Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Holiday - Celebrate!

Picture me singing this fab disco hit by Madonna. Actually don’t, because if you know my singing voice you’ll cringe at this image and stop reading (unless you are my innocent and faithful LLC).

As the song says, if we took a holiday…took some time to celebrate…..

We did. Well, we are. As of last Friday we’ve been enjoying a getaway in sunny Cornwall.

I dipped into some of the tips Young Mummy received from bloggers when preparing to holiday abroad with her hubby and young twins (worth checking out). Well travelled BG passed on some helpful hints from her vacations with Small V (put LLC to bed as normal and then take her out to dinner sleeping in the stroller). This  recon on board, we packed our bags (on Thursday night in tribute to my dear friend procrastination) and set off for Heathrow early Friday morning.

No, we weren’t flying to Cornwall, just picking up my parents who have joined us on LLC’s first vacation. The volcanic ash remained at bay so we met mom and dad and headed for our quaint and cosy rented cottage in the West Country.

We’ve taken a coastal hike with LLC in the Baby Bjorn, visited the slightly garish but noteworthy Lands End, climbed the stunning St Michael’s Mount, danced onstage at the cliffside Minack Theatre, and eaten tasty food and Cornish delights like clotted cream and ice cream (how could I resist when the region is known for them?!) and I’m relieved to report that it’s all going well. LLC has adjusted to some long car journeys, busy days and an overall shift in circumstance with gurgles, grace and limited tears. Maybe her innate preference is to be breastfed in beauty spots like the hill overlooking St Mawes castle, the sea-cliff at the base of St Michael’s Mount and the Minack Theatre’s central box?

We’ve had our moments of madness – two nights where LLC kept waking and crying and subsequently feeding and a couple of meltdowns in the car – but how can I not expect this from a four-month old who we’ve swept on a whirlwind adventure?

Some things I’ve discovered about road trips/vacation with baby:
  • Extra hands work a treat – we don’t get to spend enough time with my parents and they are psyched for quality time with their first grandchild. Yes, sometimes I get pissy at my mom’s advice but overall she is wise, and they’ve not only helped us with LLC throughout the day but allowed us some rare and valued alone time too.
  • Think ahead about feed times when taking a long journey – whether you feed at set times or more varied windows like me, when travelling six plus hours in the car a tactical plan of where/when to do feeds may save you from tears
  • Invest in a baby carrier and then don’t forget it – Carriers and slings are a hot commodity these days as they enable mama/baby closeness and free hands. When sightseeing with a small baby, they also facilitate easy exploring of old fortresses with Cliffside stairs and rocky paths. Don’t do a Tanya and forget your carrier when climbing St Michael’s Mount unless you want an extra hard upper body workout.
  • If you’re on the go, bring a spare lightweight diaper bag – I’m not advocating adding another frivolous item to the arsenal of baby luggage – I’ve found it practical to have an empty bag that I can chuck bare essentials into for our long walks (changing mat, diaper, wipes and cloth). My regular diaper bag, always fully stocked with a spare outfit, multiple nappies, muslins, bibs, and my crap would probably break my back.
  • Think strategically about where you stay, even if you have access to a car – if you want to head out for dinner with a sleeping baby, think about staying in an area where you can walk to a town with places to eat. We’re staying in lovely cottage but it’s in a village with limited options, so if we want to venture further afield, we need to navigate more transfers that might disrupt the peace
  • Do laundry – I’m learning that baby clothes have a fast turnover due to a daily detonation of either drool, poop or puke. If you have access to a washing machine, seriously lighten your load by doing a load of laundry instead of packing a gazillion outfits
  • If breastfeeding, don’t forget to dress accordingly just because you are on vacation – I got excited by yet another sunny day this morning and almost trotted out the door in a tank top that would not have easily allowed nursing.
  • Buy some baby SPF shades – Lathered in sun block and donning a sun hat, we thought we’d prepared LLC to face the coastal sun but the realized her little eyes were constantly squinting. Some Baby-Ban sunglasses helped sort out that issue and now protect her baby browns…
So we’re holidaying and celebrating and the week is proving active but relaxing at the same time. It feels good to get away from home where I always feel there is something I need to be doing and often don’t just chill out. It’s been refreshing to be outdoors and even away from the computer. It’s been really nice to see my mom and dad and vacation again as a family.

What are your holiday triumphs? What tips can you share that made the vacation a success?
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