Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Have baby, will travel

Given our transatlantic lives, we knew we couldn't put off travelling with Lady P for long. Our recent trip, as she was hitting  the grand age of twelve weeks, was something of a baptism of fire then. We headed to a somewhat inaccessible resort town in the US for a week on a beach and a wedding, taking in TLOML's old college town on the way home.
Yeah, got my passport, ready to fly, whatevs
Getting to the Outer Banks is no short hop: it involved a couple of long drives, and three flights. We laid our heads in plenty of places too, staying in an airport hotel the night before we left, then a beach house for a week, then a couple of nights in different hotels as we made our way home. Plus Lady P met about a dozen family members - not to mention the guests who cooed over her at the wedding we attended.

All told, it was for a little baby to handle. And Lady P managed admirably. She was passed from person to person, all of whom wanted smiles, cuddles and photos. She actually seemed to enjoy socialising most of the time. And when she wasn't exactly smiling, she at least wore an expression of bemused tolerance.
Lady P in the glare of the paps
Perhaps we'd worried too much. But we did spend a good deal of effort preparing for the trip. For example, we had her sleep in a travel cot at home for a few nights so it would feel familiar once we hit the road. And her clobber took up almost as much room as mine. As well as that travel cot, we packed several blankets, the BabyBjorn sling, a couple of familiar toys, and enough nappies to pad a small cell. I think it was worth doing all of that, as it reduced the number of emergency dashes to supermarkets, and meant much of her surroundings smelt, felt and sounded like home. I made sure in the mornings to sing the songs I always sing at home, and every night we followed the same bathtime /bedtime ritual we established when she was just a couple of days old. I think all those things helped her stay calm and happy.

(In retrospect we could have packed about a dozen fewer blankets, and we should have remembered to pack a bottle brush. We'll know for next time.)

By the end of the trip our ability to control Lady P's environment was severely challenged. We had no means to sterilise her bedtime bottle* in our hotel room. We went to Rite Aid in search of that weird sterilising fluid, but to no avail. In the end I spent about half an hour cleaning her bottles, using rubbing alcohol and piping hot water that the hotel kitchen promised us had been thoroughly boiled. Plus our room had a shower, which rather put paid to her sacred nightly bath. Again, we thought creatively and Lady P enjoyed her first shower. We figured anything that involves splashing water and nudity would do the trick.

Our resourcefulness paid off. She didn't get a horrible dirty-bottle-related sickness, and she slept like an angel that night. (In her buggy too - allowing us to sample the culinary delights of Chapel Hill.)

All in all, Lady P proved to be a very good, adaptable little traveller. Who knows, we may even take her on a trip again one day.

*Don't judge us, breastfeeding police! We all have our vices. Hers is a bottle of formula before bed.

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