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The Philippines- PART 1

PRE TRIP JITTERS

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I really thought my back-packing days were over. I was wrong! They have just got better (albeit very very different).

There were highs, and there were lows, but I honestly found back packing with 2 kids in the Philippines almost easier that being at home??!

Before I explain, here is a brief run-down of the trip……..(ended up being longer than expected so part 2 coming soon, story of my life, just have so much to say!)

As any mother would be, I was apprehensive about out 3 week “back-packing” (loose term as we had 2 kids, suitcases and only 3 weeks) in the Philippines with our 2 boys, 21 months (Kitt), and nearly 4 (Arlo).  My husband and I had done quite a bit of travelling pre-kids, but this was going to be our first taste of proper travelling with kids.

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My brother was getting married to a lovely Filipino girl, Janice. They lived together in NZ but we having a wedding in her home town of Davao. We were to spend a week there, then 2 weeks travelling.

I had a million and one things I was worried about- rabid dogs with red eyes, loosing luggage, loosing kids, kids being sold for goats, husband selling me for a goat, kids eating random shit off the floor, kids licking random shit, Kitt using random flip flops as teethers, drowning, getting eaten by sharks, swallowing dirty water, shitting dirty water out, getting poorly, getting bitten, earthquakes, tsunamis, sleep being even worse, loosing passports and having to stay in Philippine forever (should have done this), inhaling cockroaches whilst asleep etc etc. Weird, I would never have worried about so many things pre kid travelling. BUT the main thing I was worried about was the 14-hour flight.

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THE FLIGHT

Pretty sure I’ve blocked most of this out? From what I can remember……my 1 year old cried for maybe 10 out of the 14 hours? He was on my lap for the duration…but of course wanted to be either on top of the seat, on top of passengers, in aisle 45, under the seat or in food trolley.  Zero sleep from him. I let him feed from my empty boobs for 14 hours in awkward positions to try and keep him still, quiet and happy. Zero sleep from me. My 3-year-old couldn’t get comfy, angry that he couldn’t get comfy, husband angry that he couldn’t comfy, I’m angry that husband is angry etc. Zero sleep from them. Ran out of snacks. Ran out of Peppa Pig episodes. Ran out of nappies. 1 year old had diarrhoea, had to use 3 year olds pants-sanitary pads-nappy bag to tie round. No baby change, so had to change shit nappies on seat or toilet floor. Our cocky “lets book a night flight then they will just sleep” statement totally backfired. It’s like they were on crack. Babies crying everywhere on flight, setting each other off. Apart from one baby opposite that slept the whole way. The mum even had a glass of wine. Yes, I was watching you. I’m surprised this flight didn’t end in divorce.

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I literally balled my eyes out when we saw the bright lights of Manila as we were about to land. Part of this was probably pure relief that we had made it. But most of it was I just felt so emotional that we were DOING IT, travelling with 2 kids!!! Giving them their first taste of the world. Such an amazing feeling. I felt more like “us” again.

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One more short flight and we arrived in Davao. We knew what to expect when you walked out of a foreign airport: the heat, the craziness, people everywhere, people grabbing at you. Even though I felt like a total zombie, I kinda enjoyed this. I had missed this craziness. The only westerners I saw, what we must have looked like (ginger, blonde, freckly, back combed hair, whiter than ghosts). Jumped in a taxi and drove through the back streets (and rabid dogs) to our hotel. Realised we had been totally ripped off but didn’t care as WE WERE THERE.

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Had struck the gold mine with our hotel. S-W-A-N-K-Y (we didn’t pay for it). Checked in, all in one room, but had air con and a Snickers in the fridge. Must had been about 3 am? And I can’t remember how we did it, but we all went to sleep.

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FIRST STOP DAVAO

The next morning, opening the curtains onto the tropical gardens of our new home for the next week was a lush moment. Our balcony (hello!) backed onto the pool. Yes, we were going to be very happy here.  Jet lag is a wonderful thing, the boys slept until 8 am, unheard of at home. And we all napped, also unheard of at home! All you can eat buffet breakfasts are also a wonderful thing.

