Tuesday, August 9, 2011

(Mis)adventures on Milo's First Family Vacation

  • Traveling with a baby requires a lot more stuff than I ever imagined. When Michael and I went away for 5 days pre-baby, we brought one medium sized suitcase and two laptops. Maybe a plastic grocery bag of snacks. Post-baby, we filled an entire luggage cart. Milo had his own carry-on sized suitcase. We brought the peapod for him to sleep in and the bouncer for him to chill in when not sleeping. A sling and an ergo and a stroller for walking, depending on the venue. A breast pump, 3 collection bottles and 3 feeding bottles. A box of diapers and a bag of swim diapers. Of course, we could have left the pump and bottles at home, since Milo was just teasing us with that one bottle he took (and finished!) in the wee hours the night before we left for our trip. He wouldn't touch another bottle the whole time. I HATE wasting pumped milk.
  • Since Milo wasn't taking a bottle at night, it felt extra inconvenient to have to keep getting out of bed to get and feed Milo. (At home, I don't have to get out of bed to lift him from the bassinet).  So I did that thing I didn't think I wanted to do: I brought him in the bed with us. At first it was just for a bit when he was fussy and I was tired. But by the third night or so, I couldn't even pretend it was temporary. And you know what? I.Loved.It. Dammit. Who knew? I put him in between us in that lovely king sized bed, with no pillows or blankets around his head. I drew him close to me and shared my satin-edged blanket with him (but not near his head!) and it was the coziest thing there ever was. The only problem was that I couldn't switch sides because it felt weird to be facing out of the bed and have him at my back with no one looking out for him. So it was kind of a lopsided night's sleep, but otherwise oddly satisfying. Our first night back home I whined to Michael that I didn't want to put Milo back in his bassinet after all. uhoh. (I did put him in it though.)
  • We went out to eat approximately 8 times while we were on vacation, proving that we can actually eat out at restaurants with peanut. Only once was he really fussy, and I wound up taking him into the bathroom and topping him off with a little boob action. (The restaurant was just too crowded to do it at the table.) But the bathroom was crowded too. I wound up having to go into a stall and SIT ON A TOILET! eww. But it worked.
  • I'm getting smarter; since Milo usually decides it's time to eat right when we try to eat, I started preemptively feeding him right after ordering and before our food comes. Super smart. But at one lunch, while I was doing this, Milo had a big blowout. And since I had to nurse him, it only seemed fair that Michael had to change him. Which brought up an interesting point: there's no changing table in the mens' restroom at a lot of places. I told Michael to change Milo on the floor--that's what the changing pad is for. But I started thinking about the message behind this thoughtless design flaw. For one, it's perpetuating the idea that women/moms have to be the ones to change the diapers. ew. Second, what about those men out there who are widowed? Or their wives have gone on a girls weekend? Or shoved them out of the house with the kids in a bid for their own sanity? Or even those rare dads who just equally participate in parenting and voluntarily take their infant out of the house on their own? What the hell? Do we need to make it even harder for them by giving them no place to change the baby? Are those stupid changing stations really that expensive?!? I think not.
  • Twice we were too tired to venture out and we ordered in. Once was indian food--delicious. And the second time, I discovered that our favorite wings chain (Wings Over "yourtown") had a Burlington location. WOOHHOOOO. AND they delivered to our hotel. But that's not even the really exciting part. It turns out they are...are you ready for this? OPENING A LOCATION IN WALTHAM!!!! Holy shit, right? That's definitely within delivery distance. Icannotevenwaitforthemtoopen!!
  • Michael might have had a better vacation than me, and I should have been able to anticipate this. We picked a location where he could fish and I could walk to someplace fun while he had the car. Well, he had a great time fishing...sometimes for up to 9 hours. (He got up wicked early). But I only ventured out walking to the cute pedestrian mall once. Because it's a lot of work to get Milo and I ready to leave in the morning. And then to walk around for 5 hours in the heat hardly seemed like a just reward for all of that effort. I had had illusions that I'd be strolling with him in the stroller, stopping to read for an hour at a cafe, and then window shopping. In reality, he was in an every-two-hours eating schedule, and was pretty hot and fussy in between. Managing the stroller in crowds of people makes me hate humanity a little more each time some idiot stands by a non-automatic door and watches me struggle to get into it instead of holding it open for me. Or, worse, the people who would walk in front of me and let the door close on the stroller. Or who would literally push me out of the way to get in front of me because I was maneuvering too slowly in an effort not to run people over. Anyway, this is all to say that most days of our vacation, I sat around in a dark hotel room until Michael got back from fishing at 2 or 3 pm. At which point, he'd be tired from getting up wicked early and take a nap. By the time we'd get our act together, we'd go get a bite to eat, do a little something, and come back for bed. That part was always really nice--spending time together as a family. The thing is, since Milo wasn't taking a bottle, I was doing all the night time (and day time) feedings. And since he was on the two hour schedule, that usually left me 1.5 hour bouts of sleep. So even if Milo and I ate-burped-napped until Michael got home, I was still not well rested. And yet had wasted the entire day. So I was a little disappointed in myself for letting that happen.
  • We did manage to do the Ben and Jerry's factory tour on the way to our hotel that first day, which was pretty fun. I was sad we only got to taste one flavor though. When you go on a brewery tour, you usually get to taste 3-5 kinds of beer! 

