Tuesday, May 22, 2007

First Vacation

It seemed like a good idea at the time: a long weekend getaway to Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia, on the warmer-than-here South Shore, in a quiet bed and breakfast, just hubby and baby and me. And it was a good idea, and it was a good vacation. It was just a bit . . . damp. And snotty.

On Thursday night, before our trip, Anna came down with the cold I had had all week. Every time Anna has gotten a cold, she has gotten the same cold that I have had, so I have had to solace of knowing her symptoms a few hours in advance. Thursday night, I knew that she would feel snotty and sore-throated and that she would sleep better sitting up. However, there are few ways to help a baby sleep sitting up without sitting up oneself, so Friday morning found me packed and ready to go, but a little sleepy.

No matter. Stephen was driving. We made the boat in plenty of time, and Anna loved her first trip on a ferryboat -- it provided classic people-watching. She seemed less distressed than I felt by the collective ugliness of the Maritime people I call my own. She just found them all interesting. Ah, to be innocent.

Anna travelled well in the car, alternately playing and sleeping. Friday evening, a warm welcome at the B&B, where a two-year-old was already in residence (a good omen that the place was baby friendly), a lovely supper out and about in Mahone Bay (I love paying people to cook for me), and a sleepy baby who drifted off at her usual bedtime, allowing her parents to read their books. (Books! Imagine.)

Anna woke for her bedtime bottle in wonderful humour, but with a bit of a fever. And that began a long night. She couldn't sleep lying down. She woke every time we set her back down, and I ended up letting her sit up to sleep all night. Without the props and places to go that we would have had at home, we got precious little sleep as we tried to make sure Anna could sleep as much as she needed to.

And so, Plan B. When we woke, sleep-deprived, to pouring rain, we decided that if we were to enjoy our day of touring around Mahone Bay and Lunenburg, it would be best to spend the night in Halifax -- an hour closer to home, and among family at Aunt Gen's.

This plan, generously accepted by Gen and Pete, allowed us to spend as many hours as we wished wandering the galleries and tea shops of Mahone Bay and Lunenburg, keeping ourselves and the baby as warm and dry as possible. Anna's production of snot and drool was prodigious, but the rain was less prodigious, so the day was very pleasant. Anna is easy to be around, even when she's under the weather, under the weather.

Late afternoon found us in Halifax, where Anna was more than happy to find herself in Gen and Pete's cozy livingroom where she could bum-scoot around the floor and where there was furniture to be climbed and overturned. Her uncle Danny came over to play, and soon Gen and Pete arrived home, with more aunts and uncles (Cath and Phil!), and a plan for supper that also included cousin Mark and Amanda (and Anna's wee second-cousin-to-be).

So, with ten at the supper table, we found ourselves at an impromptu party, and there's nothing Anna likes better than a party. She stayed awake until she couldn't stay awake and missed as little as possible. She woke again at 10, with a stuffed nose and sore teeth and a bad attitude resulting from her severely overtired state, but she only yelled for half an hour and then slept through the whole night. Her dad and I had a wonderful nine-hour stretch of sleep, a big treat.

We didn't manage to organize ourselves to leave on time to make the boat and so opted to take the bridge home, a long but leisurely drive. Anna got lots of extra sleep to chase away the remnants of her cold.

As interested as Anna was in seeing all the sights and visiting new people and places, she was never more excited than when we drove in the driveway. She recognized her very yellow house right away and kicked and shouted excitedly. Once in the house, she scooted around to see all her toys and familiar favourite spots in the house, and she chased the cat with great glee. Moon, for her part, chased right back.

So while it didn't exactly meet the ideal of the original idea, the first vacation was much better than it seemed like it was going to be at 4 a.m. on Saturday morning in Mahone Bay, with a warm, sticky baby in my arms and a fear in my heart that I had proved a very irresponsible mom for taking a sneezing baby anywhere outside her house.