There are some things about being a new parent that are almost ‘rites of passage’ moments.
One of these, in my view, is the first family holiday.
We crossed that bridge last month with a week in a British seaside town with a popular holiday camp company.
It was a week aimed at families with toddlers so there were lots of children’s TV favourites making appearances, so it sounded ideal and hopefully me and my partner might get the chance to relax a bit too.
The first signs this might not be the case came the evening we arrived when we discovered that our apartment followed the ‘less is less’ principle when it came to space.
It also had a shower that was either colder than a polar bear’s chilly bits or hot enough to melt lead.
And as an extra present, a seagull — or possibly a pterodactyl — had left a substantial calling card on the window.
Nevertheless, the next day the sun was shining and we headed for the beach where everything was going well until I ventured down to the edge of the sea.
Just as I was enjoying the coastal air, little one suddenly charged past me and fell into an arriving wave.
I hurried in to rescue the now sodden and bawling infant and filled with water the only pair of shoes I’d brought on the trip.
While my partner set about drying off little one, I went to try and find some new shoes, only to find the only shoe shop in town was actually a market tent with flip-flops and women’s sandals on a child’s bookcase, staffed by a man who looked like he’d accidentally been left behind by Deep Purple in 1974.
Resorting to plan B, we headed back to the apartment, where I attacked said shoes with a hairdryer and said infant with new clothing.
But there was still the issue of the sodden clothes and wet bedsheet she’d also produced.
And so it came to be that I spent one afternoon of our holiday in the on-site launderette.
It was probably the most relaxing two hours of the trip.
Never mind, little one was having a grand old time so the holiday was achieving its main aim on that front.
And we still had time to make a lasting mark on the place when my other half burnt the toast and set the fire alarm off, causing everyone in our block to stand outside in the rain until Fireman Sam arrived in his golf buggy.
‘How the hell did that happen?’ I asked.
‘The dial somehow got turned up in the night,’ she replied.
‘What, the toaster pixies came and turned it up in the night, did they?’ I said.
She gave me a look that suggested it might be an idea I shut up.
Eventually, it was time to say goodbye and head home — nothing else could upset the apple cart now, right? Wrong.
Little one had been fine the whole journey down and the whole journey back, right up to the moment when we pulled up outside our house — then she was car sick.
So instead of unpacking and relaxing on the sofa, it was an evening with the cleaner spray and a wet cloth in the back of the car.
I was quite happy to get back to work — I needed the rest.