Sprog Season - Notes From The Nursery Slope
Updates from Abi and Al Nasmyth as they take their baby on a ski season.
Packing. Packing for any season isn’t easy. Should I take all 10 of my Holister sweat pants? Is 2 pairs of moon boots too many? But when we decided to take our 4-month-old son on our season, it opened a whole new can of worms.
When my partner Abi got pregnant, it wasn’t long before she was planning what we’d get up to on her maternity “holiday”. Luckily, due to my amazing conception choreography, this winter has fallen slap bang in the middle of her very generous post natal leave. Result! We were going to break the mold. We weren’t going to let having a baby end our season plans. We could juggle nappies with pow-days, breast feeding and park laps and tummy time at happy hour. In the famous last words of so many parents: how hard could this be…?
Our first idea was to drive out together. Even before the wee man was born he’d turned our modest spare room into a scene from storage wars so we’d need to take our van. One of the bonuses of the long drive out for most is the ability to take all those luxuries that you normally have to live without. Maybe we could stop at a few vinyards or medieval towns on the way and fill any receptacle available with cheap plonk to take the sting out of resort alcohol prices. Sadly it looked like we
wouldn’t be able to do a booze run. Due to the logistics of infant transport, multiple stops were looking likely. When you have a child you end up acquiring lots of child manuals either through the stubbornness of not wanting to ask your parents for help or your friends and family’s lack of confidence in your abilities. Most of these manuals firmly suggest that young children shouldn’t spend longer than about 2hours in a car seat or they will end up like Tom Cruise (I mean short - not the front man of a cult).
Fitting in these stops to straighten out his spine, more stops to feed him and then a couple more for his weakling parents to rest was moving the ETA from a 21st century time frame to one that might be expected before the invention of the automobile. As much as I’d like to lazily meander through the champagne region taking in the odd chateau, I should probably be saving for my child’s first house deposit. The travel plans evidently needed changing. Abi would take the luxury of low budget airline and enjoy all the coo-ing from passengers as our baby did no more to disturb them than gurgle and look cute. I would make a Mad Max inspired run for the hills carrying our special cargo of baby crap.
I’m a lightweight, streamline packer. I’d like to say I’m an alpinist: fast and light, but in reality I’m too lazy to drag a heavy bag through airports or train stations. So that’s how I intended to approach the task of choosing what baby related kit we needed to take with us. The good thing about babies is that they’re small and so are all their clothes, but like a heavy drinking chalet host, they have little control of their bowels so require many changes of clothes every day. The other difficulty is the damn thing keeps getting bigger. So not only does he need an average of 2.5 outfits per day and enough to last the week without using the washing machine, but he also requires enough sizes to cover an unspecified increase in weight over the next 4 months. It was starting to look like I’d need a trailer as well as the van.
Mum’s the word:
It’s six years since I accidentally got a real job back in the UK and stopped doing seasons; how the hell did that happen?! Watching winter through an Instagram smugness window from my office desk, consoled only by holidays to visit Al in whichever snow hole he’d based himself in, was starting to wear thin. So, when my oven found a bun in it last winter, rendering me a fat fragile egg for the entirety of one of the best snow seasons for many a donkey’s year, I powered through with a mission to get back those missed powder days. How hard could it be to pump out some milk, leave the wee man with Al for the day and get some turns in?
We’re four months in and that plan is starting to come together. Well we’re definitely headed out but it turns out those small beings are quite demanding. Who knew?! So far, I think I’ve managed three consecutive hours away from the boob guzzler. The bottle training regime was admittedly hindered by Al, in a rather elaborate plan to get out of changing nappies, breaking his collar bone at the local fridge (he claims he’s an instructor, so you think he’d be able to snowboard without breaking things by now). However small victories, he takes a bottle now (the wee man, not Al) but the trouble is, expressing takes ages sitting with an annoying electronic mooing machine (it does actually sound like a mooing cow) and you can’t just pump out a job lot one day and fill up your freezer. So just give him formula right, it’s not going to kill him? True, but if you don’t feed him you end up in a surprising amount of mammary pain and I don’t much fancy having to manually decant behind a tree. As a result, piste poles may have moved a little but I’ll still be able to smash out a few fun Palafour runs to start with and he’ll be on solids soon.
Current deluded season goals (let’s see how these go!):
1 full day on the hill per week,
3 mini shreds a week (swing by on Al’s lunch hour to be relieved of child and grab a few blasts),
2 evening climbs (we need to find a third wheel, but the idea is that we’ll be able to swap holding wee un as apparently it is frowned upon to hold a baby whilst belaying),
Join baby swim class, meet some French mums and become bilingual
On down time, during baby nap time, gain a new qualification that will enhance career.
What could go wrong?