The two reactions we get when we tell people we’re going round the world are: wow! and WOW! But when we tell them we’re taking all 4 kids, we get another reaction into the mix: OH. Really? Wow.
That’s because even travelling on the 210 bus up to the village is a bit of a nightmare with all 4 in tow and we’re doing 280 days of logistically complicated journeys and challenging excursions in remote locations. The dynamics involved range from heated bickering over the last ripe avocado in Waitrose to the nascent beginnings of a civil war in a imminently annexed part of the Soviet Union. Our kids have ALL got primary colour personalities, which is all very wonderful, of course, when they’re jauntily demonstrating pluck and character in front of, say, a teacher at their school, or an affectionate oldie on the tube. But they’re not so great half an hour into a six hour car-ride when one of their iPads dies half way through The Lego Batman Movie.
The risk-averse amongst us might point out that there’s an easy solution to this: don’t go travelling until they’re old enough not to scrap like feral cats. And I salute the simplicity of that: John’s 2 for God’s sake, what are we thinking? We should wait till he’s wiping his own bum, at least! But, by then, Jamie will be well on her way through the GCSE syllabus and starting to develop a worryingly vibrant social life and the work we’re doing to our house will be over (actually, the rate it’s all panning out right now, there’s no certainty of that). So the moment will have passed.
It’s a carpe diem situation. It’s just that carpe happens to translate as ‘child-induced’ and diem as ‘insanity’.