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We are not the family you think we are.


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#1 Kylie Orr

Posted 15 October 2015 - 10:43 AM

Kids have a way of presenting a completely inaccurate impression of you, as parents, and as a family.

Let me explain.

We’ve just returned from a family trip visiting friends in New Zealand. When you’re a family of six, travelling anywhere is quite an ordeal – both for your sanity and your wallet. Thankfully, our latest trip was a budget holiday – flights were booked on accumulated frequent flyer points, our friends kindly lent us a car and we stayed at their house for half of the trip. It was perfect for us plebs.

Our flight choices were extremely limited if we all wanted to fly together so we opted for the “red-eye” that left Australia at 11pm and arrived at 4am local time. Yep. Crazy. But my husband and I talked ourselves around that madness. We successfully convinced each other that the kids were old enough to cope; we don’t have babies anymore, our youngest is four. They’d all sleep on the plane anyway, right?

Save your snorting, there’s more.

We knew we had the comfort of the airline lounge to hang in while we awaited the inevitable delays. My husband is a member thanks to his business travel and he was allowed to “grant” his wife and offspring a ticket to the heaven behind those secret doors.

It was to be the most luxurious part of our expedition. The kids thought it was Christmas, what with all the free food and booze. We were diligent to limit their alcohol intake, though. We’re responsible like that.

The kids flitted here and there finding new sources of nourishment and entertainment, as though they were the offspring of cashed-up celebrities. We did our best to keep them calm and quiet around all those lethargic business people who looked drained and generally miserable about their existence.

We tried to coax the younger ones into a possible lie down before the flight left. Dream on, sunshine.

My four-year-old opted for a movie on the iPad. We put some headphones on her so she wouldn’t disturb other “guests” and hoped the lull of the screen would lure her to sleep. Yes, I hear you. Sleep? No chance. Instead she was high on white rice, mini cans of lemonade and lollies.

A staff member came to clear the debris of plates my daughter had gathered. Without so much as a glance from her screen, the four-year-old screamed "DON’T TAKE THAT!"

I blame the headphones for the volume – she had no idea just how loud she yelled, and I blame her techno-obsessed father for her addiction to screens, and therefore her inability to raise her head to assess the situation before she opened her mouth. I blame her 4 year old-ness for being the most embarrassing, un-PC child in that lounge. And I’ll take the blame for whatever is left over.

The woman trying to do her job was horribly embarrassed and apologetic to Princess four-year-old. I was doubly embarrassed and apologetic to the poor woman being reprimanded by a child. Then my daughter looked up to see she has just bellowed at the woman, caught the horror on my face and started howling.

My defense to that unfortunate staff member was, "I'm so sorry. I think she thought you were one of her brothers trying to steal her food". You know, because we don’t feed our kids. We make them fight for their food at home. Then we bring them out in public and have them scavenge around airport lounges for scraps. Yes, so that comment wasn’t aiding my cause.

The lady nodded, forced a tight smile and skulked away, plate-less.

That woman either thought we were desperate vultures who dined out on freebies, or world travellers who graced airport lounges over the globe. Perhaps she thought we had maids and “staff” of our own and that our children were accustomed to dictating to others. If there is some small glimmer of hope that the employee reads this article, please know we are not who you think we are.

The flight couldn't board quick enough. 50% of our children slept, 100% of the adults remained wide awake. 50% of those adults worried about the impression her child had left and whether she’d ruined that poor woman’s day.

I figured the trip couldn’t have started off any worse, so at least it was all up from there. The 10 days in between were full of typical family holiday delights – waking up too early, tantrums, car sickness and disagreements over who won mini golf (it was me, by the way). There were also some slivers of delight that made me realize despite the difficult and embarrassing moments, family holidays are really worth the effort.

Although part of me believes "nothing ventured, nothing gained", the other part of me knows "nothing ventured, no horribly awkward moments sustained".

