First Night on Holiday with Children

toddler sleeping

We learned from painful experience that between the ages of 8 months and 18 months, staying anywhere other than at home meant nobody got any sleep.

Now that we are out of what I consider to be the no-travel zone, I’ll let you know how our first night went with a 3.5 year old and a 21 month old…

8pm (already an hour past the children’s bedtime)
We’re all at the in-laws chalet and I get DS2 to wave goodnight so I can take him back to our chalet and put him to bed. He’s looking exhausted and crying at everything and it’s been a long day. DS1 decides he wants to sleep over at Nanny’s chalet, so we all head back together so DS1 can collect sleepover things.

DS1 is obviously tired as he is unable to follow DHs instructions to pack an overnight bag with his PJs and toothbrush. DS2 is running around in zombie-like excitement while I move a single bed into the spare room, set up the travel cot, find PJs and sleeping bag, and berate myself for not having set all the beds up earlier.

DS1 and DH head back to Nanny’s. I give DS2 some milk and read him some stories to calm him down. He squeals in delight at every page and asks me to read the same 4-page story about a fire engine five times in a row.

I finally get DS2 into bed, hang up the blackout blind and creep out. He seems unsettled, but is so tired I think he will be asleep soon.

I am sat on the toilet when DH returns with DS1, who barges into the bathroom and tells me he doesn’t want to stay at Nanny’s after all. Apparently once she had run him a bath he told DH he wanted to go home.

I frantically make up DS1s bed, and DS2 (who was almost asleep) is now standing in his travel cot crying because DS1 won’t stay in the bedroom with us and is instead riding his scooter up and down the corridor.

We finally get DS1 and DS2 into bed, in the same room, at the same time.

DS2 is making his little sucky noises that means he is dropping off to sleep.

DS1 gets up for a wee.

DS1 gets up for a poo.

I ask DS1 if he would like me to sit with him for a while. He says yes. After 10 minutes of laying quietly he is still not asleep, but I am going to pass out and my head is hurting, so I get up, ask him to close his eyes and rest and tell him I have some cleaning to do.

DS1 gets up for a wee. I start getting ready for bed.

I finish brushing my teeth. DS1 and DS2 are alseep. Hurrah!

Decide to listen to a relaxation audio as my brain is a bit wired and I’m feeling stressed about how tired the kids are going to be tomorrow (Nanny’s birthday).

Turn off audio, am falling asleep.

Notice that it’s really quite light in our bedroom.

I get up and check the temperature in the boys room, as I’m worried about DS2 getting cold.

Why can’t I fall asleep?

I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow is the last thing I think before I fall asleep.

I wake up because AF is here and I can feel myself bleeding. I’m worried I’m going to leave a shark attack scene on the holiday bedsheets so I get up and head to the bathroom to source more sanitary towels.

DS2 cries a bit. I go and put a blanket on him as his arms feel cold and the temperature has dropped.

DS2 cries again. I check him and he has turned over and the blanket has come off. Tuck him in again.

DS2 cries briefly. I check him once more. He’s fine.

The sun seems to be coming up. I’m sure I can hear birds. I want to cry.

I must have dropped back off to sleep because next I am woken up by the sound of “Mamaaaa? Mamaaaaa?” from DS2. I take my temperature (gotta love TTC) and thankfully DH gets up because I feel like I have been poisoned and thrown in a hedgerow.

DS1 wakes up because DS2 is shouting about the Octonauts at top volume. DS1 comes in with his thumb in his mouth, looking as tired as I feel and asks me if I’m going to get up now.

Overall, I consider that a success 🙂

Bruges on the Horizon

I thought I was alright after the weird illness thing last weekend, but my cough hasn’t gone away and I am feeling worse by the hour this evening. Of course it is Thursday tomorrow, so it would be typical that any illness I have will span my weekend AGAIN. Sigh.

Two weeks ’til Steve and I are off to Bruges for a long weekend. The tickets arrived today and I can’t wait.

You Can’t Choose Who You Work With

Work colleague is not the greatest communicator I’ve ever met. There are a number of things he just didn’t mention this week that he should have, and he has this habit of asking you a question completely out of context. For example, you’re sitting quietly working away, and he’ll suddenly mumble something out of the blue like “what’s different about the script?” or “does it return zero?” with no prior conversation frame to give you any idea what he might be talking about. Then when you hesitate over the answer, ’cause quite frankly he might as well have spoken to you in Chinese, he looks mildly irritated and says “don’t worry about it.”

This morning I called him at 7.30am, as that was the time we agreed last night that we would leave to get him to the airport for his 9am flight. He answers the phone and tells me his flight has changed to 10.50am and he has just woken up and needs a shower etc.

I’ve already packed my bags in the car, and my hotel room is empty of my stuff, so I say OK and sit down to watch some Batman on the telly until he’s ready for breakfast. At breakfast it turns out he sent me an email at midnight telling me of the flight time change, which apparently he had known about since Monday.

At 9.30am we’re finished at the hotel, we get in the car and I start driving. “So, are we going to the airport now?” he asks. I tell him yes, what else did he think we were going to do? “My flight isn’t until 11.50am” he says. That’s an hour later than he said earlier.

