Will you be spending the first ten minutes of your journey worrying you forgot to lock the door? Did you remember to pack your suitcase (I did that once. Forgot everything! All of my clothes still at home! Lesson learnt. Pack my stuff first!)
Will you be travelling long distances with little ones this Easter? Me too… five to be exact!! (Yes! We are mad!) Gareth and I love to take the children away but when the age range is between 6 and 16 it’s very difficult to keep them all entertained on the journey and believe it or not iPads and portable DVD players don’t work the whole way!
First milestone: Travel sleeping.
I’m so thankful for the respite you get when you’re about two hours in and everyone decides it’s time to sleep (I don’t get that luxury, I get the guilt trip stare because I’m not the one driving and you have to stay loyal to the driver and suffer their pain too!) However, after the respite of peace comes the sudden appearance of the demonic side of children ‘I need a wee. I’m bursting. I can’t wait, I need to go now!’ as if the world is going to implode if a toilet isn’t found ASAP! Let’s take into account though that we’re travelling down a busy motorway and the next services aren’t for another ten miles. I tell you what kids; let’s just unload everyone on the side of the hard shoulder so you can all go to the loo!!
It’s great to get away but actually getting there can be biggest task of all.
Second milestone: Toilet breaks.
So what happens when we reach the services? All of sudden everyone is hungry. Lets forget about the whole packed lunch that has been devoured only half an hour into our journey, I know I know let’s all act like this is the first time we have been in a service station and it’s ok to pay £5 for and egg and cress sandwich! Let’s bankrupt ourselves before we’ve even arrived… DOUBTFUL kids, it’s not happening. My solution… You know those crusts you hate with a passion? The ones you ate around whilst eating your sandwiches in the car, the ones you are clever enough to know won’t make your hair curl, well lets go and feast on those… after all you did say you were starving! (Why is it kids don’t like crusts? I’ve never understood that!)
Third milestone: Back to the car.
Finally were all back in car, no egg and cress sandwiches in sight just stale crusts on offer. Guess what now no one’s hungry; go figure. So every one’s happy, buckled up and we can start our journey to paradise again!
Fourth milestone: Mum tell her/him.
Twenty minutes pass and it starts again… ‘Mum she’s looking at me! STOP LOOKING AT ME’ well you’re copying me so I’m just looking at you copying me.’ This is when made up games come into play. The old faithful eye spy which usually consists of ‘Eye spy with my little eye something beginning with S’ Then you get told after ten minutes of guessing it turns out it’s not the sky or a seatbelt or even the sweets they’ve had three packets of, it’s actually a swan they spotted on the lake we passed about four miles before! FOUR MILES!! (This is when I lose all will to live!) I know we’ll play the number plate game. When you see a number plate with double numbers you shout out double and you get a point. Whoever has the most points when we arrive wins. A voice says ‘what do we win?’ ‘Does it matter? It’s a game there doesn’t need to be a physical reward. It’s just a bit of fun!’ Twenty minutes into the number plate game I seem to be the only one shouting double… i turn around and guess what everyone is sleeping! Woo Hoo! Peace again…
Fifth milestone: Are we there yet!?
Yep, short lived! One wakes up they all wake up and for the next ten miles all I hear is ‘Are we there yet.’ I reply constantly ‘Not long. We’re almost there.’ Then after the hundredth time my sanity is lost and I reply ‘Is the car still moving; Yes. Would the car still be moving if we had arrived; no! So guess what we’re there when I say we’re there!!’ Silence… the rest of journey we have nothing but silence. My heart rate levels are returning to normal and I am starting to relax again!
Sixth milestone: Final destination.
‘Kids we’re there..!’ then the chaos resumes but do you know what, this chaos; this chaos I can deal with. Smiles and laughter all round! We stay in caravans nearly every year and every year it’s like the first year. They run into the caravan as soon as that door opens, they look in every room like the first time they stayed in a caravan. Door slamming, rooms being claimed and then I look at Gareth and say… ‘Ah, we made it!’ Smiling whilst furiously searching for the wine I packed before we left the house! His reply… we still have to get home, that means we have to do it all again! In an instant wine is found and glass is poured!
Enjoy your Easter holidays and if you are going away stay safe, stay sane and remember every car journey is a streeful car journey, it’s not just yours!