It seemed like a good idea at the time. Having the grandchildren to stay with us on holiday in Cornwall with their little purple buckets and spades. What could be more delightful? We’d get to read them improving stories and watch them corpse with laughter at our funny accents and faces. They’d frolic in the sea then scamper across the sand to escape the wicked waves. We’d dry them and carry them tired and content for a cream tea and a well-earned peaceful sleep in a genuine fisherman’s cottage on the Cornish Riviera.
Domestic harmony is rarely achieved when you are trying to manage two children born just 12 months apart. Nor after they’ve been car-cooped for over 300 miles on the journey down. Especially when that’s two children who’s first achievement on arrival is to contract a tummy bug. And it cannot be done in tiny rooms filled with cries from rowdy seagulls and passing tourists through cracks in walls, ceilings and floors. Noise, noise, noise. Nothing quite like it for keeping your babies awake all night. And absolutely brilliant on top of a vigorous bout of vomiting. Yes, there was a vicious virus in town. The children were full of it despite up-to-date NHS innoculations.
By Day Three, the actual parents resembled extras in “The Walking Dead” while the grandparents struggled to remember how to recognise a button let alone press one to start the bottle steriliser. The older babe just puked. The younger one just thought about it then cried some more. Doctors were consulted. Hospitals visiting. Taxis commissioned. Ambulances chased. Hours of time consumed. Money spent like sea water.
When energies allowed, words were exchanged. The debate was imperfectly handled, at least at first. Rather than concentrate on solutions and future blue prints for action, we all seemed to wonder who was a bit to blame for the holiday flop.
Don’t get me wrong. There were moments of delight and we’ve circulated the photographs to prove it. But by and large it was eventually conceded that the Cornish visit had probably been a mistake by about two years eleven months multiplied by half the distance to the nearest A&E and what we should have done is plonk the kids down at their nursery, Active Kid’s, which we consider to be the best nursery in Hove.
Yup, very young children do not need car adventures lasting multiple hours. Or to start collecting Air Miles. They really need to play games in a structured environment with those who know how to manage their routine needs for fun, nappies, nutrition and sleep. Beautiful landscapes are lost on them. They are not about to learn to surf. Changes in sleeping habits are disastrous. And if they are unlucky enough to fall properly ill, it’s best to be home-based with a proper support-system.
Note for anyone concerned: full health was eventually restored but not before there were three cases of projectile puking as a result of what was finally identified as the beastly rotavirus.