I debated starting this post where the last one finished…ready to board the aeroplane, about to take off, but have since decided the flight was not interesting enough to blog about. I spent most of the time in the smallest toilet in the world, changing dirty nappies and clothing (yes – Boy 3 picked that day to have an upset tummy!). And when I wasn’t changing nappies, I was feeding Boy 3 in an attempt to keep him quiet! And for those of you who know my little Albie, you will know that there is nothing he likes more than some booby juice, so it made for a very contented baby, a quiet flight for those around us and a resulting lack of amusing anecdotes.
(As an aside, and building on my previous ‘Breast Feeding Dilemma’ post, I have had no negativity from breast-feeding on my trip. Quite the opposite. People have been keen to help. I was allowed to sit in priority seats at the airport to feed and one lovely lady at the Krispy Kreme kiosk even gave me a free bottle of water to have whilst Boy 3 fed…I resisted the urge to ask for a doughnut to go with it!)
So on with the show…next stop Budapest. Our lovely friend met the four of us (me, my other friend, Boy 3 (now 3 months old) and Boy 4 (not mine – no need to rename my blog – he is my friend’s 18 month old!) at the airport, with a plan to take the babies and one of us home, while the other one took a cab with the luggage. But like many plans, this one was to be changed…as we decided to play a game of ‘How many people, luggage and pushchairs can you fit in a Ford Focus?’ The game was simple…we had to see if the additional cab was really necessary, or if we could fit all of us and our belongings in the Focus.
Picture this – the back seat of the Focus housed one screaming baby, one screaming toddler, one adult (no, not me, one with a considerably smaller bottom!), one rucksack, one baby changing bag and three handbags; the boot held one pushchair and two suitcases; the front passenger seat held one adult with the other pushchair squeezed between her legs (yes – that was me – after giving birth to three boys, a pushchair was a breeze!). It was a hilarious journey to my friend’s house, although the laughter sometimes bordered on hysteria, with loss of the use of one wing mirror, due to the badly placed pushchair, on the busy Hungarian roads in rush hour.
Having safely arrived at our destination (I have no idea how we managed it safely!) the reality of the situation soon hit home. Yes, we were staying in a spacious three bedroom apartment, but there were four adults and four children under the age of three. Let the chaos commence!
You have never seen so many cots in one apartment. There were also four sizes of nappies on the go and the nappy changing mat was like a busy conveyor belt in Tesco’s on Christmas Eve! There were toys for all ages and stages, strewn around the floor, and a fridge full of milk, snacks and puréed food.
It was crazy and noisy and so wonderful, having us all together under one roof, twenty years on from when we met, now all married and old and mummies to all our gorgeous children! (OK – not all of them – I had left Boy 1 and Boy 2 at home remember – bad mummy that I am!)
And our long weekend went something like this:
Day 1 – A ‘relaxing’ afternoon settling in. (By this, I mean getting used to the overcrowded apartment, sorting out sleeping arrangements, and abusing my friend’s husband Nespresso collection.)
Day 2 – A trip to the Christmas market, with a sleeping baby, resulting in the purchase of three hanging wooden Christmas decorations, carefully chosen to avoid dramas when I got home. (“He has a reindeer. I wanted a reindeer. I don’t want a Santa” – incidentally, both the boys able to talk got reindeer and the baby, who cannot yet moan at me, got the Santa!)
I also enjoyed this bad boy:
Beef stew served in a loaf of bread – it was so tasty. However it was also large enough to feed a small Hungarian army, so I am pleased to say that even I couldn’t finish it. (Despite currently having to eat an extra 1000 calories a day because I am breastfeeding – isn’t that the advised additional calories?!)
Day 3 – a walk down to Heroes’ Square (Hungarian heroes that is – not the Superman type ones!), feeding the ducks, lunch out and a mosey round the shops. Because it is important to experience the local culture. And we were sure H&M in Budapest was a cultural experience we needed!
And then the evening of Day 3 arrived…
Tonight was a big night for me. We had planned to go out. Without the children!
My friend’s husband (AKA The Child Whisperer and most patient and nicest man ever!) had offered to babysit all the children while we went to play an exit game. (Read on for more info on that!) Now how many of you can claim to have a man so generous (and quite frankly out of his mind) they would make that offer? Four children. Ages 3 months, 10 months, 18 months and 3 years. Not many I bet. Now I love my husband very much, but I know full well he wouldn’t have gone to those lengths. And who can blame him? However this super man offered to look after his own children plus a breast-fed three month old and a teething 18 month old. This man is a saint! (Or perhaps just realised that it’s an easy gig when they are all asleep, and it would earn him some serious brownie points and we may even replenish his Nespresso collection!)
I have never left Boy 3 before for any longer than 10 minutes. Not even with his own Dad. That is the only drawback of breast-feeding. And having a breast-fed baby instills fear into my husband, as he thinks the only way to stop Boy 3 crying is to feed him – an activity in which he cannot yet partake. But with 6 weeks of sleeping through the night, and our exit game only 15 minutes away, I decided to take a risk for a rare night out.
Bad mummy alert – having deserted my new baby, I then spent the next hour not giving him a second thought! But if you have any knowledge of exit (or escape) games, you will know why. You are locked in a room for one hour and the only way to get out is to solve puzzles and clues, Crystal Maze stylee – it is amazing. I loved every second of it. And for just a short while, I forgot I was a mummy, as I put my brain to the test to escape the room. (I think secretly I had an irrational fear that we would never be let out of the room if we failed, and I would never see my boys again, so failure was not an option!)
And do you know what? Despite three months of baby talk and baby brain, my brain stepped up to the challenge and, between the three of us, we escaped the room and got home safely, to find the children still sleeping!
(If you ever get the chance, play an exit/escape game – they are so good and give an hour of child-free escapism into the deal!)
Day 4 – we went home 😦
I was full of sadness to leave our lovely friends and to know our Hungarian fun had come to an end.
But I had achieved so much: travelling with a young baby; sharing an apartment with four children and keeping my sanity; leaving my baby Boy 3 for the first time; escaping from a medieval-themed room; packing a Focus to bursting point.
Thank you to my wonderful friends for their hospitality and friendship. And we have even been invited back – with all my boys next time (once my pals have moved to a bigger house of course!).
And so it ended – after a short delay at the airport, another painless flight and quick drive back, I arrived home to my beautiful big boys and their big ‘never too old for a cuddle’ hugs!