Tomorrow morning we leave for a weekâ€™s holiday in Sicily. Â I am looking forward to this trip with a mixture of fear and anguish tinged with a slight hint of enthusiasm. Â Before we go, we have to pack. In other words, now, tonight, we should be packing.
We will need:
A buggy, two parasols and buggy board;
Two car seats;
Two travel cots;
Two strap on to table high chairs (having established on a previous visit that the island of Sicily is entirely unequipped with same â€“ the Italians love their children and hold them in their laps, we are heartless);
Two separate baby monitor thingies (one for the boysâ€™ room, one for the Princessâ€™s room);
Bottles and bottle sterilising kit;
A small plastic sheet for fear the the Princess may have an accident in the hotel bed;
Enough milk, babyfood and nappies to keep us going until we can hit the shops;
Two guidebooks and three maps (speak to my husband please); and
Sun cream, mosquito spray, hats, swimming togs, clothes for the boys, clothes for the Princess, clothes for us, good clothes for all five of us (we are travelling to attend the christening of the royal cousin who, being a quarter Sicilian is claiming his birthright by being christened somewhere warm and sunny).
I fear that the plane may just not have room for us and our stuff.Â And I am actively, genuinely concerned that the car we have hired will not be big enough for us and all our gear. Â And to add insult to injury, there are local elections coming up in Brussels. Â What is the relevance of this you ask?Â I will tell you, it means that all the pavements are being redone to encourage us to vote for the incumbents. Â We are therefore unable to use our garage and will have to trek miles to our car with our mammoth supplies and all our children at an ungodly hour of the morning. Â And the forecast tomorrow is for hail.Â
And now for the enthusiasm:
The royal grandparents will be there;
The publishing exec (or babysitter number 3 as we have taken to calling her) will be there;
We will all get to see the royal cousin for the first time and see his parents doing the parenting thing (depending on their availability – they do, after all have a three month old baby of their own – they have been pencilled in as babysitters 4 and 5);
The royal cousin has a Sicilian grandfather (or babysitter 6 again, subject to availability, see previous) who has said we can use his washing machine;
The hotel is fabulous with an outdoor pool and lovely food and run by charming people with a daughter who entertained the Princess for hours last time we were there (provisionally known as babysitter number 7);
The Princess may finally be able to wear her Summer dresses outside the house because, please God, it will be sunny â€“ mind you, this brings to mind a serious concern which is that I have no clothes and, more especially, no clothes for sunny weather (entirely unnecessary in Belgium to date this year) and no time to buy them either and I will be holidaying with my sisters-in-law (babysitters nos 3 and 4, try to keep up) who are, quite possibly, the best dressed women in Ireland and though, I donâ€™t aspire to keep up with them, I would like to be able to appear in public with them without having Italians pointing at me and laughing;
The Italians entirely live up to their reputation as the most child friendly people on the planet (I remember being surprised when the airport security man with the gun at Palermo airport dandled the Princess and gooed enthusiastically at her) so who knows what other random and additional babysitters we may be able to identify;
Sicily is beautiful and we will be staying near the seaside town of Cefalu which is gorgeous and also, very importantly, has a beach.
Update on our return next week, please hold your breath.