We are going on holiday for a week. Nowhere fancy, just to a little cottage on the coast. We will have views of the harbour, be five minutes walk from the very quaint town, and a good bracing walk away from the beach.
It’s a final farewell to my time as full-time Mummy and I should be excited.
But I’m not.
I am dreading it. DREADING it.
The cottage and the location are beautiful. I know this because we stayed there with my parents last year.
They went on holiday for a week and the three of us joined them for a few days. This meant that my poor mum and dad had to sleep on an air-bed on the floor downstairs, while The Boyfriend, The Baby and I had the super-king size bed upstairs. In the only bedroom. Which is next to the shower room.
Apart from feeling a little guilty that we had ousted my parents from the rather luxurious bedroom, none of this mattered back then as The Baby was still so young I was counting her age in weeks (when did this stop?). We were sharing sleep, and we hadn’t got to the stage of having to bath her every night as part of a bedtime routine. A good old wash down every morning sufficed just as well.
It was not very long after those few days away that we booked this coming holiday (or I should say, my dad booked this holiday. Thanks dad!) not even imagining for a tiny second that anything would have changed.
Boy, have they changed.
Every evening we do the exact same thing. Tea, followed by stories or a little dance or CBeebies (oh, the guilt), followed by a bath, a bottle, and bed. In her cot. In her nursery.
The cottage we will be staying in has three rooms; an open plan kitchen/living room, a bedroom and a shower room. No bath. No nursery.
In my head, this is our holiday:
We walk a lot during the day, attempting to get The Baby to have something resembling a nap. We fail. We bath The Baby in the sink and attempt to keep the routine at least similar. The Baby screams and cries and knows that it’s nothing resembling similar. We give The Baby a bottle while she watches Waybuloo. This part is fine (if even this doesn’t go well, the second and subsequent nights of the holiday will be spent back at home). We take The Baby up to the bedroom, place her in the travel cot and spend the rest of the evening searching the cottage for anything that can be used as earplugs. Eventually The Boyfriend and I creep up to bed, and waken every hour to the screaming and squealing of The Baby, unsettled and in unfamiliar territory.
We will have no volume button on a monitor to turn down. We will have no door to shut to dampen the heart-wrenching screaming for ten minutes before returning to soothe and shush The Baby. We will all be in the same room. The crying and the screaming will be threefold.
In my head, the following day begins at around 5am (as most mornings seem to do these days) and we repeat all of the above. By day three, in my head, The Boyfriend and I are taking turns to sleep on the sofa. In newly-purchased ear-muffs.
The part I am most dreading, however, is not attempting to settle The Baby in a new and strange cottage, in a new and strange town. It’s attempting to settle her once we are back in our old, familiar house, in our old, familiar town.
The routine we have worked so hard at, that we have battled with, that has had me in tears so many times through guilt, frustration, and weariness, will, I fear, be in total tatters and will need to be re-learned by The Baby. And by then, I will be battling with and shedding tears over going back to work.
But maybe I’m being too negative. Maybe it won’t be so bad after all. Being by the sea and waking up to harbour-views for a week will make it a little easier, I’m sure. So too will the black-out blinds (thank goodness for travel blinds).
Although I’ve not even begun to think about how many bags we will need to take for an entire week…