Baby's First Holiday: Devon Valley
Babies + hard work + lots of stuff = holidays. We just got back from Devon Valley in Teignmouth where Archie had a wonderful first holiday, regardless of contracting a chest infection (and scaring me to death, choking on mucus on night #2). He was such a trooper, I'm bursting with pride at how he handled his illness and being away from home, you couldn't even tell with the amount he laughed, smiled and enjoyed himself.
So, after the trauma of Archie's first (awful) chest infection, things started to pick up and we visited Babbacombe beach which is hidden down in a little cove. We had ice-creams and Archie got to see the sea for the first time. It's a shame he couldn't go in (due to lack of sunshine and being poorly) but he still loved playing with the waves as they ran up to his feet.
The campsite itself was great, we stayed in a two-floor chalet (the same place I stayed as a kid when we used to visit). Before we left, Archie was just getting himself into a good routine of sleeping through (most, not all, nights), having a 1½-2 hour nap in the morning (both in his cot) and two 30-45 minute naps later in the day (in car/pram). I've never forced a strict schedule on A, he seems to have just naturally settled into one, having his bottles and solids at a similar time each day, so I was worried that being completely out of routine would be confusing for him (especially on returning home).
Luckily, he took it all in his stride, and what with being ill at the same time, I really didn't worry about breaking his sleep habits too much (not napping in his cot/going to sleep alone at bedtime). He went to bed later than normal (around 9-10pm) and slept in a little later in the mornings (7/8am), but he made up for having less sleep at night by napping for around 4-5 hours during the day. I'm not sure how much of an impact on his sleep his illness had, but he slept pretty well overall. He'd wake at night a few times, but I put that down to his infection as opposed to being away from home.
I was mostly nervous about what would happen once we arrived home, but other than whinging for slightly longer before naps/bedtime, he's settled back into his routine easily and now his infection is clearing up, he's gone back to sleeping 9+ hours a night (generally, not always!) and napping regularly (and we didn't ruin my favourite morning nap, Mama's got stuff to do!). In fact, things seem to have even improved as he's rising later in the mornings than before as well.
On Thursday, we took a trip out to Brixham Harbour. We got ice-creams (for the umpteenth time that week) and A got to sample plenty of flavours including bubblegum (ugh, he loved it), eton mess, banoffee and maple & walnut. As any kid would, he couldn't stop smacking his lips.
He absolutely loved the swings (I can't find baby swings in any park in Swindon at all, help?), we struggled to get him off of them. One evening, he ended up falling asleep on them as he was so tired but just wouldn't come off. I think it's something we'll definitely have to invest in, especially if we can't find any locally.
A was great with the late nights, he usually had a nap around 6/7pm (when he'd normally go to bed) and wake up at the clubhouse to have some fun on the dancefloor with the other kids, before dropping back off again around 9/10ish. He met lots of other little ladies (the girls love him) & the noise didn't seem to bother him or disrupt his sleep when he went off in the pram (even though it was loud at times).
On the final day, we took a trip on an old steam train to the village of Totnes, which was great. AJ loved being on the train and was mesmerised following the view. Bonus! Fin & I got to pretend we were on the Hogwarts Express (dorks) as we got to sit in one of the private carriages on the way back.
Archie loved having his half-brother, Finley, around. Fin stays with us around 2/3 weekends a month and Archie is always fascinated with him, it's like every time he sees him, it's for the first time. It was lovely that they got to spend the whole week together and it's clear how much they love each other already. Fin was always showing Archie off to his friends and dancing with him at the club and Archie would climb all over Fin and pull his hair (I'm sure it's a sign of love) at every opportunity.
We all had an amazing and (eventually) relaxing holiday and I'd definitely go back to Devon Valley, I love holidaying in England anyway. It's mad to think that next time we go, Archie will be wobbling around on the dancefloor by himself, getting up to even more mischief. He was even treated to his first pair of walking shoes by Nanny & Grandad this holiday. He's now walking along the furniture and just started pushing himself along using his walker (so many bumps on the head this month), so it won't be long now. I'm also starting to think about how we're going to celebrate his first birthday/Christmas this year, can't believe it's nearly that time already.