I’m here in Spain with my fam. And I’ve noticed over the past three weeks an interesting physical change has befallen my body. I have developed a 15 lb growth on the front of my torso.
It inhibits my day-to-day activities, and also disturbs my sleep. It occasionally oozes and emits an unpleasant odor.
Other times, it is less problematic. Sometimes, dare I say, it is enjoyable.
Rather than explore surgical options, I’ve come to embrace my little stowaway. Because, as is the motivation behind 99% of my actions, it’s easier for me if I do so.
We are away from home for six weeks with two little kids and strapping the smaller one to us and just going about our business is muy appealing (as they say in Spain).
Outfit of the Day – My Baby
I have been a casual “babywearer” since my first baby was little. I enjoy it, it’s useful, but it has its limits for us.
I have heard that some of the more enthusiastic babywearing caregivers are opposed to the use of strollers entirely. Instead, they carry their young on their bodies in various wraps, slings, and soft-structured carriers. While I love having my babies close to me and I find slings and carriers a clever way to have my hands free, I am only a hobbyist babywearer.
I wear my babies as a useful accessory, like a toolbelt. They are not my default uniform for motherhood. Except, it seems, while travelling. During this trip, we brought our stroller but we have used our carrier every day, and usually more than once.
went batshit cray further extended my love of babywearing by impulse purchasing a toddler carrier just before we left. We’ve used it a few times, usually to quell a tantrum when we’ve stayed out mid-day and pushed naptime back a bit. I know, who am I?
The toddler carrier hasn’t (yet) seemed worth the price tag, but it has a picture of a map of the world on it with little airplanes and that’s cute AF, so I stand behind this purchase.
Cutest Little Third Wheel
Wearing the little baby has allowed us to take advantage of our parents being here to sub-in and care for our toddler while we schlep the little guy around with us to do things we want to do. He’s 3.5 months old and is exclusively breastfed, making it difficult to be away from him for more than a couple of hours. We do have an electric breastpump, but from my 45-seconds of google research before our trip, I’m pretty sure the European voltage would smoke that baby into oblivion once we plugged it in to charge.
So, we bring the baby with us. And babywearing has allowed that to be possible.
While in England last month (Britain? The UK? I have just come from there, I hold a degree in Geography, and I still don’t know what to call it), my husband and I went to London for a day-trip. We took a commuter train in to town, wandered around for the entire day, including a walking tour, a long lunch, and a museum. We returned 14 hours later. The little guy was strapped to us the entire time. He fed and napped and saw the Rosetta Stone. It was awesome.
A Thread Unravels
A few weeks later in Spain, we hauled the little guy out for dinner. We returned to a restaurant we had found and loved during our first trip to Cadiz in 2010 and ordered the house specialty – a platter of grilled local meats.
In 2010, we shared the platter with others. This time, we shared it with… each other.
The platter was delicious. The ambiance of the bustling restaurant in the heart of the old town was superb.
But, to my everlasting horror, the baby stayed awake the entire time.
He may have been lulled into a catatonic state with all of the noise and activity in the narrow streets of the town and within the walls of the small restaurant.
Thankfully, there were some old Spanish ladies at a nearby table, begging to hold him, which allowed me to eat my ribs with two hands. #itsallaboutme #itsallaboutmyribs
When we got home, he was cranky and did not recover well from so many hours of being awake. Fair enough. But it was then that I began to see that our approach to dragging him along with us, with little regard for his schedule, might not be a perfect fit.
A few days later, my MIL made us a picnic dinner to take to the beach to watch the sunset. We were stoked because she makes the best picnics and because we were sure the little guy would fall asleep.
What could be more relaxing than cuddling up and watching the sunset? He would sleep for sure, and we could chat and read our novels.
Oh, so wrong.
I know that my babies need schedules and they desperately need sleep. This is not my first rodeo.
But I allowed myself the delusion that he’d intuitively understand that life on vacay is easier for us if we can prioritize his needs on nights when it is easy to do so.
And that he’d meet our needs (falling asleep and staying asleep in the carrier) when we went out for dinner. Just be cool, man.
I examined the situation and came to the conclusion, as I often do, that the problem was actually me.
I wanted all. the. things.
I wanted to have an exclusively breastfed baby. I wanted to go out for 10pm Spanish dinners. I wanted the baby to get enough sleep.
Take All My Money
Sometimes, while travelling with (or without) kids, you have to lower your expectations, adapt, and get over not doing exactly what you want to do.
Other times, you can throw a bit of money at a problem and get exactly what you want. With this in mind, we wandered into a pharmacy and bought a manual breast-pump, a bottle, and some freezer bags.
In addition to relieving ourselves of €40, we relieved ourselves of our (adorable) third wheel for our remaining date nights.
What Not To Wear
I love babywearing. And sure, we could have continued to toss the baby into the carrier whenever we wanted and hope for the best. Hell, Spanish kids are regularly out until midnight with their parents.
But just like with other fashion choices, sometimes less is more.
I’ve learned that my baby makes for great activewear and loungewear. As eveningwear, he reminds me of times I’ve tried to re-wear an old bridesmaid dress to someone else’s wedding: it’s beautiful to look at, but it’s not quite your style, and overall, it’s a little bit too much.
My new accessory (the breastpump), is a perfect fit.