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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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??!!)
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.
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!
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.
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.