parenting · Travels

The reality of a holiday with a toddler

We just got back from a little summer holiday in the Dordogne region of France. It was a lovely holiday and it is always nice to have some time away. I have to admit though, I do mourn the days when a holiday meant lying on a sun lounger with a book and a cocktail for a week on a Greek island. I’m not naive. When I booked my holiday I knew there would be no lounging for hours whilst sipping cocktails but I did hope that perhaps I would manage to come back feeling slightly refreshed.

Here are 5 photos that definitely do not show the reality of a holiday with a toddler.

  1. The Boat Trip 


Well doesn’t this look nice. Darling toddler sitting on her daddy’s knee ready for a cruise along the Dordogne. We did debate whether a one hour boat trip was a wise choice with a very fidgety 21 month old but we were optimistic. Zara was thrilled when we got on the boat and spent the first 10 minutes happily waving to passing boats. However, after 10 minutes, she  stood up on my knee, tried to clamber over the side of the boat and shouted ‘off’. I spent the next 50 minutes trying to keep her entertained and barely took in any of the surroundings, let alone listened to the audio guide.

2. The Meal Out 


I love this photo of Zara and I twinning in our gingham. We were in the town Sarlat which is known to be one of the most attractive towns in France. I really enjoy eating out and part of going on holiday used to be eating out every day and enjoying long lazy lunches with a glass of wine. We hadn’t really had any fancy meals out as we were self catering or eating pizza at the campsite restaurant. This meal was gorgeous. It was at a lovely little courtyard restaurant and I had duck and wine and creme brule. Zara was actually amazing and sat at the table through the meal and ate all her own food. However, I would love to know how people get their toddlers to just sit still in a high chair. Zara will sit still for a bit and then want to sit somewhere else or run around and needs constant entertainment (books/small toys). We have so far managed to avoid using phones or iPads at the dinner table and I’m really hoping we can keep it that way.

3. The Poolside

Well the first thing to say about these photos is that it was only ever this sunny three times during our holiday. The rest of the time it was fairly overcast. The splash park and pool facilities at the camp site really were fantastic. Zara loved playing in the splash park and was happy to go off and play whilst we just watched. However, I think I sat down on a sun lounger for a grand total of about 5 minutes all week. Whenever I sat down she seemed to choose that moment to start legging it towards a swimming pool or water slide or managed to trip over or get splashed in the face by a boisterous child (said child had his foot over one of the little fountains, she leant down to look and he moved his foot). The photo on the left really is lovely and of course I always welcome a cuddle. The only problem was, the photo was taken after my few minutes lying in the nice warm sun and she came over to climb all over me, she was soaking wet! YUK!

4. The pretty market town. 


Ahhhh, isn’t she having a lovely time. Yes. Yes she is. She’s pretending to be a frog and refusing to walk anywhere. This was in Sarlat. It was market day.  The streets were teeming with stalls selling as kinds of lovely things (and some not so lovely things). I was looking forward to exploring the town and having a little look at the market stalls.  Pretending to be a frog was the only thing she wanted to do. She did not want to walk. She did not want to go in the buggy. She did not want to be carried. Pretending to be a frog involves crouching down and then leaping up shrieking ‘bibeeeeeet’. Not ideal in a busy street. To be fair to her, it was quite funny, except we did really want to have a wander round and she screamed whenever we tried to make her walk.

5. The Family Photo 


We thought it would be nice to get a photo of the three of us on our last night. Zara didn’t really want to be in a photo. We rudely interrupted her collecting acorns and stones to take this photo. If you look at it properly you can see she’s actually trying to push us away and get down.

It really was a nice holiday and these photos do reflect that but I thought I’d just be honest and say that it wasn’t always sunshine and smiles!


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