Being In Charge

When Dylan told me last year he was going to go to the Dive Show for the day, I waved him off to get his train and didn’t really think anything more of it. My best friend Amanda was coming over for the day and I was looking forward to that. At some point during the afternoon, he called me. I thought it was to tell me he’d found a wetsuit but no – he’d found a holiday he wanted to go on. We had a brief chat about it and he booked it that day.

At this point we knew we were expecting Max so I knew I’d be at home with a 2 year old and a baby of roughly six months. Dylan’s been diving for a long, long time and in fact when we went abroad last year spent a couple of days under water so it wasn’t really a surprise that he was heading out by himself for just over a week.

I had a lot of negative reactions to him going with many saying they wouldn’t ‘let’ their husband go and leave them alone for 8 days. My response to that is well he’s an adult, I can’t really stop him doing anything and if I have a strop about it then he’s only going to resent me trying to stop him enjoying his hobby. Plus 51 weeks this year he’s been a hands-on dad and a great supportive husband so who am I to deny him one week where it’s just about him?!

So roll on September and I was bidding him goodbye on an early Friday morning as he headed to the airport. I of course was shitting myself. Clearly I can keep two children alive and fed for a day but the thought of also being in sole charge every night too was something else. I had an irrational fear that Max would suddenly reherniate and we’d end up in hospital again and I’d have to try and juggle caring for Alex around that (To explain that one, I am a life-long sufferer of anxiety and I am absolutely excellent at imagining the worst possible disaster scenarios all the time. I’m also a mother and that comes with a constant worry that your child may get sick, injured or blind your other child with a crayon, right?).

I think the biggest issue was the fact I knew he’d basically be out of contact for most of the week. He was on a liveboard in the middle of the Red Sea and apparently they’re not well known for the excellent wifi out there. I did manage to speak to him briefly twice I think while he was out there (once when he was about to come home), but for the rest of the week there were no phone calls to say ‘what do you fancy for dinner?’ or ‘guess what your child’s done now?’ Despite the fact we’ve spoken the majority of days since we met in September 2009, I didn’t realise how much I relied on him until that week.

Max came down with a cold which was the major complication of the week really. I had envisaged a week of dealing with toddler tantrums but in reality our oldest was excellent (she obviously had a couple of moments where she was less than golden but on the whole I can’t complain at all). However the night before Dylan went, Max transformed himself from a baby sleeping for 11 hours at night to one waking up at the slightest sound and needing patting/dummy/comfort about 50 times before the morning.

I’d get up to express, get downstairs and have to go back up to settle him down. Repeat this process about five or six times every time I went down! At first I thought it was just his cold but as that cleared I became convinced his reflux medication wasn’t working as effectively as it’s weight based and he’d put on a few pounds since it had been increased last (once it was increased he started sleeping again so I was right).

I had some help in the week – firstly staying overnight at my parents’ house which was lovely and then Amanda stopped over one of the nights.

I cried twice. And I missed Dylan A LOT. In fact I think absence made the heart grow fonder and I sure as hell appreciated everything he does a lot more in the weeks after he came home! But on the whole I kinda had my shit together and that was a nice feeling when I looked back at the end of the week and realised I’d done it.

It sounds a bit ridiculous doesn’t it? So many people cope on their own with children, or have partners who work away a lot. But I guess it was just a big change from us to go from having daddy around to not being able to call him. It’s definitely made me take my metaphorical hat off to anyone going it alone though!

(Oh and before I get the ‘when are you having a week away?’ comment, I’ve deferred mine until the kids are teenagers and then I will gleefully board a plane and leave Dylan to fend for himself with two feral youths!)

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

Baby On Board The Plane

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Last week we took the plunge into a whole new parenting experience. We figured we’d done pretty okay in keeping our small thing alive for a year and a bit at home, we’d ventured to Wales and Scotland fairly unscathed. Now it was time to test out our parenting skills by sitting in a box full of hundreds of other people for hours on end and adding dangers like sun stroke, overdosing on Magnums and cockroaches into the equation. Yes we set off on our first holiday as a family. We’ve all come back alive with our limbs intact and actually had a rather nice time. But I have learned a few facts on the way which I’d like to share with you now.

Things that will happen when you take a one year old on holiday:

– You will spend every waking second fearful your baby will be burned to a crisp instantly the second they walk outside, no matter how many layers of factor 50 you’ve applied.
– Because of your deep concern for baby’s skin, you will apply sun cream to yourself approximately zero times.
– Despite this you won’t actually get burned because you will never step anywhere near a sun lounger. You will be the odd one out on the plane home as you sit there with milk bottle legs among those who resemble varnished furniture.
– The absence of ironing, work and various other distractions means you might read more than a paragraph of a book that isn’t Dear Zoo or Guess How Much I Love You (I read a whole two and a half books, none of which had a single picture or ‘lift the flap’ page. Incredible!)
– You’re not any less pissed off about the screaming kid on the plane when it’s your own. Only difference is you have to battle to calm them down for FOUR AND A HALF HOURS instead of just tutting and turning your headphones up as you would if it belonged to someone else.
– Your child will push past exhaustion levels previously unknown to man to stay awake for 4 hours and 20 minutes of your 4hr 30mins flight before eventually falling asleep ten minutes before you arrive at your destination.
– When your child gets swept to the shore by a rogue wave, you will panic, potentially scream, cry, rush to their aide. They will simply blink a couple of times and wonder why there’s so much sand in their nostrils.
– Wipes are €2.25 (or at least they were at the local shop which we had to use after forgetting to buy them at the supermarket). €2.25. You could purchase Aldi’s entire stock of wipes for that.
– If you’ve got a pushchair with you, you get to go to a special security scanning area and get on the plane first. We’re taking ours with us on every holiday until Alex is at least 15.

