Thursday, 11 September 2014

First Family Vacation

It's been almost 3 weeks since I last wrote. I don't remember the last time I went that long without writing - I even wrote during the first few weeks after Paloma was born. I got back from vacation a week ago and for some reason I've been struggling to get back on top of things on the home front. I have a list of to-dos but for one reason or another things just don't get done as quickly as I'd like. Every day I try to strike a balance between doing housework, spending quality time reading and talking to Paloma, getting out of the house for a coffee with a friend, taking the dogs for a walk or running an errand and doing something for myself like exercising, blogging or practising French. It seems that for the past few weeks my writing has taken a back seat to the other things. At the moment, I have a pile of clothes on my bedroom floor and also on Paloma's. I am trying to sort through what to keep and what to donate but I stopped myself mid-sorting so I could sit down and finally finish this post about my vacation. So here goes:

We just got back from our first family vacation out of the province to visit my family in Nova Scotia. I was nervous before we left because I wasn't sure how Paloma would react to all the changes in her
environment, let alone the plane ride, but she was a happy girl the whole trip. (For the most part, although she did have a bit of a meltdown at her bedtime the first night. We think she was just overwhelmed/confused from the long journey and the new environment.) As a new Mom, I find myself worrying often about keeping her happy and sometimes it tempts me to avoid certain situations because I worry things will go terribly wrong and she will be upset. So far, giving her the benefit of the doubt (and there is always doubt) that she will be able to handle new experiences and situations has been the best thing I've done for myself as a Mom, because it gives us the opportunity to create new family memories. She surprises me everyday by how much she changes. What may have made her cry 2 weeks ago is no big deal today. So we boarded the plane with our almost 3 month old in her wrap and she did fine for the duration of the flights.

There is a 3 hour time difference between my homes and I tried to keep her on her regular time schedule. My Dad thought I was crazy for having a 3 month old awake and playing at 10:00 p.m. but since she usually sleeps through the night, I was really nervous about doing anything to mess that up. By the end of the trip, we had all naturally adjusted our internal clocks by an hour or two despite my best efforts, but it didn't take us long to readjust once we got back. We tried to keep to her normal bedtime routine as much as possible (story time, bath time & nurse to sleep) and it seemed to work out well. She only slept through the night once during vacation, waking up once or twice during the night for a quick feed and then back to sleep. Since we've been back, she's slept through the night about half the time and the other half of the time she's woken up once for a feed and goes right back down. So it seems that our vacation and the time change didn't mess her up that much afterall.

We used disposable diapers because I didn't want to waste room in my luggage bringing all her cloth diapers and wipes. I intended to use Seventh Generation diapers, but I couldn't find her size at the store, so I bought President's Choice green diapers. She had a diaper blow-out in those on the second day. My Mom was able to find Seventh Generation diapers in her size, so we tried those next. Ensue more diaper blow outs. Finally, I tried Pampers, but they were no match for our little pooper. At the airport on the way home she had a blowout in Pampers and the poop reached all the way up to her shoulder blades! It's funny, when I was researching cloth diapers, I was worried that I'd have to touch poop when changing her, but I touched far more poop when she was in disposables. There's just no way not to touch it when it's all over her body and clothes instead of contained inside the diaper. It's also a lot more messy because you have to deal with not only a poopy diaper, but poopy clothes as well. Okay, enough talk about poop.

Diapers and sleep schedules aside, we had a great vacation. It was so great to see my family and to go to the ocean. I grew up spending time near the ocean year-round and I always find the best way to recharge my internal batteries is to stand facing the ocean and just look at it and think about things. I always leave feeling rejuvenated and like I have things figured out. No matter how stressed I am (even during the hardest times of trying to become a Mom) it's impossible for me to leave the ocean feeling sad. It was such a special moment for me to introduce my daughter to the ocean. This is the beach closest to my house (about 10 minutes drive) and I've never missed a summer going there.



I try to go home twice a year. Usually once in the winter after Christmas and once in the summer. Andino isn't able to make it twice a year but he always comes home with me in the summer. I love creating family memories not just where we live now, but also on the East Coast. We have a lot of happy memories of spending time with my parents, at the beach, camping etc. This trip home was extra special because this time we had our baby girl with us. Andino has been working like a dog since Paloma was born to get our house ready to put on the market. He works full time and then comes home and does a few hours of work around the house. By the time he's done, it's usually time to start Paloma's bedtime routine. During our vacation, Andino was able to spend all day everyday with her. It was the most time he was able to spend with her since he went back to work when she was 2 weeks old and he totally loved it. He was on Daddy Duty for much of the vacation, changing diapers, putting her in his carrier for walks and just spending quality time with her. I am planning on going back to work 2 months early so Andino can take a bit of paternity leave. Seeing them together during our vacation gave me even more confidence that he is going to do a great job as her primary caregiver during that time. 

Of course one of the main reasons it was such a great vacation was because I got to show off my baby to my family. Mom has already spent time with her when she came to visit us after Paloma was born, but this time my Dad, brother, sister-in-law, niece & Aunt were able to meet her. It was so nice to see my baby girl with her family and I'm looking forward to many more family vacations. It's definitely a priority for me to nurture Paloma's relationship with my side of the family, even though they live far away I very much hope that she will have a close relationship with them. 

I can't tell you how many times I daydreamed about travelling with my husband and baby. Every time I boarded a plane over the past few years, I thought to myself "one day, I'll be doing this with a baby strapped to my chest".  Our vacation really was a dream come true

11 comments:

  1. I'm glad you had such a lovely family holiday! It truly is a special experience to share your little one with extended family, and to include them in all your adventures, isn't it? We just returned from an insane cross-continent car journey, and Girl Wonder was a star the entire time, much to our (pleasant) surprise. It sounds like your Paloma is a born traveller too! I agree with you that if we just go with the flow and include them in our activities, babies can really adapt to what's going on around them. To many more adventures to come!

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  2. So happy you had a great time and that you were able to fulfill such a beautiful dream :) Xo

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  3. I'm glad you were able to fulfill a dream and visit your family with your little pooper in tow! It sounds like you all had an amazing time and that Paloma is going to be a wonderful traveler!

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  4. We usually only get home once a year, so I am totally jealous of your twice-annual trips. You're right, something about getting back to the ocean is therapeutic. So glad you had a wonderful trip!

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  5. Ahhhh, the ocean. How nice you got to hear the crashing of waves. Doubly nice you got to board that plan with baby strapped to your chest. So sweet. Glad you created such great new memories with the ones you love.

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  6. I love this! So glad you guys made some family memories! Xoxo

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  7. Awww, love that photo. I'm a fellow lover of the sea. It's weird to realize your dream has come true, isn't it? Sometimes I feel like I'm dreaming, or watching it happen to someone else!

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  8. How beautiful! Well done for getting her away and showing her off!

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  9. Oh man...this post made me teary! I know this experience was a long time coming habibi! love the photo of you two looking out at the ocean <3

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  10. I love this. Glad she's been a good traveler so far. I'm excited to travel with my girls, too. (well, not that excited about the plane rides,but about taking them places)

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  11. I'm so happy you braved the plane ride to come and visit! I can't wait to see you all again! I feel the same way about the ocean, it's so grounding.

    PS I'm sorry to hear about the airport diaper incident! Ugh. I don't even know what I'd do, but I guess we'd get cleaned up one way or another. Better luck next time around.

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