Tag Archives: baby

Planes, trains and automobiles (and ferries).

Apologies for the break in communication, it’s been busy month.

We braved the trip to the UK for Christmas. The visit itself was wonderful. Family, food and food. The getting there and back was something I’m not keen to repeat in a hurry. It’s one hell of a schlep from Islesboro to Wales – car, ferry, car, train, taxi, plane, two trains and car – and not one that’s easy when you have a crawling baby that can’t stand to be held and can’t just drink the journey away and bosh a Valium like you would have pre kid.

We sipped on our small glass of Chablis in the posh airport wine bar with desperate “oh God this is all we can responsibly drink isn’t it?” looks exchanged. The wee lad was well into the snooty charcuterie board much to my proud amusement and scoffed all the fancy figs, pickles, slivers of aged meat and yak cheese stuffed olives. Classy lad.

I had officially gone in to germ melt down by this time and had sprayed my hands so often with hand sanitiser that I set an alarm off going through security.

I then set an alarm off when I was taken aside to be hand swabbed. Apparently there was a high alcohol content due to the over use of the supposedly hippy natural spray.

This resulted in them grimly announcing “the child will have to go to his Father” and “we’ll need to get her bags pulled” and me having images of being locked in a bamboo cell and poked with sticks for Christmas. In the end I just got a lovely body search (minus the bum bit thankfully) which I regretted turning down the chance to do it in private as they did have a little tickle around my Crown Jewels much to the amusement of the other half.

That done, pre flight we hung out in Boston Logan’s kids area. All very civilised. Making small talk with the other harried looking parents about how we were sure our kids wouldn’t cry on the night flights we’d misguidedly, insanely and stupidly booked our mini Hilters on to.

Obviously our angel didn’t cry but I’m glad we weren’t on the same flights as some of the hyperactive little bastards in that soft play area. I’m betting nobody on those flights got much sleep.

Due to Nakomis being laid off just before and not knowing if we could make it all work we’d booked really last minute and the flight was pretty much sold out.

I’d already decided I didn’t like the look of the only seats left. They weren’t fully reclinable. Clearly no good for our little prince to get a good night’s sleep in as he’d be on my lap.

So being a dutiful mother I held up the check in line whining about infant privileges then when that proved fruitless I pestered the poor staff at the gate a few times. “If he can’t sleep then nobody will be sleeping trust me”, I grimly told them.

I even managed to squeeze out a bit of a tear. Admittedly that was by thinking of days gone past where I’d quaff a glass of champagne and wobble around in a warm lovely fuzz until I bought yet another ridiculous pair of sunglasses.

Anyway it worked, they changed our seats and I felt like super smug Mum and we commenced the wait of standing smack bang up against the doors to board the plane at the gate (yes we’re those parents), glaring at anyone who dares come near unless they too had infants or looked like they could possibly be first class (a good game in itself).

I say infants as when a couple of families with 6 and 8 year olds came to stand with us too, my pent up stress from the germ avoidance started to bubble over into a pretty audible snarl of “pre boarding is clearly for people with INFANTS not near fucking teenagers. What do they need help with? They can even help carry bags”, stomping of feet and nashing of teeth.

Upon getting on the plane I decide I don’t like our new seats. They are bulkhead and next to the toilets and far too high traffic and noisy for baby to sleep. By this time my poor husband has developed a twitch in one eye and started humming to himself.

So I decide to sit in our original seats and tell the confused people who’ve already been swapped that they’ve been swapped back didn’t anyone tell them?

Anyway it was all for the best as babe did sleep for a short time but I admit it, since I’ve had a baby I’ve become an insufferable asshole to travel with.

Apart from the trip we’ve done little else bar have the flu and Norovirus. Which was fun.

At this present moment I’m tippy tapping this out on my phone, waiting for the ferry to take me back to the island to await THE STORM. It’s meant to be a stinker with 18-30 inches of snow and high wind.

Bye bye power for a few days. It’s ok though because I hopped over to the mainland for important provisions like bacon.

I forgot any alcohol which was short sighted as I’ll be stuck in the house with Daddy pig, Baby Pig, crazy dog and shitty pissy cats for the foreseeable.

Oh great, I’m the first car on the ferry. That means they stick you at the front with a little rope to stop you plunging into the ocean. I nearly had some weird vertigo/panic type attack last time.

For those of you about to be braving the blizzard – good luck and for all those others – wish us luck!

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Happy First birthday, Gregorian calendar lies and defrosting umbilical cords.

The big event this week was my little sunbeam turning one. It’s been very hard to write a blog entry that wasn’t purely over sentimental boasting of how my wonderful little lad has turned out to be the most perfect, funny, sweet being in the universe so I’ve confined myself to keeping it in the first paragraph.

I actually had a very misguided conversation (argument) with the other half when we were at Three Tides (a wicked cool pub in Belfast, Maine attached to a brewery) about how the whole concept of birthdays was bullshit anyway and we are all blindly conforming to some guy’s idea of time. Why should I be a slave to the Gregorian calendar just because some scholars decided there should be roughly 30 days in a month and there should be twelve of them?

After letting me have a loud rant about being sick of listening to ‘the man’ and not being an autonomous drone anymore the other half amusedly pointed out the whole thing about the sun going round the earth determined the modern day calendar and that it’s based on irrefutable science.

