Simple things seem impossible when you have a baby who struggles to sleep. However, I was pleasantly surprised when LB (Little Birdie) and I went on our first road trip together without Daddy, on Thursday.
One of my dearest friends recently lost her husband and I desperately wanted to go up and see her, but she lives an hour-and-a-half away, in my old hometown. When we drove up three weeks ago for the funeral, Hubby took the afternoon off work and we were relieved to find it wasn’t such a bad trip for LB. As it turns out, the trip is a good length for her to have a nap. So, I set off on Thursday, during LB’s morning nap time, not sure what the day would bring without Daddy there to help me troubleshoot. I had the port-a-cot and her sleeping bag, just in case a chance for a nap presented itself, but my back-up plan was to simply hop back in the car and drive home if I couldn’t get her to sleep. However, I really wanted to see my friends and I was hoping that wouldn’t be the case.
I’m well behind many of my friends in the parenthood game. Lots of their children are already in primary school and I’m sure they look at me and shake their heads as I struggle with parenthood for the first time! However, the up side was that I arrived in my hometown to find they had planned a family friendly day. We were to go on a picnic lunch in a nearby park, which just happens to play host to an annual flower festival that is on at the moment.
Whilst LB was shy at first, she warmed up by the time we made it to the park, where we were lucky to get a picnic table under a beautiful big old pine tree. She heartily tucked into her lunch and even let one of my friends feed her.
I was then blessed to see one of those gorgeous moments that only parenthood can afford you. LB is quite shy but very interested in the world. She finds it a bit much when everyone is paying her attention but she does enjoy social occasions quite a lot. My friend’s son was trying to get her attention in all the obnoxious ways that a seven-year-old boy can; making faces, doing silly dances etc. I told him that LB likes watching people’s hands, particularly when they perform the actions for “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”. He obligingly proceeded to sing her the lullaby. Very soon, two of the other children joined in. A semi-circle of three children singing nursery rhymes surrounded LB. She was delighted. It was a lovely sight to behold.
Soon, LB was showing tired signs, so I decided to lay her back in the pram and rock her in the hopes of getting her to sleep. It was a bit difficult, as there were lots of distractions in the park. However, by the time we were walking home, she was getting drowsy. With a little shooshing, she seemed to go to sleep and I could feel waves of relief washing over me! We lifted the pram into the house when we got home, but unfortunately LB woke up. I thought it was all over but with some more shooshing, LB had a little sleep in the pram for about half an hour. It was enough to buy me a little more time and a couple of cups of tea with my friends. It was a small mercy indeed and a big coup in the sleep stakes.
LB was too distracted and hot to feed properly when she woke up, so I thought it was going to be a hairy ride home but in another small mercy, we had a quiet trip. LB slept the whole way. We celebrated with a family dinner with Daddy when we got home, followed by a bath and off to bed. She was only a little late to bed and slept well the whole night.
The day went so well, I felt confident to promise we’d be back for a visit in a couple of weeks. I wonder what that journey will bring?