You’ve never known true fear until you land in a foreign country and realise you’ve forgotten the directions to your holiday destination.
Yes, I really am that stupid.
It turns out after spending a week packing and fretting about the number of nappies to take on our first family holiday, I forgot the finer details. I was so embroiled in which toys and hats to take, that I forgot to print off the directions to our villa in Turkey. And realised mid-air, somewhere over Bulgaria.
The flight was fine. I mean, really fine. The baby slept and then woke up and happily munched on a corn on the cob for an hour. Despite my aggressive efforts to thrust a nipple into her mouth during take off and landing (after reading that breastfeeding can stop the baby’s ears hurting), Frog was happy and content.
But then we landed at Antalya airport. There the fun began, as our predicament slowly dawned on us. The thing is, when you’re backpacking around Southeast Asia, you can easily rock up to a country with no idea where you’re going to end up. That’s part of the fun. But it’s quite a different story when you have a baby in tow and are still struggling to come to terms with the huge weight of responsibility that is parenthood. I now know why my mum used to take her role as Chief Navigator so seriously.
With Grandad F behind the steering wheel and the (self proclaimed) Northern Love Machine as his right-hand man, we slowly made our way in the hire car out of the airport, each blaming the other for the fact we had no directions. Getting used to driving on the other side of the road and closing our eyes to the fact the baby car seat we’d rented was totally unfit for purpose, we found a road and followed it. In the dark. But after managing to get hold of the friend who we’d rented the villa from we started to relax.
And that was our mistake.
Because after the “dual carriageway” we were following petered out into a dusty dirt track, it became clear we were well and truly marooned in the middle of Turkey. With a baby. In the dark. Did I mention it was dark?
Midnight came and went and still we had no idea where we were or where we were going. We were searching for an elusive dual carriageway that stubbornly refused to be found. As Grandad F kept up the “this is all part of the adventure” patter, I looked over to my sleeping baby and felt sick. Adventure is no fun with a baby. I just wanted to unpack the car and have a cup of tea, relaxing in the knowledge my baby was safe asleep in her travel cot, rather than a flimsy piece of plastic in a car lost down the end of a dirt track.
The situation was made worse by the fact I couldn’t shout at anyone and pass on the blame as a) the whole situation was entirely my fault and b) the baby was asleep and I didn’t want to wake her.
But, like all good stories (apart from Titanic), it was all alright in the end. Obviously, otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this. We found a friendly Turkish fisherman who pointed us in the right direction after unhooking his fish. An hour later, we were safely tucked up in our lovely villa almost laughing at our stupidity.
And that was it really. The holiday was a huge success. I ate too much, as I always do. And then moaned every day about the fact I was putting on weight and Boot Camp had been for nothing, while simultaneously stuffing my face with Kebaps and wine and cheese and stuffed vine leaves and Baclava and more Kebaps.
Frog spent the entire fortnight being accosted for her photo in the street. (There’s nothing like a bit of Turkish baby love to make you think your baby is the most beautiful in the world). And she swam and played and swam some more.
And now we’re home and I’m triumphant. I’ve survived the middle of the night flight with a baby (tried to check in at the wrong terminal and nearly missed our flight but that’s another post). I’ve survived the unpacking. I haven’t had a nervous breakdown.
And my relationship is intact, which is always a bonus.