In my defence I think the Maine free living, anarchic attitude is getting to me. And the chocolate martinis there are very strong.

Anyway, the past week we’ve again been half boat, half island which is still proving to involve lots of frantic packing and rushing for ferries. It’s only a matter of time before I forget the dog (please, please NOT the baby).

We spent one incredibly cold night on the boat which saw the other half being forcibly ejected from the freezing, floating palace to go find heated blankets and fan heaters with the threat of immediate divorce if the temperature didn’t rise above not-being-able-to-sit-on-the-toilet-seat-without-having-a-small-heart-attack by bedtime.

There definitely needs to be some kind of winterisation and extra heat source. The large gaps of fresh air and single pane windows are not going to cut it with a -15 gale screaming up the Passagassawakeag river (yes that’s actually it’s name and one of the reasons I love Maine as they have lots of the original names for places).

I want to shrink wrap, he wants a wood stove. Apparently we can’t do both as there could be some suffocation issue. We’ll see.

Another amusing little happening this week which I debated whether or not to include in this post (for the sake of both good taste and people thinking I’d lost the few marbles I once had) was taking re-possession of my umbilical cord.

Well, obviously not mine. A 37 year old umbilical cord would definitely be weird and even more definitely unpleasant.

After having an unmedicated home birth (the first on the island we live on in 30 years as I proudly tell anyone that will listen long enough), I had been ferreting around in the murky waters of natural parenting and heard lots of great things about placental encapsulation and it’s many alleged health benefits. Getting right in to the swing of living in Midcoast Maine and channeling my inner hippy (I was named after an Afro-American slave despite being very white so my parents can pipe down with any ‘oh God why is she eating her own afterbirth?’ comments as it’s clearly their fault), I had a local lass carry out the process of drying and grinding thus making it more palatable than whacking off chunks and eating in its raw state. This I was not prepared to do.

After reading more about ‘things hippies do with by-products of childbirth’ I saw a sweet suggestion for burying the umbilical cord under a tree. Being December in Maine you aren’t getting anything into the ground for love nor money so I asked aforementioned lass to ‘hang on’ to the cord until we could meet up and I could take it off her hands. As I was busy, new, deer-in-the-headlights Mum and her having her own baby shortly after, we never met and I sort of forgot about it.

Until I actually met her a month ago at a local baby group and this week she casually handed me a ziplock with a ‘glad to get this out of my freezer at last’. Not wanting to terrify any of the present Mummies I hurriedly stuffed it in to my nappy (diaper) bag and promptly forgot about it until that evening. I realise that not all of the people reading this will be as strong stomached as the company I keep so all I’ll say was on discovering it my husband was a little traumatised as it had defrosted, the ziplock had leaked and it was, to say the least, messy. Daddy Pig’s expression (scream) was “JesusFuckingChrist it’s like something from one of those really nasty Japanese horror films you like.” So it’s sitting in the freezer on the boat awaiting planting. Or maybe some kind of sea ritual.

So this week is Thanksgiving. I’m still not really used to it but am getting in to the swing of the nice message of being thankful for your blessings and the year’s harvest rather than the more controversial aspects or thinking as most Brits do that it’s just Americans eating the turkey on the wrong day.

I’m not sure yet if we’ll be spending it on the boat on or on the island but do know that after the last week of party/moving stress if the cooking is left to me we’ll be eating toast. Just as long as it not some miscellaneous meat product from the freezer…..

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I’m going to live on a boat. In Maine. In the Winter. With a baby and 70 pound dog.

Well not full time. On the weekends we’ll be returning the equally cold island we live on.

I’m a fairly recent (2.5 years) transplant from London, UK to Midcoast Maine. They sucked me in with the Summers for a few years. Then after making the big move to be with my now husband I noticed people shaking their heads and snickering when they’d find out I was about to endure my first Winter here. I notice him desperately making the “stop, she’ll leave if she finds out before the snow actually physically traps her” face at them and wondered what the hell I was in for.

Given that I’ve found the four-odd months of below zero temperatures (proper temperatures in Celsius although, I shit you not, it goes below zero in Fahrenheit too), I’m still in shock as to how the other half has convinced me to spend part of my life on a boat. A boat that floats on cold water in the cold wind in cold Belfast, Maine.

Add to this the increasingly mobile and quick-to-bore 1 year old and horrifically energetic, stubborn and ignorant 70 pound Pyrenees mix we have and I wouldn’t be insulted if people were to question whether or not I’m just plain batshit crazy.

And just for shits and giggles, incredible at some things that he is – house building, anything creative, cooking, buying things- my husband likes to break stuff (including himself) on a regular basis, digging big holes, chainsaw anything that looks vaguely tree-like and sometimes has the common sense of a dead flea. Think of him as a highly domesticated and cultured Fred Flintstone.

I’m thinking it will be nice to pop out for a coffee, supermarket or to meet friends without an hour of frigging about catching ferries. I’m thinking it will be nice for my baby to see his Dad more than an hour a day. I’m thinking it will be nice to have time for a shower more than once a week. Most of all I’m thinking, I hope this won’t result in hypothermia, divorce or be one woman’s story of the rapid loss of her mental health and marbles.

So. The boat (it’s a 58ft, wooden, Matthews motor yacht for anyone that has a clue) is now docked in her final resting place in Belfast having brought her up from Boston and after a few minor details like steps so I can get on the damn thing and heat, is awaiting our arrival…….

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