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Here was our first taste of how much the Filipinos loved western children. Literally everywhere we went “hey baby, what’s your name”. They were like celebs. I should’ve started charging, would have made a fortune. Dread to think how many FB they have ended up on. Everyone thought Kitt was a girl, in the end I just rolled with it as I had always wanted a girl!

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We stayed here for a week, did little trips out but mainly chilled by the pool. Poor Kitt was suffering, constantly crying and HATED being out in the heat (turns out he was actually poorly but we just thought it was heat/ teeth). Old ginger Arlo was loving it however, totally surprising us how well he took to it all. I ended up chilling in the air con quite a bit with Kitt, (he needed my boobs) watching the boys tan by the pool…..I think I became whiter this week

THE WEDDING

Then the wedding was upon us. Like any Asian event, to an outsider it all seems chaos, but then it all comes together at the last minute and is the most beautiful thing ever. What wasn’t so beautiful however, was my face!

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I was a bridesmaid and they spent maybe 2 hours doing my make-up, telling me how beautiful I was. I’ve never had my make-up done before and I was so excited for “the big reveal”. He held up a mirror for me at the end and wow…….I looked like a lady boy!!!! Maybe it was just because I looked so different, but I think I looked a bit like a tranny?! I kinda got used to it as the day went on and by the wedding and by the end of the day, I had grown to love “Kevin”. I think the amount Kevin’s face sweated during the day softened the tranny effect.

Rich obviously refused to wear anything Filipino. Rich wasn’t keen on Kevin

The ceremony was just magical. My brother said his vows in Filipino (no idea what he was saying but it was so emotional). Janice was beautiful, the view was beautiful, Kevin was semi beautiful. Just everything was perfect. Paige boy Arlo even walked down the aisle holding a sign like he was supped to. And didn’t piss on any of the wedding party.

Poor Kitt was hysterical during the ceremony, so luckily Rich took him off to try and calm him down. There was no air con and it was 35’. Just before the reception Kitt was at the peak of his illness. He had a fever and was going all floppy. Only wanted me. There was a doctor there and she thought he had an infection from the water and might need to go to hospital. Obviously, everything starts running through your mind.

I had to make such a hard decision. Do I go to my brother’s wedding reception, who I haven’t seen for 4 years, who I might not see for another 4 years, flown half way across the world to see……or do I stay with my kid, who was really really poorly by this point and needed medical attention???

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I stayed with Kitt. I hope this was the right thing to do. It felt like it was, but I still feel so guilty on my brother

Anyway, so no wedding reception, saw bits from the outside whilst waiting for the taxi, it was honestly like a full-blown theatrical performance! Like something you would get on an all-inclusive holiday but way way more classy. My brother even sang and danced. Ricky Gervais springs to mind (sorry bro, stick to the day job).

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ISLAND HOPPING

We were really limited with stuff we could do in Davao as Kitt was still poorly. But we did squeeze in a little island-hopping boat trip when he perked up one day.

This was AMAZING. Arlo went “snorkelling” (put his face in the mask for 3.5 seconds) and we all went swimming off the boat and hung out on beautiful beaches. Kitt had diarrhoea in the sea and Rich nearly swallowed it through his snorkel.

PART 2 COMING SOON– trikes, waterfalls, beach huts and cock roaches, coconuts (not mine)

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Girls Snowboard Camp- Megamum Recap!

So I have written a recap for Ticket To Ride (Recap-Girls Snowboard Camp)   already….this is semi professional I guess. Here is a recap from “megamum”s point of view (ie: talking more about kids/ boobs)

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As you may know, I was previously supposed to host the last 2 camps….first year…..got up the duff, second year……had a baby still attached to my boobs 24/7 (maybe not what the girls would sign up for?). Third time lucky and I was back in the game. Jenny Jones was my replacement. In fact, I think I actually did the camp a favour as getting Jenny was a waaaay better deal! Sorry 2019 ladies

I was nervous leaving the boys. I knew Arlo would be fine as pretty sure he doesn’t like me that much anyway?! Plus I had left him before, but only for 2 days. Kitt I had only left for 24 before. A whole week was a different ball game

And yes, I was still BF, which I had no idea I would still be doing when the camp came around, Kitt is 21 months! Would Kitt survive? Would the empty Capri sacks survive?!

