the return of Thursday's Childa mother's ongoing experiences travelling with her newborn son guest blog: part 2
Thanks to guest blog writer, Laura Busby.
For Gray Dawes’ Global Brand Ambassador, Laura Busby, travel is in her blood. So when she gave birth to her beautiful baby boy, Dylan, last year, it was inevitable that the son would inherit his mother’s passion for travel.
We first met Thursday’s Child back in September and since then Laura has continued to take the saying “Thursday’s child has far to go” literally! This is the second instalment of Laura’s insightful and often moving personal blog of a mother’s experiences traveling with her child.
Laura and Dylan’s story continues…
Country 1: Scotland
‘I wouldn’t Expect You to Eat Your Lunch in the Car Park’
We decided the best way to start our adventures was a trip over the border (we do get more exotic, promise!), figuring the hypnotic effects of a car ride would provide Dylan with a few hours of quality sleep. At 2.5 months old, Dylan was far from any kind of sleep routine and the car was a fail-safe way of getting a break! D is a big petrol head so putting his boy racer Audi to the test meant he was happy.
Our stop off point was an old favourite, The Lakes. Penrith being a new town I hadn’t explored to date and a handy stop off point on our way to Lock Lomond. Due to 20ish minutes of traffic, my timings were slightly out and Dylan was hungry, which he had no problem in letting us know! We parked up and quickly dived into a little pub. We sat down and we immediately were pounced upon by a couple of local ladies.
‘Excuse me, I hope you don’t mind me asking but what’s it like to have a baby when you’re a bit older? I mean, obviously, you’re a lot older than him…’ No, love, there’s 9 months between D and I. I just haven’t slept in what feels like a decade and permanently look like I’ve just been dug up from somewhere!
The chat continued ‘you’re so brave, breastfeeding in public. We wouldn’t have done that in my day.’ I tell you what, would anyone else be made to go and have their lunch in the car park, in February?
When they go a bit bored of me, they moved onto D. ‘so where are you from then, India or Pakistan?’ He’s actually from Epsom, but we felt this just wasn’t really worth pointing out. A fantastic start to our first ever trip!
We made a sharp exit and headed to our glamping spot on the edge of town. As we’d done glamping before, I had a certain idea of what to expect. We were slightly underwhelmed with the tiny pod we were in, but once we were settled appreciated the coziness and being totally at one with nature. It turns out Dylan had the best night’s sleep since his birth and has continued to love the great outdoors.
As there wasn’t really any space to hang out, we headed out for the evening. An entirely different welcome awaited us at The George Hotel in the centre of town. As we walked in the young woman welcomed us as I asked for a quiet corner so we didn’t disturb anyone. ‘he’s so cute, you’re more than welcome to be anywhere in our premises. I’ve been through it and know what it’s like when you just want a nice meal and a bit of peace.’ We stayed there hours as various barmaids took it in turns to coochy-coo Dylan and gave us a nice break.
The next morning, we arose all fresh faced and ready to head on Scotland. We stopped for breakfast at Gretna Green. The obvious talking point of just quickly getting married was discussed after our wedding was cancelled during the pandemic. D wasn’t quite sure ‘I’ve still got yesterday’s pants on so maybe not today.’
The journey from this point was simply stunning as we made our way up to Loch Lomond. An afternoon boat ride around the loch was just the ticket, even if I did miss the last 20 minutes feeding Dylan in the toilet! The scars of yesterday’s discussion still on my mind alongside the pretty nippy weather on deck.
Afterwards we headed onto our digs for the night, The Inn at Loch Lomond. Learning number one on how to book accommodation with a baby was experienced here; find places in which everything is under one roof. We could eat, drink and relax without the need to venture out. The setting was beautiful and as it was a Friday there was live music in the bar. I was in bed for 9 and dozed off as the realization hit that old me would’ve been leading the singing and dancing downstairs. D still managed to be led slightly astray by the barman who enjoyed sharing his incredible whisky knowledge with him.
The next morning, we awoke (some of us fresher than others), and I insisted on walking around the Loch. After dragging along 2 babies for a good 30 minutes I gave up and we headed back to the car to make our way back over the border.
An afternoon stop off at our friends Steve and Sam in Ramsbottom was a perfect halfway (ish) point. They have a lovely little girl, Poppy who’s 3 months older than Dylan. It was great to see how active she was and much more content at some self-entertainment. A ray of light into the fact things do get easier and our journey home later was filled with positivity, feeling pleased that we’d completed and enjoyed our very first trip as a 3.
