So, I read somewhere once that a holiday with a baby is just an excuse to be exhausted in a different place. How. Very. True.
I don't understand how some parents seem to take their babies off hitchhiking around the world, climbing Everest and suchlike, and we can't even manage a week in the West Country.
The annoying thing about all this is that I had to practically drag Oli on holiday - he was convinced it wouldn't be worth it, that it would just be too stressful with our challenging little madam in tow. And he was bloody right. Nearly. Almost. Grrr.
I will add a caveat here, that we're both control freaks and like everything to be 'just so' and we're definitely NOT the sort of people who would go hitchhiking round the world even without a baby. But still. Here's what we've been 'enjoying' so far this holiday...
1) We got lost on the way down because we have a new car with a fancy built in sat nav that confuses the hell out of me. It tried to be all clever and avoid the M25 which was congested, so instead we ended up going to Farnham or something, then I missed a turning and before I knew it we we'd added an hour to the journey. Adding an hour to the journey when you already have a grumpy nine month old who doesn't want to be stuck in her car seat for five hours in one day is a Bad Idea.
2) The new car makes me very, very car sick. I only don't feel sick if I am driving so I drove the whole way down. This would be fine if it weren't for the fact that I have now apparently 'ruined' the new car's engine by revving too much. Uh huh.
3) It rained the entire way down. We stopped at a Little Chef to change Daph/have a wee. We got soaked just getting in and out of the car. The Little Chef toilet will forever haunt me. No baby deserves to be changed in a Little Chef baby change. Not even the screamers. (Sidenote: good business idea - can someone open a NICE place to stop midway between London and Devon for all the middle class twats like us that want a decent cup of coffee and some avocado on sourdough as their motorway meal. I'm thinking farm shop type affair - maybe with a play area for kids? Any takers?)
4) We got to the holiday complex late and got told off by the lady on reception for not phoning her back when she'd kindly rung earlier to say that our cottage was ready at 11am. HA. As if we could make it down to Devon by 11am. We couldn't even do that Before Baby. (We arrived at about 5.30pm - it took us three weeks to load the car FGS).
5) Daph missed her third nap in the car and spent the last hour of the journey basically screaming with frustration and trying to bite her way out of the car seat. When we got to the cottage we had a race against time to get her into her cot and to sleep as she'd been awake since 1pm. More than four hours of awake time in a nine month old = the release of the devil.
6) Daph predictably screamed with overtiredness and freaked out at being in a new place. For TWO HOURS. I had to suffocate her to sleep (obviously not really, but I had to do the pin down arms thing for about an hour before she finally went - sob).
7) The next day, we went to Totnes because Oli had seen in the information pack that on the third Sunday of every month there was a farmers' market on. Once we'd paid £4.50 for the car park we realised that it was the fourth Sunday of the month. And that all the shops were shut. And then it started to hail. We went home after visiting the... Co-Op.
8) On Monday we decided to prioritise Daph's naps, as she'd been waking in the night. This meant we basically couldn't go anywhere as she sleeps for two hours in the middle of the day. We headed off to a farm shop in the afternoon to buy some lovely bread. They'd run out of bread. We stopped at Sainsbury's on the way back.
9) Yesterday we went to Dartmouth - my favourite place in all the world. It took us about an hour to find a parking space. Then Daph started screaming, and didn't stop. We had a delightful fish and chip lunch where Daph made As Much Noise As She Possibly Could - including tipping my pink lemonade all over my food, choking on a piece of haddock, throwing the metal tray with the bill onto the floor and screaming at all the waiters who tried to be nice to her. We then realised she's teething so badly that she's got little blisters on her tongue - I think she might have started to chewing it to ease the pain. She refused to eat her lunch or her dinner and only wanted milk. She cried a lot. I cried a lot.
10) I realised I was getting PMT. So much for the holiday reigniting 'that side of things'. Oli and I stopped speaking to each other directly and instead simply slagged each other off under our breath all day. Standard.
11) While desperately marching around Dartmouth trying to get Daph to nap, a random woman came up to me and told me that I was at risk of suffocating her because I'd covered the buggy with a towel. Apparently she'd seen an article about it on Facebook. If it wasn't for the fisherman nearby who overheard and said 'Why don't you mind your own business you nosey bitch?' I might have punched her. Or cried. Again.
12) I saw the weather forecast in London. It's a good eight degrees warmer up there.
So yes. That's our 'holiday' so far. We are staying in the middle of nowhere, which I thought I would like but I do not. I have realised that I hate being in the middle of nowhere. I hate not being able to walk to anything. Having to get in the car every time we want to go out is such a pain with a baby. Sure, the views are lovely, the sounds of sheep bleating (they don't baa, apparently, they bleat, although I am still yet to discover why) are lovely, the cottage is beautiful and very well equipped. But there's nowhere to walk to with a buggy (we don't have one of those all-terrain ones), unless you want to risk your life on Devonshire country lanes.
We have spent a lot of our holiday sitting on our iPad and laptop which is pretty much what we do at home.
I'm trying to think of some positives because I know I sound like a whingy old cow. We DID buy some bloody nice fillet steaks in the farm shop. We've been drinking a lot of alcohol. There's wifi. At least I remembered my coat, if not my gloves (brr). There have been the odd moments of beautiful weather and deep breaths of non-polluted air. Everyone we see loves Daph (apart from the waiters in the fish and chip restaurant) and she's loving all the attention. She's still adorably cute even with the grumps and a sore mouth. At least we didn't spend stupid money trying to go abroad *mind explodes at the thought of the stress*.
But I must confess, if you follow me, my Instagram feed... it's basically a lie. But I reckon they all are, so never mind.