The most exciting thing was, my husband would have the kids for a whole week and finally see how hard it was motherhood could be….on zero sleep. HE would have to get up in the night. HE would have to do 4.30 am starts. Finally he will understand……finally…….oh how the tables had turned, me going snowboarding for “work”*

 

*Husband sent kids up to Granny and Grandpas for the week

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So leaving motherhood behind, I set off to Meribel with 2 free hands and a bag free of snacks and baby wipes. Oh how beautiful it was travelling solo. The anticipation of a week of sleep by myself was very exciting.

I met some of the girls at the airport to get the transfer. As soon as I met them I knew the week would be fun. The drive up to Meribel was soooooo beautiful, I had forgotten how magical he mountains are. I definitely took it for granted when I lived there.

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The chalet was bloody PIMP, hot tub and all! The rest of the girls arrived and honestly, they were the coolest bunch of chicks. I felt so lucky. AND a few of them were mums too! I hadn’t even considered that, I’m not sure why. But of course, it made total sense that shred mums would come! Like minded girls that used to do seasons/ snowboard, then had kids and wanted to get away for some kid free shred time. YES!!!! This also made me feel more at ease I think. We were all in the same kid free boat. One chick was leaving 8 month old twins, she was the most hardcore in my eyes!!

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Then the legend (and also mega friend of mine) Cozza arrived. She was to be the coach, and I (Katie-washed up snowboarder) was to be the host. I think (hope) we made a good little team me and Cozza. I literally couldn’t have done it without her. Plus I had never actually been to Merible before!!!! Was terrified at the fact I was hosting a camp there, but luckily Cozza knew her stuff.

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I won’t go into what we did every day……but we had sunny park laps, powder, bluebird, flat land jibbing, tree runs, hot chocolates, too much afternoon cake, yoga sessions, quiz night (what happens at quiz night stays at quiz night), chick flick night, girls chats, wine, amazing food that ruined bikini bodies, hot tub plunges (see pics),,,,,I even had a nap! Felt like we covered a lot in one week. I put my heart and soul into the camp, but honestly, it never once felt like work to me.

I even got to do some park laps, maybe only 4 or 5 but oh my it felt gooooooood, also sketchy ha!

 

 

 

My boys back home were having a whale of a time, and I was so busy that I didn’t even get a chance to miss them that much. I guiltily was enjoying not having to clean poo off puzzle pieces and watching Peppa Pig. And obviously SLEEPING/ drinking HOT tea on my own/ toilet on my own/ etc

AND GUESS WHAT……..reports were that Kitt was now sleeping through the night??!!! He has never once slept through for me? Say what?! Is it me????

Left the camp a day early to get home as we were flying to the Philippines a day later for my brothers wedding (blog coming soon). Was pretty gutted not to see it through to the bitter end, but you know, when you have to fly to a tropical country with white sandy beach’s and crystal clear waters you just have to do it.

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DO NOT READ IF YOUR SQUEEMISH…..the camp for me was more than just a camp. It was the first time since kids I had really felt like me again? Katie the snowboarder rather than Katie the Mum ya know?! Even though I was technically working, it felt like I was doing something just for me.  I definitely felt my confidence coming back as the week went on and loved the novelty of something completely different to my day to day life in the UK. I may be pretty late to the game, but it even made me think about properly coaching? Crazy idea I know.

I really had a ball, and hope the girls did too. Thank you all so much again for comingJ

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The camp is on again for next year….and watch this space for more exciting things in the future……..

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I can confirm that Kitt is NOT sleeping through the night…it IS me:(

 

My boobs were fine, Kitt returned to his habitat as soon as I got back and hasn’t looked back since!!

