IT'S GOT TO BE-E-E-E-E, PERFECT

A little (not-so-perfect) holiday post I wrote for TheFMLYMan.com. Have a read here or below.

You don’t have to go far on Instagram (other social networks are available) at this time of year to find families exhibiting their perfect holidays with their perfectly behaved children. We’re all guilty, aren’t we? I certainly am, and shamelessly filter out tantrums, the screaming and wrestling moves Hulk Hogan would have been proud of. So, to level out the Insta-perfect holiday shots, I thought I’d touch on 3 things that didn’t quite make the camera roll during our recent trip to Italy to visit the in-laws:

The flight from hell
I’ve flown with kids before but nothing was quite like this. Brilliantly, my son Arlo slept for the first half of our flight (#hashtag winning, actually, ‘wingingit’ might be more appropriate what with the plane and all that), but my god, he woke re-energised and seemingly possessed, ensuring the remainder of the flight was two long hours of hell at 30,000’. We were that family, the one on the receiving end of disapproving tuts and glances as chairs were kicked, limbs were flayed and deafening screams were shrieked. The emergency exit never looked so good. I’d like to tell you we had a eureka moment and all was fine, but we didn’t. The flight was bloody terrible.

The car a 20-month-old broke
Our hire car was pretty nice, I have to say – definitely nice enough for Instagram (we were upgraded thanks to my charming Italian speaking mother-in-law). Anyway, what wasn’t Insta-worthy was the morning a 20-month-old small boy (the same menace from the aeroplane if you’re wondering who I’m referring to) managed to disable all of its controls. Arlo is obsessed with cars, trucks and diggers, so, despite having acres of Italian countryside to explore, all he wanted to do was sit in the car and pretend he was driving.  Still recovering from the flight from hell, we thought it could provide some respite and what harm would it do? Erm, I’ll tell you what harm; the car died. Like really died. Nothing worked, literally nothing. It wasn’t the battery (before you ask), nope, somehow he managed to disable all of its computers and controls. A couple of hours later, with an entire morning wasted as I did my best to , a £30,000 piece of highly intelligent engineering was towed away, rendered useless after a tiny boy got his hands on it.

The spooky girl in the night
Picture the scene; we’re settling down on the terrace with the light fading around 8pm, recovering from the flight and the car debacle, and surrounded by nothing but rustic Puglian countryside all delightfully sound-tracked by light howls of wind. A glass of chilled white wine soothes my sun cracked lips as we all begin to unwind for the evening. But suddenly we’re startled by a movement in the shady distance and my wine crashes to the ground. I let out a small yelp that doesn’t quite leave my throat. On closer inspection a creepy silhouette of a wild and naked young girl is tiptoeing spookily through the dark shadows. Then, in a moment of complete stillness, the wild creature steps out from the shadows and… phew, its my ridiculous daughter Edie, unable to sleep and not some 5-year-old axe murderer. There’s a really naff horror movie in there somewhere… Hollywood, I await your call. Also, what a bloody waste of good wine!

So there you have it, our holiday was far from Insta-perfect. But you know what, who cares about any of that really? I was with the people I love, and that really is perfect.