The other day, I was attempting to organise our photos. At the start of the year, I had a disaster and lost loads of our digital data – I dropped my laptop when playing with Toddler L and subsequently broke the hard drive. Bugger. To make things worse, when I went to get a backup off an external hard drive, this chose to not work either. Double bugger. (That sounds a bit like a sexual position…).
On looking through the photos we’ve managed to pull together from various sources like Facebook, email, old phones, parents etc, I stumbled across a few from our first ever trip to the seaside with Toddler L – well, Baby L back then. This reminded me that I’d once written a blog post about that day, but never published it on the blog. I luckily managed to find a draft of said blog post in my emails, so thought I’d tidy it up a bit and publish here – it’s only 2.5 years late!
So, below, you’ll find my newbie dad account of our first ever family trip with the baby to the seaside – with a few lessons thrown in for good measure:
With the little one around 5 weeks old, we decided that the seaside would be a nice place to visit for our first day trip as a new family. Sun, sea, sand, Southend and the sprog – what could possibly go wrong?
We’d obviously left the house for short amounts of time prior to this – in fact, we were out walking the dog barely 36 hours after our daughter had been born. However, we’d not yet been on a full day trip which would take us away from the comfort, safety and security of our home. With equal amounts of apprehension and excitement, we loaded the baby, the sausage dog and our overflowing bags – packed with every baby item conceivable – into the car.
The journey went well. Both of our small beings quickly fell asleep, which left the missus and I alone to crank up the radio and blast out some of our favourite tunes. It was strange – as we stupidly sang along and had fun, it felt like a weight had been lifted. We’d been so immersed in life with a newborn that we’d temporarily forgotten that we were still the same people we were before she came into our lives.
We arrived at Southend and managed to park just as the little one – that’s the baby, not the dog – began to get cranky. After a quick breastfeed in the car – again, that’s the baby, not the dog – we were all set and headed towards the seaside. We had a nice stroll along the seafront, stopping every 10 seconds to take another obligatory ‘new family on a day out’ selfie. We even managed to stop off at a park bench to eat our lunch as we basked in the partially cloudy climate.
Something I’ll never forget was a particular incident which happened as we sat on a different bench in the late afternoon. With the sprog on my knee, the unmistakable stench of baby crap began to fill the air – quite an achievement considering the overpowering beachy smells of sea salt and donuts.
It then got worse. Stains began to slowly appear on her clothes. Stains which could only mean one thing – a poonami of devastating consequences. Unsure of the social norms surrounding nappy changing in public, but with no baby changing facilities in sight, we were left with little option but to deal with it on the bench.
Despite being faced with this gruesome scene, I’ll admit that I had a wry smile on my face. We’d packed a lot – and I mean a lot – of stuff in our bags to basically cover every eventuality. We had numerous nappies, plenty of wipes, a changing mat, nappy bags and even two pairs of spare clothes for the little one. We changed her nappy, swapped her clothes and breathed a huge sigh of relief.
Unbeknown to me though, the little one’s poonami had seeped through her clothes onto my jeans. It wasn’t until a few minutes later that the cold sensation on my thigh alerted me to the unfortunate quandary. That was the cue to end our first family day out.
With my jeans soiled – not my doing, might I add – we wandered back to the car as I strategically placed myself close enough to the pushchair to hide the stains, but not so close that I was at risk of contaminating the frame or fabric.
As I sat with no trousers in the passenger seat, it gave me chance to reflect on our day. We’d managed to spend a really nice day together at the seaside without anything too bad happening, mainly due to planning and organising in advance. Even with a few stressful incident – crying uncontrollably at one point, struggling with a lift and the poonami – we managed to cope and get through it.
Not only had we proved to ourselves that we were capable parents, we’d also remembered that we were more than just parents. We were still the same people we were before the little one was born.
I also realised one other thing. It’s always a good idea to pack a spare pair of clothes for yourself!