So, as some of you know, Mr B, Mushroom and I have not long returned from our first family holiday. This is Mushroom’s first holiday since he started nursery in 2011 (he’s only ever had Christmas week off) and my first break since our honeymoon in 2010.
…so when I say first break, I really mean it. When I returned to work in 2011 I used any time off to work on my freelance stuff, so this really was my first proper break (if you’re wondering about maternity leave, don’t. That’s not a holiday). So this was a BIG DEAL.
I wasn’t sure whether to go, what with having just set up my freelance business properly but Mr B argued it was all the more reason to take a break. He was right.
So, we booked an all-inclusive deal with Crystal Green Bay hotel in Bodrum, Turkey, bought Mushroom a suitcase and talked about it a lot (he’s ok with change as long as he knows what’s going on so we made sure we prepared him)… I was worried about his travel sickness but with a dose of phenergan (it works!* The one day we travelled on a bus without it he threw up everywhere. lesson learned) he was fine. In fact, he loved the flight there – ‘We in the sky Mummy, the sky!’ – while Mr B screwed his eyes tight shut and held on to the armrests. I love flying too, despite being horrendously travel sick in cars, so I guess Mushroom takes after me.
Once we arrived Mushroom did have a mini meltdown, crying ‘I want to go home! I want my bed!’ But to be fair, he had been given a cot, not the proper bed we’d promised, and it was past 1am.
The next day was better. We explored the hotel and found the provision for children to be excellent. The Kids Club had a shallow pool with slides and a little playground right next it. The playground was a lifesaver while waiting for dinner! The Kids Club also put on a ‘mini-disco’ every night after dinner, which Mushroom loved watching. All week he refused to get up on the stage and watch, claiming to be scared of Crispy the Elephant (their mascot) but on our last day he surprised us by asking to ‘touch the elephant’ and then dancing on the stage for two minutes before getting embarrassed and running off.
Speaking of the Kids Club – the staff were excellent – and even though this isn’t a review I have to give a special mention to Mellin who I would have happily left Mushroom with (even thought he’s a little young) if he’d let me! there were never many kids there so he didn’t really make friends, which might have made a difference but it didn’t matter, it was nice to have him with us (most of the time! He did have his moments).
Not being used to the logistics of travelling with kids and unsure which day trips were really kid friendly, we only booked one day out – a boat trip, which involved a lot of stops to swim in the sea. Great for me but not so great for Mr B who isn’t such a strong swimmer. There was one stop at a beach though, and Mushroom didn’t mind at all as the boat played music all day and he entertained everyone by dancing non-stop from 10am to 5pm, barely even stopping to eat! I guess the difference between that and the mini-disco is that he wasn’t on a stage so didn’t feel so much that people were watching him.
We also made a couple of trips into Bodrum but other than that we stayed at the hotel. Pre-Mushroom I might have found this a little boring but he kept me busy! We spent most mornings practising swimming (which paid off, as he can now swim by himself without a float!) and we all needed afternoon naps. This meant that we spent very little once we were on holiday, even returning with some spending money left over. Bonus!
Of course, I couldn’t return from Turkey without having had a traditional massage so just before our last day, Mr B and I took turns playing with Mushroom and each had a 90 minute skin peel (tan remained intact in case you’re wondering!), foam massage, relaxing massage and face mask. That was bliss.
I could say so much more but I already feel I’ve gone on a bit so I’ll stop there… So, what have I learned as a parent from this holiday? Well, here are some top tips (stuff that worked for me. This was my first family holiday so I’m no expert!)
Get organised – I packed early so Mushroom and I could play in the park the morning before the flight – both flying out and coming back
Prepare your child – especially if they’re sensitive. Mushroom only had a mini meltdown because it was late and he wasn’t happy about the cot. Knowing what to expect made a huge difference to him
Take some stuff from home – I read lots of advice about getting toys for the journey and I did get some, but what was much more useful was having familiar toys for teary moments and books (small ones!) for bedtimes. We also took some snacks we know he likes
Take a buggy! – A no brainer you’d think but even if your child has stopped napping still consider it. The heat means they might sleep more. Mushroom slept 3 hours one day and there was no waking him! He also got tired walking around Bodrum so it’s essential for day trips
Relax the food rules – Mushroom does like his fruit and veg and ate well some days. Others he ate next to nothing. We still let him eat ice cream, non-alcoholic cocktails and fizzy drinks nearly every day. It’s his holiday too.
And here’s what didn’t work..!
Letting him have juice straight after getting off the bus in Bodrum. Ok, he was thirsty and water wouldn’t have stopped him being sick. But it might have been a little quicker and easier to clean him up had I not given him cherry juice
Telling him I’m fed up of playing witches/dragons/superheroes. I only said this once and now we’re back home I’ve no doubt I’ll say it again. But his face. He looked crushed. He’d assumed I was having as much fun as him
Yelling ‘Just go to sleep!’ when he wants to go for a walk. At 11pm – Turned out he wanted to see the stars. Once I’d calmed down, I agreed to take him out in the buggy and he told me he loved ‘to the stars twinkling’. Only then did it occur to me that he has never seen stars before. I had shouted because was really tired and didn’t want to get dressed again, hence the yelling. Parenting fail. It wasn’t about me.
After than we went for a walk every night after dinner before the mini-disco just to see the stars.
And one more, especially for returning home…
Putting the buggy in the hold. I wish I had bought one of those small buggies that can be taken on as hand luggage as the two-hour wait to get back into the UK was back breaking, even though Mr B and I took turns holding an exhausted Mushroom who kept crying ‘I just want to sit in my buggy!’ I was so envious of those who had the foresight to get a buggy their child could sit on while they waited (or had a Trunki!).
I’m sure if I made more mistakes Mushroom will tell you all about those later this week but these are the ones that stand out for me! Overall, although it was much more exhausting than the sorts of holidays Mr B and I were used to, we all had a great time. Now that we’re back and Mushroom is settling back into his usual bedtime routine, we appreciate our ‘free’ evenings together more than ever!
And finally… Here are a few more photos, just because I wanted to share them!
Find out what Mushroom thought about his first holiday in our next post, coming soon! If you don’t want to miss it, consider signing up to get it straight into your inbox (that box on the right? Under the menu? There, that’s it!).
*Nothing about this post is sponsored, nor is it a review of any of the places or products mentioned. Phenergan is just the only thing that works for us so happy to share