Sweaty heads, poonamis & FOMO- the realities of holidaying with a toddler

Ok. I know I’m well overdue with this latest blog post and I suppose I could’ve found half an hour on our hols in Cyprus to scrawl it down… but that blissful hour or so when Harriet was asleep was much needed time to myself… losing myself in a book (I could hardly remember what it was to do that) or feeling ever so slightly guilty ‘wasting’ that precious time devouring the latest happenings in a celebrity magazine half filled with people I’ve never heard of.

Harriet at almost 20 months is at an age where, when she’s not asleep, she’s flinging herself around like a demon with a thirst for adventure. It was blooming exhausting but the most fun yet we’ve had on a family holiday, not least down to very hands on and wonderful grandparents in tow so there was always somebody refreshed and enthusiastic enough to match Harri’s energy levels.

Things we learned this holiday:-

Harriet is a little sweaty head. Morning, noon or night, air con or not, she’ll have her hair pasted to her head, springing into the most amazing ringlet curls as soon as she cools down. I still don’t tire of the smell of her holiday hair (read my previous holiday blog post)

Holidays aren’t picture perfect like you daydream about. We had one memorable morning enjoying a gentle stroll down the Pathos coastal path to the harbour which was rudely interrupted by the biggest poonami in at least a year. Harri had been sitting in her buggy surrounded by poo while we were in blissful ignorance. It can’t have gone unnoticed by passers by. Stripping her off, wiping the buggy down as best we could with Flash wipes, picking poo off the floor, and giving her a full on baby wipe bath was something I’d have liked to avoid in the blazing heat. We managed to save her top only for her to pour the whole contents of her sippy cup over her right in the middle of a shop- cue us walking back with her only dressed in a nappy. Her eating a pasty out of a bag would’ve completed the chav baby look.

FOMO has well and truly kicked in. It was a four and a half hour flight to Cyprus- something we were nervous about having deliberately only chosen Spain for our last few holidays. We were lucky that she slept well on previous flights and were hoping for the same… but no such luck. Despite getting up at 2.30am to get there and having an exhausted little one on the way home after 11 nights of living her best life, sleep was elusive until the (sod’s law) last half hour, just as the seat belts needed to go back on. She was fighting it, desperately fighting it as, heaven forbid, she may miss the hostess trolley passing by for the 10th time or the man snoring on row 11. Thank god for sticker books!

Little ones are surprisingly adaptable and resilient. While Harriet’s head may have been sweaty, the heat never bothered her. She was her smiley, inqusitive self. I was worried about food and what she’d eat and she did very well (at least compared with a 3 year old we met who was surviving only on Oreos with his mum at her wits end). She did have her fair share of fish fingers, chicken nuggets, chips and icecream, with a few emergency meals heated up by kind waiters, but with fruit, sandwiches and hardboiled eggs at breakfast that had her jumping for joy (strange child!) and a saviour of a restaurant that did spaggetti on toast, we got through it. She tried things we ‘d never expect and while most of the time she didn ‘t go on to eat them, the holiday must have made her just a little bit more adventurous.

Your buggy turns into a cesspit. Sweat, suncream, poonamis, crumbs, ice cream… the buggy becomes a visual diary of the holiday. Nothing that a post holiday sponge down won’t sort… until next time.

This holiday was Harriet living her best life and being there to shape it and experience it with her was worth the poonamis, early mornings and food stress. Each holiday with her gets more special and rewarding and while I’ll never get to have more than some snatched ‘me’ time and will never finish that book, I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Written by Liz Storey for her blog, Mummy Musings.

You can follow her on Twitter here!