Hotels and travelling with children is not many people’s idea of fun. Let’s face it, I think most would rather spend a cosy night in a damp prison cell talking politics with Trump and May (Theresa or James – you decide!) than trying to negotiate the pitfalls of staying in a family room after a day of travel.
We recently took a trip up North to Lancashire. So recently in fact that I’m lying in the afore mentioned family room writing this now. The day had been relatively successful – let me give you a run down on this front…
1. We left on time. Normally, I suggest a time to leave that is essentially earlier than necessary, half suspecting that by the time the Bear Cub has stopped running round in circles to put on his shoes, and the Little Boofuls has soiled herself in a new and novel way requiring a new set of clothes to be thrust upon her, we’ll hit the actual time that I had in mind.
However today was unusual – none of this happened. The other half even managed not to delay proceedings with a customary last minute stop to the toilet on her way out, as if she thinks that no other bathrooms exist on our route! So we were early. An excellent if disconcerting start.
2. Traffic was surprisingly cooperative. For those of you familiar with the geography of U.K. roads, if I say that we managed to get through a stretch of the M1 before hitting the M6 mid morning with no stops or delays, you probably label me as a prankster committing my April Fools for the next decade early, but no – it was a very smooth journey.
3. The children slept. A lot. Both kids went to sleep after some initial whinging long before we hit the motorway. In fact, only an hour or so of driving remained before both graced us with their conscious and earsplitting presence.
So three reasons to be cheerful. And it kept getting better. The Bear Cub was playful and chirpy most of the day, as well as being really helpful in looking after his little sister. The Little Boofuls was adorable with everyone in public, so lots of random people got the benefit of one of her beautiful smiles (blatantly something from her mum’s genes!) and we got the benefits of a content child as the day progressed and she would have normally become increasingly grumpy.
Dinner came and went without drama. The Bear Cub wasn’t even phased when he had to have a shower rather than a bath. Even the lack of storybooks was swiftly dealt with. Then came the moment of truth; bedtime itself…
A twin room. Planned to ensure plenty of room was available for all of us to get comfortable. The plan was two per bed – surely there would be room for me if the other was only a fraction of my size?
Even with two double beds in the room, both parents ended up clinging onto the side of the bed, hoping not to fall out and disturb their respective Sleeping Beauty. It felt very much like being a mountain climber; clinging on with finger tips, toes; anything that could get purchase on the sheer face of the side of a mattress.
How do little people manage to take up SOOO much room? It astounds me – I’m 6 ft 3, 15 stone (give or take a stone…ok, give!) but still getting hustled by a 2 year old and a 9 month old when it comes to a place to lay my head. I was woken at one point with a toe perilously close to going up my nose, such was the degree of fidgeting and shuffling around.
And it seems my son snores – apparently he gets it from me. I commented that he’d woken me a couple of times; to which the other half laughed, pointing out I was far worse! The cheek, the audacity…the strong element of truth…
The main thing was that we survived and had a lovely time. Granted, we didn’t sleep as deeply as normal, we (the adults) woke with bruises we didn’t have before and aches and pains due to the contortions practised in keeping our grip on the bed.
But all in all, not a terrible experience but one that left both of us in agreement that we’d wait a while before the next trip. Let’s face it, we wouldn’t want to push our luck! And best not to get too cocky. After all, we still have to drive home…