Harriet and Alexandra x

Packing Heavy

12592421_10156555643295232_5961224199435825984_nThere are few things in life which please me more than making lists and being so organised it hurts (those few things probably include correct grammar usage, Lucozade Orange and an afternoon nap). So the horrendously geeky side of me silently rejoiced (okay probably not so silently) when we returned from our very first family break away having not forgotten ANYTHING the baby needed. Okay it was only for two days/one night, okay we were in a town centre rather than out in the wilderness fending for ourselves so feasibly could have purchased anything we’d forgotten, okay it’s not that much of a big task as filling a changing bag was in the very early days. But still!

In terms of packing, I made sure to take extra of everything – you never know when that double poonami might strike! And packed everything up into little freezer bags. So all her nappies were in one, each separate outfit in one, swimming stuff, toiletries etc. It meant it was incredibly easy to locate anything we needed and it also made things a lot easier when it came to unpacking once we returned home.

Alexandra’s still just about in her moses basket so we took that with us rather than the travel cot, it was ideal really as we could fill it with all our stuff in the boot. Luckily we have a baby who travels well (she got very used to an hour each way in the car while hospital visiting!) so she slept pretty much the entire time to Buxton in Derbyshire, about an hour and a half away from our home. We took the sling and the pram with us so she could alternate depending whether we were in the town centre or out on a walk. There was a hotel swimming pool so we could have our regular Friday night swim, then we popped her into her babygrow and she came to dinner with us in her car seat. Having her in her night clothes meant we could easily transfer her into her moses when we got back up to our room.

All in all it was a lovely first night away as a family, helped massively by how good she was the whole time! We’ll definitely be trying to get away for a little longer in the spring and we’re keeping our fingers crossed I might be able to fly by the end of this year (as in, be medically fit to board a plane not actually learn to fly – although that would be cool too) so we can take Alex abroad.

Harriet and Alexandra x

Thai Adventures With Bump

Honeymooners in a tuk tuk

Honeymooners in a tuk tuk

As I’ve mentioned a zillion times before on the blog (I was quite excited!), myself and Dylan jetted off to Thailand last month for our honeymoon. Firstly, a little plug for the country – if you ever get the chance to go definitely 100 per cent do. It’s beautiful, the culture is immense, the scenery is breath-taking, the people are awesome. We kept saying to each other during the trip we couldn’t believe how perfect it was and we knew we’d definitely made the right choice for our honeymoon.

Of course, ahead of time there was always a little worry about how I would cope being almost six months pregnant (I’m focusing on holidaying with the bump during this post but am happy to wax lyrical about Thailand and go more in-depth into what we did there and where we stayed to anyone interested!) but on the whole I don’t think it held me back that much really. The flight over there was fairly comfortable given it was over 11 hours, the longest flight I’d done. I didn’t really sleep but it was a daytime one so that was kind of to be expected. The worst thing was wearing flight socks (pregnant ladies are at higher risk of developing DVT!).

Out in Bangkok, where we stayed for three nights, it was blisteringly hot and horrendously humid. I think I would have struggled even if I wasn’t pregnant as Dylan looked like he’d just had a shower every time he stepped outside the hotel and he definitely isn’t with child. Although a couple of times I felt a bit dizzy and sick, this happens when I go to the local shopping centre so not a reason to put me off holidaying pregnant. I just made sure I was drinking plenty of water and was sitting down in the shade regularly.

When we got to the jungle (Khao Sok) for a further three nights, it was possibly even warmer but especially so overnight as we’d swapped air con for two fans. But still, I took part in a variety of activities like speedboating, kayaking (admittedly Dyl did most of the paddling), swimming, a little bit of walking etc.

Then at our third destination, right on the beach at Khao Lak, it was just a total relax-fest so I probably felt better than I have done at any point during pregnancy! Baby was kicking away merrily all the time as she seems to love when I’m in water so being in the pool so much was making her super active. One evening we didn’t time it well to walk down to the beach to a restaurant so I was feeling hot, ill and very grumpy by the time we got there but other than that I didn’t feel too bad at all.

The worst part was probably the flight back, but again 27 hours of travelling (including transfer to Phuket Airport, three hour wait, flight to Bangkok, three hour wait, flight to Heathrow, car journey home) is bound to take it out of anyone.

So in summary, although I probably wouldn’t want to go away being much more heavily pregnant than I was (24+1 on the way out there and 26+2 on the way back), I definitely wouldn’t change it for the world and, if I was ever pregnant again, it wouldn’t put me off travelling.

Harriet and bump x

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Bangkok Bump

As you read this I will be in sunny Thailand exploring the delights of Bangkok! I am hugely excited about our honeymoon and will no doubt share some tales on my return. But for now I just wanted to share a couple of the things I’d picked up to wear while I was over there. As I mentioned in this post (Maternity wear, where?) I’ve found it really difficult to shop for my holiday and as I write this just a week before departure I still don’t have a few of the basics!

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These basics were all from New Look – I thought they were useful as they could either be worn as they are or used underneath shorter pre-pregnancy tops (obviously not going to be layering on holiday!)

Grey top isn’t online anymore as it was in the sale!/white top/set of three vest tops (in different colours because those ones aren’t online anymore!)

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Blue butterfly dress

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