Well, it's the Spring holiday soon. I can't call it the easter holiday as normal as Easter is done with and our bellies are already full of chocolate eggs and guilt. As we are not rolling in money we are taking our BIG FAMILY HOLIDAY now. Due to a lot of pre-planning, the weird scheduling of these school holidays, having friends to stay with and because Mercury is in retrograde or somesuch we are pushing the boat out a bit* and heading for America.
It seemed like such a good idea 10 months ago when I started booking it. Now I am careworn, sick and tired and bored by the whole endeavour. I hate all shops and most websites, especially Trip Advisor and their ilk. I am angered by the price of sunscreen, children's clothes and the myriad 'necessities' I have had to purchase prior to take off. I have been into town a zillion times and I still haven't managed to pick up everything I think we might need. I hate shopping for holidays; the pressure of making a mistake, of not having what we need when we are alone in the wilderness makes me itch like I've already encountered Poison Oak. Last week, in Sainsbury's, I caught myself having a fantasy about succumbing to a bear attack just to be done with the whole sorry mess.
I think it is the flight that is filing me with the greatest dread. I don't want my kids to be the biggest dickheads on the plane. My son will be carrying his own bodyweight in puzzle packs, sticker sets, audio books and toys he enjoys playing with but won't be heartbroken by should we accidentally leave them behind. It is a very fine balance. Honestly, one minor push at the airport and he'll be left stranded on his back like an upturned turtle. I shall take photos should this occur. As for the three year old; I intend to glue an iPad directly to her hands until we have direct line of sight on a swimming pool. However, she has just discovered that she can shriek a C8 so I may bring a tranquilizer dart as well, just to be on the safe side. Everyone I have spoken to about long haul flights with small humans has been very reassuring. The general advice is bring shitloads of snacks and an iPad. I think I can pull that together. 11 hours in a plane. It'll be fine. It'll be fine.
Holiday kidmin is just the worst and when I add a tech-addicted husband to the mix the pile of shit that needs to be attended to grows exponentially. Fun fact - gadget insurance increases your travel insurance premium more than a child with mild asthma does. Having both is expensive. I have scoured the internet, picked the brains of friends and read endless books to ensure we have a magical and varied experience. Hell, I've even listened to podcasts. I am trying to pull together an itinerary that is casual, flexible and allows us to experience every single aspect of American culture in a way that is as appealing to thirty-somethings as it is to pre-schoolers. Easy.
We will be doing Disneyland and the eye-watering expense that it entails because it is MAGICAL and every child should experience it. I am already resentful that the three year old is unlikely to remember it but Mercury was in retrograde** so it was now or never. We will take lots and lots of photos and we won't talk about anything else ever again. We will be doing Alcatraz, because, after 3 hours on Lonely Planet, Trip Advisor et al, I needed to indulge the fantasy that i could just lock them up and walk away if it all got too much. We will be doing Meltdown Comic in LA, because mummy needs some me time dammit. Suffice it to say the Days Out section of this website is about to get a lot more fancy.
Right, I'm off to Sainsbury's (again) to load up on rice cakes, raisins and flapjacks. See you on the other side (of the Atlantic).
*we will actually be going by plane
**to clarify; I don't actually believe in horoscopes, obviously. However, my most intelligent friend has pointed out that there was possibly something to them prior to industrial farming techniques, simply because the time of year would affect what foods were available, and so the false correlation could have had an observable effect, as pregnant women's diets varied with the seasons and this affected the neurological development of their unborn children.