Toddler + Travelling + Need the toilet now = ARRGGHH!!!!!!!

We’ve just returned from a week in Centre Parcs which was mostly lovely.  It was ruined slightly on occasion by the fact that we took a three year old out of her natural habitat and totally changed her routine so that we could go to the disco in the evening.  This made her tired and stroppy and a bit violent if I’m honest but mostly it was all fabulous.  Some might say we brought that on ourselves.  It was totally worth it for a chance to relive my youth dancing to the YMCA at 7:30pm, to be in bed by 9:30pm.  Yep – that was my youth!

Now that the girls are 3 and 6, out of nappies and able to wipe their own bottoms going on holiday is alot easier.  The hardest part is the 2 1/2 hour car journey to get there.  We pray for them to sleep so that we can drive for more than 15 mins without having to stop for the loo.  At first we try to stop at places which have actual toilets but as we got closer to our destination the girls were being forced to perfect the art of weeing in vegetation in a layby.  There was much moaning about this from the children.  So much moaning for the whole holiday – to the point that I came up with a song.  Behold the song!

To the tune of row row row your boat

Moan moan moan complain

Moany moan complain

Moany moany moan complain

Moany moan complain!

I might keep working on that.  I’m feeling a Summer Holiday number 1 hit on my hands there!

But back to toilets.  We spent half the holiday in the toilets and then it was time to leave Centre Parcs.  This was Abbie on being removed by force from the toilet nearest to the car park so that we could come home!


They slept for hours!  We only had to stop once at the services just before pulling off the M25.  Result!  But then we’re stuck in a traffic jam just outside Leatherhead, 7 mins post services, and Abbie announces she needs the toilet.  Shouting YOU’VE JUST BEEN wasn’t making any difference to her urges, she needed to go.  “It’s going to have to be a layby” I shouted in my “I like you less because  you’re being inconvenient” voice.  I’m actually really cross with her.  So is Daddy.

We get out of the car and she says “I can’t do it here mummy.  It’s wrong.”.

“You’ll have to” I shout at her dismissively.  “There’s nowhere else”.  We half move behind a bin but I’m being really lazy and not putting my shoes on so I’m more concerned about not getting my socks wet than her comfort.

And then she does a number 2!

And if I’d listened to her properly instead of being judgmental I’d have known that was going to happen because my gosh she was trying to tell me!  My stunned silence leaves room in the air for the laughter emminating from the car.

Despite her abilities I wiped her bum.  I cleaned up the poo too.  I hugged her and kissed her and put her gently back in the car.  I took a moment to be at one with my motherly guilt for putting her in such a precarious situation.  Then I got in the car and joined in with the fits of the giggles that everybody else had.  After all, we can choose how this situation affects her.  We can let it psychologically scar her, or be a fun childhood memory.  We chose the latter.

For me there is no choice – scarred for life.


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SARAH CANTRILL is a woman on a mission to inspire every young child to become a reader for pleasure.  She is the Artistic Director & Founder of STORY STORKS, a social enterprise that delivers interactive story workshops to early years children and their grown ups, that help kids to fall in love with stories and develop their early language skills meaning that they have an easier time of learning to read when the time is right.  Infact 80% of the kids who come through STORY STORKS  are right where they should be or ahead in terms of progression through the reading book scheme once they get to school and the ones who are behind are trying hard because they know that it’s worth it – that to read is to unlock a whole world of fun and adventure and learning and imagination and they might take a bit longer to get there but they’re determined that get there they will.







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