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  • Writer's pictureRobyn


Because there were some beautiful ones.

But holidays with three small children, they're hard work. This was not a holiday that's going to go in the books as an all time great. So I'm going to try remember the beautiful Welsh hills and beaches, and not remember the small cottage with the double bed so uncomfortable and with a heavy wooden foot that meant that Ed had to sleep diagonally and after the second night I had to sleep in Sally's room. I'm going to remember crouching by the side of the fishing lake we were staying next to, watching for a fish to jump rather than the fact we couldn't let the children run around outside by themselves. I'm going to remember that Pip at two and a half was constantly checking on his baby sister and tickling her toes or stroking her head, rather than the battle we had at every dinner trying to get a confused and tired boy to eat.

I'm going to remember sneaking through the woods looking for bears and the ten minutes Sally and Pip spent dancing and singing on the stage Sally had designated between a pair of trees and how the words to Mr Clickety Came got changed to 'waggle your bum-bum in your air, wash your hands in custard' and how Pip's teddy bear got named Custard Bum for the trip, instead of the whining and grumping as we got lost somewhere in the car or discovered a path listed as an easy walk was in fact a narrow path rutted with roots with a steep drop on one side and every ounce of patience was exhausted.

I'm going to forget the threats and recriminations after both Pip and Sally ignored the just paddling instructions and threw themselves into the sea when we had no change of clothing or towels, and instead remember the look of perfect joy of Pip's face as he ran down the beach (this time in his trunks), his little legs cantering sideways with excitement.

I'm going to remember Sally blowing raspberries at Cleo to make her laugh, I'm going to remember Pip cuddling up to her on the sofa to give her a kiss. I'm going to remember with gratitude how Cleo was so patient at always waiting 10 minutes longer to be fed and being happy as she was shunted from car seat to pram and back again with a little bit of carrying here and there and still most of the time grinning up at you with her big happy toothless grin.

There are other moments too, Sally 'training' at Knight School in Pembroke Castle and then climbing all the tiny narrow stairs to the top of the highest tower one day and having her face painted blue like an Iron Age warrior in a hill fort on another. Saul waving his tiny wooden sword about and fighting the trees as he sat up on his daddy's shoulders which were his main mode of conveyance for the trip. Ed and I catching each other's eye occasionally in these moments that were lovely. But it was bloody hard work. It felt like there was barely a minute when someone wasn't needing something and we struggled a bit to find small child friendly activities. I know the day will come when I'm able to sit on the beach and be allowed to read a book for half an hour, then all hold hands as we jump in the sea and then eat actual local adult food for dinner. But, to wish for then is to wish my children's childhoods away, and to speed away the snuggles I get with my gorgeous baby girl, and how could I want to do that?

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