Holidays - fun in the sun but panic for mum!

I am the type of mother who tries to plan ahead and think of 'all eventualities', at least I like to think I am, however in reality I get 60% of the preparation done at least a week in advance and then leave the last 40% until the night before!

When Florence and Tilly were babies I would literally only stop short of packing the kitchen sink.  Cue argument between myself and my beloved!  He would invariably have booked us only 15kg of luggage allowance per adult which of course would, in the main be allocated to his water based sports paraphernalia or ski associated junk!  On the mention of having booked through Ryan Air or Air France (15kg allowance) I would go into a blind panic.  On the basis of a 7 night stay, it was not up for discussion, I would of course need weight allowance for the following:

  • x25 Pre mixed Aptamil cartons (my kids were both sick with the powdered version), weighing in at 5kg (x3 per day plus4 extra for the flight in case we don't use one or need more!).
  • x21 Baby food pouches/cartons usually Plum or Ellas, weighing in at approx 3.5kg (x3 per day) plus two packets of baby porridge.
  • A huge pack of nappies and about 10 packs of wipes (unscented of course, clearly not sold anywhere else in the world :-)).
  • A minimum of 2 outfits per child per day plus at least 5 baby-grows for the night time.
  • x2 sleep suits.
  • A ridiculous amount of rattles/teddies/toys

This amounted to circa 14.5kg of luggage leaving a mere 0.5kg for myself :-).  I would then stuff all of my belongings into my husband's case (x7 pairs of knickers, the only skirt I could fit into, x2 pairs of tights with holes in, x1 feeding bra even though I was no longer breast feeding, a pair of pyjama bottoms and a few of my maternity tops I was still wearing, an unacceptable amount of time later and the part-started baby diary I was determined to write which was yet to be filled out).

Drum roll.....not one but two sets of weighing scales would miraculously appear.  One digital and one mechanical, in case the digital had uncalibrated itself!

"Jayne, yours and the girls case weights 24.5kg", you need to remove 10kg's.  I would then have a mini melt down proclaiming; "This is more hassle than it is worth, why on earth didn't you buy extra weight allowance?"  I would dutifully remove the excess weight then just before the taxi arrived stuff it back in.  Cue argument at the checkout, unpack, repack, unpack, repack etc until we had carrier bags full of stuff to take on as hand luggage along with the trunki/dragalong case/baby bag etc.

We would resume conversing with each other when we had arrived, the kids were in bed and we had a glass of wine in our hands.

In reality, when we were self catering I would invariably end up making simple purees/pasta dishes myself and didn't really need the excessive amounts of baby food I brought with me.  To be honest, my children weren't that keen on a large number of the pouches preferring only the fruit purees and simple veg purees.  I didn't give them ones which I thought tasted disgusting as I don't believe in feeding my children something that makes me gag!  I would also find the local supermarkets and visit day 1 and stock up on fruit/veg/pasta/cheese etc.  Not only was this much fresher & healthier for the girls, it also meant that they were trying new tastes and textures that I perhaps wouldn't have tried at home. It also meant, rightly or wrongly I didn't feel guilty.

And yes, 7 days later arrived the inevitable "I told you so" from my other half who had indeed been right all along. I didn't need half of the stuff I had packed, however I would always retort with "well, if you actually helped me pack rather than just standing there criticising we would of course have had the perfect amount of 'stuff' wouldn't we?!" 

We didn't actually use half of the pouches but the way I see it is that I would much rather have too much than too little.

My case in point came on a trip to Poland when Florence was about 8 months old. I only took 20 (ish) bottles of Aptamil and whilst we were there she got sick.  When my girls were sick they went off their food but I could always get a bit of milk down them.  Poland was tricky.  They only sold powdered Aptamil in the supermarkets and my girls always vomited with this.  I ended up having to order in baby milk to the local pharmacy, usually used for special care babies in Poland and had to be stored in the fridge.  They cost £1.50 each and I ordered 50 because they were only in 100 ml's.  You see, had we paid for more luggage allowance in the first place, it would have been cheaper!

Victory was mine on this occasion!

We have just returned from a trip to Morocco, now the children are older travelling is getting easier.  Aged 2 and 5 and staying in a hotel this brought new food challenges as they always wanted to order either a panini and chips or pizza!  I don't believe in stressing about their diet when I'm on holiday for a week, after all they are on holiday too.   I did however do my ritual trip to the supermarket to stock up on fruit and healthy snacks but then I found the Souks and this was much more exciting and interesting for myself and the kids.  We chose loads of fruit/snacks/veg and the girls thoroughly enjoyed it, well Tilly did, Florence was more interested in stroking feral cats and dogs (nightmare!).  I was in heaven, a kilo of strawberries was just under £1.50 and Cherries were the same.  The girls just filled their boots and everyone was happy including mummy who was comfortable in the fact that the girls had at least eaten their 5 a day!