Bula!

Here are your boarding passes, sir. I have three seats together in Row 12 and just one seat by itself in Row 13. I hope that’s OK with you and your family.

See that little section on the upper right side of the pool? Our kids made it their own!

See that little section on the upper right side of the pool? Our kids made it their own!

My wife and I looked at each other.

We both knew what this meant.

It meant one of us was going to have the luxury of travelling on a four-hour flight in total peace and comfort in Row 13, while the other was going to endure the torture of trying to entertain two sons aged 5 and 7 in Row 12.

Being the gentleman that I am, yours truly of course offered to take the short straw. Little did I know, I was the unwitting victim of a master plan – one that was activated when my wife complained on the cab ride to the airport that she felt nauseous. How could I let her suffer the the ordeal of pacifying our two boys on an airplane after hearing that?

I should have realised, of course, that I was taken hook, line and sinker when, after the check-in, my wife effortlessly downed a bacon & egg roll and a hash brown – not the kind of meal that’s easily consumed by a person feeling nauseous!

In fact, it was more than 30 minutes after take-off, when I had to take my younger 5 year-old son, C, to the toilet for the second time, that it dawned on me that my wife had played me like a bongo. There she was, stretched out with a Kindle in one hand, a cup of orange juice in another and a packet of lollies on the tray in front. She saw me, stood up and peered over at the row in front. After witnessing the chaotic mess of iPad, iPhone, colouring in books, crayons and tangled earphones strewn seamlessly across the entire three seats. My wife sat back down, sheepishly shrugged her shoulders and went back to her trashy romance ebook.

And that’s how our family holiday to Fiji began last week.

Putting aside the flight out, it was a blissful six-day escape to paradise – one populated by genuinely welcoming people, picturesque surroundings and family-friendly facilities.

Don’t get me wrong. There were mountainous loads of hard work we had to suffer on the island resort every day.

We had to force ourselves up before 8 every sunny morning , so that we can hit the buffet breakfast before the hoards of other vacationing families leave their trails of destructions at the food bar.

We had to rush to the poolside by 10 after that, in order to enjoy a swim before the throngs of other little kids invade the pristine pool and miraculously ‘heat’ the water.

We had to make sure we were back at the poolside by 5 every afternoon, because my wife and I did not wish to miss a single minute of the cocktail happy hour, while admiring the sun setting majestically on the sea horizon.

Then we had to saunter our way to a restaurant by 6.30 every evening, as all the stringent schedule-keeping throughout the day warranted a well-deserved early dinner.

However, despite this strenuous daily toil, I cherished every minute of it.

It was not because of the pampered experience of the stay, nor was it because of the charm of getting away from the hectic life back home. Sure they both played a role, but what really elevated the entire holiday was seeing the joy on the faces of our two sons.

We have taken them on holidays many times before. Unfortunately, on each of these prior sojourns, there were always moments which made me wonder whether it was worth the trouble. The hassles of travelling with babies, the pain of dealing with infant tantrums and the impracticalities of adhering to toddler nap schedules. These were just some of the many challenges of holidaying overseas with young kids that diluted the whole point of ‘getting away’.

On this occasion, however, I found the whole trip immensely rewarding, simply because our two boys aged 5 and 7 were genuinely enjoying themselves and appreciating the whole experience. Granted, there were still instances of fighting, sulking and misbehaving. But they paled in comparison to the unadulterated fun L and C had on this trip. And that, in turn, made it equally enjoyable and utterly relaxing for my wife and I.

Hell, I even had the pleasure of sneaking away to the gym three times during the stay – something that would have been inconceivable previously, given the constant care and attention that our two sons demanded.

When the time finally came to leave the paradise, all of us were a little reluctant. And it was the very first time, since we have been travelling with kids, that I did NOT ever so slightly look forward to going home to ‘recover’ from the family holiday.

As for the flight home, no amount of scheming from my wife worked. I managed to palm off one son to sit next to her on the plane, while I minded the more compliant one across the aisle. But I won’t say which one is which, lest my wife happens to read this post and accuse me of showing favouritism again.

Keep on pounding.

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25 thoughts on “Bula!

  1. David C

    I’ve booked our first overseas family holiday to Fiji, we are going in May, I have twin 4.5 year old boys. Unless Jetstar stuffs up my pre selected seat, I’ll only have to sit with one of terrors, for the 4 hours, I have booked in Ipad/tablets that they can use for the flight. Also looking forward to dumping the boys at the kids club for a couple of hours a day, to remember what it feels like to holiday without kids.
    Glad to hear you had a good time.

    Reply
    1. The Jogging Dad Post author

      How remiss of me not to mention the kids’ club. The child minders at the resorts are absolutely fantastic – even my sons approved of them and they don’t usually approve of anyone but their mother! I know you and your twins are going to have a great time. And May/June is actually the perfect time to go to Fiji in terms of temperature.

      Reply
    1. The Jogging Dad Post author

      It actually depends on the person. My wife enjoys every holiday we go to with the kids, no matter how troublesome. Whereas I’m much more tightly wound. But maybe I’m also mellowing a little now that I’m getting old!

      Reply
  2. nancytex2013

    OMG, I was dying laughing reading this. My husband always did the 3 seater with the two kids while I say across the aisle reading my magazines. 🙂

    It sounds like you had a magical vacation and made lifetime memories. Beautiful!

    Reply
    1. The Jogging Dad Post author

      Your husband is a true saint. If it was all up to me, I’d tell my kids to always turn right and follow their mother when we board the plane, while I turn left by myself. 🙂

      Reply
      1. nancytex2013

        He really is. He actually really enjoyed sitting with them. Of course I was a raging workaholic stress-ball at the time, so I’m sure I would have been more annoying than a couple of toddlers. 🙂

        Reply
    1. The Jogging Dad Post author

      Actually, now that you mention it, it was very cruel of me to put up that picture on this post. For all my North American friends who are freezing their asses off, I apologise for the insensitive image of the Fijian resort that we stayed at. But, then again, it DOES look goooood, does it not?

      Reply
    1. The Jogging Dad Post author

      Oh, look who’s here! One of my favourite bloggers is back! You’ve been MIA for so long I was about to pack my bags and head to the US to look for you! Welcome back, madam.

      Reply
  3. teachermumwife

    My boys 3.5 and nearly 1 have been testing of late (g rated description) and I was just whinging to my husband about the day when we’d be able to get away on holiday again. You restore my faith in ‘holidaykind’. Nice work by your wife… Every dad should be made to endure the horror that is plane travel, alone.. With children 🙂

    Reply
  4. pieterk515

    And it only gets better. Until they hit their teens and they want to go off on their own, and you don’t want them to, for you know what you did in your teens with members of the opposite sex, when your parents unwisely took you with them on the summer holiday.

    Reply

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