  • We also made it to the beach at the lake, which was way better than I had imagined. Imported sand, a cute playground, and a snack bar (though we got there after it was closed and just a half hour before the lifeguard went off duty.) The nice thing was that the sun was less harsh and the beach emptier than during peak hours. You would have laughed if you could have seen us trying to decide how to dress Milo. He was wearing a regular diaper. I had a reusable swim diaper that looked too small and a disposable one that was about four lbs too big. And then a trunks and shirt swim set that was a few months too big. We wound up putting it all on him, which had the effect of making him look like a marsh-milo. (haha, get it? marshmallow...oh never mind.) But it worked. Next time we'd take the regular diaper off though, as it makes little crystals when it gets that wet. Milo seemed to like the water well enough but he wasn't in a very good mood to begin with, as he kept thinking he needed to eat at times when I kept thinking he probably didn't. My chewed-up nipple agreed with me, which meant that with 2 out of 3, he was outvoted. (Again, mother of the year, here I come.)

  • Unfortunately, looking back at the photos from the lake/beach (which I was so excited to capture) I discovered that I looked rather like a beached whale. Quite literally. At one point, I laid down on my back in the water, with Milo laying on his stomach on top of me. He loved it. I thought it would be the cutest picture ever. Except for the part where my super-pale flesh--and loads of it--are the thing that grabs your attention in the photo rather than my cute baby. Every photo of us is like that. I swear I don't look like that when I look in the mirror before leaving my house, so how does this happen? Now I'm going to be nervous every time I leave the house. Is my mirror lying to me? It is a small consolation that the camera also seems to make Milo look less cute than in real life. I keep seeing these super cute moments with him that I want to capture, only to find that it doesn't look half as cute in the photo I snap. But he really is super cute in real life. So maybe there's hope that I am too? (And no, I can not post a photo of my beached whale self here. Sorry, bucko. No can do.)
  • After the beach, we went to the docks near the hotel where there were cool swinging benches to watch the sun set. But it was a little cloudy and we got there a little late. So mostly we watched the sky go dark.  But that was cool too. 

