road trip selfie

We’re Taking a Road Trip With a Baby: Pray for Us

So, because Terry and I apparently hate ourselves, but love a challenge, this weekend we’re loading up the car with every piece of baby equipment known to man, and driving to the other end of the country – Kent, to be exact, where we’ll be spending the week with Terry’s brother, Niko, and his family.

This is a trip we’ve made a few times now, so, under normal circumstances, we’d just be looking forward to spending time with family, being close to both London AND France, and, well, just having a bit of an adventure, really. And, I mean, we ARE looking forward to all of those things, obviously, it’s just that, this time, rather than just having ourselves to pack for and think about, we’ll have a very small passenger, in the shape of 7-month-old Max. Which, yeah, GAME CHANGER, people. And also, HOLY CRAP, WHAT WERE WE THINKING?

I’m worried about the journey, obviously. Even if you take out all of the many, many rest stops we’ll have to make, we’re looking at a good 8 hours of driving at least – and by “good,” I mean, “It probably won’t be, will it?” Because we’ll have a 7-month-old baby in the back seat, complete with all of his worldly possessions. Which brings me to my next issue:

We’re taking everything he owns.

Like, literally everything.

For once, this was not actually my idea, either. I mean, anyone who knows me will tell you I don’t travel light: as in, I once took something like 12 pairs of shoes all the way to California. They had their own bag, and everything. I called it “Shoebagga.” (Like “Chewbacca,” only it’s a, er, bagga, for shoes. Oh, never mind…) So, it’s not normally ME who’s the one saying, “You know what, let’s try to travel light for this one,” and yet, here we are, with me thinking we could try to take the absolute minimum in the way of baby equipment (YES, TO MAKE ROOM FOR MORE SHOES. SO?), and Terry essentially wanting to re-create our nursery in his brother’s house.

I thought we could just use ready-made formula, most of which we could buy in Kent: Terry wants to take the Perfect Prep and steriliser.

I thought we could probably just bathe Max in a sink or something: Terry wanted to take the baby bath AND stand. (I managed to talk him down from taking the stand, but he’s still insisting that the bath itself will be a handy container for all of the other crap we’ll be taking with us. Hard to argue with that, really…)

And so it went.

road trip selfieThe final straw came a few nights ago, when we were discussing where Max would sleep, etc, while we were there, and Terry suddenly went, “Oh! I’ve just thought: we’ll also need to take the nappy bin, and extra inserts for it!” And I was just like, “Dude, no: we are not driving almost 500 miles with a special container for poop. We’re just not.”

Terry grudgingly agreed not to pack the poop container, although I’m not totally convinced I won’t find it crammed into the back of the car somehow. And, I’m just… this is madness, right? Like, people have babies all the time, and somehow manage to cope without Perfect Prep machines, and Sleepyheads, and all that jazz? So why are we preparing for a short trip in a way that’s scarily reminiscent of the last time we moved house? Because, let’s face it, we’re Those People, aren’t we? We’re the ridiculous first-time parents who can’t do anything without first of all spending a small fortune on STUFF, and then insisting on taking it everywhere with us. We are, though, aren’t we?

It’s a shame, really, because, when we first started talking about this trip, we thought we’d be being the Cool Parents – you know, the ones who just toss the baby in the back of the car, and are on their way, like the merry bunch of adventures they are. In this scenario we’d have a VW camper and a bunch of “boho” style dresses (Well, I would, anyway: not sure Terry really suits the boho look, tbh…), and, when he grew up, Max would be all, “Oh yeah, my parents were free spirits: I’d seen all of the European capitals by the time I was one! What a childhood I had!” So, we were just like, “It’ll be fine! We’ll get the train into London all the time, and ooh, I wonder how much it costs to get to Paris on the Eurostar these days?” Which all sounds great in theory, obviously, but, now that the trip is imminent, and is unfortunately coinciding with Max deciding that sleep is for the weak, I’m now wondering if it is, in fact, just going to be me changing nappies and making up bottles in a different location, while missing out on all the fun family stuff, because the baby takes up 100% of my attention, 100% of the time?

Er,  I guess we’re going to find out, huh?

(Oh, and just in case anyone thinks I’ve had a personality transplant with this whole, “packing light,” business, rest assured that I’m planning to take more or less ALL of Max’s clothes with us, plus 387,978 bibs and burp cloths. Somewhat in my defence, he DOES have reflux, which means he frequently needs a couple of outfit changes per day. (As do I, actually. I don’t have reflux, obviously, I just like clothes…) And we ARE travelling within the UK, so it could be either boiling or freezing, or it could be both in the same day. So, sundresses and snowsuits it is, then!)

