Despite suffering from grim colds and feeling generally pretty sorry for ourselves, Mel and I could take no more of the endless bouncing off the walls, bickering and colouring in of various soft furnishings with the new Crayola felt tips some thoughtful adult kindly gifted the infants for Christmas. We reckoned a 40 minute drive to Bournemouth beach and lunch out should do the trick.
The Yummy mummy would of course have packed the night before, ensuring adequate beach tools, towels for the inevitable wave incidents, supplies of snacks and drinks, and spare clothing. Undoubtedly these would have been packed in individually labelled Cath Kidston bags packed neatly ready for departure. On the contrary, we ran round like headless chickens shovelling bits randomly into the car boot while yelling at the kids to get dressed for the beach. Car filled, we turned to find Lucy (aged 3) dressed in her Peppa swimsuit, and Patrick (6) in his shorts and T-shirt having thoughtfully packed the swimming noodles for himself and his brother and sisters. Cue 20 minutes of screaming as we tried to explain we would not be swimming. Eventually I found a bag of Haribo which resolved that problem.
The Yummy Mummy would leave at say 9.30 am to allow time for play and a nap before lunch. We rocked up in Bournemouth at 12.30, all four kids pleading starvation. We went to our favouritee Rodizio. It is our favourite for several reasons:
1. Kids eat free.
2. It is a buffet so we can immediately start shovelling food into the kids without suffering the endless paper hats, crayons and colouring books while you wait for food.
3. It is usually quite quite, so we only ruin lunch for a small number of other diners.
4. The food is great.
5. They don’t give the kids balloons which cause arguments for the rest of the day.
Things went well to start with ( when the kids were shovelling in tomato, cucumber and chips). The first mistake was asking if anyone needed the loo. Everyone did, so we negotiated the steep spiral staircase to the basement. To be fair, they did all go, but as soon as we reached the top of the stairs again, the twins insisted they needed to go again. After the third consecutive trip it became apparent that
To try and get peace to finish my meal, I suggested they dance to the music. That was before I had seen the pole. It’s not what you think, it was just a supporting pole. However, the rabble of 4 quickly started spinning round it as a group yelling and shouting with glee, aswell as occasionally crying when one fell over. I suppose I am pretty used to a high decibel level. It was when I saw our Xmas holiday au pair staring at the kids and visibly shaking her head slowly from side to side in utter disbelief that I realised how far from normal my family must be. The kids were promptly encouraged to climb under the table to make a den. Still, the staff were professional enough to greet our departure with a polite ‘Hope to see you again soon’, or perhaps it was just meant to be ironic.
Anyway, the beach went relatively well. Not being a yummy mummy, I had entrusted the 6 year old with packing the beach toys. He had packed one spade, one rake, one bucket and one sand mould. As you can imagine, after a while, this led to rather a lot of tears. When this reached an unbearable peak, we packed up. The kids were, of course hungry again. Luckily, as the car is such a tip, I managed to locate various biscuits and breadsticks strewn about which did the trick.
So does it really matter? No. My kids don’t expect well packed bags. They accept our total disorganisation. The 6 year old is learning responsibility at an early age, and the fact is, despite the challenges we face in doing so, we still brave taking all 4 kids out for lunch which they thoroughly enjoyed (even if our fellow diners didn’t). Who knows, perhaps the yummy mummy only does picnics with homemade quinoa or even better, a Waitrose ready prepared family picnic lunch. Ours was definitely better!