That awkward moment …

Children are unpredictable creatures, but there are some things you can always count on when you take an eight-year-old on a cruise.

>> If they go to bed after 9pm the night before sailing, then rise at 6am the next morning they will be a mite mercurial all day.

>> They are guaranteed to totally lose their shite at some point over something insubstantial such as mistakenly thinking their sister has hung up the phone after talking to their dad without giving them a turn.

>> They will proceed to sob noisily and inconsolably at the table in the middle of a crowded restaurant. This will lead their mortified mother – who had very little sleep herself the night before due to moving house stress – to lose her own shite and demand the eight-year-old calm the freaking hell down because she can call her dad straight back … And if she doesn’t calm the freaking hell down then she will be going to her room etc etc …

Of course, telling/threatening an overwrought eight-year-old to calm the freaking hell down never, ever works …

>> There will also be the small matter of belatedly noticing the call to the eight-year-old’s dad was NOT in fact been disconnected and he’s been listening to the whole piece of theatre …

>> Prior to losing their shite, the eight-year-old will invariably decide they need to go to the toilet the moment you sit down in the crowded restaurant for dinner and not 30 seconds before while conveniently passing the ladies’ room.

>> They will develop a glass lift phobia – to match their escalator phobia – that will require you to use the stairs on the 11-storey ship every 20 minutes on average because they are hungry/thirsty/need to go to the toilet again. (Upside: you will decide you don’t need to pay for boot camp sessions at the ship’s gym after all.)

>> They will laugh uncontrollably at the comedy show when the man says “cat’s bum” or any sort of “bum” really.

>> There will be endless begging and pleading and bargaining over how many free soft-serve ice creams they are allowed to have each day. Refusing to let them have one after every meal including breakfast will result in “you are the cruellest mummy in the world” heartbroken stares.

>> They will also not let up on the subject because they know you have a will of marshmallow not steel.

>> There will be deep consternation if, while getting their third free ice cream of the day, their sister is bought a $10 hat from a pop-up sale in the corridor. Endless it’s-not-fair whingeing will result, despite the fact the eight-year-old has a virtually identical hat and no need for a second.

>> You will forgive them everything when they hug you goodnight and refuse to let you go.

>> On the other hand .. Those feral eight-year-olds allowed to run screaming down the corridors at 10pm at night when they should be in freaking bed because their parents are too busy spending their education fund at the casino … I swear, I was about to fling open my cabin door and start taking down the “set sail pass” numbers strung on plastic cards around their bratty little necks and report them to security.

But we’ve survived (and enjoyed) our first day – and night – at sea, despite my dad being mistaken for my husband by staff as we climbed off the gangplank … And the eight-year-old being mistaken for being unaccompanied at the safety drill because she’s so cute and tanned and blonde and blue-eyed and I’m so old and pale and red headed with a skunk stripe of grey because I accidentally booked my hair-colour appointment for the same time as embarkation and had to cancel.

Scoring a sneaky sleeping tablet from my mum kinda helped on the survival score … Geez I was strung out and panicked when poor Glen arrived at 9am yesterday morning to dogsit. It was waaaaay too ambitious thinking I could move one day and cruise the next without giving myself heart palpitations.

PS I will add photos later – mobile coverage dodgy in bowels of ship and the kiddies are still snoring

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