I am very fortunate to have parents who have a lovely house on the Costa Blanca, even more fortunate that they let me use it, and trebly fortunate that this year they said they wanted to come with me and my husband to help us, and spend time with, Hannah so that we would get a break.
So you can imagine our excitement when the date finally came around. A WHOLE WEEK of sunbathing, swimming, stuffing our faces and drinking and all the while our darling would have at least 2 responsible adults looking after her. For a whole week we would have our old lives back. For a whole week we could mix the joys of having a beautiful baby with the irresponsibility of being able to bar hop and gorge on food that takes longer than a 5 minute microwave ping to prepare. And it wouldn’t be talking the complete p*** out of my parents because they wanted to help us; they wanted to spend precious time with Hannah and it would be fantastic for her to have some quality grandad and grandma time.
I was, of course, forgetting that we are rearing a strong-willed young girl who, like her mother, has a mind of her own.
Flying out with my mum, I found that the holiday had not quite started. Hannah was physically strapped to me and, while she was a very good girl, there were inevitably a few glances of the “can’t you shut your baby up” variety. Hannah 1, Mummy nil. On arrival at the house I immediately unpacked everything of hers, set up a changing station in her room, began sterilising etc so that everything was prepared. 1-1.
I could go on, suffice to say that by the time we got home from the restaurant that evening it was about 1-3 to Mummy (there’s that third person talking again…). And by the morning Hannah had most certainly given Mummy a pasting- she was winning hands down at 7-3 and I had thrown in the towel. Mummy would not be drinking red wine the next night. She would not be staying up past 10pm. She would not be settled by Grandma, and she had instead decided that Mummy would be sleeping in the living room to prevent everyone else hearing her scream.
Hannah did eventually settle and we all had a lovely time, but thinking back it struck me just how selfish I had been. Not so much because I had been looking forward to a break, or even because I had initially agreed that my parents would help out (they really did want to, and are good at it to boot), but because I had somehow expected a 5 month old baby to relax and enjoy the holiday too. To Hannah, this was – at least to begin with- a nightmare. It wasn’t her home, it wasn’t her bed and the plane was most definitely not her playmat. She was in unfamiliar territory and it was unsettling for her to say the least but, when she got used to it she was fine. Kind of reminds me of me when we first got her. And that I’m glad I’m not still the person I was before I became her Mummy.