Two minutes max, that’s usually how long it would take to pack up the car and go for a break away…two minutes.
Yesterday, it took us near on twenty to put the stuff in the car, ‘with the pram in the boot, is there space for the Moses basket?’ , ‘will we need the rain cover or shall we not bother?’ , ‘no no, that needs to be put down by my feet, it’s got changing and feeding stuff in there in case she wakes up.’ I think there’s probably military operations that have gone quicker! In our defence, in what is our first trip away since having the baby, we are needing to pack for two weeks, with a family wedding weekend in the middle of it, not to mention two bouts of work (plus stage combat equipment for said work) that my husband is doing within those two weeks. And having been relatively house bound for the last month, our ‘leaving the house,’ practise has been slim to none.
But this week marks both the end to both sets of antibiotics and a slight cooling of the intense weather, two things that have kept us more confined (Read – hiding!). So we are re-emerging into the world with a rather steep re-entry experience! The packing part wasn’t quite as complicated,
‘what do we need?’
‘All of it!’
After stumbling through the packing and car loading process (which was more like a game of Tetris really), we headed off for the three hour journey. Well, at least, it’s normally a three hour journey; this of course is the first time we’ve taken our new life manager; baby Scarlett slept like a dream for the whole motorway process and we smugly thought we might just get the whole journey done without incident. Her screams three quarters of the way gave us our answer to that particular question. We’d passed all the services so for the last bit of the journey, we stopped twice for roadside feeds, one of which included a rather cramped ‘roadside nappy change waltz,’ where I tried to ensure the contents of the nappy stayed nappy based, whilst also trying to keep the sun out of our little girls eyes; I can’t really count it as a win per se, but we got through it relatively unscathed! We then also had ten minutes of solid screaming just towards the end but I was able to calm her in time to avoid another lay by stop. A three hour journey became a four and a half hour journey. But we made it. And we’re officially on holiday with family on the coast.
But as a new parent, it feels distinctly different to holidays of the past! Scarlett is still very much in charge of the schedule, and lie ins are not something we’re anticipating being able to make use of!
It does however mark the end of that first crazy ‘four week hibernation from regular life,’ stage of proceedings. Now a new learning process commences, being parents in the real world! Starting to do more than just responding to cries, trying to fit in some regular activities round those cries. At one point today when I was frantically trying to put a breast away without anyone seeing with one hand, and holding her as she was crying in the other in a beach side cafe, I wondered why we’d left the cocoon – we’d barely got used to doing it all at home, what the hell were we playing at going to the outside?!
But then we also left the beach with a video of her first little dip in the sea (and by dip I mean the merest of touches of water to her feet!) and we managed to have a drink with my Dad, Aunt and Uncle. We felt tired when we got back in but also refreshed. We’d done it, we’d started parenting in real life and everyone had survived! Don’t get me wrong, it’s going to be the least relaxing holiday I’ve ever been on but it’s going to be a lot of fun!
I do feel a little bit like we’ve passed our initial probationary period, the child is developing as she should, we’re both in one piece, all is going well! Its yet to be seen how well the next couple of weeks go, especially the second week of the holiday when my husband goes away with work and we may retreat back to stage one – house arrest(!) at the end of it! But for now we’re moving on forward and on Friday she turns one month old. Sadly I don’t think we receive any kind of achievement badge or certificate; as a keen gamer, I feel like we should pick up some experience points or unlock a new bonus (an extra hours sleep potion maybe?!) but we do at least get rewarded with watching our baby grow and now we start having real experiences together as a family. And it’s not as bad as I make out really, in fact as I type, she’s fast asleep and I’m even managing twenty glorious minutes in the bath! I truly am on holiday!
For any mothers similarly starting to emerge from the other end of the newborn tunnel, congratulations! We made the first four weeks!! We did it together, but no time for celebrating, it’s onto stage two…parenting in the outside world…