The term "vacation" takes on a strikingly different meaning when toting along a 5 month old baby. Roughly translated, "vacation" = "a whole lot of work in unfamiliar territory." Feeding her, changing her, bathing her... they all had to be figured out within the confines of a rented condo that we shared with two other couples (friends of ours from church). Every outing required extra attention to what gear was required, what clothing Lydia should wear, if she needed sunscreen, and would she make it without a lack-of-nap meltdown.

We ventured to the beach 3 times with the baby, and once to the pool. Each time we had to very strategically plan out exactly what we could squeeze in during the approximately 2 hours we had between naps (tired Lydia = very very cranky Lydia). The typical scenario was this: Lydia would wake up, eat, get a bathing suit on, and get sunscreened. We would gather all of the gear together (stroller, sun tent, bumbo, beach towels, body boards, toys for Lydia), figure out how to manage to carry it, and make the quick walk to the beach... thankfully just across the street from our condo! We'd then spend the first 15 minutes at the beach finding a spot and setting all of the junk up. Brent and I would take turns attempting to keep Lydia occupied and sand-free (we didn't particularly want her to eat it) while the other one would spend a little time in the ocean. Riding waves alone is far less entertaining than doing so together.

After maybe 30-45 minutes at the beach, Lydia would be getting very bored and nearing the cranky tired meltdown stage. There's only so much you can do to entertain her while keeping her shaded. So we'd pack it all up, drag things (wet & sandy) back to the condo, and attempt to get ourselves and the baby rinsed off and decently clean before putting her down for a nap.

A lot of work for not a lot of time out.

This was a stark contrast to our kid-free friends who joined us on the trip. They enjoyed the luxuries of coming and going as they pleased... staying out late, sleeping in, spending hours on the beach or at the pool. That is not our life anymore!

But seriously, I wouldn't trade it for the world. I love my baby girl and we really did have fun taking her on vacation. Yes, it was a lot of work, but it is an experience we will never forget. She liked sitting out on the balcony with me, feeling the breeze and watching the ocean. We took her out to eat with us and discovered she loves sucking on lemons. She enjoyed the pool and the beach, even though our time at each was minimal. And we got to hang out with Brent's old friend Tara and her 3 month old baby, Lucy. Lydia and Lucy were immediate friends!

We also got to see how Lydia could do on long car rides. She did great! On the way down we drove through the night, so she slept most of it (yay!). When we came back it was during the day, so she was awake more but was generally content to sit in her carseat and chew on her toys. She wasn't a big fan of being nursed in the car and/or under the nursing cover, but we made due and all got home safe and sound... even took a different route home so we could spend the night at my parent's house!

All in all it was a lovely vacation. Not sure I'd suggest others do the same with such a young baby (especially one that cat-naps like Lydia does), but certainly an experience worth remembering.

In other Lydia news...
My baby girl is now what I would consider to be an "independent sitter." I have been sitting her on the floor today with no pillows or other items to support her and she will stay there playing for very long periods of time. She sat by herself the entire time I prepared and ate my lunch, and while I worked on organizing her clothes. Speaking of clothes, she's moving up to her 6-9 / 9 month clothing now. I held up a 9 month sleeper and thought to myself, "This looks huge! Surely it won't fit her, at least not very well..." But yep. It fit. Quite well actually. Weren't her clothes all of 20 inches long just yesterday???

She is growing and changing so quickly these days. I made my first official venture into the baby food aisle a couple of days ago and made our first purchases. I grabbed one each of the "1st foods" for us to try out. This past Monday I started getting "serious" about solid foods for Lydia. The entire time we were on vacation she was extremely interested in watching us eat and kept grabbing for things on the table. So I decided she might be ready to give it another try. Indeed she was! I mixed up some cereal on Monday and she actually seemed to enjoy eating it. So I've continued giving her cereal once or twice a day all week. I think it plugged her up, though, because today (Friday) was the first time she pooped since I started doing the cereal daily. I'm going to start introducing other foods soon and we may decide to pass on the cereal. It's not very nutritious anyway.

I'm trying really hard to be excited about all of these changes. Typically I'm not a big fan of change. I like structure and routine, so once something becomes routine I don't like to have it shaken up. I'm entering new and unfamiliar territories which always makes me feel unsure and incapable. But, I have to remember that I am in no way blazing new trails. Millions of moms have gone before me and they all managed to figure out how to get through the changes. So here we go... onward!
2 Responses
  1. I love reading family blogs for this very reason - difference in perspective! :-P I have always answered that it was the easiest (for me personally) to travel when the girls were 4-6 months old. They were old enough to interact with their new surroundings and seemingly enjoy them, but young enough to be content sitting in one place or being held, etc rather than needing to be independent, mobile, on the go, etc. I guess the answer to that question is just, "it depends". On the baby maybe, but also on parents? Who knows. I'm so glad you all got to get to the beach with Miss Lydia, and enjoy it even for all of its differences! One thing is consistent among all of us parents - we know it's NOT the same when they come, along with all of their junk! ;)

    Hooray for Lydia sitting, too! That was one of my favorite milestones ever met -- baby's world changes drastically when they have a different point of view! :)

  2. Kim Neyer Says:

    I agree with you - we went to a wedding today and it was hard to maneuver everything while still trying to make sure he slept and ate when he needed to. It's hard sticking to someone else's schedule when you're marching to the beat of your baby's drum. ;)

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