Reise

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Dear travelin’ son,

Germany was fun.

Your first plane ride a success.

It could of course have been beginner’s luck, but you were just super on the plane, both the outbound and the return. On the outbound, you slept the whole time. I had to wake you up to get off the plane.

The morning of our departure, you very kindly slept in your swing for one hour so I could finish packing. I am constantly amazed at how considerate you are to your mama like that. Sleeping through lunch at the sushi restaurant, sleeping through my manicure. You are a very nice baby. And you slept while I packed and subsequently I didn’t forget anything this time. A first.

I called the cab for one pm and we got to the airport about two hours before the flight left, nice and calmly. In Paris we couldn’t bring the stroller to the gate (which we could do by the way in Munich on the return), but really, that wasn’t a big deal. I had packed a backpack to bring as a carry-on, and had put a smaller bag inside with things I wanted during the flight (iPod, lip gloss, gum), as well as stuffing a makeshift travel diaper bag in the backp,  containing a few extra diapers (everyone advised to bring more than I thought I would need in case of delays), organic cotton wipes, an extra pacifier (I learned this is called “schnuller” in German, actually I learned a lot of baby related vocabulary on this trip), and an extra outfit in case of explosion (also came in handy on the way back, where an incident took place in which poo inexplicably ended up on your tummy). You were wearing your summery pantalons thai from Les P’tits Cailloux, which are lightweight and easy for a change.
I also packed the baby bjorn and I was a bit surprised to see some people simply carrying their babies. Perhaps these were people who didn’t know they couldn’t bring their stroller up to the gate. But even then, I couldn’t imagine not having a baby carrier of some sort because even on the plane, having hands free to be able to put the backpack under the seat, or also at the baggage claim, how can they claim their stroller if they are holding their baby ? The baby bjorn was just so indispensable, it made getting on and off the plane so much easier. And also, as grossetante and grosseoncle have such a huge three story house and garden, it made carrying you around the house much easier too. (A problem we don’t have in Paris, ha ha).
So anyway, we settled in at the gate, you had a feed and I flipped through the International Herald Tribune that they had on offer at the gate, and for the first time in my life I got to go on the plane when they called for « Pre-boarding for families with infants and small children at this time ». You were already asleep by the time we settled into our seat. The stewardess came around to give us some little presents, a bib and burp cloth, and showed us how to use the baby seatbelt that attaches to my seatbelt, which is loose enough for you to face me so you can nurse during takeoff and landing, or to face out if you are bored and want to look around, or simply to lie down on my lap and doze, which is what you did. I kept looking expectantly down at you, waiting for you to be woken up by the noise of the airplane or your ears hurting during landing, but nope, you just snoozed away, leaving me free to listen to music and flip through French Vogue and the Air France inflight magazine and to sip a drink. I think you were calmed by the noise of the airplane and the bumpiness.

Grossetante was waiting for us at the airport and we took the S-bahn to their wonderful home.

The week was spent swimming nearly everyday at the lake, of course you are too little to go in the lake, but you laid in the grass kicking your legs in the air and napping in the mosquito net pop up bed, while mama went for a swim. Mama even went for a bike ride to the Feringasee one morning while grossetante and grosseuncle watched you. This is something I enjoyed doing pre-you, and I was happy to be able to do it again, though I have to say I’m really looking forward to popping you in a bike seat and taking you to the Feringasee so we can splash around together.
We spent hours in the garden, eating nearly every meal there and we napped in the grass under a sun umbrella. That is also something I love doing in summer at grossetante and grosseuncle’s home. Their garden is so lovely. We would sit out late after dinner and watch the night fall around us, the crickets start to chirp and the stars come out.
You were quite enamored with your cousin C, and he with you. You spent a lot of time in his arms. He had an outdoor party at his landscape company site (in which they roasted a whole pig, mama didn’t have any), and you napped in his arms for about two hours, leaving mama to drink a bavarian beer. He was really nice about taking you so that I could eat dinner, and then we would switch back and forth.

Your grossetante helped with your bath every evening and then gave you a bottle while I took a shower. You both enjoyed that very much.

Everyone kept talking about how convenient the stroller was, with its car seat attachment and fold-up chassis that popped into the trunk. It was indeed very convenient and we took it on lots of walks.

One thing I noticed which was funny, you seemed bothered by the quiet. It’s very quiet at grossetante and grosseuncle’s house. It made me realize how, even if we live in calmer area of Paris, just how noisy it is in Paris. They were always concerned if they had to run the dishwasher or something, that it would be too noisy for you, but you seem to sleep better with a bit of noise. They didn’t believe me (and that was something that was a bit annoying, family trying to tell me what to do, but that’s maybe another post).

On Saturday grosseuncle and I and you went into Munich because I wanted you to see downtown Munich. We stopped at a bookshop because I wanted to buy grossetante a book, then we had lunch in a beergarden, then walked across the Odeonsplatz, Marienplatz, Viktualienmarkt, and then passed by the famous Hofbrauhaus. (FYI, son, as we were walking by the Hofbrauhaus, there was a tour going on in English, and the one sentence I caught was the tour guide explaining that there is a fifty euro fine if you either vomit or urinate in the halls of the Hofbrauhaus. I don’t think she was talking about spit-up or leaky diapers. Please keep this tidbit in mind for your first visit to the Hofbrauhaus).

There are two things that I want to tell you about. They are both times when I wished you were old enough to really share in the experience. The first thing is that on the morning we left, we were lying in a chaise longue in the garden, and a little hedgehog crawled out from under the fence on the other side of the garden, and was puttering around. He was so cute, I wish you could have appreciated it.

The second thing I want to tell you is that on the evening before we left, it was the last day of August, and I took an orange wool blanket and sat in a chair in the garden, barefoot, and wrapped you in the blanket, and you fell asleep and I sat there for hours, watching the sky grow dark on the end of summer.

So we had a lovely holiday, and on the way home for some reason they put us in business class, which surprised me because I would have thought they didn’t want babies in business class, but anyway it was nice to enjoy the smoked salmon and cassis macarons. We sat by the window, and there was a business man in the aisle who said that you were « drolement sage ». Indeed, you slept for the first half of the flight, then you woke up but didn’t cry, not even during the landing, just sort of looked around and wiggled around.

I can’t say that this means I’m ready for California. As a matter of fact, even if I do want you to see my home town, I really have no desire to take that eleven hour flight anytime soon. But hopefully we will be back in Munich in winter. Snow !

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