Operation: Where’s the engagement ring?

After I found out I was pregnant I decided that seeing as it was all a surprise and my boyfriend was only 24 years old I wouldn’t pressure him to stick around. Obviously what I wanted more than anything else was to marry him and start a family the way I had always wanted. The one thing I knew back then was that when men are pushed into something they are not ready for they either pull away completely, they resent you or they rebel in some way.

The truth is I never wanted him to be able to turn around and say that he was forced to marry me, or that he was only with me because he had no other choice. I could imagine us having a fight and him shouting that his life would have been better if I had never gotten pregnant. It sounds harsh but when something so unexpected happens to you, all you can think about is not making it worse.

We had of course talked about getting married and having kids but all of that was meant to happen when we were 30, not 24! As the months went by he started changing his habits. He went out less, drank less and started behaving more responsibly. All of this reassured me and gave me hope that he might propose before the baby arrived and then we could get married. We had our trip planned to Egypt, Jordan and Israel (see Travel section for post) and I was secretly hoping that he would propose to me then. What is better than a romantic holiday for a proposal?

dahab moni

So there we are in our second destination of the trip, Dahab, a beautiful little beach town on the east coast of Egypt. We had four nights there before we would move on to Jordan. The first couple of nights we just had dinner around the hotel and did day trips to the blue hole for some snorkeling, shopping in the market, sunbathing by the pool. The third night he had made a reservation at a fancy restaurant on the beach. I was certain this was the night he was going to propose. I figured that if he was going to propose at all it would be in a romantic restaurant as opposed to when camping in the dessert.

by the beach

I showered and got ready for the date first. While he was showering and shaving I started to panic. What if he didn’t want to marry me? What if he didn’t even have a ring? That’s when I decided that I needed to check to see if he had a ring. I wouldn’t look in the box but at least that way I would know if he had a plan to propose. If he didn’t, I would have time to deal with the disappointment. So, as he was showering I started going through his rucksack, I looked everywhere, emptying every pocket, looking inside every sock, checking his jean pockets. I LOOKED EVERYWHERE!!! He was about to come out of the bathroom and I hadn’t found anything. NO RING FOR MONICA!!!

I was very disappointed but I didn’t want him to notice so I tried to not let him see me cry. We were finally ready so we headed to the hotel lobby to take a taxi to the restaurant. We arrived a little earlier than our reservation so he suggested we go for a walk on the beach. I, of course, was in no mood to go for a beach walk. I was so heartbroken I just wanted to eat and then go to sleep, but he insisted we go for a walk. As we were walking around he stopped to point out how beautiful the stars looked. He bent down to buckle his shoelace. Then he said to me “hey can you hold this for me while I tie my shoes?”. As I looked over he was kneeling down with a tiny little blue box in his hand. He said that I was his best friend, that he loved me more than anyone could ever love somebody. That he wanted my face to be the first thing he saw every morning and the last thing he saw before he went to sleep and would I do him the honor of being is wife.

I couldn’t believe it. I had given up hope. I was crushed and in one second he filled me with so much love that I felt like I was going to float away. That is how the girl who was accidentally pregnant got everything she ever wanted.

 

 

NB: If you ever plan going to Egypt I recommend going to Cairo, doing a cruise down the Nile to visit Luxor and Kings Valley and visiting Dahab. We normally just buy flights and then we plan the rest of our trip out ourselves. I know that people sometimes prefer having their trips with guides. There are many great travel companies that can plan your whole trip out. Check out TripAdvisor for some info.

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g297547-Dahab_South_Sinai_Red_Sea_and_Sinai-Vacations.html

 

 

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Crying in an airplane toilet! Are we there yet???

Are you crazy? You are traveling on a plane to the South of France with a four week old baby? What about the germs? How will you cope? These are some of the things my husband and I first heard when we decided to take our daughter to Nice, France when she was a month old. We wanted some sunshine and we decided that rainy London wasn’t good enough for us to spend the summer even if we had just had a baby!

