Confessions… ‘Travelling with children’


Hi everyone,

Here is my lovely Mum’s second blog under her ‘Confessions of a Crazy Mother’ series!

Enjoy reading her (embarrassing) stories about me!

Love E x

Hello again!

As some of us are starting to plan a summer holiday, I thought I’d share with you some topical thoughts.

After weeks of strategic planning and meticulous packing (yes, in my previous life I did attempt to be organised!) we were finally ready to go! Looking forward to a long awaited escape to the Alps. Not skiing! Nooo! Far too cold and energetic for fair weathered and lazy old me! Austria in summer: Beautiful, breath-taking mountains, glistening streams and pretty Alpine meadows. Idyllic!  My favourite place on earth; Heaven!

Poor suffering Ellie and I had previously had one of our mad conversations discussing packing and simple ways to cut down on luggage! I helpfully suggested half a toothbrush or just the one flip flop (hopping always an underused option!) I’d squeeze in a miniscule pen from a cracker as well as the essential, but unusable mini screwdriver set assuming (wrongly of course) that this would free up space for the essential mini fridge and necessary hotplate (even though we were staying in a hotel!) I’m still surprised today that my vast array of tiny pots of white powders (sugar, salt, flour etc.) ever made it through customs!

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, we just had to get there! To save money and allow for such a trip, we were driving. Two long days ‘stuck’ in a car with 7-year-old Ellie and 4-year-old Tom! A bit ambitious do you think? Piece of cake! Lol!

You may have soon gathered; 1) I’m pretty nuts and 2) I tend to go off on some pretty lengthy tangents!

The subject I must try and stick to is; ‘Humour in the face of adversity’. Clearly some events in life are easier than others and cracking a joke is sometimes neither suitable nor welcome, but being able to see perhaps a funny side at times has smoothed the way and may diffuse an almost impossible scenario.

Don’t get me wrong. I am one of the most caring, sensitive and empathic soles around, so please don’t think that in a delicate, stressful or heart wrenching scene I’m rolling off one-liners or double entendres or throwing in insensitive wise cracks, no, that’s not it at all. But somewhere, somehow, or perhaps at a later stage, an amusing thought tentatively creeps through and then I might manage a well-deserved chuckle.

I’ll remember that journey fondly. Yes, it was long, yes it was, at times stressful, but it was a happy, funny family time.

When grief, tragedy, disability, heartache and illness jostle for time and space in our everyday busy and stressful lives, identifying that moment of respite is far from easy, but it is a welcome and needy release if we can find it.

The two-day journey through Europe was elongated by the droning monotone of Ellie’s rendition of ‘Who let the dogs out?’ on constant repeat in all its melodic glory. Her recent and to her joyful discovery of and subsequent access to music through direct input leads to her hearing aids clearly couldn’t be denied to her, but it was to the detriment to our ears and therefore our patience when we had to endure it for hours on end over and over again!

My wicked and at times sadistic sense of humour paved the way for me to introduce helpful flash cards to hold up to the moaning children in the back seat.  ‘Yes’, ‘No’ and ‘Cork it!’ shown to them frequently to save my aching neck constantly turning round which was needed for lip-reading!

The long hard struggle teaching Ellie to talk as a toddler was an unremitting drudgery of seemingly unending lonely months with a visiting teacher of the deaf. Week on week the lady produced her old, worn, uninspiring toys, when Ellie just wanted to watch Cbeebies, hoping these would inspire and provoke Ellie into talking. Would her speech ever come?  I look back now and can clearly see, although I couldn’t at the time, I had post-natal depression. It was a difficult time. When mothers of ‘normal’ babies seemed to cope so well and were enjoying these early years, I made such a hash of it and felt like such a failure.  But of course, it was worth every minute of the pain to hear her first word; “Aar” (when pointing to a car driving past the window).

Don’t forget to smile. There is always hope!

Lins x

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