Perils of taking someone else’s child on your holiday

Zella after washing her hair...
Zella after washing her hair...

COMMENT: Bandstand event is a victim of its own success

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When is it a good idea to take someone else’s child on holiday with you?

I’ve been putting it off for a long time even though – with three children – the pressure has been fierce.

Last year we took our nephew camping around Europe to even up the boy/girl ratio. As he was related to all of us it didn’t matter if we found him occasionally irritating (as he did us).

This year though, with my son well into his teenage years, we bribed him to come by adding a friend for the last week. We picked him up from an airport and crammed him into the back seats between a box of saucepans, wet swimming costumes and sleeping bags.

Being of non-family status he was fairly amenable to having the worst seat in the car. After all, who complains to someone else’s parents? I certainly never had the courage when I was a child. Other parents were mysterious and frightening as they either supplied great chocolate bars which my own never bought or wreaked wrath with such frenzy I trembled.

I don’t think I would ever have had the courage to go on holiday with someone else’s family. It’s such a closed community in which you quickly have to adapt to new rules and movable history without any guide book or directions.

After a week I’ve discovered that there are pros and cons to bringing a child’s friend. On the plus side, the children were too embarrassed to throw a monumental tantrum.

On the down side, every time I needed to go to the loo in the night I had to clamber into a decent semblance of clothing – it was so darned hot and the thought of being seen even semi-naked in the dark by someone not related was worse than any horror movie one could imagine.

Also, I had to be polite to my own children most of the time and loving towards my husband even when I could have strangled him for driving around a roundabout seven times while repeating ‘where am I going?’ even though I had very cheerfully explained there was a hole in the middle of our map and I did not know, which was the right exit.

Yes it was fun, and yes it was worth it but will I do it again? Hmm. We’ll have to see.