Nice with Bella

I have to say that the one thing I hear over and over from fellow moms is their fear of traveling with an infant. It seems to be the one scenario that really stresses them out and worries them. Perhaps it’s the idea of being on a plane so high up that their life is literally in someone else’s hands but I think it’s the fear of the unknown. Sure, many new moms and dads are frequent flyers so you would think that flying for them is second nature and in turn doing it with an infant is not a problem. That’s where you would be wrong. Almost every person that has been on a plane has at some point or another shared that flight with a screaming child (baby, toddler, etc.). For many that can be a scaring experience. So much so that when they have a child and it’s their turn to fly they are plagued with insecurities of how the flight will play out.

My daughter is 7 years old and she has been to almost ten countries already (Morocco, Ireland, France, Italy, Mexico, etc.). She is a seasoned traveler and behaves impeccably. Of course it wasn’t always smooth sailing, we had to train her and teach her the do’s and don’ts of flying. Every parent is entitled to a holiday, to leave their everyday lives and go experience a little piece of paradise even if it is just for a few days. I hope that this list helps either reassure you in your travels with a child or gives you some ideas of how to cope.

Family on a plane

  1. Adjust your expectations:

The biggest mistake you can make is to think too optimistically. I’m not saying you have to dread the journey and only look forward to the destination. I’m saying that it is important that you are aware of the possible issues that may arise during your trip. If you can envisage what could possibly go wrong during the flight it will help calm your nerves. You will be aware of how to react when certain problems arise.

  1. Expect the unexpected:

I know you expect your baby to poop and pee during the flight and you will come prepared with wipes and diapers. Just make sure that you come prepared with extra diapers that you would normally use in that space of time. Trust me, when you are traveling for some reason children seems to wet and soil themselves more than normal. You do not want to find yourself with your last diaper in your hand hoping that your little one has no more surprises for you.

You never know how a child is going to react to a flight. The altitude, crowds of people, sound of the engine, being restricted to one area may affect them more than you anticipated. Make sure you have some sort of medicine in case your child should need it.

  1. Travel comfy:

Even if you are a super trendy mommy I would recommend you travel in the most comfortable clothes you have. Even clothes you don’t care if they get spit up on, pooped on and spilled on.

Dress your child in clothes that are easy to remove and are comfortable and warm.

Make sure you bring your infant carrier with you on the plane. I find the best time to strap a baby on is as you are boarding the flight and having to give up your stroller. The carrier will also be a life saver when you are walking around the aisles with you child. Your arms will need a break and it helps if you can strap your little one to your chest as you move about the cabin. If you have an infant the closeness will help comfort them. If you have a toddler being able to look around will satisfy their curiosity.

  1. Make good use of your time:

Don’t worry too much about staying in your seat while everyone else is boarding. If you can go to the back of the plane and let your child look around at all there is to see. There will be enough times when you are restricted to your seat. Don’t be too eager to sit down.

Before you take off make sure your child doesn’t need a change of diaper. You don’t want a wet and uncomfortable baby while you are taking off.

  1. Pack wisely:

Like I mentioned before it is better to over pack diapers than to run out. Another important thing to bring is extra clothes. I normally always have a spare outfit in my diaper bag but on a flight I recommend having two outfits.

Here are a few items that I found really helped out:

  • Travel pillow (you can place this under your arm to help you support your child)
  • Breastfeeding cover (not only is this essential if you are nursing but even if you don’t it will help shield your infant from the airplane lights which tend to stay on at all times, unless it’s an evening flight)
  • Plastic bag to dispose of dirty diapers, wipes or used up food pouches. You don’t want to have to get up every time you have to throw something away.
  • Soft, thick and warm blanket. They tend to blast the A/C on planes and the last thing you want is a cold baby. Kids tend to sleep better and be comforted if they are in a warm and cozy environment. The best way to do this is to wrap them up in the blanket while you hold them. More times than not they will fall asleep right in your arms.
  • Bring enough food and snacks for your child. It’s better to have more and not need it. Food pouches are excellent for flights. Any type of finger food that your child can be distracted with is also a must have. If there is one food that your child loves make sure you bring it and save it in case of a breakdown.
  • Bag of fun: buy a new toy for the special occasion. Something that will keep you child engaged for as long as possible. I recommend taking some of their normal toys too and packing them away a week before the trip so that it’s a special treat when you pull them out of the bag.
  • iPad’s are your friends. Don’t for a second think you are a bad parent if you bring an iPad as a source of entertainment. Even for a baby watching a video will be a great distraction. They may not be engaged for very long but every second counts when you are up in the air.
  • Don’t forget to sing to your child and try and have some fun with them.
  1. Set up your area:

