I pondered, I fretted and I nearly cancelled the whole thing. Of course my husband never worried about taking our three month old baby boy to the scorching Italian sun. “We will keep him indoors in the day”, he said. “He will adjust”. But I felt like the worst mother in the world for even contemplating taking little Cal on a foreign holiday. It didn’t help that my mother was totally opposed to it. When we were kids, Mayo was about as exotic as a holiday got for us. But I was reluctantly swayed by my husband and off we set for Sardinia all three of us with enough luggage for a small army.
It was the first time that I travelled with a baby and boy do they need a lot of stuff. Apart from nappies, I packed water wipes in case they didn’t have them there, nappy creams, scores of outfits for hot days or cooler evenings, and about a million bibs.
I was on edge from the moment we arrived in the airport, expecting Cal to start crying and be totally traumatised by the whole experience. Luckily, the opposite occurred. He was fascinated by his new surroundings and his perfect behaviour continued on the plane for the whole two and a half hours of the flight. He just cooed and gurgled the whole way. Not a tear even when we were landing. Even when the doors opened and we were met with thirty degree heat, Cal didn’t seem put out in any way. Amazing. It was not until we reached the apartment that the journey took its toll and the bambino got a little upset. But it didn’t last too long and after a few hours we were ready to head out for dinner.
I wasn’t taking any chances when it came to my little one being bitten by bugs and as a result Cal looked like he was heading into a warzone. His pram was protected by the armour of a mosquito net, and foul smelling anti mosquito rubber bands which hung from the sides. The locals looked on in disbelief as they bounced their babies on their knees as they enjoyed their meals sitting under the stars in the balmy evening. After all my efforts to protect him, Cal decided he wasn’t going to be confined to his pram. Cries of protestation soon commenced and within minutes he was sitting bouncing on my knee like the local kids, leaving his overly protected pram redundant. Thankfully he didn’t get bitten as there were hardly any mosquitos about.
I discovered that evening that Cal is very sociable and likes nothing more than snooping around, smiling at everyone who gives him attention. That is a great thing about Italians, they just love children. It is totally normal to have your baby out with you as you enjoy dinner, even if it is 10pm. The Italians don’t do the whole ‘routine’ thing, which we seem to be obsessed with here these days. I doubt they read all those books by bossy baby gurus who say you have to have your baby in bed by 7pm or they will be thrown out of kilter. Cal was out late every night throughout the holiday. He fell asleep in his pram when he was tired and for the first time he started to sleep eight hours a night. We were on a three hour shifts before then.
He was totally happy and content for the couple of weeks we were away. I don’t know why I worried so much about getting on that plane. Babies are far more resilient and adjustable that we think and my advice to any parent after taking the holiday plunge is to just do it. The hardest thing about going on holiday with your baby is getting that passport photo taken, but that’s another story.