I’m excellent at planning holidays. I research all the best cafes, attractions that others miss, and everything is planned to make sure we get the most out of our trip. Everything was perfect for our trip to Seville. I had our itinerary ready, I’d called Superdrug and organised to pick up all of his milk for the trip after airport security and I’d even managed to get a bunch of ready made organic baby food dirt cheap in the Aldi baby event. We were all set. As our previous trip to Edinburgh had been a breeze I was feeling relaxed and confident about going abroad for the first time. And then, the day before we were due to fly, Ivor refuses to eat his lunch. And I don’t mean he was being a bit fussy, he absolutely refused it. Even my NCT friends Lucy and Zoey mentioned how this so wasn’t like him…and so it began…
Before I left my friends that day, Ivor did the most awful crap he’s ever done. It was huge, watery, dark, dark brown and smelled how I imagine a three day old dead badger would smell. Maybe this was why he didn’t want to eat? Maybe he just had a dicky tummy I told myself. Three hours later he vomited all over his playpen. It was one of those things right? Babies throw up now and again. Except Ivor doesn’t, and I was in denial.
I don’t want to go into too much detail on the poop, because you all know…I think it’s enough to say it was runny, the colour of egg yolk and there was a RIVER of it flying out of Ivors arsehole once an hour. On the way to my parent’s house in the East Midlands (from where we were flying) Ivor wore:
A vest grow
A pairs of summer shorts
A 0.5 tog grobag
We were taking no chances with our newly acquired £300 baby car seat.
The vomiting had subsided on the day we were due to travel and all we had to do was deal with the diarrhea. Not so bad right? Well, yeah, but by this time I was feeling like crap and was in bed with nausea and Alex was left to deal with it on his own. By the time we got to the airport and boarded the plane (two exploding nappies and two changes of clothes later) Alex also turned grey and muttered “I’m just going to the toilet for a second” before bounding out of his seat faster than I’ve ever seen that man move. Ivor was once again wearing as many layers as we could safely put on him for the journey in the hope we wouldn’t have to deal with a poo on the plane. And by some effing miracle he didn’t vomit or poop! No. He was saving his grand finale…
We got off the plane hardly believing our luck and decided to stop the check his nappy before we picked up our bags. Other than a small bit of poop he was clear and we got him back dressed and proceeded to pick up our bags. Then I caught his face in the bathroom mirror as I was about to leave the cubicle. It went from green to grey to vomit pouring out of him like a waterfall. All over him, all over the bathroom, all over me. There was SO. MUCH. VOMIT. To anyone that is yet to see their baby vomit so violently it projects out of their nose, it is a sight that will fill you with horror and will be etched in your memory for the rest of your life. The look on my husband’s face as he watched this happen will also never leave me. The only other time I’ve seen him look that horrified is when he thought I was going to be swept out to sea as a giant wave rose above the back of a boat I was steering on an I’ll advised sailing trip in bad weather a few years earlier. By the time we had all changed clothes everyone else on our flight had left and our three bags were sadly going round by themselves on the carousel. Thank fuck our taxi driver waited for us. We smiled and said “hola” and prayed to God, Allah, Shiva and Thor that we didn’t have to pay the €60 soiling charge.
Luckily neither of us actually threw up at any point, and it made the first day of our holiday extremely cheap, with neither of us wanting to eat or drink alcohol. On the first three days of our holiday, stopping for food or a drink was a military operation. First, one of us would check out the toilets to make sure, they were suitable for changing a baby with diarrhea…and in old Andalasia that was a mission in itself. Then we would order drinks for us. Ivor would then get his milk and maybe a bit of food (he was refusing all food except Mamia strawberry and apple pouches). We would then wait at the table for 15-20 minutes for the inevitable Ppppppppppptttttttthhhhhhhh!!!!! noise in his trousers and run to the changing room.
I have never, NEVER been so grateful for a washing machine. If we had booked a hotel instead of an Airbnb I have no idea how we would have coped with the filthy outfit pile Ivor managed to create every single day. (He was wearing a double nappy all day and was still dirtying at least 2-4 outfits a day. If I’d had to use a hotel laundry room, or go baby clothes shopping I might’ve just given up. Self catering saved our friggin holiday, it really did. And another thing….no matter what, always book accommodation close by. Don’t be lured into booking an apartment a bus ride away from the city or resort because it’s a bargain. Because if your baby or toddler gets the fucking shits, I’m telling you, being able to pop home, drop off the three poo stained pairs of trouser in your handbag and just slump on the sofa for twenty minutes to recover is an absolute godsend.
Luckily by day two, Alex and I both felt okay again, and Ivor, bless his heart is the most “determined to be happy” baby ever. If he felt anything like I did on the day we travelled he must’ve been really struggling and yet he hardly showed it. He barely cried or got upset and just slept in his pushchair and enjoyed the ride around Seville.
So what words of wisdom do I now have for anyone going on holiday with a baby or toddler?
1. It doesn’t matter how “well” your baby normally is. They will get ill before you travel. Be prepared for this and be pleasantly surprised if they are okay. It’s a far safer mindset to have.
2. No matter what, make sure you have easy access to a washing machine where you are staying and stay as close to where you are visiting as possible. If you need to get on a bus, it’s too far away.
3. Pack the clothes you think you need, then pack a third more.
4. Research what baby change facilities are like where you are going. We were very surprised to find many cafes and restaurants in Seville had absolutely no facilities at all and we did a number of changes on toilet cubicle floors. I had just assumed it would be the same as the UK.
5. As part of your babies food packing, take something bland like plain porridge. Even if they don’t normally eat it. When they get sick, you need something that won’t upset their stomachs and it’s a gamble trying to fine something suitable in local stores abroad.