Last September we went to my parents’ house in Italy for a week. Although in many way it was a relaxing holiday in the quiet Umbrian hills with nothing to do, as every parent knows, no holiday with a baby is entirely stress free. Baby Girl had just started weaning and had just moved onto full time formula – six bottles a day, lactose free and still sterilising bottles. Not to mention the nine hour delay in Rome airport on the way back… That was definitely a low point.
And last week, we headed back to the Umbrian hills for a bit of R&R as the Other Half had a few days holiday to use up before the end of March.
We couldn’t believe the difference in travelling with a one year old compared to last summer.
It’s so much easier.*
On the flight we couldn’t believe our luck. There’s a long standing joke that the OH that can’t believe how well I sleep on flights. Our first holiday together – all those years ago – was to Mauritius, with an eleven hour flight. I was asleep before take off. Well, thankfully it looks like Baby Girl has inherited more than just my eyes as she slept pretty much the entire flight there and back.
She’s not accepted a dummy since her teeth came in and after our first experience of flying we don’t give her bottles on take off & landing. So this time we gave her a banana to munch to keep her jaw moving and help her ears pop… she sat smiling & munching on her Daddy’s knee the whole of take off & then fell asleep, only waking up thanks to the ‘Doo Doo Dooo! Another successful Ryanair flight!’ announcement after we landed. And on the way home, she slept from take off until just before landing when she munched her way through three crackers and stared out of the window transfixed. We are still in shock by how well this went.**
Baby Girl is also fully weaned now and only has one bottle at bedtime. This meant carrying considerably less bumf with us as we only took two bottles and one can of lactose free formula – which we needn’t have bothered as we found it in the Italian supermarket! There’s also no need to sterilise anymore – hallelujah!
And despite her salt free and lactose free diet, feeding her was a lot easier this time round too. We bought a couple of Italian veggie baby jars to mix with cous cous or spaghetti; we made her baby bruschetta with fresh ingredients (looked delicious!); she could have toast, Pecorino cheese (sheep’s cheese is lactose free)… all in all, having a baby who eats actual food rather than spits out a few spoonfuls of gloop then wants a bottle is far easier to deal with on holiday!***
She was even easier in the evenings, allowing us to go out for dinner & not have her scream the place down or require us to take turns outside with her. One night she just sat & babbled away with us at the table then fell fast asleep when we got home about ten o’clock, shattered from the excitement and late night.**** Another night she fell asleep in the buggy after a quick whizz around the block and slept through the whole meal. Bliss!
And while we were away, Baby Girl finally decided to let go of the furniture. So now, we officially have a toddler. Though when out & about, she didn’t like letting go of our hands so much, which we figure is ok as less likely to disappear into a road. We’ll see how long that lasts. But Baby Girl is enjoyed her new found freedom and insisted we explored everywhere…
*NB: I hold the right to retract this statement at any time in the future when full toddlerhood has grabbed hold of my baby and turned her into a wailing banshee.
***We are well aware that for every minute that she was an absolute angel on these two flights there will be an hour of another flight in the future when she will be the devil incarnate and that this is probably a fluke.
***We have been warned that this golden phase is short lived & soon we’ll be buying club sandwiches or bowls of Spag Bol for Baby Girl to take one mouthful & decide she doesn’t want any. Our bank account doesn’t look forward to that phase…
****Baby Girl was a tad grumpy the following day, showing flashes of the banshee toddler to come; but for now, we’re just going to sit back & enjoy this middle time of peace. Don’t hate us. Please.