© Monique Aimee
It’s okay to break away from routine once in a while
There’s never a great time to test out if your baby can sleep in an unfamiliar space. In the days leading up to our trip, I attempted to mentally prepare myself for the fact that we might be thrown off our schedule, or that we might have a few sleepless nights in exchange for venturing outside of the four walls we had stayed within for many, many months. There’s no point in telling a new parent not to worry, but we were surprised at how smoothly things went. The Mayflower had provided a Pack ‘n’ Play in our room, for example, and our son slept like a champion in it.
On the drive itself, our son got used to the car seat eventually, managing to take a nap in it as we wound our way into Connecticut. As for us? We got used to changing a diaper in the back seat of a car—something we’ve done many, many more times since then.
Traveling is a chance to try something new
The hospitality at the Mayflower gave us permission to relax. I made time for a massage at the new spa, which was incredibly blissful, in part because I knew that there were plenty of ways for my husband to keep the baby entertained. Being in great hands also gave us the confidence to try new things. We took our baby for his first dip in the pool, surrounded by comfortable loungers, a kid-friendly shallow end, and nearby bathrooms for diaper emergencies. I was nervous that other guests wouldn’t want to share the pool with a baby, but there were plenty of families with little ones there—and everyone was happy to see our son get his sea legs.
Whether we were at the pool or at the restaurant, it was an unexpected joy to be surrounded by others—big families spending time together, couples with their pups. There were so many other young parents with babies that we relaxed throughout dinner in a way I haven’t been able to at home, even when our son cried out or needed attention. Seeing other families showed us a road map for the future: that after the first trip, there would be a second, and a third, and eventually, traveling with a little human might start to feel somewhat normal.
As dinner turned into dessert—s’mores by the bonfire can be a messy, smoky, daunting event even without a sleeping baby—I exhaled deeply and attempted to pinpoint this unfamiliar feeling. It was one of relaxation, yes, but it was also a sense of comfort. Things would be okay, our son would grow used to unfamiliar situations and learn to love traveling the way we do.
It was also the feeling of slowly gaining back a sense of my identity, one that had been tossed aside amid …….