Friday, 15 April 2016

The same old story

So, here I am, in an all-inclusive, sunny, beautiful resort, just a hundred metres from an almost deserted sandy beach on which the Atlantic is gently breaking,  with a dramatic black volcano rising up out of the water a mile or two away. I don't have to cook, or wash up, or clean, or drive anywhere, or shop. I just have to meander to the other side of the resort three times a day to help myself to as much food and drink as I feel like, or pop in to one of half a dozen bars during the day for any drinks I want. There are 5 different swimming pools, two of them shallow enough that LittleBear is able to stand everywhere in them, and so I only need to sit on the sidelines and watch him splash around.

No, I'm not trying to make you feel jealous. I'm not trying to show off about what a splendid holiday we're having. I'm just laying the groundwork for the absurdity of the next statement.

Last night I lay awake from approximately 4am onwards in a state of extreme anxiety. I was on the verge of tears, and could only think that I just wanted to run away, to go home, to escape, to be back in the known, the familiar, the safe, the unchallenging. All I could do was lie there in despair as my mind galloped round and round in circles trying to find more and more novel ways in which everything could go wrong...

I fretted about the selection of food, all of which (aside perhaps from the tripe) I'd be happy to eat, but only a small proportion of which either of my Bears is able to face. Apparently the milk, cheese, rice, ice-cream and croissants all "taste a bit funny". So LittleBear has now closed down his options to melon, melon, melon, pineapple, melon, watermelon, melon, bread and butter, melon, melon, cucumber, tomato and chips. Oh, and he's now discovered Mars Bar ice-creams, which may be the beginning of a slippery slope. I think he can probably survive on melon for a week, but it's bringing back all my Deranged Food Dictator tendencies again, and I've worked very hard to eliminate those. So that was a good subject to spend several hours getting into a state about.

I fretted about the pool loungers. Yes, really I did. Despite polite little notices everywhere telling people not to reserve them with their towels, obviously this is what happens. So when we head to the baby/toddler pools, where I really do want to be able to sit within sight/reach of my LittleBear, the pool is ringed with unoccupied loungers with towels spread upon them. There is literally nowhere to sit. And it leaves me a bit stuck. So I spent quite a while just feeling generally fraught about that.* Basically it came down to imagining all sorts of horrible ways in which I would end up in a confrontation with a massive, irate, heavily-tattoed man whose towel I might or might not have looked at funnily.

I fretted about the fact that I've managed to come on a sun/sand/pool holiday at a busy resort with a man who hates being too hot, hates being in the sun, hates sand, hates swimming pools and hates interacting with other people. (When asked why he agreed to the holiday, his answer is that he wants to make me and LittleBear happy, which is very sweet, but doesn't take into account the fact that I don't enjoy being happy at someone else's expense, and is therefore a bit counterproductive. Fortunately LittleBear is largely indifferent to whether Daddy is having a good time, so it works for him). So I lay awake wondering what we would be able to do that BigBear might actually enjoy, rather than simply tolerate for everyone else's sake. The only answer to which appears to be - leave BigBear in peace to read his book as much as possible.

By the time my boy launched himself onto my stomach at 7:30 and demanded that I "Play!" I was a wreck. At breakfast I tried desperately to not let the tears roll down my cheeks as I sat across the table from LittleBear. I don't want to make him sad or worried. And when the waitress walked past and gave me a cheery "Hola!" I smiled and responded, because I don't want the world to see that I'm broken. I don't want everyone to know that the moment I'm taken out of my comfort zone, the slightest problem takes on mammoth proportions. But most of all, I don't want to be this person. I don't want to crumble when faced with uncertainty or change. I don't want to fight the desire to run away and hide whenever there's something new or different. I don't want to lie awake at night and be so afraid. But I still don't know how to change.

Follow up:
LittleBear mostly ate melon today. He's still alive, so that's not a disaster.

BigBear sat on a rock and read his book while LittleBear and I took it in turns to bury each other in the sand, and then sat and read his book while LittleBear and I played in the pool. Hopefully this counts as a relaxing holiday for BigBear.

I discovered, by asking (yay me!) that the solution to the Vexatious Issue of The Pool Loungers is to approach a life guard and ask him to get more out of his stores. When I attempted this, he'd just gone on his break and wasn't there to ask. I tried to explain as much to LittleBear, who was heading into dangerous trembly bottom-lip territory at the thought of not being allowed in the pool, at which point a very large, heavily-tattoed man approached me.... and informed me that the six loungers at the side of the pool had been unoccupied (despite towels) since 8am, and since it was now 4pm, he didn't see that anyone would have a leg to stand on if they objected to us using them. So I shifted the towels and plonked myself down, with the bolshiness that sometimes accompanies stress and tiredness. BigBear was sent back to our room to read, and LittleBear hurled himself into the water.

* Yes, I realise this comes into the category of not simply a First World Problem, but something only a small fraction of the First World could struggle with.

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