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3 Ways To Snowboard With A Baby Before They Can Walk!

The countdown to your snowboard holiday is on. You’ve seen the videos on social media of the “youngest snowboarder EVER” and you have dreams of your baby being the next biggest viral sensation. But your dreams are slipping away as your baby is yet to take his/ her first steps, despite your hours of “training”.

So here are 3 tried and tested ways to have fun with your baby snowboarding before they can actually do it themselves.

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Mini Snowboard + Baby

The obvious first choice. Borrow/ rent mini snowboard equipment (mega cute, take lots of photos). Cling on to the hope that when your baby is all strapped in that they will magically be able to do it (could be easier, more exciting than walking anyway?). When you realise that actually this is never going to happen, just place the babies feet in the bindings (we actually sacked off the baby snowboard boots…..wriggly baby syndrome) and drag snowboard/ baby- attached along the snow whilst supporting them. The baby’s feet WILL pop out of the bindings without the boots, so make sure you get a photo/ evidence really quickly. If you’re feeling confident, then go- for- gold and try to stand the baby up on their own. Then, with the speed of light, run out of the shot so you can get the “Baby Snowboarding All-By-Himself” photo ( we didn’t manage this).

Baby Backpack + Baby

Choose one confident snowboarder (adult) with exceptionally good balance. Strap baby into baby backpack and onto back. Snowboard (slowly, no tricks, no backflips and certainly no big jumps) along past the camera and wave. Hey presto!! Baby LOVES it, and lets face it, you look pretty cool!!!

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Snowboarding Holding The Baby

I have done some pretty scary snowboarding in my time, but this was different. I actually felt responsible for another human life, MY little humans life!! So pick somewhere relatively flat to start, and empty of other snowboarders that could crash into you. Get a steady base and get someone to hand you the baby once you’re ready. Place baby in between legs, holding under the armpits, and off you go. DONT CATCH AN EDGE!! Also goes without saying, don’t accidentally drop the baby. More importantly, don’t get distracted if they pick that particular moment to do a massive sh*t. Concentration is key.

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Next holiday your baby will basically be doing Triple Corks, and it’s all down to you for starting them early. Good parents.

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TOP 10 TIPS for taking a baby to the mountains (can be applied to other holidays)

With our snowboard trip/ Olympic- Baby- Training- Trip to Tignes drawing closer, I’m starting to think about what I need to organise. I’m reflecting back on our first trip to the mountains and what we learnt from the experience to help us this time.

https://megamum.com/2016/02/02/to-the-mountains-of-austria/

1) LUGGAGE

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First of all you will need a very large truck. Babies need a lot of stuff, even if it’s just for your piece of mind (actually they really don’t care if “oh my god we forgot Euan The Dream Sheep”). Sack- off any outfits for yourself and replace them with baby grows, body suits with short sleeves, body suits with long sleeves, body suits with 3/4 sleeves, tops, tops to go over tops, tops to go under tops, hoodies, thick hoodies, thin hoodies, medium thickness hoodies, jackets, denim jackets, shirt jackets, coaches jacket (he has to look the part), trousers (loose, tight, dressy, casual….thermals?), socks, gloves…….list goes on………thank god he’s not a girl! But It’s a dog- eat- dog world out there for Future- Snowboard- Mountain- Olympic- Babies, so it’s essential they look the part.

Check if the place you’re staying actually has a washing machine. Might not need to bring all that’s listed above, and might not actually have to wash your one and only outfit with shampoo in the shower.

Squeeze everything you possibly can into your suitcase, even if you’re not sure you’ll need it, pack it anyway. Then panic the night before and realise “yes we definitely do need to take that extra bag” . Then fill that bag with books, waterproof books, toys, puppets, baby wipes, muslins (lots of), squeaky toys, plastic drum WITH LIGHTS, plastic dog that makes weird noise (bark?), the plastic bus with lots of buttons, green tractor, crocodile toy with wheels (prompts favourite crocodile song). Also a remote control, car keys and mobile phone MUST be packed, firm favourites. And yes, you DO have room for the building blocks now.

It really doesn’t matter if you can’t physically carry the 10+ bags through the airport, because you have Ducky, Sheepy and Lenny The Lion and that’s all that matters.