  • Milo and I also got to see some cool street performers, since it was the Festival of Fools while we were there. But Milo slept through it.
  • We had some pretty great food and some not so great food. In case you're headed to Burlington, we highly recommend Tiny Thai Restaurant (we went to the Essex location) and the Skinny Pancake (creperie). At least, those were my favorites. =)
  • The scariest thing happened one day while Michael was out fishing and Milo and I were chilling at the hotel. Milo started spitting up, which is normal--he's been doing it a lot lately. But then a bit later, he started coughing and then making choking sounds. Then it turned into the silent choking motions. I don't know what he could have been choking on but even though I am infant CPR certified I suddenly completely blanked on how you give a baby the Heimlich. So I banged on his back pretty hard while pretty much panicking, and eventually he threw up everything he had ever eaten. It was terrifying, and I wanted to feed him even less after that. I'm definitely going to sign up for a refresher infant CPR class. The only thing I can think of is that he swallowed some fuzz. All weekend, I kept finding bits of fuzz in his hands, which of course he often sticks in his mouth. I could not figure out where the fuzz was coming from, but eventually I came up with a theory that it was coming from his diapers. He is wearing pampers swaddlers these days, which are soft on the outside. And when he's swaddled, his hands are down by his diaper but grabbing at everything in an effort to get unswaddled. I think he may have pulled fuzzies off of the diaper. I'll never really know, which is pretty unsettling, but it's pretty much my only theory.
  • Speaking of things that will remain a mystery...our credit card number got stolen and used for fraudulent charges. Which Chase apparently caught because--get this--I don't usually shop online that much. HAHAHAHAHA. Well, maybe they can send that memo to Michael. But seriously, major kudos to them for catching it and resolving it so quickly. But it still kinda sucks because I've had that card for years and have the number memorized and linked to lots of online accounts. So that's a big pain. We don't know how it happened, but I suspect it was related to Michael using the hotel business center to buy a fishing license online.
  • We didn't give Milo a bath or read him a book the entire time. I'll be honest--I'm a little surprised at my type-A self and how I've already let go a bunch of the parenting ideals I felt pretty committed to. Like a bedtime routine, regular baths, and lots of books. Oh, and not using technology. Sigh. I was reading a magazine on my kindle and Milo was being fussy, so I put him on my lap and showed him how to use his hand to flip the pages back and forth and he seemed to kind of like it, so we did that for a while before I realized I was already teaching my 9 week old how to use an iPad. Doh.
  • Vacations with babies seem shorter somehow. Pre-baby, five days was a nice long vacation. Post-baby, the time flew in the usual baby time warp and we somehow didn't have time to do almost ANY of the things we had planned to do. It almost didn't seem worth all that packing!
  • On the bright side, Milo did sleep for the ENTIRE car ride home...at least until we got within minutes of our house which was when he realized he was starving. So Michael sent me inside to feed the baby while he parked the boat, etc. Only after carrying the screaming baby upstairs, I realized our apartment was locked (obviously a real shocker) and I couldn't get in. It seemed crazy to carry the screaming baby back down the stairs to get the keys, and equally crazy to leave the screaming baby upstairs while I went and got the keys. So I did the natural thing and sat down on the floor in the hundred degree hallway to nurse Milo. Only after about five minutes he had a HUGE blowout. His outfit was a total goner, but I was trying to save the breast friend pillow cover, which is a pain to remove/wash/replace. Someone had been kind enough to leave us a gift on our door handle, so I pulled out the tissue paper from the gift box and stuffed it under Milo's butt in an effort to save the pillow cover. Satisfied that would help for a while, I let Milo continue nursing, hoping Michael would be in soon. Oddly, he never came back. And I was sweating. So I got up, with Milo still laying sideways on the Breast Friend, and started trying to go downstairs, only to miss the last two stairs and twist my ankle. But I kept Milo steadily on the Breast Friend (and what a good friend it is!) until I made it outside, where I found Michael. Then I asked him to change the baby.  
Well, I think that pretty much wraps up our vacation. It was better than it probably sounds here. But I still kinda wish we had booked something big like Bali and taken advantage of the fact that Milo is portable and sleepy. At least if we had our own villa with a pool, it would have felt liberating to never leave the hotel. But, we did learn a bunch of things for next time. Less baby gear, more burp cloths. More planned family activities, less fishing. One less layer of diapering for swimming would probably suffice. And time for a mommy-only indulgence like a massage or pedicure wouldn't have been a bad idea either.

But taking Milo to the beach was priceless and has me wanting to book a last Cape Cod-ish getaway before we run out of summer and the students return. If only we knew someone with a house down there who would lend it to us...

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