Months ago I had promised my Mom we would come visit her in Florida before I went back to work. OK, so maybe when we promised that, it was before we knew she’d stay with us 2 months… But still, I figured - it’ll be fun. And we could really use a bit of a break.
Clearly I had never traveled with a baby before.
Actually – the trip was fine. The thing was it wasn’t all that different from being home on maternity leave. In our “BC” (before children) days, a trip to my Mom’s condo meant lounging by the pool with a book, taking a walk down to the swanky hotel down the beach for frozen drinks, going out to dinner and doing a whole lot of nothing. I can also imagine this future time – where it will mean building sandcastles, looking at fish, going to visit the monkey jungle and the Miami zoo and doing a whole lot of family stuff. What I hadn’t figured out when I started this trip was how to do this now.
The first morning we got up thinking we could head down to the pool early – before the heat of the day. We could cover the munchkin in sunscreen and keep her in the shade and all would be fine. Maybe she’d sleep in her stroller so I could read or my Mom could watch her and I could swim.
Three hours later we’d made it downstairs – in the heat of the day – the worst time to take a baby out. We DID still keep her in the shade and covered (no sunburn here!), but it wasn’t exactly as planned. Nor was the time by the pool. It turned out that she did not agree with us that it would be fun to sleep in her stroller. She wanted to lie on the lounge chair and kick for awhile. She was OK with sleeping there too – not in the stroller, but on the chair where I could hover over her and panic about her falling onto the concrete pavement below. It also turned out that she wanted to eat constantly – her favorite time to eat was just after I’d get into the pool. Out I’d come to try to figure out the wrap over my wet swimsuit (desperate to not flash the whole pool area).
The next several days were essentially the same. My husband would sit bored next to me (he’s not a big fan of the lie around, read a book vaca. He preferred the idea of snorkeling, but didn’t want to abandon me.) while I held her or fed her. I’d long to move into the sun for a few minutes, but couldn’t with the baby in tow.
It wasn’t until nearly the end of the week that we started to figure out how to do this. Our last days we tried covering her as completely as we could and strolling down to the swanky hotel with the baby bjorn. Sure I couldn’t drink there, but we could get a nice seat in the shade to enjoy the ambience. We also tried walking to the lighthouse down the beach via the road – where munchkin could be pushed in the stroller – rather than the beach. This was fun, but man was it a LONG walk without ocean breezes! We also gave her her first taste of south beach and went to lunch there (I could have breastfed without the wrap and not been the least dressed!). We even went to lunch once ourselves and left her with grandma! We’d really been hoping to make it out to dinner, but she’s decided that she has taken against the bottle… She was doing so well with it, but we didn’t give it to her regularly and she’s forgotten what to do with it. This is NOT going to go well when I go back to work next week.