A couple of weekends ago Mr B ventured to Manchester for his first proper night out with friends since Dex was born, and I thought it was the perfect opportunity for me and the little man to spend the day with my parents and their 10 year old god-daughter (who may as well be super-glued to my Mum) and have ourselves a mini adventure. Cue Dexter’s first trip to the seaside!
Now when I say ‘seaside’ we’re not talking the French Riviera; we’re not even talking Cornwall. No, we drove the whole 50 miles to Morecambe Bay no less. The plan was to stop off at a nice little pub on the way over which my Dad had previously spotted on his travels and had thought looked nice as a lot of the menu featured fresh seafood; and then head on down to the Bay in the early evening for a nice stroll.
The country pub was a lovely one with even lovelier waiting staff who made us feel nice and welcome and gave us a great table with plenty of space for Dexter’s pram (in an ideal world it would have it’s own parking space as Mum and I went a little overboard with the pram selection). Although the extent of the seafood that graced my plate was the calamari that played second fiddle to the huge steak, the food was tasty and we all enjoyed dinner.
Apart from a trip down to the in-laws in Leicestershire for the bank holiday weekend at the end of August, this is the only time Dex has really been anywhere further than the local supermarket. At 3 months old now, I’m not sure whether this is normal or not? But being a first time Mumma, I’m not really sure what counts as normal and I’m basically just winging it. The thought of going anywhere further afield can be a little daunting as every day with a newborn is different from the next, and their mood can be pretty unpredictable. Being stuck miles from home with a screaming baby when all they want is the comfort of their own home with all its familiar sounds and smells and their own cosy bed, and knowing there is no quick fix to give them it is enough to keep you holed up like a hermit for the entire first year of your baby’s life. But of course if we all did that life would be pretty miserable for all involved, so I think you just have to go for it and put yourself in those ‘sink or swim’ situations, and I can assure you, you’ll definitely swim (or at least learn to) and have plenty of fun doing so too!
As it happens Dex was having one of his ‘good days’ that weekend so he clearly got out of bed on the right side, thank God. As I am breastfeeding I didn’t have to worry about packing any bottles which I’m sure must require that little bit more planning when going on outings – my boobs are always ready and raring to go in any situation (sometimes too keen it may seem – cue leakage, but that’s another story). He slept a lot of the way over but started getting a bit cranky on the approach to the pub. As much as I am keen to breastfeed in public (not because I want to flash my boobs at every opportunity but because I think it’s natural and should be seen more often), I do still choose the easy route where possible, and on this occasion fed him in the back of the car before heading inside.
Having people around you when going anywhere with a newborn is key to success in my opinion, especially being a first-time Mum; even just one person you trust as a sort of non-pulling ‘wingman’ can be a huge relief and comfort in almost all situations. A baby, or at least my baby, always seems to get that little bit more needy and vows for attention just about every time I am about to eat which results in many a tepid meal (perhaps a great incentive to eat more salads?), so having my family there with me meant we were able to take it in shifts to eat and rock baby, rock baby and eat without it all feeling rather stressful.
Our walk along the promenade was a relatively quick one as it was getting closer to Dex’s bedtime and the place itself wasn’t what it used to be. I vaguely remember visiting Morecambe as a child and although I wouldn’t be able to tell you what it was like back then, I do remember having a lot of fun there with cousins at an open air swimming pool/lido. My Dad was also telling me that it was the holiday resort of choice for him and his siblings when they were younger, and he thinks back on the place with fond memories. Now though, the seaside town was quiet and run down, with supermarkets, scruffy side streets and a ranch style sports bar appearing to be the only ‘attractions’ left. It was a nice evening though; the sun was just beginning to set, I was with some of the people I love most in the world, and being close to the sea air always has a refreshing and romanticised effect no matter where you are.
Dex slept the whole way back home; that sea air had clearly worked it’s magic (that and the motion of the car which is a firm favourite for most babies, Dex included), and I, feeling nostalgic drifted in and out of sleep in the back seat like I did as a kid, sandwiched in between the next generation, feeling grateful for my family (and the fact that for once I didn’t have to drive).
Next week Mr B and I are taking Dexter on his first trip overseas to Northern Ireland to meet some family and close friends for the first time (did I forget to mention my hubby is Irish? 😉 We’ll be pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone and out of the country, so I’ll be sure to let you know how we get on.
Does anyone else feel like a fish out of water when going anywhere with their newborn? Or are you a dare devil who has done a round-the-world trip with your little one strapped to your back and the wind in your hair?