Family outings – the reality

I was recently asked to be Godmother for my friend’s beautiful baby boy. The christening was taking place about a 40 minute drive from our house. It was to start at midday and the celebration was to continue on afterwards at one of their friend’s houses.

After an extremely snot filled and sleepless few weeks, I’d pre-warned my friend that some, or worst case scenario – all of us, may not be able to make it.  I would of course do my upmost to be there given I was to be Godmother.

When the kids are sick I’m always conscious not to be the family everyone is trying desperately trying to avoid, keeping their kids well away, something I have been guilty of doing too. We decided to see how the night went and how sick they were in the morning before committing.

In the morning, the baby (who we’d been most concerned about), seemed considerably better so we decided to ‘brave it’. I know this may sound like we weren’t looking forward to the day ahead and if I’m honest there is probably an element of truth to this. The idea of a family day trip, getting dressed up, being a Godmother, seeing our friends and catching up for a party afterwards sounds delightful. Unfortunately we have been involved in too many day trips, where the children’s sleep schedule is destroyed resulting in a whole manner of tears, tantrums and stress. The reality can be so different to the idea we have in our heads of what it could be like, we generally approach such outings with a certain amount of fear and trepidation

We meticulously planned the trip (as we always do) around the kids, in order to facilitate the maximum amount of sleep possible in the hope of reducing the chance (or at least number of), explosive situations.

The plan:

  • The girls will look gorgeous in their party frocks and pretty hair bands.
  • I will have lots of time to get ready and hopefully scrub up ok as I will paint my nails, blow dry my hair and shave my legs (my husband won’t recognise me).
  • We must leave no later than 9.30am so the baby should get her morning sleep in the car.
  • We will arrive earlier than required but have time to spend a fun-filled morning with the girls at the aquarium.
  • We will bring the baby carrier and single pram so we can take turns to have the baby in the carrier and then as soon as the 2.5 year old looks like she’s flagging we can chuck her in the pram for her kip.
  • We will sit down as a family and enjoy the service in the church.
  • I will perform my part of accepting the responsibility of being a Godmother gracefully.
  • As long as we leave the party to return home no later than 2pm, both children will sleep and the drive home will be calm and peaceful.

The reality:

  • My eldest daughter point blank refused the wear the dress I’d carefully selected for her. She proceeded to scream the house down and then do her usual trick of running away to hide in one of the tiny spaces you wouldn’t think a mouse could fit into, on this occasion behind the chalk board.
  • After several attempts asking her patiently and calmly to put the dress on I employed my usual tactic of bribery, negotiation and possibly a white lie or two. I told her that Elsa from Frozen had sent the party dress especially for her to wear (ok so this is a blatant lie but how’s she ever going to find out?), I then told her that we were going to a birthday party (tiny white lie?) and that if she wore everything I would let her eat as much cake as she liked (bribery and negotiation). These are not new skills I have developed, I have been utilising them increasingly since my 2.5 year old has been old enough to understand. She finally succumbed agreeing to wear the dress and cardigan. Unfortunately no amount of bribery would get her to let me put anything in her currently dreadlocked hair (Combing hair is not a battle I can quite honestly be a****d to fight at the moment on top of all the other daily battles).
  • I had about five minutes to get ready, smudged my nail polish and had to apply my makeup hurriedly and awkwardly leaning over one child with the baby hanging off my leg.
  • We left 20 minutes later than planned
  • The baby was ‘overtired’ (isn’t she always?) and consequently screamed for the majority of the journey.
  • Whilst my husband was driving and getting more stressed with the sound of the baby screaming,  I had no choice but to climb over the seats into the back of the car, flashing my arse at all the passing cars, in a bid to calm her down. The remainder of the journey whilst slightly  quieter, was considerably more uncomfortable for me as my bum was jammed in between the two car seats.
  • The baby fell asleep thirty seconds prior to reaching the destination.
  • My husband and eldest daughter enjoyed the aquarium together whilst I was left stuck in the car. On the one hand willing the baby to wake up as I needed to pee but also aware that she needed to sleep as long as possible to provide the best chance for a calmer second part of the day (I live in hope!).
  • When she did wake up I hurriedly put her in the carrier as my urge to pee had increased tenfold. At this point she did her usual trick of chucking her dummy on the floor. This time it landed underneath the car. Of course this would be the day I was wearing a rather short dress so once again , bearing all,  I began grappling around on my hands and knees under the car (still with baby attached) attempting to locate the dummy. Luckily a kind passer-by took pity on me and came to my assistance (maybe he’d seen quite enough of my behind).
  • On arriving at the aquarium I found myself unable to get hold of my husband on his mobile as ‘apparently’ there is no signal in there. Wicked!
  • I begged and pleaded with the entry staff who took pity on me and allowed me in – hoorah!
  • At the christening our children behaved like caged animals who’d just been let out for the first time in their lives. Running and crawling around the church throughout the ceremony climbing on anything and everything. This of course resulted in us missing most of the service as we were slightly distracted trying to restrain them.

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  • The party afterwards was in a beautiful house not conducive for a crawling one year old who will not be restrained, has no concept of danger and likes to share her food with the furniture. She certainly left a little reminder of our visit, to the tune of a nice red strawberry juice mark, on the immaculately sparkly white cushions.
  • Enjoying the party (and the wine), I did my usual trick of pleading with my husband to break the rules.  ‘Shall we just try to get the girls to sleep here instead of in the car like we planned?’. It’s amazing how easily I falter when I’ve had a glass of wine. When will I learn- do not deviate from the plan?
  • We finally left at 4.30 pm, hitting peak traffic. The youngest who refuses to be restrained unless she is asleep, screamed for the entire journey. Basically a re-enactment of the journey there.

All that chaos aside, we did have a lovely day. In the midst of all of that craziness, there are always heaps of wonderful and comical moments with the girls. It was great to catch up with friends and the people who hosted the party after the service couldn’t have been better hosts. They were certainly kind and understanding considering our invasion.

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3 thoughts on “Family outings – the reality

  1. Wonderfully funny.Particularly like the pics of the children crawling around in the church.We normally try not to record these events but it has made it all much clearer and dare I say brought back so many memories!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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