We had our first trip away from home a couple of weeks ago, up to Yorkshire to visit my mum for a couple of days. I drove up at night, so she slept most of the way. She woke once or twice and went “Where the hell am I?” but then went back to sleep again. We arrived at 10pm, and she was initially very frightened and freaked out but then calmed down and settled.
The whole time we were there she seemed absolutely fine – I was worried she would be anxious but actually I was more anxious than she was (ironically I was mostly anxious about whether or not she was anxious!). She had a lovely time meeting some extended family members and lots and lots of cuddles with Grandma – she has bonded really quickly and well with my mum, which is lovely, although occasionally hard not to feel slightly rejected when she preferred Grandma’s hand/cuddles to mine! I suppose Grandparents do have novelty value! All in all she was happy, smiley, quiet and well behaved, and we both had a lovely time.
The drive home was during the day and was a bit arduous – it took us 5 hours to get home, and she was pretty grumpy and grizzly in the end (it’s a long time to sit in a car when you’re bored and small!). Mum came down with us as she was going to babysit that evening, so at least there was someone to help entertain her in the car and pick up the bottle she kept flinging to the floor. I kept telling her we were going home, but I think she was a little anxious about where I was taking her next as it was a long drive. I tried to help her understand by referencing the cats (lots of “Shall we go home and see Tiggy and Cleo?”) but I don’t think it helped much.
The last hour of the journey both mum and I were going a little bit bonkers from the constant low-level grizzling whining noises, and stopping again would have just taken even longer and left us at risk of hitting rush hour, but then I remembered I had some nursery rhymes on my phone so we spent the last 45 mins singing nursery rhymes at top volume in a very manic way. Anyone driving past us will have seen two women clearly on the edge with insane grins plastered onto their faces belting out “She’ll be coming around the mountain” as loudly and cheerfully as they could.
Once we got home, you could see the little one visibly relax and she went round the house checking things were still there. It probably helped that Grandma and I had stopped singing like insane children’s entertainers…. I got her to help me unpack the suitcase and put things away so she could see we were really back!
I realised the next day after everyone left that she hadn’t had a single tantrum while we were away, and while she seemed perfectly fine and well behaved while we were away, it also reminded me of how perfectly behaved she was the first two weeks after she moved in when she was really scared and confused. The day after we got home she was EXHAUSTED and ended having a 2-hour nap and then slept for 14 hours straight that night!
Since getting back home she has been extra clingy and cuddly, needing lots of reassurance, so we have been doing all of our normal routines and I must admit I am loving our snuggly cuddles in bed every morning. She has also resumed normal service in the tantrum department so clearly we are back to normal!
I’m hoping the next short trip away to visit my sister in Wales will help her understand we go away and then we come back home again. All in all it was a really good first trip away, and I’m hoping to do a few more little trips over the next few months so she can learn it’s all ok. Am already planning a trip up to Edinburgh to see some friends in February, and if all goes well I’d really like to try and take her to Australia over Easter to meet the other half of the family (though a lot of that will depend on how long the legal side takes, as I’m not allowed to apply for a passport for her or leave the country until that is finalised).