We did learn from our experience, however. When we visited the airport lounge in the departing city we ensured the four-year-old had as much food as she could fit in her mouth, so there was be no chance she spoke to (or yelled at) anyone.

Have your children ever behaved in a way that is misrepresentative of you / your parenting / your family?

Kylie

#2 Zeppelina

Posted 30 October 2015 - 08:39 PM

Scene: Paris metro station with stairs that lead up to a busy road.

Characters: Me, DH, and jetlagged, sick 3yo DS. Various Metro staff members and strangers.

Props: 3 large suitcases, and a handful of smaller bags. A folding stroller which DS had to get out of to go down the millions of stairs at every single Metro station.

It's our 3rd station that we've had to change at to get where we are going. DS has had enough of having to get out of the stroller to get down the stairs. I have had enough of carrying the hand luggage, the stroller, and coaxing DS down the stairs. DH has had enough of manoeuvering 3 suitcases and the rest of the hand luggage.

DS throws a huge tantrum on the way down the stairs. I have to somehow pick him up to get him down the stairs, with arms already full. At the bottom, I put him down to try to talk to him, cuddle him, whatever he needs. He escapes my grip and manages to start running towards the stairs. DH throws the suitcases in my general direction and chases DS, who is now halfway up the stairs. DH reaches him just before he gets to the top.

He brings him back down, and we have to hold him in our arms while he kicks and screams bloody murder for at least half an hour. If we put him down, he'll run away again, and we don't want him getting up those stairs to the main road, or running onto a platform.

We have 2 separate Metro staff come up and ask us if we are okay. 3 separate ladies come and offer us food, drinks, sweets, for DS. I am sure that they (and the dozens of other people walking past us, staring) think that we are starving our child, or kidnapping someone else's child. I keep waiting for the police to arrive to arrest us.

Eventually DS calms down, and we move on to our platform. Exhausted. The rest of our trip is amazing and wonderful, but I will never forget that hour in the Metro!

The thing is, DS is not like that at all - he is the least tantrummy kid ever. Normally, DS can be reasoned with - but he wasn't ready for reasoning, and we were not at our best either! He was so jetlagged, and had a cold, and was just over it - and we were exhausted, also jetlagged, and over it too.

#3 Expelliarmus

Posted 30 October 2015 - 08:51 PM

View PostKylie Orr, on 15 October 2015 - 10:43 AM, said:

Have your children ever behaved in a way that is misrepresentative of your family?
Every week. They sit quietly in church.

The lady behind us thinks they play nicely together.

#4 The 8th Plum

Posted 30 October 2015 - 09:09 PM

My 2yo DD loudly claims we all wee on her. She also claims we kill her and her teddies.

She doesn't say this all the time, just when she has been thwarted in some malevolent way by her jailers.

For example:

"You have to hold my hand or be strapped in the pram because we need to cross the road."
"Mummy wee on me! Make me sick!"
"Pram or hand?"
"Poor little me!" *takes hand*



#5 Fright bat

Posted 30 October 2015 - 09:32 PM

View PostFeralina, on 30 October 2015 - 08:39 PM, said:

Scene: Paris metro station with stairs that lead up to a busy road.



Lol - didn't even have to read the rest of that!

Pre kids, I made DH take the metro from the airport - two adults, jet lagged, two suitcases, laptop bags etc. it was hell. DH swore he would never do it again. I said "but I'm not paying €50 for a taxi!"

Three months ago, I made DH and two kids (6 and 3) do the same trip with three suitcases and multiple backpacks etc ("I am NOT paying €80-100 for a taxi!!!).

Suffice to say we don't speak of that journey anymore.

#6 Princess Holly

Posted 30 October 2015 - 09:38 PM

DD doesn't have the best handwriting skills so her words don't always look like what they should supposed to say.

One embarrassing example is when DD had to write about her weekend in her journal at school and finished it off saying that I was late dropping her off on the monday because I was in trouble and got arrested. She was trying to write that I was having trouble getting dressed due to being heavily pregnant with SPD and slipped discs in my spine.

