The Hugzilla clan (minus one) are on vacation. I’m currently in Queensland with my two year old and my four year old while my husband enjoys the real holiday, which is 14 blissful days at home without his wife or children.
If there is one thing I have learned about holidays with small kids, it’s that they aren’t about having fun. And they aren’t about relaxing. What they are about, is survival. Uprooted routines, tiredness and tantrums are the order of the day.
Our holiday started with bloodshed. The night we arrived at my parent’s house, my father stormed out of the house at 1:30am after hearing a noise in the backyard. One of the local cats had decided to rain a holy shit storm down on an innocent family of doves, leaving one orphaned baby chick clinging precariously to life, his nest obliterated into a forlorn vignette of blood, feathers and twigs.
On discovering the baby dove the next morning, my father deliberated about whether or not to rescue it, giving me the chance to showcase my trademark sensitivity when he asked for my opinion, whereupon I barely looked up from buttering my toast before mumbling something about Charles Darwin and “survival of the fittest”.
I mean as far as I’m concerned, if you go messing around with nature you invariably end up with a baby bird in a shoebox and have no fucking idea what to do with it.
Anyway, despite my
heartless wise counsel he eventually decided to rescue the bird and I inwardly cheered, because there is no better time than a happy family holiday to teach your young children about death and mortality.
My Dad also decided that it was a really good idea to name the baby dove and I wholeheartedly agreed, because it’s really important for the kids to develop a strong attachment to the bird before it inevitably dies within the next 48 hours.
And that wasn’t even the dumbest thing we did today.
We decided to take the kids food shopping after two days spent with five people squished into a non-airconditioned sedan, driving from Sydney to the Gold Coast. And when I say “non-airconditioned”, I mean “actually airconditioned” but my father has a blanket policy of not using it, because he honestly believes the car engine will explode.
Needless to say, it was a trying couple of days.
Day 1 of our holiday proper was raining, which is why we decided to get the shopping out of the way against our better judgement. Mistaking the dead-eyed tourists and murky heat for a trip to Hades, my kids decided to adapt their behaviour accordingly, much like that famous saying:
When in Hell, act like Hellions.
(On that note: I would like to apologise to the Aldi patrons at checkout four, the young cashier at the fruit shop and the middle-aged woman who was quietly resting on the sofas outside of Lotus Homewares until I stormed over and sat my squalling preschooler down for an impromptu time-out.)
Taking a “divide and conquer” approach, my mother and I parted ways in the supermarket to get what we needed. Fifteen minutes later I had completed three circuits of the store but was unable to locate her and Hellion Child #1.
And then I heard my name being called.
Over the store PA.
Instead of using her mobile phone to call or text me – like any other rational human being would – my mother decided to have the customer service desk broadcast an announcement to the entire supermarket for me to be returned to the front counter.
Not just once, but THREE times.
Like I was a lost child.
I’m 38 years old.
<END OF DAY ONE>
Survival update: Baby Dove and Mama Zilla still stunned and gasping for breath.