I’ve spent years trying to rip off Easy Jet and figure out ways around paying for excess baggage (Seasonaires you know what I’m talking about!!). But I have to give them their dues now, they are actually pretty good for people travelling with babies. You are allowed 2 FREE, yes FREE, pieces of baby equipment. This can be a pram, backpack, travel cot, baby carrier, car seat etc. However I did not see Jumperoo on the list (see Tip 8). Then you can take a baby changing bag AND an additional bag as hand luggage. Baby does not count as hand luggage so all cool.

So check out your airline before flying and see what perks they have and RINSE them!

Oh and you get to board first with a baby!!! Score!…..actually not so good as it means the baby will have to sit still for longer.

2) TRANSPORTATION

Right, you’ve made it to the resort ( minus Lenny the Lion- check plane seats before leaving) now you need to think about transportation. First of all a car seat? Bringing this with you uses up one of you “free” items on the flight, so check with Taxi/ Transfer company to see if they have one. Then transportation around the resort….for the baby!! A buggy that will go on the snow? Good wheels? hmmm wonder if you can buy snow chains for buggies???

Or a baby backpack/ sling? You can walk anywhere then, but you have to be totally committed that you will have to “wear your baby” the whole time and wont be able to just leave them to chill in a buggy whilst you do Apres (responsibly obviously).

So probably take both!!

OR (this is what I want to do if there’s snow on the ground) a little baby sledge. Could even attach one of the many mountain dogs to it to give you a rest? I’ve not used this mode of transport before, so not entirely sure how they stay in the sledge. Maybe you just tie them in somehow? Or maybe you just have to train the baby not to jump out and try to catch the weird looking German’s snow blades?

Here are some pretty old- school photos of me and my brother in a sledge in Canada…


3) DITCHING THE BABY!

Technically you’re not ditching the baby so you can go snowboarding……. you are giving your baby the opportunity to experience another culture, learn a language, explore different foods and make some new friends. It’s totally for their benefit and you are a GREAT mother for giving your baby this amazing opportunity! It’s basically like a baby French exchange.

So think about where you’ll leave your baby for their “Cultural Education”….

A Mountain Creche??? There’s a strong possibility that when you pick them up they will say “ah Bonjor Mama!”, so many benefits to this one. Although some resorts don’t let you use the creche if you’re a tourist.

A Nanny? More one- on- one treatment. She will probably be a lot better than me at looking after Arlo as waaaaaay more experience. Actually, will Arlo want to come back to me?!

Friends…..with babies. Maybe take it in turns to look after each others babies? Or just friends (that you have plied full of Chartreuse before getting them to pinky promise that they will babysit)

Maybe you and your partner could just take it in turns? Girls day then a boys day??

Or take a baby sitter (Mum, Dad??) with you. But you will probably have to pay for them to say thank you, which means less money to spend on your babies “Mountain Wardrobe Collection”. (ps. almost all in the sale so technically saving money)

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4) RE- CREATING THE BEDTIME ROUTINE…… NOT AT HOME!!!!

BRING ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING FOR THE BEDTIME ROUTINE!!!!!! Try to pretend that you are at home, turning a blind eye to the fact you’re IN ANOTHER COUNTRY!!! Don’t look your baby in the eye, they can sense your fear. Soyou must bring bath time bubbles, toys for bath, towels for baby, talc, moisturizer, toys you amuse them with whilst getting them changed after the bath, bedding, sleeping bag, pyjamas, lullabies, ALL animals for cot AND cot (where possible), singing voice and a rocking chair. Oh god and now a toothbrush for those SHARP little nashers. Also all those items that you have rubbed on yourself so they smell of you to comfort the baby!!

Actually something I found really useful was a White Noise app on your phone. You cannot always guarantee that it will be quiet in a ski resort (you were the culprit once so don’t get mad), so whack on the white noise and your baby wont even realise there is a rave happening next door.

Also black out blinds.

Book another suitcase on to your booking.

4a) JET LAG

Blame any baby sleeping problems on the fact of the 1 hour time difference (this could be a genuine reason if you’re going further a field). The baby therefore MUST be jet lagged. Something to consider.

5) FOOD

Depending on what stage your baby is at with food/ milk/ weaning will depend on what you need to take. I realise now that yes, Arlo screamed for the first few months, but it would have been easier food wise to go back packing around the world as I would only have had to take my boobs. Now its a different ball game. A blender is a good thing to have, so maybe check with where you are staying. If not, just go with lots of finger food and stuff you can mush up (Arlo will be living on a diet of Baguettes, Cheese and mashed up Tartiflette…when in Rome!)

