Mr M and I recently took the girls on their first holiday. I say recently because it was actually this week. In fact we were supposed to be coming home on Friday. I say were because we finally called it a day and admitted defeat half way through the “break”. I probably should have anticipated it might not have gone quite as smoothly as I had foreseen it in my mind. Living in one of the wettest areas in the UK (I’d go so far as to say the world given the propensity for goddamn rain) it might have been foolish to think a midweek break in late February/early March would guarantee us any kind of nice weather but even by the most optimistic standards it was bleak.
Unfortunately this week has also coincided with an unforeseen and unexpected closure of bowel actions by our youngest twin. We tried tummy massage, prunes, pears, prune juice, Lactulose (as suggested by the pharmacist) and eventually resorted to the well-known technique of talking through the baby’s tummy to gently persuade the contents to make their way out. Come on parents, I know you’ve found yourself doing it in your darkest hours. Ironically in a demonstration of the ties that bind twins the eldest twin decided to loosen hers in sympathy and thus we found ourselves in the unenviable situation of praying for poo whilst wishing (or should that be washing) it away. It’s not a situation I hope to repeat again but am resigned to the fact it more than likely will. After three nights of the poo/no poo causing restless and interrupted sleep for everyone in what felt like the room where all echos go to play I realised Mr M had reached his breaking point. Being that he is the most patient man I know when this happens it’s time to admit that the game is definitely over.
So we decided to come home early and I now find myself conflicted with emotions. Nobody, particularly me, likes to admit defeat and that is very much how it feels. In my mind, and I’m sure in other parents minds the first time you take your children away on holiday you expect it to be a magical and perfect experience that everyone will remember (for the right reasons). You expect it to be punctuated with picture postcard photos, warm memories of log fires and toasted marshmallows. I know that at seven months old I’m expecting a little too much from the girls but I wanted their first holiday to be perfect. In fact I feel a little bit like a failure. I feel like I let my little family down because I didn’t deliver what I hoped for. The girls don’t know that and of course nor do they care. Mr M was just relieved to be able to sleep in his own bed without feeling like he had a loudspeaker next to his ear. Nobody really cares except me, but I really do care.
It is perhaps one of the downfalls in this world where we “can have it all and then some” that everything is expected to be perfect and anything less than that doesn’t quite feel like a success. If I look at it through the eyes of Mr M then he’s quite right in saying that with seven month old twins we navigated three days and nights away from our creature comforts and routine still making it out alive. That a success doesn’t mean hanging on to the bitter end just so we can say, dishevelled and despondent that we made it through the holiday and nobody lost a limb. I do appreciate where he’s coming from and I suppose he’s right because we could have stayed becoming more miserable, surrounded by more nappies and camped out in our one bedroom cottage until the last day to emerge victorious and cry “We made it, now get me out of here.” Part of me really does wish that we’d done that. The other part of me says that sometimes surrendering is the braver of the options because as hard as it is to admit you can’t do it, sometimes you really just can’t.
There’s steep learning curves once you become a parent and I’m really only finding that out one exhausting curve at a time. Admitting that it’s ok to call it a day without thinking that you’ve let everyone down is one of those but just so we’re clear – if anyone does see me hovering over the ‘click to confirm’ button remind me to have a glass of wine and mull it over first. Or at the very least remember to pack the white flag.