Got back from a few days in beautiful New Zealand on Tuesday. This was a holiday that Imogen won during her maternity leave, when she took to entering lots of competitions. We took Toby and my sister-in-law, Kate, who is both an awesome 13 year old, and an awesome baby sitter.
Which led to some interesting new experiences.
Mainly, watching people try and work out how our 'family' fitted together, given that Min is a bit younger than me. This was amusing. Especially when people started asking thinly veiled questions to try and piece us all together.
It was also the first time I actually realised that Min and I, whether we like it or not, are now members of 'parent class.' (During our trip to the U.S earlier this year, Toby was still young enough not to be too much of a problem. Now he's a wriggling, wilful, and quite impressively strong 1 year old, things are a little less... passive)
So, I hear those of you without kids ask, what's parent class?
Parent class is what you get when you show up anywhere with a one-year-old and a teenager. (Though in all fairness, I think the one-year-old is the kicker, here...)
It means we automatically get the back seats on planes. Literally the last row on the way over to NZ, and the second last one on the way back. With all the other parents. And babies. Crying, screaming babies.
It means that when we arrived at the hot springs that we'd driven an hour to get to, only to be told that they have a 'strictly no-body under 14 policy' that all we could do was smile and get our evil hellspawn children out of their relaxing environment as fast as possible.
It's not all bad, though. Turns out that for the most part, NZ is a really kid friendly place to visit.
Being in parent class means that we didn't have to join a single airport queue once we left Australia - every time we reached a line of people, within seconds a nice official would pull us out of the line and pop us right through; customs, immigration... everything.
We had a lovely experience one night at the hotel restaurant, when we left Kate in the room with the sleeping baby, a DVD and room service dinner, while Min and I went down to the restaurant for a 'date'. We were greeted by the restaurant manager who'd noticed that we'd only booked for two, and realised that - in her words (and accent) we'd managed to 'Dutch the kuds for the Evening', and gave us free champagne in the lounge in celebration. This was followed by a lovely meal, including possibly the *best steak I have ever eaten*.
Parent class is good in that, when your child launches himself across an airport gate lounge, grabs the wheely luggage of a complete stranger, and starts pushing it around in circles, people generally just smile and give you sympathetic looks.
All in all, travelling in parent class was a lot of fun.
Can't wait to do it again.