Take at least 20 Ellas Kitchen packets…just in case.

6) NAPPIES

You’re basically going to a 3rd world country and they wont have nappies there……well at least not YOUR nappies. If you’re like me and freak out about changing the brand of nappies (if he doesn’t sleep when you’re in the mountains it was definitely the nappies fault), then make sure your bring enough with you. I’m just going to take enough for the night times, and use some french ones during the day. Wish I had been motivated enough to use those re-usable ones…..who am I kidding.

7) ACTIVITIES

Once your baby is all snowboarded out, you might want to think about other activities you can do with him/ her in the mountains. Of course building a snowman is number one on that list. I think the last one I built was actually a giant p*nis?? (we had had Jager), so make sure it’s “child friendly”, you’re on a COMPLETELY different ski trip now. Depending on the resort will depend on the activities on offer. But wherever you go there will always be walking, great/ cheap way to just absorb the mountain air. Other things include swimming, husky dog sledge riding, ice diving (totally safe for babies??!!!), shopping, soft plays (bigger resorts normally have something like this, usually in a hotel so investigate when you get there), tobogganing, picnics, horse riding, play parks (if not covered in snow) and building snow caves. Oh my god we are going to need to stay for at least a month.

And don’t forget Apres!!!!!! Perfect for babies! Music for them to dance to (well mum and dad to dance to and make the baby do pretend dance moves), great atmosphere AND it’s over before bedtime! But you must leave if people start taking their clothes off and using their snowboards to do weird kind of thrusting movements. Babies shouldn’t be exposed to this just yet.

(One of my first Snowmen, can you tell I’ve been going through old photos??!!)

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Also remember activities for you to do in the evening. At least one of you will be hanging out in the accommodation whilst your baby sleeps, and you might not have a TV….or Internet oh my god!!! So take a book??? Or load up some series onto the Ipad. Also knitting?

8) CONTAINING THE BABY

As I mentioned before, “Jumperoo” wasn’t on the free baby items listed with EasyJet. So you need to think about where you are going to lovingly place (contain) your baby whilst you “get stuff done”. And you can’t always guarentee that the accommodation will be baby proofed. We used a door bouncer jumping thing (Arlo in Austria below). Didn’t take up nearly as much room as the Jumproo, plus is good for snowboard training! (see photo)

Another thing we did last time was make “Fortes” (cages) with cushions, chairs, fridges. Another good way to keep the baby in one place.

Also travel cot, high chair, pram in apartment, or wearing the baby (backpack/ carrier) in accommodation are other possibilities.

9) PROTECTION

High factor suncream (especially those travelling with ginger babies) and sunglasses (remember cord to keep them on the heads, and mittens to stop them taking them off). Or in Arlo’s case, his first pair of actual snowboard goggles!! (the perks of Rich aka Dad, working in a snowboard shop…thanks Board Basement!!!)……didn’t end up getting them as they were too big but thanks for the photo!

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10) BABY MODEL PHOTO SHOOT!

You are obviously going to want to get that novelty photo of your baby on a snowboard IN THE MOUNTAINS!! Lets face it, the “baby on the sledge” and the “baby on a snowboard” photos are the main reason you’re going! So you need to think about provisions for the photo shoot. Are they actually going to snowboard???? ( had dreams of Arlo being the youngest baby EVER to snowboard, a Youtube sensation…but alas, the training hasn’t paid off and he’s yet to take his first steps……we still have 4 days though). If they are going to shred, you will need a tiny snowboard, tiny bindings, tiny boots and a pretty cool snowboard outfit (skinny pants, parka jacket, Thug Rug).
If your baby isn’t quite ready to take his/ her first turns, then maybe just get all the mini equipment anyway and pretend that they are snowboarding. OR you could snowboard and have them in between your legs (omg im SO excited to do this!!!!). Or in the baby backpack????? Or maybe just tie them to the snowboard and drag them round. Experiment. But make sure you get the shot and dont forget a baby crash helmet.

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BON VOYAGE!

Hopefully you are now nice and prepared for your trip to the mountains, re- check your packing and make sure you also have teething gel, teething rings, Calpol (industrial size), baby monitor, Snuffle Babe, hair dryer (Arlo gets a blow dry every night!!), rusks, bottles, spare bottles, water cups, bubble machine, star projector, wooden puzzles for eating, swimmers and shoes/ boots for the snow? Oh and stuff for you.