 

Arlo didn’t notice I was gone

 

Husband still hasn’t got up at 4.30 am

I’m not bitter

 

 

 

 

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Flying Solo

Its taken me a while to write this as I’ve still been recovering from the trauma…ok thats a bit dramatic as I know there are waaaaay worse things in life. However, a solo flight with my toddler and baby was not up there with my most pleasurable experiences. Nothing went crazily wrong, but it was certainly a “challenge” (I’m well aware that people do it all the time and with more children so really I shouldn’t dwell on it)

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I had conjured up a few scenarios in my head pre flight about things that could go wrong:

1) Both children would get the chickenpox the day before the flight
2) I would get ill the day before the flight
3) One or both children would puke and we would have to stay in crusty stinky puke clothes until our destination and no one would want to be fiends with us
4) Arlo would run off and get onto a random flight and be sold for a camel
5) Various poo scenarios
6) Flight would be cancelled/ delayed and we would have to spend 17.5 hours in airport or worse, sitting on aeroplane whilst they fixed the engine
7) Would sit next to someone who didn’t like children
8) Would loose passports, possibly thrown in bin along with shit nappy and puke clothes
9) I would forget a child at some point a long the way
10) My husband would forget to collect us

Now what silly parent of a toddler/ baby books a flight in “the witching hour”?? Ok, that was us because it was cheaper. I think this was the mistake

Here’s how it went……

COMMUTE TO AIRPORT

I used Chloes Taxi Service (actually just my mate Chloe in her Mums car) to take us to the airport. This was the best part of the journey and I would highly recommend her services. Toddler and baby slept in the car to Bristol, and I steamed up the windows with my nervous sweating, true story. We unloaded and the lovely Chloe sent us on our merry way (just wanted to grab onto Chloes legs and cry “please don’t leave us”).

Baby in pushchair, toddler on buggy board, backpack on, Arlos backpack on (so he felt important) and suitcase in hand. Assumed people were looking at us and thinking “wow, she’s got her sh*t together”…..when it was probably because I had left the silver shampoo on too long and gone grey.

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AIRPORT

Found our flight on the big screen and went to check-in desk with super organised tickets printed out. The lovely (pretty gay) man asked if I was flying on my own. I nearly broke down and started crying “yes, yes I am, please help me, don’t leave me, don’t make me do it”…….

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Went to security thing where you have to get EVERYTHING out of bags, liquids into other bags, shoes off, babies out, push chairs collapsed etc. Quite a palaver at the best of times, different ball game with a toddler and baby….with only 2 (clammy) hands. Random security guard had to hold the baby (he seemed nice?) and someone had to get Arlo off the security belt as he wanted to go through in the box with his important backpack.

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We made it through, but disaster struck. The pushchair was now broken. This prompted a blunt text to my husband saying “the fu*king pushchair is broken FULL STOP NO KISSES (totally HIS fault as I said we needed a new one). It was so chaotic after securtiy with people and STUFF, after considering just ditching the pushchair all together, I decided I would just have to lug the 2 broken pieces, the baby, the toddler, the buggy board, discarded jackets, the 2x backpacks, pammy panda, dino dinosaur through the airport. I made it approx 52.7 meters and decided I couldn’t carry on. Thank you to the lovely security guard (number 2) who fixed the (shit) pushchair.

We got some dinner and hung out (mostly in the toilet as they seemed happiest in there??) and waited for the flight. Arlo had a melt down as couldn’t see planes out of the window as promised, prompted many laps around the airport to find planes with upset plane deprived toddler (where were they????)

Witching hour was now upon us. Arlo turned into crazed-demented-toddler. Kitt turned into screetchy-teething-baby.

THE FLIGHT

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Boarded flight. Arlo was pretty excited (uncontrollable) by the enormous plane we could finally see. I had bought him a book about flying and how he could sit next to the window. I had booked a seat specifically. Weirdly the seat WAS next to a window, but alas, there was no actual window. Hysteria (god I felt bad)…..”mummy fix it please” (I couldn’t, it was a wall), “where’s my window mummy?”….” I want my window” Oh my

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So Arlo next to “window”, me and Kitt in the middle, and then a middle-aged man next to us. I totally pre judged him and my heart sank as he sat down. I was wanting another mum-type-figure….she would understand. I turned to him and said ” I’m so sorry, this isn’t going to be a relaxing flight for you”. Hurrah!!!! He said not to worry, he had 2 boys too, grown up now but he understands. He was my saving grace. We shall call him Dave.