As confidence grew in the shorter trips and Dylan hit the 2 month mark, it was time to get the passport photo sorted. The directions online is just to lie your baby flat on a white background, as at this stage they obviously can’t hold their own head up. I must have taken thousands of snaps which were all declined when submitted on the online application. I then roped my sister into a trip to Sainsburys to use their photo booth; although this was a pretty comical experience, again no luck. I really was at a loss on how to capture an acceptable shot. After asking around, it seems that a trip to a professional photographer was the solution. 2 minutes and £10 later we were sorted. The start of Dylan’s modelling career (sitting perfectly still and grinning for the photographer) began…
Country 2: Tenerife
‘Here comes the sun, and I said it’s alright!’
We booked this trip the second Dylan’s passport came through and looked forward to the chance to spend some time with D’s brother and family, chasing the winter Tenerife sun.
The planning I performed for this trip was insane! I’ve been victim to Ryanair T&Cs in the past so read and re read all information available on flying with a baby on the East Midlands airport and Ryanair websites, which turns out, isn’t much. What I have since realized since is that in my experience, all airline and airport staff are pretty accommodating to customers travelling with a baby and will try and assist where they can.
Our usual airport ritual consists of a pint/ bloody Mary and bacon sarnie. We dropped the booze for a coffee as I think the pair of us were a little nervous about travelling with a 3.5-month-old baby on a 4+ hour flight for the first time. I always spend weeks before a trip looking forward to it and my excitement mounts. D is the complete opposite and whenever I’ve asked him in the past if he’s getting excited, he trots out his standard response ‘we’re not at the airport yet.’ During our Bacon sarnie I asked him if he was excited and he replied that things have now changed and he doesn’t get excited until we’re at our final destination. In these unpredictable times, I for once completely agreed.
Another element of travelling with a baby was thinking of how to travel on the roads upon our arrival. The simplicity of hailing down a taxi is a thing of the past, when taking into account car seats etc. So, we thought the easiest way to reach the hotel was by transfer bus. Again, Dylan loved the bus, sleeping and charming the whole way in equal measure.
The moment we entered the Hard Rock Hotel will live with me forever. In the stunning entrance hall are the lyrics to ‘Here Comes the Sun’; a particular Busby-sister favourite and particularly apt lyrics for how I was feeling; ‘it’s alright!’
The Foo Fighters were blaring out as we heard earlier in the day that Taylor Hawkins had passed away. For this, and many other reasons I was overcome with emotion and burst into tears. The sheer resilience test of pregnancy, labour and surviving the first 3 months with a newborn baby is the best kept secret on the planet! So, as I stood in the lobby of a hotel that couldn’t be more me, I turned to D and said, ‘we’ve made it.’ Start of a new chapter.
Luckily, we had a morning flight, when Dylan’s always at his best. As we made our way to the gate, I could see the makeup of our fellow passengers; mainly early retirees looking to enjoy some winter sun and spend some of their hard-earned cash. To say we had a few dodgy looks as we took our seats was an understatement, especially seeing as my expert packing meant I’d forgotten masks! Some lovely fellow passengers had spares and were happy to help.
When the charm offensive is required, Dylan’s always been great at winning people over and he beamed beautifully at every single passenger as we took our seats. He coped much better than me on a 4-hour Ryanair flight and didn’t make a sound. I always enjoy being congratulated by fellow passengers on how well-behaved Dylan’s been on a flight!
The Hard Rock Hotel was a perfect choice for a family holiday. There was plenty of activities and entertainment for our older niece and nephew and the volume of the music means that any baby moaning is easily drowned out. The quality of the music memorabilia meant I was also very happy.
The week was wonderful and the suite we treated ourselves to provided beautiful panoramic views of the island. Dylan loved spending time with his cousins and I enjoyed having a wider variety of people to ‘hold the baby’ I even managed to get away and do some diving; maybe not the best quality under water scenes I’ve ever experienced, but still my number one way I love to take some time out from the world and feel a total sense of freedom.
Without doubt the highlight of the trip was my first ever Mother’s Day in which the boys spoilt me to a lovely lunch, cards and presents. First flight complete and certainly whetted the appetite for further overseas trips.
To be continued!
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