Well, we finally did it. After over a year of taking separate holidays and doing day trips rather than weekends away, we finally loaded up the whole family and went to Noosa for a long weekend. And survived. Hell, we even enjoyed it.
We haven’t intentionally avoided travelling with Lil Z – apart from international trips, that is. I think QB and I were just scarred from our last weekend away, when we sat up most of the night, watching Lil Z have a series of seizures and wondering if we should call an ambulance (and wake up everyone else in the B&B and end up in a strange hospital). The next day, Lil Z screamed. And screamed. And screamed. We packed up and went home early. So, until now, we haven’t wanted to repeat the experience.
The motivation behind the trip was an invitation from our former nanny to her wedding – which was taking place on the beach in Noosa. Once the “save the date” card arrived, I began planning. I convinced our au pair to join us, luring her with the promise of a free beach holiday in exchange for a bit of extra babysitting (it wasn’t a tough sell). I think the fact that we would have 3 adults to help with Lil Z was a crucial factor in our decision to go.
I spent hours searching the Internet for accommodation that placed us close enough to all the local attractions, so that we could walk everywhere, split up and go different places, and that we could try Lil Z out with different experiences – and still be close to ‘home’ if it all went wrong. I even managed to convince QB to take a half day off work (AND miss the rugby) so we could get to Noosa in time to enjoy our first evening. And then I made list after list of all the things we needed to pack.
It took the au pair and me the better part of a day to pack all of Lil Z’s supplies. And there was a point when I was worried that all of Lil Z’s supplies, clothes (she vomits a lot, so lots of changes are necessary) and pram wouldn’t fit in the car – but QB exercised his engineering skills and made it fit (there was even a small space where you could see out the back window!).
We arrived at our beach house, set up Lil Z’s travel cot, and headed out to the beach to watch the sun set. Vegemite and the au pair waded in the ocean while QB, Lil Z and I just stuck our feet in the sand. It was good.
After the beach, we went out for pizza. It was a Friday night and the pizza place was packed and very noisy. Lil Z doesn’t cope well with situations like that, so I was expecting one of us to end up eating pizza out of a box at home. But no, she coped admirably – sitting in her pram for a bit and then was quite content to sit on my lap for the rest of our time. In fact, she was so good, we decided to go for ice cream afterward. By the time we got home, it was well after both girls’ bedtime. I don’t think Lil Z even registered that she was in a strange travel cot, she just immediately fell asleep.
The next day wasn’t perfect, but it could have gone worse. Vegemite and I headed to the beach early, hoping Lil Z would join us later. However, Lil Z loves her routines, and she preferred to have a morning nap instead.
Later, QB and Vegemite went for a swim in the pool of the complex where we were staying. I took Lil Z to the pool, hoping she might enjoy a swim too, but the water was too cold. After enjoying her bathwater-warm hydrotherapy pool for so many months now, she was not impressed by an unheated swimming pool. In the end, I sat on the edge of the (slightly warmer) kiddie pool with her, where she tolerated splashing with her feet for a bit.
I had to remind myself, that while I had hoped to achieve great things, such as getting Lil Z to the beach and swimming in the pool, that isn’t always what she wants. And hey, we’re on holiday, the girl should get what she wants, even if it isn’t my picture perfect idea of what she should be doing.
Then it was time to get ready for the wedding. Getting ready for anything when you have two children is a challenge, and Lil Z always seems to sense what I’m doing and starts fussing and demanding attention. We were running late and again, I was a bit stressed. Still, we managed to get everyone looking relatively presentable and headed off.
Lil Z wasn’t impressed by the wedding – particularly when we got rained on mid-ceremony – but at least she didn’t wail. To be honest, I found the whole wedding a bit stressful – trying to get everyone ready and there on time, keep Lil Z (and Vegemite) happy throughout the service, find a place to park the pram that wouldn’t be in the way, etc. So I was grateful when QB suggested we stop at a cafe on the way back from the beach to grab a glass of wine before handing the girls over to the au pair and heading off to the “adults only” reception. Oh did I need it.
The reception was a novelty – time on my own with QB. We drank too much and even danced a bit (shock! horror!). At dinner we ended up sitting next to a couple who had also left their two children for the evening, and inevitably ended up talking about kids. It was a good night.
The next morning, however, was stressful again. We under-estimated the time it would take to pack everything back into the car and ended up scrambling to be out of our beach house by the requisite 10am. There was much snapping at each other and a fair bit of shouting as well. But we eventually got everything into the car and headed off for a late breakfast. Lil Z slept, QB enjoyed his first proper ‘cooked breakfast’ in a long time and I got the biggest coffee the cafe had to offer. Once again, it was good.
Before we headed home, we went walking in the National Park. The first part of the track was marked as wheelchair accessible, and QB obviously saw the second, non-accessible, part as something of a challenge, since before we knew it, he was off, pushing Lil Z down the dirt track at speed. We didn’t see them again until we finished. We had ice cream, climbed in the car and headed home.
Although she coped with the whole trip well, I think arriving home was Lil Z’s favourite part. When I put her down on her blanket for a good roll on the floor, she had the biggest smile on her face ever.
And that was good. It makes me inexplicably happy that the girl loves her home comforts. Maybe because there was a time when she was equally miserable, wherever she was. Now, she can cope with everything from a strange bed to a noisy pizza joint. But what she really loves is being home. It’s a validation that we have managed to turn our new house in Brisbane into a home where she feels happy and secure. So, while having a weekend away was good (albeit sometimes pretty stressful for me) it turns out that being happy to be home is OK too.