What a difference six months makes – same holiday destination, same accommodation, same baby. But that’s about as far as it goes.
For starters, I don’t recommend trying to pack when your husband is away and your daughter is just discovering separation anxiety so screams every time you turn your back. Sadly that means she also seems somewhat unwilling to play for five minutes while I relax on a sun-lounger either…
A couple of days in, here’s the good, the bad and the meh.
1. Flights are easier – we’ve done a few now, and it no longer feels quite so much like stepping into the unknown. As ever, planning is the key, unlike the family sitting behind me on the plane with two young children (including one teething baby) who seemed to have no toys, not enough wet wipes but chocolate biscuits for the overtired and overexcited kids. Judgemental? Yes, I had to sit in front of them for four hours. And give them baby wipes.
2. Flights are harder – instead of sleeping almost all the way, waking only for a bottle, as Minnie did last time, I had several uninterrupted hours to entertain her. At one point, time seemed to be moving so slowly, I wondered if my watch had stopped. I suspect it’s going to keep getting worse once she starts moving around before it gets better when she can entertain herself more.
3. The lightweight buggy was a fantastic idea. Although she hasn’t had to try to nap in it, she loves being able to look out and I can wheel it with one hand, suitcase in the other (if I have to).
4. We both sleep better – admittedly, that wasn’t at the forefront of my mind at 2am when she very uncharacteristically woke up and wanted to play. But (so far) this time I haven’t started the day in tears after a night of no sleep, and she can settle herself in the travel cot rather than the complex procedure of trying to get her off in my arms then put her down without waking her.
5. Food is far more faff than bottles – but on the plus side, I can slip her a bit of rice cake/bread stick to keep her going if we’re hunting for somewhere to stop for lunch.
6. Two babies travelling together are guaranteed to have totally different routines… Minnie’s cousin is about the same age that she was on her first trip. So he needs longer naps and more regular feeds, and she seems to sleep when he’s awake. Plus he’s too small for her to play with just yet. She does have a nice line in stealing his jingly octopus when he can only look on aggrieved.
7. There’s no letting your attention wander… still. Last time she was too small to entertain herself so needed constant attention. This time, having sadly bypassed the stage where she could engross herself in a toy for a little while, that separation anxiety means she needs constant input (and grandparents/uncle/aunt are only a temporary solution) unless we want the kind of roaring yells which I’m paranoid will wake her baby cousin, disturb the rest of the family’s relaxation and probably disrupt the entire resort. This separation anxiety is only temporary too, right? Please?
8. She feels less fragile – or I’ve become slightly less anxious about her surviving a sudden gust of wind or sunny patch. Or just more prepared when it comes to packing SPF and useful cover-up muslins. On the downside, she can also escape from hats, socks, sandals and velcro is a challenge to be overcome.
9. I’m more inventive – forgotten a wipe-clean bib when eating out? A helpful nylon bag for life will do nearly as well.
10. She’s enjoying it all more. From the cat which prowls on our patio to the fascinating sight of a waitress pouring water, new food tastes from smoky Greek aubergine dip to ice cream, and the bargain mini maracas I bought at a local market, it feels like the trip is now about her as well. And surely that’s the best thing of all.
Top image: DerekTGreen/Flickr