How was your Christmas break?
Mine was great apart from five hours of it which will be forever known as ‘The Pyjama Saga & Incredible Drama’, the reason for which will become apparent very soon.
It was Boxing Day, I’d been working that morning doing a Breakfast Show on the radio and also been working at an event in the afternoon but managed to squeeze in a nap in between, full in the knowledge that I would be driving the 200 mile trip from Leeds to London that evening with the family.
My wife did a sterling job of getting the kids ready, feeding them, putting them in their pyjamas and packing the cases ahead of my return home. It had just gone 6pm and I packed up the car filling every available inch of space with the mountains of luggage my wife had decided we absolutely needed to take with us for our five day trip. It’s quite incredible; however many suitcases I leave out for her, she manages to fill them to the point of bursting. Like a sumo wrestler wearing a pair of Beckham briefs.
We then have the same conversation every trip:
Me: “Darling, I think you’ve over packed?”
Wife: “No babe, everything in there is there for a reason.”
Me: “Sure, but do you know that you’ve packed around 10 outfits for Daisy & Seth but we are only going for 5 days, it just seems a bit strange…”
Wife: “Do you want to do the packing next time…?”
Me: “I’m just saying it’s a lot and your mum does have a washing machine at her house…”
We’ve managed to go from babe to GLARE in the space of four sentences.
Alas, some fights just aren’t worth having. One day I’ll learn…
Car packed, kids strapped in, sandwiches made for us and we were ready to go.
In my head, this is how the journey would pan out:
18.25 Leave Leeds.
18.30 Put on the Frozen soundtrack.
18.50 Kids fall asleep.
19.05 Wife fall asleep.
19.06 Turn the radio on to listen to the football phone-in.
21.10 Arrive in London.
21.15 Transfer kids into their cot / bed.
21.20 Sit down, smugly and celebrate the journey’s success with a small whisky.
The reality wasn’t quite as smooth.
Now I’m going to tell you something that my wife doesn’t currently know but will find out when she reads this. I’d seen the forecast was for snow during parts of the journey. BUT, being me (in this instance ‘me’ is code for stubborn) I wasn’t going to let that stand in the way of us reaching our destination as planned.
What I didn’t bank on was how bad the snow was going to be!
Twenty minutes into the journey and all was fine, Daisy nodded off to sleep as I’d predicted and Seth was awake but quiet.
Five minutes later it was all beginning to unravel. The snow started coming down and coming down fast. My wife panicked at the sight of the first snowflake on the windscreen and even I was getting a little bit worried at how much was falling, much more than the forecast had predicted. Within five miles we were crawling down the motorway. Seth had embarked on a new game which I think was called ‘Wake Up Daisy By Shouting As Loud As Possible’ or something like that. Either way, he’s really good at it and succeeded.
It was pitch black, the motorway was covered in snow, all passengers in the car were awake and my clearly-overly-optimistic original agenda seemed a distant dream.
For nearly three hours we ploughed our way down the motorway, too worried to come off in case we got stuck on any side roads.
We’d heard on the grapevine that the snow was due to clear around Leicester, pretty much half way through the journey and as we edged closer we became slightly more confident that we wouldn’t be spending the night shacked up in the car.
Then things got worse.
My wife turned to me and said “I think Seth’s done a poo”.
No biggy, I thought. I’d been driving for over three hours and wanted to stretch my legs, the kids were wide awake and could do with the same so we decided to pull over at the next service station, Leicester Forest East.
We bundled the kids up in their pyjamas, jumpers and blankets and made a dash through the sleet straight inside heading to the baby change toilet so we could all refresh ourselves.
All was fine until my wife put Seth on the baby changing unit and pulled down his pyjama bottoms. Now, I’ll spare you with the gruesome details but on display is something that a friend of mine refers to as a POOMAGEDDEN explosion. You get the picture?
It was so bad that we had to throw his pyjama bottoms in the bin!
My wife instructed me to return to the car to find Seth some new pyjama bottoms whilst informing me that she had no idea which case they were in.
When I walked back into the service station, totally drenched after a frantic suitcase search, my wife was sat in the arcade section by the fruit machines.
It was nearly 10pm. The kids were awake, eating biscuits and totally unsuitably attired. I looked like I’d just had a shower and was shouting “FOUND THEM, FOUND THEM” across the service station oblivious to passers-by. Anyone walking past must have seriously questioned our credentials as responsible parents.
To be fair, I can’t blame them!
We returned to the car where the weather soon cleared, the kids fell asleep and we completed our journey, arriving five hours after we had set off.
Daisy & Seth transferred to bed perfectly. I don’t think I’ve ever been more grateful towards them.
The journey was at last complete.
All that remained now was the small matter of surviving a week at my wife’s family… 😉
#lad2dad lesson Children need three times as many clothes as they are physically able to wear and anyone who doesn’t know this is stupid. Obviously.