Apologies for the silence over the last few days, but we have been on holiday. Hence my reason for picking holidays as a topic to write about is fresh in my mind.
We have always enjoyed travelling together, and particularly in the last couple of years we have endeavoured to see as much of the world as we can. So when we thought about having children we felt it was important to get them used to travelling, so we could continue to visit places and enjoy trips together as a family.
We have already been on one family holiday to Anglesey back at the end of June. This was our introduction to holidaying with a baby, and working out what we would need to take. It was easy to throw everything in the car that we thought we might need, and if we had forgotten anything it was fine because we would be in the UK. This trip went well – the weather was beautiful, friends of ours were also in Anglesey at the same time so we met up and spent time together. Amelia went on her first boat trip. She was doing really well with her sleep and we did our best to stick to her usual routine. If we were going to be eating away from our rental property we would do the routine and put her to sleep at our friends’ place or in the car seat if we were eating out. She was sleeping well – from 11pm to 6am (a period that lasted the sum total of the week we were away)! Following this we ventured on a few weekends away to visit friends and attend weddings. So Amelia has travelled by train, planes and automobiles (sorry!). Journeying to Edinburgh on the train was a really fun experience. She chatted, slept, fed and played. No crying! The lady sharing our table on the train watched us board, and sit next to her. She looked grumpy and remarked that she was trying to get away from children that weekend. Well Amelia didn’t bother her at all (unless like her you seemed to be resistant to lots of happy smiling) and kept herself to herself. She was a credit to us and we felt proud.
So September arrived and we prepared to travel again. This time it was different and full of uncertainty. We were travelling to Spain for a wedding. The trip had been booked before Amelia arrived into the world, and so she had been added just after birth. This sounds like an easy process but took 12 hours on the phone to British Airways, until finally a lovely Welsh woman took it upon herself to help us. On the day we registered her birth we went out to get her passport photo taken, which will last for five years. Daddy and the man taking the picture tried in vain to get a five week old to look at the camera with both eyes open. She looks like Popeye with one eye open and the other squinting. I have noticed that she is found of pureed Spinach!
I had planned to prepare a list and pack early so there was no stress. However, after being sidetracked I made the list the day previously. In the run up to this I had been buying little bits that I thought we might need (many impulse buys whilst wandering aimlessly along the baby aisles in the supermarket). I bought her a UV sun-suit, disposable bibs, Ella’s kitchen pouches, a fresh sponge for the bath and the list goes on.
So on the day before we travelled there were piles of bits in the kitchen, the lounge, the landing and the bedroom. I would spot something else we might need and throw it on the pile. By the time I had packed, Amelia had a whole suitcase to herself. I had packed more clothes than she needed. I basically packed all her summery clothes, plus some sleepsuits just in case it got cooler (the forecast was mid to late twenties Celsius).
My list read like this:- food pouches, bowl, spoons x 2, sippy cup x 2, bottle, bottle brush, porridge, bibs (disposable and 1 wipe clean), milk (just in case), sleepyhead, Ewan the dreamsheep, blanket, comforter, swimming nappies, normal nappies x 60, barrier cream, wipes, bath wash, sunscreen, moisturizer, towels x 2, swimsuits and sun-suit, sun hat, sunglasses, outfit for wedding (x 3 dresses), clothes +++, car seat, pram, microwave steriliser, paracetamol, ibuprofen, inflatable for the swimming pool (rubber ring), toys, playmat and hairbrush.
Did she need all of this? No, several of these items remained completely unused (along with the usual load of clothes for Daddy and I). But we had a great time. She behaved perfectly on the plane journey (feeding her during take-off and landing seemed to help). We stayed with friends, in a villa with a pool. Amelia got to practice her swimming a couple of times per day. She didn’t enjoy the beach…
She has now been to the beach three times – the first time she slept through much of it, the second it was windy and she got a face full of sand, and this time we tried dipping her feet in the sea. None of these occasions seem to have won her over. Managing her nap times were the hardest part of the trip. Generally we didn’t go out before her morning naps but quite a few of the afternoon ones were interrupted by travelling or being out and about. This did impact on trying to get her to bed a few times, and there were more tears than usual.
Our biggest concern was how she would fare at the wedding which was due to start at 5pm. The last two weddings we had made it to 8pm and 10pm so we were nervous as to how long we would be able to stay. What we have found is that she will happily sleep out and about and with music in the background. However, what she doesn’t like is the use of microphones and tannoy systems. They rudely awaken her, leaving Mummy and Daddy with a tired but awake baby. We had made it through 48 hours of travel with no major incidents and arrived at the wedding. I was holding her whilst someone kindly took a photo of us, when I noticed a trickle of liquid dripping from Amelia. Dribble it was not. This trickle was coming from the side of her nappy. Plus there was poo on her vest, and somehow her sock! This led to a frantic change of vest (luckily the dress came out of it unharmed), and the use of spare outfit number one. Luckily there were no further incidents of this nature. She made it until 11pm before it was time to admit defeat and return home.
So I ask myself would we travel abroad again with her? The answer is yes. Which is lucky as we have our next trip booked already. The biggest learning point was that I didn’t need to pack as much stuff as we did. I guess as she ages the equipment we will need to travel with will change anyway. But we can be more rational in future!
Adios for now!