We’re just back from a week near Limoges in France – freshly bronzed (those of us who weren’t plastered in factor 50) and so relaxed that we feel even more tired than when we went away. We had a lovely week and we’ve come back wiser (on at least five things):
1. Swimming pool alarms are no substitute for a gate. Apparently, it’s the law in France to have either an alarm on your pool or a gate around the outside – ours had an alarm. It was fiddly and temperamental – we forgot about it on one occasion and my husband was half way through a length when it sudden went off. We watched Scrip at all times and introduced the ‘holding hands near the pool rule’ (rather unpopular) but I’d have felt a lot happier if there was a gate instead.
2. Saying ‘thank you’ works. Those repetitions have finally paid off – Scrip can now say thank you (in her own rather appealing way) and seems to understand what it means. Unfortunately, she also thinks if she points at something whilst saying it she’s more likely to get it, so there’s a bit more work to do on the ‘please’ front.
3. Never rely on the weather in June. Apparently, it’s usually seven degrees hotter than it was when we were away – so we were pretty unlucky with the weather. Learning that was a relief because I was kicking myself that I’d picked a location where it was consistently colder than the UK. We actually had to light a fire and have the heating on in the evenings. Not exactly the sun-soaked break we had in mind and it made my visions of bronzing myself by the pool with a good book during nap time laughable. But at least it was more bearable for Scrip than our trip to Spain last August (40 degrees every day). We did have some lovely sunny days and the rain mostly held off which meant there was a lot of time for turning round and round in circles and making herself dizzy (Scrip’s new favourite past-time).
4. Plane rides get harder as children get older. This may sound obvious but I don’t think we quite appreciated how easy it was to fly when Scrip was six months old. Even when she was almost nine months she could still be distracted until she fell asleep. At close to 16 months, even a flight of just over an hour is a trial. She wanted to wriggle free as we were about to take off and complained loudly when she couldn’t. Plus we were travelling Ryanair so couldn’t pre-book seats together. Sitting next to the window was a good move – provided the people next to you are kind enough to let you out every now and again. And standing in line for rather a long time to board the flight home paid off – so we could all sit together in a line and take it in turns to entertain her once the seatbelt sign was off.
5. (Big) family holidays rule. And not just because there are lots of people to help when you want to stop a small child from turning round and round in circles on stone flooring (although that certainly helps). No – it was just lovely being surrounded by my whole family, remembering very happy holidays over the years and helping Scrip to create some new family holiday memories of her own.