It is policy that you have to have all bags stowed away under the seat in front of you or in the cabinet space above. You should, however, make sure you have everything you might need during takeoff and landing within your reach. Have the wipes, diapers and pacifier in the pocket in front of you. Have the blanket on your lap and a toy handy. If things go chaotic quickly you won’t lose anytime trying to find the essentials.

  1. Feed a child during takeoff and landing. It helps so their ears don’t pop.
  2. If you are traveling with your hubby then send him on the plane first to set up your area and pack away your bags. While you stay out by the gate as long as possible. If you have a toddler, let them run around as much as they want during this time.

 

Don’t let yourself be judged. Of course if your kid is the one crying and kicking up a real fuss you should give an apologetic look or say you are sorry but don’t for a second let it get to you. If people want to judge and be mean ignore them. Remember that your child takes queues from you. If mommy is stressed and anxious your child will probably pick up on that and react to it. Try and stay calm and be forgiving of yourself. You are doing a much better job than you give yourself credit for. If you ever feel overwhelmed by the experience don’t forget that the airplane toilets are great for locking yourself away and having a good cry!

 

Bon voyage!

First trip with a Bump

Cairo Egypt

You know that moment when you start to wonder, why am I doing this? What could have ever made me think THIS was a good idea? For me the THIS was sleeping on the floor, on some kind of Jordanian rug in a tent owned by a Bedouin man in the middle of Wadi Rum while 6 months pregnant. Maybe I just love traveling? Maybe I love the great outdoors? or maybe my boyfriend and I just found out we were having a baby and this trip had been planned and paid for a year ago….. in your early twenties, if you’ve paid for it…. you are going on that trip…

We flew into Cairo from London, arrived at our “posh” hotel and settled in after a tiring journey (well, at least for me- I’m the pregnant one!). We spent the night planning out the next few days. The Pyramids of Giza are an absolute must, as was the Egyptian Museum. Then we would set off to Dahab (little beach town on the southeast coast of the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt).

Lets just say that when traveling to Egypt one needs to be prepared for the unexpected. On our morning walk to the Egyptian Museum we were approached by a shop owner. Very politely he asks us where we are headed. To our surprise he informs us that on Tuesdays the Museums are all closed. So, that changes things. We kinda forgot to confirm with the Hotel that the Museum was in fact open, so when he tells us this we believe him (why would he lie, right?). He then invites us into his little shop where he sells essential oils and perfumes. Now, I’m pregnant and strong odors tend to send me over the edge but this man will not take no for an answer. So into the shop we go. As we sit down the man locks the door behind us (strange but we go with it). Then he offers us some tea to which i refuse (I am not drinking anything from someone I don’t know when I’m drinking for two). He insists so much that the boyfriend ends up having to drink my tea as well. At this point I’m just praying that there is nothing in the tea otherwise I’m gonna have to carry my 180lbs boyfriend out of the shop. Luckily the tea was harmless but thats when the REAL fun began. The shop owner wants to show me all his essential oils and perfumes. He starts by trying to rub some on my hands, I am trying so hard to be polite but at this point I’m either gonna vomit on someone or scream. I start getting up saying that its time for us to go and that’s when another man shows up from behind a curtain and blocks the door. Now I’m definitely freakin out. They start speaking to each other in Arabic (which by the way is not one of the languages I speak) and I’m starting to cry at this point. The owner tells us that if we buy something then we can leave. That’s when the boyfriend loses it. Finally, that took him long enough to react. No one is gonna separate him from his hard earned cash against his will. So with a show of strength and a few tears from the pregnant girl we are finally allowed to leave. I for one was very shaken up by the whole experience but was still determined to enjoy our day. After all, it was only 10am!

To be continued….