An important milestone- Baby D’s first festival! Just to make sure that he got the true festival experience, we picked a super-muddy one. Well, actually we hoped it would be sunny. After all, it was called Sunrise Celebration (man how the celebratory cheers went up across the site when the sun did rise above the clouds!).
The first day saw me sitting on a camping chair under a brolly breastfeeding Baby D whilst Mr Heartshapedhands and my mum put tents up in heavy rain, Baby D was a bit confused and grumpy, we adults were soggy and grumpy and I considered bailing out and going home early (like, 3 days early) for the first time in my festivalling history. However the weather did improve, my mood and the general enjoyment level with it. Yet the mud got muddier – to the point where my mum was coming up with at least 5 different categories of mud. TIP: although I admittedly didn’t try pushing a buggy around in the mud, it looked not at all easy. I was very glad of our sling!
Something else I was very glad of was my mum. Nana-of-as-much-unlimitted-energy-as-Baby D was fun to festi with, and great to have around for entertaining him, changing the odd nappy and enabling Mr Heartshapedhands and I to have some time on our own. Time to squelch about feeling someone was missing and not quite knowing what to do with ourselves, and vaguely remembering how to have a conversation where we could give our whole attention to each other. I’d definitely recommend having a helper-outer about!
I did go to a few talks, although invariably missed some of each of them due to Baby D’s feed needs, his wanting to be walked outside, or his being “chatty” and potentially restricting others’ ability to hear. I even got to have a bit of a boogie, although felt very guilty about doing so when I met up with mum, Mr Heartshapedhands and a screaming Baby D.
This festival differed from previous ones in my level of sobriety (limited to having a small dash of spiced rum in a hot chocolate, and a bit more caffeine than I usually would). Another lovely new aspect was the sharing of knowing smiles – and some kind of sense of community – with other parents. Not just the other mums and dads with dinky ones in slings, but those with older children too. The smile they’d give me when Baby D was snuggled into my chest that said “ah, I remember that” and the smile I’d give them when their 4 year old fell into the mud which said “oh no! Good luck with cleaning up, I’m sure I’ll be doing similar in a few years”.
- It’s easy to lose sense of time at festivals, particularly when “nipping back to the tent” involves walking the distance from your home to town. Baby D had quite a grump one evening which we realised was quite possibly because we hadn’t yet had dinner and it was 8pm.
- See Camping with a Baby post for what we did about keeping him warm at night. Being a month later and further south, it wasn’t as cold. We didn’t have the futon mattress with us but he and I slept on 2 very think blankets and 2 thinner ones on 2 yoga mats.
- We had a chair from Mothercare that’s designed to strap on to a dining chair, but we just out it on the floor (needs supervision as he could probably tip it over if he tried). We’ve previously found that Little Mr Wriggle won’t eat if he’s just sitting on the floor with us, he’ll just crawl away to explore. But having a chair to strap him in (it has a table too) meant that he stayed put and ate! It folds up and is light to carry.
- As much as we try to avoid disposable products if possible, I just couldn’t have taken our washable nappies, And thank goodness for wet wipes!!
- If using a sling, think how baby will keep dry. I’ll let you into my shameful neglectful parenting secret here; I tend to forget about his feet sticking out! Often I wear a coat that goes over them but I had a different one with me and the first night they got soaked, poor little dude! However, I managed to find a stall selling some thick felted little booties with tiger face on- so cute!
- Plan nappy changes (if possible!). The tent was the only really viable place to change his nappy and there were a couple of times when one of us had to dash back and miss some of a talk because we realised the current nappy had been on a while and D was seeming uncomfortable. That said, if there had been an emergency I’m sure someone in the main area would have let us use their van etc.