Like I said, a large truck should manage all of this.

But actually, if you do forget stuff, it WILL be fine, honestly! Babies are pretty adaptable and don’t need as much stuff as you think. It’s us that freak out more. Your baby will survive without that multi coloured Parrot thing (Polly). They will be totally content with a plastic container and a wooden spoon!

But obviously don’t forget Euan The Dream Sheep.

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What sort of Mother you think you’re going to be VS what sort of mother you are….

When you are pregnant you have all these ideas about what sort of mother you would like to be. BUT when you have a baby these go out the window! You begin to realise it’s all about survival and keeping your sanity.

I WILL NOT POST A MILLION BABY PHOTOS….

Well, what can I say, within the first couple of hours I hadn’t stuck to this. Even if your baby looks like some kind of scrunched up new-born Chihuahua, you will think he/ she is the most beautiful thing you have ever seen. And you just want to share this with the world…..100 times….a day!! After each photo I post on social media I promise myself that it’s definitely the last one for at least a week. But then you manage to take another banger (best smile so far, best outfit so far, best baby photo EVER), and you have this uncontrollable urge that you MUST share it. After all, it’s the first time he’s had an Ice Cream…..and HE’S ON THE BEACH!!!

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I WILL GO BACK TO SNOWBOARDING/ GYMNASTICS AS SOON AS I CAN EXERCISE……..

Nearly a year on and I’ve snowboarded once and definitely not gone back to adult gymnastics, not even done a handstand yet (actually going to try this right now on the living room floor…) Both sports are high impact so strong pelvic floors are a must! Although I’m mentally ready to get back to both sports, my body certainly doesn’t feel the same anymore. It took me 3 weeks to even be able to walk around the block (on my tip toes??? Seemed easier like that). I guess giving birth takes a lot out of you, even if you do listen to whale music throughout.

I also totally under estimated just how much time and attention a baby needs. To leave a baby, even for a couple of hours (let alone a weeks snowboard trip…to another country….can I do that??), is a complex mission, especially if you are breast feeding a monster child!! So you end up just karting this creature with you everywhere you go. So this does mean you end up sacrificing your whole life/ hobbies/ EVERYTHING. You loose your identitiy as “YOU” and just merge into “Mummy/ Baby”. But I’ve just got to remind myself it’s only for a small amount of time in the grand scheme of things and it’s totally worth it:). Plus adult gymnastics is waaaaaay past my bedtime these days anyway!!!! AND I can live my gymnastic days through Arlo now instead with Baby Gymnastics!! But don’t worry I WILL BE BACK……

I’LL JUST TAKE MY BABY BACKPACKING AROUND THE WORLD WITH ME…..

Yes I’ve managed to take him IN a back pack, but certainly not around the world……yet! I would love to do this, and I know some people manage it, but honestly those first few months were the hardest of my life EVER and a complete blur. I don’t know how I ever thought it would be easy to take a new-born backpacking? It was an achievement to make it to Sainsburys, let alone India!!! I was so sleep deprived I couldn’t even figure out that the remote control didn’t live in the fridge, no hope for navigating around the world. Maybe now the constant crying/ puking/pooing/ feeding stage is over it would be easier? But you also need a willing/ equally ambitious/ silly partner in crime to take with you to help you with the baby…… pleeeeeeeaaaase Rich???? Life education??? Also lots of money. Although I’m sure Arlo would feel “at one” with the Lion cubs in Africa and we would never see him again.

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NO I-PAD/ TV……

I never wanted to create a couch potato, so I wanted to only have the TV on for a “treat” What was I thinking???!!! From day one the TV has pretty much been on in the background anytime I’m at home. I just get so lonely!!! Sometimes I put music on, but the TV really makes it feel like you’re not alone and you have a friend in the room, even if it is Jeremy Kyle!  And it’s not been baby friendly programs either……but equally educational???? If I have to spend a day at home, the running order consists of “Good Morning Britain” (educational on political issues) into “Lorraine” (educational celebrity gossip) into “Jeremy Kyle” (Arlos favourite program, good for learning emotions??! Although I do turn it off when they all argue and hit each other), into “This Morning” and then “Loose Women” (important for him to learn about the female species)…….then a break for lunch before switching to E4 for “How I Met Your Mother” or “The Big Bang Theory”. He doesn’t understand them yet anyway right???

