Raising Mabel: Baby Brit on tour

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Wow. Holidays have suddenly become quite a different experience. We have spent the last ten years holidaying with only a carry-on bag (no Ryan Air, you’ve taken my dignity but you are NOT having another twenty quid), sipping a g&t in departures and spending the first couple of days away lying in ’til 1pm ‘recovering’ from oh, such a terribly tiring life. The reality of travelling with an octopus-like toddler with a voice capable of decibels I did not know the human larynx could achieve, hit us like a brick in the face.

We hadn’t thought through the 7 am departure time. We hadn’t thought through the fact that in order to get to the airport in time (which of course was on the other side of the country because that saved us what, about FIVE PENCE on our flight price), we would have to get out of the house at 4am. We hadn’t thought through the fact that our parking was a twenty minute bus ride from the airport and we definitely hadn’t thought through our baggage allowance. Good grief, I didn’t know that level of stress was possible before that hour in the morning.

By the time the flight landed in Spain, we all looked like we’d just completed Tough Mudder. Baby M had been so excited at being lifted from her cot in the dead of the night, that she hadn’t slept a wink since 4am – you can’t sneak a bloody thing past that beady wee face –  and she had long since crossed the line that separates total exhaustion from lunacy. She snacked her way through the entire journey with such exuberance and hyperactivity that there wasn’t an inch of my body that wasn’t smeared in something. Still, she was remarkably cheery so things could have been worse!

As the trip unfolded a number of things quickly became apparent. Firstly, sunbathing doesn’t really happen. At all. Three seconds past having applied all my cream and laid out my sand-free towel, she would come scurrying over like the blinking Samiad and crawl all over me like a tiny sand-coated gremlin. Disaster. On the upside: excellent exfoliation. Lie-in’s are out too. Not much of a surprise there. And I needn’t have bothered taking a book.

But there were things that worked out better than I had anticipated.

After a couple of nights spent relaxing over drinks in our apartment (mostly recovering from the fact that we had actually made it there), we decided that the only way to move forward was to get our neurotic, ginger, compressed bundle of energy, to relax into continental living – something I feared was nothing short of a pipe-dream. Come the evening, we popped her in the pushchair, said a prayer and took to the streets. In Spain, children appear to play in the moonlight long into the night, their parents propping up a bar nearby and enjoying a vino with friends – no-one is frowning at anyone and it seems like, more-or-less, everyones a winner. Anyway, I think the little lady gave it a pretty good stab! She usually conked herself out in time for us to enjoy some delicious local grub in peace (read more HERE) and on those occasions when she decided that she was simply missing out on too much fun (a girl after her mother’s heart) – she entertained the crowds a treat.

In fact, she entertained the masses pretty much everywhere we ventured! It was like travelling with a minor celebrity. Never mind Kim Kardashian, just get yersel’ a ginger baby and hop on plane and you can turn all the heads you like.