I was mortified to say the least when she brought her journal home that day for me to look at.

#7 seayork2002

Posted 30 October 2015 - 09:45 PM

Of course my son is never like that he is an angel and I have NOT been on the chardonnay tonight

#8 deedee15

Posted 30 October 2015 - 10:06 PM

My DD wrote a poem about herself at school, one part talks about how we call her names... which we do, the pet names we have for our kids.


#9 Sancti-claws

Posted 30 October 2015 - 10:24 PM

I once travelled overseas with my husband and children.

My husband is never allowed to travel anywhere near us AGAIN if he wants to stay married to me (which he assures me he does).

#10 Gudrun

Posted 30 October 2015 - 10:39 PM

Probably no consolation but you are a great storyteller Kylie.
I enjoyed that (sorry if I wasn't meant to!).

#11 Feral Grey Mare

Posted 31 October 2015 - 06:18 AM

When DS was about three we had a New Year's Eve street party in our cul-de-sac. Next morning DS got up early and I found him sitting on the gutter in front of our house part way through a raspberry vodka Cruiser that had been left in our fridge by a guest. 14 years later I still cringe at the memory of this parent fail.

#12 lizzzard

Posted 31 October 2015 - 07:12 AM

My kids visited my parents over the last summer holidays, and while they were there, one of the neighbours held an afternoon tea for all the other neighbours (who have all been living there since I was born!). Of course, they brought the kids to 'show them off'. Apparently, DD and DS were absolute angels the entire time - ate what they were offered, sat quietly, spoke politely when asked questions... The neighbours raved about how well behaved they were whilst my parents basked in parental/grandparental glory... Ummmm....yeah, talk about the wrong impression!! Goodness who's what aliens were inhabiting my kids that day but I hope they come back for the next work family picnic day!

#13 Moukmouk

Posted 31 October 2015 - 07:52 AM

View PostFright bat, on 30 October 2015 - 09:32 PM, said:



Lol - didn't even have to read the rest of that!

Pre kids, I made DH take the metro from the airport - two adults, jet lagged, two suitcases, laptop bags etc. it was hell. DH swore he would never do it again. I said "but I'm not paying €50 for a taxi!"

Three months ago, I made DH and two kids (6 and 3) do the same trip with three suitcases and multiple backpacks etc ("I am NOT paying €80-100 for a taxi!!!).

Suffice to say we don't speak of that journey anymore.
The St Michel metro station is never to be spoken of again in our house.

#14 Sentient Puddle

Posted 31 October 2015 - 08:11 AM

View PostFeral Grey Mare, on 31 October 2015 - 06:18 AM, said:

When DS was about three we had a New Year's Eve street party in our cul-de-sac. Next morning DS got up early and I found him sitting on the gutter in front of our house part way through a raspberry vodka Cruiser that had been left in our fridge by a guest. 14 years later I still cringe at the memory of this parent fail.

Thread Gold!!!  That made me laugh out loud.  They do taste like raspberry cordial though!!

#15 Sentient Puddle

Posted 31 October 2015 - 08:18 AM

We took the family to NZ to visit extended family this year.

We were driving from Auckland down south and DP who used to live there wanted to take the windy one lane route with few places to stop.  This route would be quicker by about 40-60 minutes.  I said we needed to go the less windy route with more options to stop but he didn't listen. DD is a terrible traveller at the best of times - can turn green on a trip to the local shops.   We are in the middle of no where - have no clue how far the nearest town is - DD is distressed as she needs a wee and needs it right now (wasn't sick as we drugged her to the hilt) DS on the other hand is green and crying as he wants to throw up.  We stop the car in the middle of nowheresville - DD would not pee on the side of the road and DS just cried and cried as he was feeling so unwell.

Suffice to say we took the alternate route back a week later and had a much more pleasant drive.  I didn't say I told you so but it is a part of the trip we never speak about!

Edited by Sentient Puddle, 31 October 2015 - 10:39 AM.





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