“You said it was at 10.50,” I say slowly. “I mispoke,” he tells me. He says he supposes he can just go to the airport and read, but he thinks airports are noisy and distracting and not very good for reading. I stop the car and we look at the map. I ask him where he wants to go instead. He says the airport is fine. I restart the car.

Why didn’t he tell me earlier in the week that his flight had been changed, then I could have got some more sleep instead of getting up at 6.30am on the same day that I have to spend all night on a flight back to the UK? Or why didn’t he say in the morning lets leave early and do something, ’cause my flight is not until much later? Why wait around, eat a leisurely breakfast, and then be put out that you’re going to have to kill 2 hours at the airport because you can’t manage to COMMUNICATE what on earth your own travel arrangements are?

Sigh. And he MUMBLES. Why do people mumble? For gods sake if you’ve got something to say, say it clearly. I can’t tell you how many times this week I’ve had to say “pardon?” or “sorry, what exactly do you mean by <insert random out-of-context question>?”

But enough of that.

I’ve spent a cool day on my own today in Seattle, visiting the Space Needle, seeing more of Pikes Place Market (we saw it on Friday too), seeing some random live bands on an outdoor stage, browsing lovely 2nd hand bookstores and visting the Pacific Science Center.

The PSC had a great insect exhibition, including a tropical butterfly house. I got to see a real, live, giant african millipede. Amazing.

And they had naked mole rats!! These are the funniest, most adorably ugly little things I’ve ever seen. I had a PG Tips card of one when I was young, and this is the first time I have ever seen a real one. No pics of them unfortuntately as it was too dark and they were behind glass (glass + flash = no photo)

And… I got to hold a Madagascan Hissing Cockroach.

Madagascan Hissing Cockroach

He had sticky legs (they have little barbs on them), that I could feel pulling on the skin on my palm. The picture shows him with his handler (obviously I couldn’t hold him and take a photo). Isn’t he great?!

I’ve got lots more pics to upload from today, but overall I’m not overly enamoured of Seattle. It’s got so many homeless and drunk people, and it smells in places. I suppose it’s a bit like Venice (although Venice didn’t smell when I visited) and it’s nowhere near as nice as San Francisco. Well, I’m off to get on the plane soon. Hopefully I won’t be too much of a fidget-bum and the 9 hour flight will be bearable. At least I can have some free wine now I’ve finished my antibiotics 🙂

Last Night in Seattle

I have some photos to post, but I’m not going to put them up now because a) I can’t be bothered and b) the photo area needs a bit of a sort out, and it’s more of a weekend project than a night-before-you-check-out-and-fly-home thing. Seattle is a proper city – it’s busy, has big buildings, lots of tourists and lots of homeless people. Almost as many as Vancouver by the look of it. Why are there so many homeless people in Seattle?

The history of the city is fascinating – the Underground Tour is one of the best I have ever been on. It’s amazing that they lifted the street level up, and that there are blocks and blocks of streets with hidden sidewalks underneath them (and bizarrely reminiscent of our Under The Floorboards experience the other day).

After we got back to the hotel, I wandered off to the Whole Foods Market with the intention of stocking up on the wonderful Dr Hauschka range. The only Whole Foods in Washington is two streets away from the hotel, so I thought that was pretty lucky, as it’s all so expensive in the UK. However, I got there only to discover that it’s actually more expensive here than back at home, which is a first, so I passed on filling my basket with lovely potions.

Being in Whole Foods reminded me so much of when Steve and I lived in California. It smelt exactly the same as the one in Cupertino. Being the sentimental person I am, and because it’s a quiet Friday night, I suddenly realised how much I missed Steve, and how far away from him I felt. Being in the shop made me feel like I was back in Cupertino and Steve was somehow missing because he wasn’t there with me.

I felt sad.

Sad that Steve isn’t here, and sad that we’re not in Cupertino any more and that that part of our lives is behind us. Not that I want to turn the clock back and change the decision we made to come home.

I often have this feeling, months, or even years after an event or period in my life. As I’ve got older I’ve learnt to recognise what it is – and I no longer panic that I’ve made choices I shouldn’t have. I know that it’s just my mind’s way of processing things that have happened to me, and that the sadness is really a kind of reminiscence of something that I lived through. Good or bad, all these things make me who I am today, and I love being where I am right now, so I can’t help but feel a kind of sentimental affection for everything that has moved me to the place in the world I now occupy.

I’d be mortified if I woke up back in our US apartment, and I’d jump on the next flight home.

Yet I’m sad because I know I’ll never wake up there again.

I suppose it’s all about beginnings and endings really. If it makes sense, my sadness is a kind of joy over the past. It’s wilful self-indulgence in poignancy, and biting reassurance that I am still truly alive.


Apologies for yesterday’s clueless post. I was so knackered when I got back to the hotel, it made sense to me, but in the light of day I can see it’s really a bit too random. Microsoft gave out some gifts yesterday (groovy USB light for starters!), and we also had a trip to the Microsoft shop, where I unleashed my credit card and purchased some software, a T-shirt and some gifts for folks back home.

We’re now finished for the week and it’s about 3pm on Friday afternoon, so I have about 24 hours to play with before I return home. Work colleague and I are going to head off into Seattle for a bit now.

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