About this time last year, JD and I were on our last vacation sans children. We were in Aruba and I was 6 months pregnant. The trip was planned and deposit paid before we found out we were expecting. JD had a blast. I did not. Being huge and pregnant in a foreign country is unsavory enough, but add the fear of slipping on the tiles lining the pool and the weird sun rash I got on my belly and the trip became downright miserable. I had anxiety the whole week. I remember lying under our beach hut looking at the ocean in the middle of paradise mourning our last carefree vacation. Except it wasn't all that carefree. It was just kidfree.
I remember thinking, I will never be able to lie on the beach all day without having to make sure a little one has plenty of sunscreen and stays hydrated. I will no longer have the luxury of sleeping in or having late, romantic dinners with my suntanned husband. We wouldn't be able to travel out of the country like we loved to do once a year. Not with a small child. I lied under my beach hut saying goodbye to freedom and fun as I knew it (on vacation anyway).
We arrived on Tybee Island on Saturday after a 7 hour drive with a 6 month old. Despite sleeping a total of 1 hour the entire trip, she did pretty well. She crashed as soon as we got settled in the condo, poor baby. This is our first vacation as a family with a small child. Things are different (as I suspected they would be).
I was right about not being able to lie on the beach in the sun all day. Now, sunbathing is done in shifts with JD heading out first during the morning nap. He comes to relieve me after about an hour so I can enjoy the sun. Then I head back to the condo to feed Beatrice and we all come out together. We rotate through this all day long. And it has been really nice. We haven't gotten sunburned because we aren't out there for longer than an hour at a time. Beatrice has stayed on her schedule and is sleeping like a champ in her Pack N Play so this mama is happy. This is doable, and enjoyable.
Dinner time has posed several new challenges. It never fails, as soon as the food arrives Beatrice is starving and wants to be fed. We know this by the loud, incessant whining she has learned to do. So I either have to eat really fast or scope out a place to nurse. In public. After 6 months of nursing, I am still super uncomfortable doing this. I would rather nurse my child in a stall in a public restroom or the backseat of my car than get out my nursing cover and sit on a bench to feed her in plain view of passersby.
Last night during dinner in Savannah, I had to nurse my child on a bench in a public square. I walked around for a good 5 minutes building the courage to actually do it. The hungry look in Beatrice's eyes finally made me pick a bench and get it over with. She did great. She ate really fast and didn't try to break free from the confines of my modesty cover to expose me. And not too many people looked at me like they were completely disgusted. I think this is why I am so uncomfortable nursing her in public; people look at me like I am skinning the hide off of a dog instead of feeding an infant. Completely covered up too. So I nursed her and went back to the table to enjoy my dinner. Not a romantic vacation dinner like we're used to on vacation, but a sweet family one.
The best part has been seeing my child experience the beach and new places for the first time. Oh and spend time with her daddy. This baby loves her some daddy cuddles.
Vacations may never be the same again. We may never have the freedom of doing nothing all day or sleeping in. But we have new vacations to look forward to. We get to look forward to taking our children to new places and making sweet family memories. Vacations are different for sure, but they are still really great.