On Mini-breaks, Mini-bars and no Mini-me in sight.

I just got back from a truly lovely night away with C for our 4 year anniversary. We left after putting R down to sleep, had dinner in a fancy restaurant, stayed at a nearby hotel, and came home mid morning. It was as decadent and thrilling a treat as 2 weeks in a 5* resort ever sounded pre-baby. (not that I ever stayed in a 5* resort pre baby. Roll on retirement.)

A fancy meal and a quiet hotel are special luxuries for most, even if there are no kids in the picture. And I’m sure I used to enjoy hotels for more than just the absence of babies. But the best parts of our 15 hour nano-break can all be linked back to the lack of tiny feet pattering on the lush carpet which I could eat complimentary biscuits over with no worry about the needless hoovering.

  • The packing.
    We took one small bag. With one change of clothes. Not 3 vests, 3 t-shirts, a jacket in case its cold, a spare pair of trousers, 2 pairs of socks in case he jumps in a muddy puddle because he thinks he is peppa pig, a hat and sunscreen as well as a coat and the raincover (thanks UK August) and the buggy and assorted toys and games and books and music CDs and playdoh, and snacks and back-up snacks.
    About 3 minutes before we left the house, I said to C, Oh-I haven’t packed. Hold on. I reached into my closet, made my choice, placed it on top of his spare shirt, and we left the house.
  • The thinking ahead.
    Travelling with a baby is no small feat, and it probably leaves most people more tired than if they had just stayed at home. You basically have to go through the entire holiday in advance hour by hour and think of any event which might occur so you can have a plan in place for it. Even then you find you haven’t thought of everything. Silly me, I haven’t brought plug cover protectors and for some unknown reason the plug sockets have inviting flashing lights on them. Thanks to whoever added that extra bonus feature, sincerely, parents everywhere.
  • The sheer grown-up-ness of it all.
    A true treat to walk into a hotel room and scan the room for the mini-bar thinking Ooo, I wonder what deliciousness lies within, as opposed to I hope there’s room for R’s milk in that tiny fridge… How lovely to ask for a deluxe room so that you can enjoy the space rather than squeeze in a travel cot. And how enjoyable it is to listen to music without headphones, or watch a movie outside of the bathroom because the lights and noise aren’t going to wake anyone up, even at the advanced hour of 8.45pm.
  • The morning.
    Once upon a time, I used to sleep. I slept recreationally as well as for health purposes. I slept sometimes three times a day, I could have slept for England if someone had the genius to make it a sporting event. It is a true testament to how much motherhood has changed me that I am about to brag about this. Today I woke up at 8.45am. And lay in bed until about 9.15. And then got up to the sound of… nothing. I got dressed at my leisure ( and all my clothes matched), had a slow and peaceful meal where no one threw Cheerios at my head, read a few chapters of my book, had a languid conversation with my husband that made total sense and was all in one sitting. I then looked at my watch to find that it was still Monday. Not only that, but it was about 10.30. Just to be clear, that amount of productivity and relaxation normally would take 3 days.
  • The simple not-being-at-home of it all. 
    Walking across a room without cursing at a piece of Lego crippling your feet, or stepping in an unexplained pool of suspiciously sticky liquid. Having time to yourself where you can move from one spot without fear of waking a child, or go to the bathroom without the grinning face of a toddler thinking it’s some kind of game for his own amusement. Eating a piece of chocolate without needing to share, making a cup of tea without checking where the kid is so you don’t spill boiling water on them (frowned upon apparently). Conversation!
    The list of delicious examples of things to escape is probably endless.

Which brought us to wonder (condescendingly) over our breakfast this morning…. Although it is clearly obvious why we opted to leave him at home for our nanobreak, why did we ever bother going to hotels before we had him? Aren’t all homes practically hotels pre-children? 😉

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Holiday Musings

Hello from our holidays.

We are in sunny Israel, (although it rained today-very pleasant actually) and are enjoying several blog posts worth of home truths about traveling with babies. All I have to say is there should be a new word for it, because it isnt called a holiday if you’re doing exactly what you do at home on a non-work day, just in another location. Because while it’s lovely having a day or two off work, it is not the same as a holiday.

Holidays (at least in my lucky experience) entail long lie-ins, late romantic dinners, spontaneous trips to exotic locations, exploring new areas and little if any responsibilities.

Someone should teach my son a little holiday spirit.

Lets tick them off one by one.

Lie in’s
We had a plan folks. London time. If he was two hours ahead of us for the whole trip, then he would always sleep in until 9, (laughable that this has become a lie in, but we were happy to accept it.) and he wouldnt get grouchy when he had to stay up later for family engagements. Well, he is thoroughly enjoying staying up until ten or eleven at night….and yet has been waking on the dot of 7 each morning! Blackout the room? Tried it. Our son has stolen someone’s early riser genetic make-up. Feel free to claim if you’re missing it.

Late romantic dinners.
Sigh. I even accept that he has to join us for the meals. But why does he just stuff the food into his face so quickly that we haven’t even touched our main course? And romantic? Sure, if having a plate of mac and cheese thrown on your new sandals is romantic.

Spontaneity
There’s only so spontaneous you can be with an 18month olds copious luggage in tow. The most spur of the moment we get is “Oooh, in three hours after his nap and his snack, lets hope he is in a good enough mood to let us drive to a pre decided baby friendly spot for a half hour excursion until he gets bored”

Exploring new places
Babies dont like new places. At least mine doesnt. So while it is lovely to spot the differences between the soft plays and baby gyms on this side of the world and the ones back home, it is hardly a massive change of scene.

Responsibilities
Babies are for keeps, not just for at home folks. They come with you everywhere! They still need getting up and changing and feeding and cuddling and looking after, and they will still get the chicken pox and ruin your plans of fun days out and carefree sunny activities. If anything, they are more confused and tired and out of sorts than ever, so the responsibility part of parenting kind of triples when not at home.

So it’s not that were not having a great time, because we really are. And if you other parents imagine a week of just Sundays you’ll know what I mean. I just think we should appeal to the Oxford English Dictionary for a new word for parents. Because ‘holiday’ seems to be checked in at the entrance to the delivery room.