I also really didn’t want him to sit on an I-pad all day everyday. But …….WE ARE GETTING HIM AN I-PAD!!! We want to train him to sit still and actually watch something to give us a break!!!! Also to keep quiet on plane journeys which will be essential for our backpacking around the world!!! (see “TV training” below)

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I ONLY WANT TO HAVE WOODEN TOYS…..

I had all these visions of Arlo’s nursery (which still isn’t even done btw) filled with beautiful wooden toys, and him quietly (haha) playing with them. But the long and short of it is, they just aren’t interested in wooden toys (apart from wooden spoons from the kitchen). They love the bright plastic toys that make lots of hideous noises. And to be honest, no point spending the money on wooden toys anyway as they just puke/ poo on them. Plastic is much easier to clean. Now our living room looks like Toys RUS!!

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I WILL ONLY DRESS HIM IN SECOND HAND CLOTHES….

I really wanted to save lots of money and spend it on what I felt was really important to us, which were experiences and adventures rather than brand new swanky clothes/ material possessions.  After all, they grow so quickly anyway, so what was the point??!
Well let me tell you, sometimes 3am online baby shopping was the only thing that kept me going!! There is something about dressing your baby that is SO FUN!!! Waiting for that little “Zara” package to arrive in the morning. Co coordinating their outfits (we make a game out of it, Arlos going to be the next Gok Wan- don’t tell Rich). And as sad as it seems, this was the most exciting thing going on in my life at some points!! (Arlo modelling his Autumn/ Winter Collection below)

I DON’T WANT TO HAVE A ROUTINE….

I really wanted to be totally free-spirited, not constrained by a baby routine. “Just go with the flow” I thought “make him fit in with our lives”………..oh dear!! I still don’t have a strict routine with him during the daytime, everyday I do different things so he naps/ eats at different times. BUT the bedtime routine, that’s another kettle of fish!! OCD much??! Sleep deprivation is hands down the worse thing about being a mum. Sleep becomes so crucial that if one night they sleep slightly better you want to keep everything EXACTLY the same the next night. Same dinner, same times, same bath/ same bubbles, same toys in bath, same PJs, same soft toys in bed/ in same positions, same temperature in room, say same things/ in same order, sing same songs etc etc!!! And god forbid if anything happens to disrupt the routine!! THE BABY WONT SLEEP

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Then you have the “get out of the house on time” morning routine, and the “eat 3 meals a day” routine…….so before I knew it, our days almost resemble a sort of routine!!!!

I’M NOT GOING TO USE MY I-PHONE IN FRONT OF HIM…..

pahahaha what was I thinking!! Those 1-2 hourly feeds 24 hours a day for the first 6 months of his life were saved by my I-phone! It’s amazing how many other people (mothers) are on FB at 3am! Again, it was the only thing that kept me awake sometimes, I tried reading a book but it was awkward to hold whilst feeding, my phone however was the perfect size! Looking back on that time now, I wish I used my time more productivelyly, maybe to learn something, a language/ philosophies of life? Instead I spent my time googling “5 ways to get your baby to sleep through the night” or “different consistencies of baby poo”.

I am still on my phone a lot more than I would like to be, but it’s becoming more difficult. Arlo sees it at this forbidden fruit and its his sole mission in life to get it. If I use it whilst feeding, he tries to eat it, if I use it whilst he’s playing, he attacks me. I actually feel guilty using it in front of him now. Arlo will catch my eye now when I’m on my phone, and I’m sure he gives me disapproving looks. I have moments where I’m on FB and I think “wtf am I doing stalking other people’s babies whilst mine is right here trying to interact with me” BAD MOTHER!! . But since my phone is like THE BEST TOY EVER for Arlo, I use it as my last resort to make him quiet or keep him still. Handy tool to have, especially changing nappies!!. I really hope this isn’t going to fry his brain:(
 
I’M GOING TO BE SOOOO PRODUCTIVE WITH MY MATERNITY LEAVE….

I think this was one of the biggest shocks!! I really did have visions of the baby “peacefully” sleeping in the basket whilst I made lots of lovely things for his nursery, baked (well learnt how to), wrote a book, wrote a blog (took me 8 months), knitted, caught up with friends, yoga in the living room etc.  Just do all those things you never have time to do. I never realised having a “real live baby” with you on your maternity leave means you absolutely have no time whats soever!! Sometimes I get to 4pm and I think “have I even brushed my teeth today????!!”

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