Nomadic Baby

Whoopsy crossed a line a few days ago. Bearing in mind that this is the child who reconfigured my vagina and woke me up at least once a night for four months (and counting!).

T and I went for a civilised Sunday afternoon drink at our local pub (the only yuppy place we could find nearby… £16.50 for two drinks solely so we could sit amongst other young pale parents with hand knitted winter hats and Ergobaby slings. Within two minutes of sitting down my freshly made negroni had been kicked across the table and onto the floor. I cope with many things in life. I can cope with accidental pregnancies (if you call this blog ‘coping’). I can cope with being homeless. I can even cope with being left to care for baby alone for days on end as T disappears on another international business trip (if you call a glass of wine at 10am ‘coping’). However, all of this I can cope with as a result of cocktails that don’t include any mixers. The bartender didn’t offer to replace it, despite the look of pure desperation I shot her. I had to have a gin and tonic when we arrived home. I mean, really… if I wanted to drink watered down spirits I would just put a shot of vodka in my morning smoothie and call it quits.

The reason we were in a yuppy bar was because we have gone nomadic for two months in a bid to pretend we’re still young and adventurous. I follow lots of Insta accounts called things like ‘Backpack Baby’ and ‘The Nomadic Family’ displaying carefully edited glimpse of beautiful careless parents carting their tiny cargos across mountain ranges and through deserts. All of these FTF (filtered to fuck) pics have vomit inducing captions like ‘Today Hugo drank yak milk for the first time. If we were back in the UK I wouldn’t ever give him processed, hormone filled cow’s milk to drink, but these yaks eat only the freshest grass on the mountains of Mongolia and are milked by the hands of local virgins‘. Note – I did actually go looking for a real example of this and I found a photo of a woman in denim shorts going under the Insta name of ‘chasingfreedomdaily’, holding a baby up against a backdrop of exotic leaves. “It was raining outside today,” it read “so we had to take the opportunity to dance in the rain together“. What a great idea: I heard that infants love getting cold and wet for the sake of mummy’s Insta photo.

That said, I wanted in on this action. I too wanted to drink virgin’s milk from the hooves of a yak. Realising that once I return to work in the summer, our flexibility will once again be limited to which local landmark we can squeeze a visit to on a Saturday afternoon, we decided to rent out our apartment for two months and make use of our shared joblessness. The plan initially was to pack up and head East for two months, to Philadelphia or Washington DC. The more we read Donald Trumps’ tweets, however, the less our enthusiasm became for reducing the distance between the White House and our family. We then decided we would become nomadic instead, and go travelling. Cork to attend Ballymaloe Cookery School. Italy for the sunshine and the mozzarella balls. Cuba, perhaps, despite it being hurricane season. Maybe a spell in the English countryside, in a little cottage, in preparation for when we buy a plot of land and some pigs.

One by one, our plans were curtailed. T needed to be in the US for two conferences and we were expected to join a family hiking trip to the Lake District in the middle of the two months (because nothing says family holiday like trying to change a nappy up a up a freezing cold mountain in the fog). Someone else selfishly booked their wedding over a weekend in May. Soon we realised that it was all or nothing: we either skipped town and pissed off the whole village safe in the knowledge that they’d have forgotten in the space of eight weeks, or we stayed close to home. Being the cool, adventurous rebels we both are, we chose the latter. T had a brainwave. We could use the first few weeks to live in the neighbourhood where we are considering buying a house and get to know it before we commit to living there for a few years.

And that is how we ended up holidaying in South Norwood.

Before you feel too bitterly disappointed, we’re spending the whole of May in an eco-lodge (read: shed) in Bromley. I mean, that’s basically the same as going on safari. In our defence we also slipped a week in Croatia inbetween Croydon (let’s just call South Norwood what it really is, shall we…) and the shed. So at least we’d leave this little Island for far off places and catch some early sun whilst the rest of the country suffers through a miserable attempt at spring. Right?! WRONG. Because life is cruel and full of mockery. According to the BBC weather report for the next ten days, our week in Croatia will be significantly chillier than London, where temperatures are about to shoot through the roof. In fact, the last respectable day in Croatia (26 degrees) will be the day before we arrive.

In retrospect Whoopsy might have had good reason for kicking over the negroni. “We’re doing WHAT for two months?!”

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