The month that has passed since my last post has seen us leave my beloved home country, South Africa, after four long lovely months, to return to the UK. International travel with two small people is not for the faint-hearted. Admittedly flying is not my favourite past-time at the best of times so flying with a baby and a toddler is pretty close to my idea of hell. I completely understand why most airlines will not allow a parent to fly alone with two children under the age of two. They are simply trying to safeguard the sanity of the adult (and any other passengers unlucky enough to be seated nearby).
We left Cape Town on the day that the football world cup started which meant that the airport was wall-to-wall vuvuzelas, flags and marauding bouncy South Africans – beautiful to see on any other day, not especially helpful when trying to maintain the kids’ routines including bottles at the right times and naps in buggies. This was not helped by a lengthy stint at passport control where we made the unhappy discovery that the kids’ visas had expired making them, technically, overstayers. (Good going Mum and Dad – make criminals of the little ones before the age of three). Poor husband was left to convince the unimpressed passport controller that this was nothing but an oversight on our part as both boys are in the process of obtaining South African citizenship, while I simultaneously spooned unappetising sweet potato puree into baby and reassured toddler that this was a minor setback which would not prevent us from going ‘up, up, up in the sky’. Result … we were losing before we even set foot on the plane.
Cue twelve hours of tantrums, wailing and general gnashing of teeth. The kids weren’t particularly well behaved either. I was seriously considering locking myself in the bathroom and denying any knowledge of the rest of the family when I heard those beautiful words, “Ladies and gentleman, we will shortly begin our descent into London Heathrow”. Ah, but the joy that was that 48 hour period was not over yet. For some reason, we thought it would be a clever plan to drive direct from the airport to our new abode. We were wrong. Apparently two over-tired, grumpy little people plus two utterly exhausted, exasperated parents plus one empty house with no food, beds, towels or kettle to improve the situation does not for a happy family make. The good news is we’re in and mostly unpacked now, broadband is installed, the weather is beautiful and Wimbledon is in full swing. We all miss home every day but this is where we are. For now.