An update on travelling with kids – eating my words

During the recent school holidays, we visited beautiful, sunny, freeeeezing Melbourne. You may recall I did a post a little while ago about how difficult it was travelling with the three munchkins but giving all sorts of reasons why I would do it all again.

Well, I take it back. This most recent holiday was, at times, for want of a better word, terrible. The main culprit was (now) 2 year old Gabriel. It was as if he gave himself permission to be the most difficult toddler as soon as he realised we were no longer on home turf. Suddenly, he decided he would refuse every food we believed he liked (for example, avocado, fish, chicken, rice) in favour of hot chips, corn thins, popcorn and udon noodles. As a result of this perplexing turn of events, he would not sit down in any restaurant/cafe for any amount of time. Eugene and I would take turns eating our meals (and helping the girls with theirs) and chasing after him (he loved going into the kitchens or making a runner for outside). I remember at one stage Eugene was outside in the cold with him and I was inside with the girls when Genevieve said she needed the bathroom. Knowing Lucinda would not follow us to the bathroom even if I insisted on it, I found myself taking Genevieve, leaving Lucinda by herself eating her dinner (not to mention all our bags and kid gear). Not the ideal situation.

After 3 or 4 nights of our week-long vacation, I actually told Eugene I no longer had any desire to holiday with the kids until they were MUCH older. I was truly rattled. By now, the kids also had the sniffles (nothing too serious, thankfully). Gabriel continued on his “blond food only” diet and the girls, while much better behaved than him when it came to meal times, did their usual squabbling (usually requiring intervention before reaching fever pitch). I was exhausted and genuinely wondering why we had come on this holiday. Things were not better in any way; weren’t we meant to have fun and bond as a family, at least for some of the time?

As I angrily expressed my frustrations into my travel journal, I realised I was having my own adult “tantrum” about the whole thing. My expectations of how good holidays were going to be for us as parents had already been lowered somewhat (and I had been quite accepting of that) but this, this was too much. I know I had been spoilt in my travels without children, and this probably didn’t help my self-pity at that point in time.

So what did I do? I think that once I realised I was having an adult meltdown, I took a chill pill. As long as Gabriel was still happily eating at mealtime (he added gelato to his limited list of favoured foods), he would be just fine. I certainly wanted his diet to go back to what it was when we returned home, but I realised also that everyone would be less grumpy if we took a more relaxed attitude on holiday.

The girls in one of the “bubbles” at Sealife Aquarium.

I am happy to report that things did improve towards the end of our stay in Melbourne. We had a couple of dinners where we ordered a bowl of fries for Gabriel so that we could all eat our meals together – worked a treat!

And wouldn’t you know it, when we got home, Gabriel went back to eating what he normally loves to eat! I was so relieved; our next family holiday (yes, there is a next one) is a cruise. We will be travelling with my parents and sisters too, so it will be a very different kind of holiday. I’m looking forward to spending time with my extended family, and not having to plan our days out nor look for places to have meals. I’d be lying if I didn’t also say I’m looking forward to the kids being taken care of at the kids’ club!

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