So, we’re leaving on Sunday, and, under normal circumstances, if I was going away for a week or so, I’d either have diligently scheduled all of my blog content in advance for the time I’d be gone (Plus a few days on either side to allow for the packing/unpacking etc), or would just take the laptop with me and blog on the go.

Yeah, neither of those things are going to be happening, obviously. The fact is, I’m struggling to find the time to write anything at all right now, let alone do a couple of week’s worth of work in advance, so, instead, I’m going to be reviving a few of my older posts while I’m gone. This is actually something I’ve been planning to do anyway: as with any blog, my audience has changed over the years, and I now have a bunch of new readers (Hi, by the way! Hope you weren’t too put off by all that talk about the poop bucket!) who know nothing at all about that one time I locked myself in my own bathroom and Terry had to take the door off its hinges to free me, say. Or that other time I touched an electric fence, and got laughed at by a farmer, and, honestly, I still think that was mean of him, really. Seriously, don’t you think that was mean?

Eh, those won’t be the posts I’ll be reviving, obviously. But I’ll have a quick dig into the archives and find some of that evergreen content I’m always banging on about, and, for those of you who are new to the blog, and haven’t seen any of that stuff before, it’ll be like I never even left.

For the rest of you, meanwhile, it’ll be like old content getting re-posted: there’s no denying it. If you’re really missing me, though (And, I don’t for a second expect you will be…), well, there’s always Instagram Stories, which I will use to obsessively document our trip in a way that only my parents will find even remotely interesting: and, let’s face it, they’ll only be watching to see Max, won’t they?

Will the Poop Pail make it into the car? Will we even make it past Edinburgh before we have to stop to feed/change/placate the baby? Approximately how long will it take me to lose my mind? We’re about to find out, folks: wish us luck!

(“It’ll be good practise for when we try taking him abroad this winter!” said Terry optimistically. They let you take nappy bins, Perfect Prep machines and your kitchen sink on board planes, don’t they? DON’T THEY?)

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  • Kath


    I am one of your new Readers (since last autumn) – greetings from Berlin, yayy! Have a nice stay in Kent – I’m looking foward to your older posts 🙂

    July 27, 2018
  • Myra


    I remember those days well, when you have to pack twice as much for one baby than for you both together. To reduce your packing and fuel consumption, take out half of all of your clothes and use your brother’s washing machine just once for Max’s things and once for yours (take easy care stuff). Safe journey x

    July 27, 2018
  • Myra


    PS if the temperature stays this high, you’ll only need vests and nappies for Max anyway.

    July 27, 2018
  • We had the first road trip (South of Germany to the Baltic Sea) with a four month old and we did bring EVERYTHING. A year later, when she was eleven months, we took way less for a 24 hours flight to New Zealand. You get the hang of it.

    Anne|Linda, Libra, Loca

    July 27, 2018
  • Alice


    Have fun! You’ll work out from this trip what you need for next time.
    I’m very much on the “take the minimum” side of things, but I don’t drive so if I pack a lot I have to carry it!

    July 27, 2018
  • Lalie


    Greetings from Kent! Have a fab trip. Today is the last hot day planned, Max should be more comfortable. Has Terry remembered to pack gro-blinds, paddling pool and jumparoo?
    Good luck in finding a trailer or roof top to pack your return luggage.

    July 27, 2018
  • Brenda


    I remember when my kids were little (1 & 3), we decided to take them to Hawaii for a vacation. We had so much luggage and STUFF that a porter at the airport in Maui demanded to see our baggage claims because it seemed that he thought we had stolen other peoples luggage. There was just. so. much.

    July 27, 2018
  • Trudy


    Haha I remember the first time my sister came to stay with her new baby, and arriving with half the house. She never even used 60% of what they brought, it stayed in the car! Each successive trip they whittled it down further, and now it’s like, ‘Oh I just have to pop into the supermarket to get some nappies, and the baby can just sit in my lap for meal times’. You will get to know what you use or can easily leave behind, first time is always an unknown! Have a great time 🙂

    July 28, 2018
  • I hope the trip goes well and you will be glad to have some of the things with you! Although I would also not take the Tommee Tippy (our diaper container), instead just using plastic bags for it…the ones people use for freezing food…we use for used diapers when we’re on the go xD

    xo, Rosie //The Cheeky Mom

    July 29, 2018
  • Nicola Kendrick


    Brilliant! Sounds like me . We have 3 and you should see what I pack for a day trip. Have fun enjoy

    July 29, 2018