Resident M&B Dad, Chris Windle, tells us about the rising fear of summer holidays that occurs when you have a toddler and two twin babies to entertain for six weeks...
Spring hasn’t arrived and I’m already fretting about summer, which is a shame because I love the sun and I love not having to manhandle toddlers into all-in-one waterproof suits and mittens they will, without fail, lose.
It’s the thought of the interminably long school holidays and the logistical storm they whip up that is sending a shiver down my spine. How to entertain a six year-old, who is simultaneously ecstatic at the weeks of freedom that stretch ahead and almost immediately bored, and her toddler twin brothers – not to mention doing some work – is a question too formidable for my brain to answer.
Ok, so it’s not the greatest problem facing the world but I have a creeping sense that it must be solved soon. The longer we leave it the more our options shrink. A quick online search reveals, even now, the only family-friendly holiday places left are either vastly expensive or would only be able to accommodate us if my wife and I slept in the bath.
As I see it we have three options, none of them are particularly enticing:
1) We stay at home for six weeks
A one-way ticket to cabin-fever induced insanity no matter how many times we visit the local lido. We tried this last year and I still twitch uncontrollably when I hear the words ‘day trip to Weston-super-Mare’. The kids seemed to enjoy it though.
2) We go on holiday in the UK
Nice idea. But, hell, you could fly to the Balearics for the cost of a few nights in a five-bed cottage in Cornwall. Airbnb is an option but I live in fear of a tabloid story about an out of control family (us) trashing a nice elderly couple’s seaside pride and joy. And don’t mention camping, it brings me out in hives.
We would have to be lucky with the weather too – it’s hard to buy into the beach lifestyle when hypothermia is a very real danger. At some point we’d realise we could have experienced a wet British summer from a place where there’s a good Wi-Fi connection and a load of toys the kids like playing with: home.
3) We go on holiday abroad
Air travel is obviously out of the question since we’d need to start saving for the excess baggage charges now which, considering how traumatic driving further than the end of our road is, leaves France as the most bearable destination. And it’s not a bad one, for a start all my children will happily eat pain au chocolat, baguette and frites, so that’s the meals sorted. On the downside we’d still have to remortgage the house to afford it…
Whichever way I spin it, the summer holidays are an expensive endurance test that have me yearning guiltily for the start of the new school term. Of course if anybody fancies doing a house swap...