Vacation, with 2 under 3, or: relentlessness
So here we are, on holiday. We have brought reinforcements in the form of a couple of grandparents, but the story so far is; it is relentless.
At home, parenting two little ones is hard work, but most things are in our control, and if they’re not, we can make them so if we need to-by leaving wherever we have been and going home, changing meal time or nap time, putting ties away/getting toys out, turning on/off the TV...here, we are out of our depth and we are treading water the whole time to stay afloat.
To give you an example, dinner here starts at 7pm. At home, we are beginning bedtime at 7pm, so starting dinner at 7pm is a bit of an issue. It has taken us 3 days to work out how to manage it, and it’s still not ideal. The Girl has had a diet of white bread, chips and chocolate milk, because by the time 7pm rolls around she is done for and we are just greatful if she will eat anything to prevent the 3am ‘I want food’ wake up...thankfully she normally front-loads her day when it comes to food anyway, so she will eat a big breakfast. However, she is also a bit of a fruit-bat, but with only apples and tinned pears on offer we have struggled to get her to eat much fruit.
The Boy is also struggling with food as his first tooth decided to make an appearance the first day of the trip. At home I might resort to porridge for tea for a grumpy teething baby but here, porridge is not a dinner time option.
We have discussed and re-discussed dinner time and the best way to manage it several times, trying to avoid the inevitable outcome of everyone rushing dinner while the smalls grumped, and mostly our solution is to get the toddler to nap in the day so she is at least vaguely awake at dinner time, and for me to pause in the middle of dinner to rock a grumpy baby to sleep and hold for long enough to secure a safe transfer to the buggy before I finish dinner. It’s not ideal-we still have to battle with the ever-increasing crankiness of The Girl, displayed in her increasingly challanging behaviour. Then we have the buggy-boob-cot transfer to get right back in our room.
Then there is the peril. At home, I know where The Girl is at all times, even if she is not in eyesight, I know she has wandered upstairs or outside to get something and I can check if she is gone too long. I can contain The Boy in a cot or behind baby-gates if I need to and even with the dog as a wild card, keeping everyone alive dosen’t seem to difficult most of the time. Here, I need eyes on her all the time. The Girl has a tendency to wander (or, in some cases, run as if chased by the hounds of hell) off, and putting The Boy down to have a crawl about has risk of pool plunge or sudden step peril. Having extra eyes dosen’t always help this, because everyone assumes that someone else has eyes (or hands) on a small person. Inevitably, the small people always want to be with someone who can’t manage them at that time-due to carrying beer or coffee or going for a loo break or some other thing that takes up two hands.
So we are always managing the situation, there is no rest from it, even when they asleep you are waiting for them to wake up and cry because they are not at home or have lost a teddy they didn’t actually bring or forgot to bring their enormous inflatable turtle to bed with them...at least at home, once in their beds they are largely predictable if not actually able to ‘sleep through’ yet. Out here you just don’t know what you are going to get.
With all of that being said, we are making memories. The people here are very children-friendly and have been super kind to us everywhere we have gone. The food is great and the weather is exactly what we hoped for, hot but not actually too hot yet. The Girl is enjoying the time with her grandparents as well as swimming, meeting people and playing on parks, going on boats and shopping for slightly oversized Turkish football kit (Fenerbahce) that the locals love seeing her in. It’s great to be lucky enough to get to travel with the children and do such amazing things.
I will be glad to get home eventually though, you know, for a bit of a rest!