Dave helped so much, he held Kitt, he played with Arlo, he retrieved various items off floor (yeh fun game) he wet wiped, he pulled faces, made animal noises, mended broken snacks so they could be eaten, he even helped do up my baby carrier. Thanks Dave. The world needs more Daves. But alas, Dave definitely saw my boobs.

FLYING

The following events continued for 1.5 hours…..the longest 1.5 hours of my life (the 16 hour drive home was mellow in comparrison). I don’t think Dave will ever be the same.

So take off: I had got Arlo a lolly to help with his ears, lolly would not come off stick, he wanted it to come off stick. Got emergency lolly, that would also not come off stick. Kitts ears popping, boobs out trying to feed Kitt to stop ears hurting, trying to simultaneously to wrench lolly off stick for Arlo. Got Calpol out of bag with foot. Calpol exploded due to air pressure, cleaning Calpol/ sticky lolly residue off baby/toddler/Dave. Calpol in Kitts eye rather than mouth. Snacks offered to Arlo to recover from lolly ordeal. Wong snacks (they were new and exciting?). Snacks on floor. Correct snacks given. One snack broken. Cant eat a broken snack? Inconsolable toddler. Sticker book out to distract toddler. Didn’t realise that toddler would need assistance pealing stickers off. Screaming baby in one arm, trying to retrieve George Pig sticker off floor and Grandpa Pig sticker off “window”. Teething gel for baby. Made him sick (just a little). Try to entice baby with teething necklace (worn round neck as god intended). Toddler wants teething necklace. Pulls very hard at teething necklace. Made Mummys voice very squeaky and strained as crushed wind pipe. Ipad (new spanking never-seen-before-blue-case-to-buy-me-5-mins) whipped out. Peppa pig. But wrong Peppa Pig. He wanted Postman Pat (wtf its ALWAYS Peppa Pig). New sparkling headphones (never-seen-before-to-buy-me-5-mins) put onto toddler. He didn’t want to wear them. He wanted ME to wear them. “but mummy doesn’t want to wear them”…..”MUMMY WEAR THEM”…..ok ok ok Mummy wear them. Random headphones on head, lead getting tangled in various items including baby seat belt that made baby angry, boobs still out, Kitt grabbing lady in fronts hair, Arlo kicking chair, frantically jabbing at Ipad for Pat (wheres Pat, PAT, HELP?????), snacks flying, toddler screaming as high pitched frequency of baby screams hurting his ears now…..and so on……..

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Time for my “piece-de-resistance”……..the presents!!!!!!!

A friend had advised me to wrap up little presents for the flight so they take a while to unwrap and then they have stuff to play with.

I’d wrapped them up too tight. Shit. Trying to unwrap bastard presents with one hand, un stick breast pad from Kitts head with other hand….red car unwrapped, red car landed in aisle 31, stopping toddler from trying to get to aisle 31 underneath seats, baby still crying as now a worked up teething monster….leading to altitude poo explosion (worse than sea level ones). Simultaneously toddlers delayed morning poo arrived. Used Dave to relay poo rescue. What do people do without a Dave?

Finally air stewardess came over and said “do you need some help love?”. They gave me a bottle of water for the children (maybe heard Arlo screaming that his juice had run out?). Kitt doesn’t drink water, Arlo cant drink water like a normal human from the bottle, but REALLY wants to try. Water everywhere……including my crotch: pissypants

DESTINATION
The rest of the passport control collecting luggage reuniting with husband actually went smoothly (bar some silly jokes with French passport control that one should not make at the airport, wheres their sense of humour??!). As soon as we were off the confines of the torture plane, things (children) seemed to calm down.

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AFTER-MARTH
We had made it! We survived!!! And as soon as I saw the mountains again, memories of the flight faded. And you know what, I would totally do it all again if it meant going snowboarding.

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I was so touched by everyone that helped me (I must have had fear written all over my face). And Dave, i’ll never forget Dave.