To escape all the crap stuff that's going on at home. To relax and recharge my batteries for two whole weeks, in the South of France. Oh, and to do it all in true yummy mummy style, accompanied at all times by les enfants.
I am not a yummy mummy. Leaving on a jet plane with two under 5s was a shocking idea.
The first problem arose in the departure lounge. Ever tried taking a 4 year old to the toilet with a rucksack, buggy and boisterous toddler in tow? It's no fun. Especially when you lose grip of said toddler's sticky little hand and watch her disappear into a crowd of hens en route to Nice. Do I abandon the 4 year old etc and run after her? She's small but very, very fast, and I can only catch occasional glimpses of her among the sea of hot pink T shirts emblazoned with "Jen's Hens". I wonder if Jen's Hens would like to add another chick to their party. She's definitely up for a good time.
I've just about wrestled her back into the buggy, getting increasingly hot and bothered as I feel the burn of dozens of eyes on my back, those judgemental bystanders wondering what torture I'm inflicting on this poor sweet child to make her scream with such fury, when the 4 year old announces that he needs the toilet again. "This time it's a poo!" he announces to our audience. I couldn't be more mortified.
By the time we're on the plane I'm completely exhausted, extremely irritable and very much in need of a double vodka. The screaming returns when it's time to fasten our seat belts. She hates being restrained in any way and reacts with a strength that defies her years. Her body turns into an iron rod, sweat lashes off her and she lets rip. After five minutes of this, I simply give up, slump back in the chair and close my eyes. The only other noise comes from Jen's Hens, giggling and gossiping towards the rear of the plane. Jealous, much?
The seat belt sign being turned off (after what feels like about 5 years) is possibly the best moment of my life. Released from her prison, the toddler stops screaming, claps her hands and grins at me.
|She was immaculate at the start of the journey. Honest.|
The rest of the flight consists of toilet trips en masse (approximately every 20 minutes), various demands (some of which I can meet - juice, snacks, entertainment - and some of which I definitely can't - "Mummy I'm hot, can we open the window?" "Mummy, can you drive the plane?" "Mummy, can we go home now?") and general disobedience from the youngest member of our group. I am aware of two young boys sitting with their parents across the aisle, napping or quietly looking at books. I avoid the mother's sympathetic eyes and turn back to my own little darlings, just as the toddler empties a juice carton over her brother's head.
|Wondering what trouble she can cause next.|
The sense of relief when the plane finally lands at Nice airport is quickly overshadowed by fear. Two huge obstacles loom before me. Passport control and the baggage carousel.
The 4 year old has behaved impeccably compared to his little sister up to this point, so I suppose I can't blame him for deciding that it's now time to have some fun. It takes approximately 3 seconds for the toddler to follow suit, and their game of choice involves darting in and out of the rows of trolleys lined up by the carousel. My role in this game, it seems, is a difficult one. I need to run after both of them (going in opposite directions, naturally) while watching for our suitcase and buggy. Eventually I give up on the carousel, telling myself that nobody is going to steal a battered old travel buggy, and yell at my little people to stop. By this point I don't give a merde who can hear me. Yes, I'm deranged. I drag them both to the toilet, lock the three of us in a cubicle, and cry a little. For the first time in hours, both of my children are silent. They watch me with puzzled eyes as I try to pull myself together. The 4 year old strokes my arm and says, "It's ok, Mummy." He's right. It is ok. I am just having a perfectly normal
By the time we return to the baggage carousel, the place is empty. Our suitcase and buggy have been placed neatly beside the wall, patiently waiting for us.
The toddler climbs into the buggy (so now she behaves, when there is nobody around to witness it) and the three of us make our way to the taxi rank, where there is a long row of shiny taxis waiting. We are in France.