slept, my daughter stretched out over us, kicking my partner wildly in the legs every twenty minutes so he couldn’t sleep, while she snoozed for a whopping four hours. My growing son couldn’t get comfortable, doubled over in a seat that seemed small even for a ten-year-old, and ended up only sleeping two hours. I was so paranoid, I kept waking and checking instead of sleeping (silly mothering instincts). And for children that typically need 12 hours of sleep, not two, we were headed for a mess of cranky the day of arrival. As most parents know, there is no catch up on sleep for kids. There is just painful, and more painful, accompanied with whiney and bitchy for at least two days. Woot! Nothing like starting your trip in a new country with a wild ride to start. At least there was no turbulence on the plane. For now – we just have to contend with trying to be relaxed as we whiz wildly in tiny cars on the wrong side of narrow, twisty country roads. But seriously, at least there’s a pub at the end of each one!