We just had one of those memorable meals that sneaks up on you. Went for a quick, stand up dinner at the Bitzinger wurst stand near the Opera House here in Vienna, and ended up being spoiled for ever eating another hot dog in the US. The grilled cheesy one is the best, though there were other varieties that we couldn't decipher in German as they were like 20 letters long and the wurst nazi wanted to keep the line moving. Washed down with some sparkling cider, it was the best bang for the buck, food wise, of our Europe trip.
Or maybe it's just babies in general. A few of our intra-Europe flights have been on SAS, an airline I've never known before, much less with an infant.
Lap children get a separate infant seat belt that attaches to the adult seat belt. It's just a loop, and it seems a lot less safe than wearing the baby in a inward-facing bjorn. But, the flight attendants were adamant about it so we put it on her. we also got a separate infant life vest and instructions on putting it on.
Going through security was a breeze - in Manchester, we got to go in a special stroller line with no wait, and the airport security personnel helped us get all our gear on the belt. At the gate, they boarded us first so there was always room for our stuff and we had plenty of time to get settled in. At check in, we were also lucky enough to get a row to ourselves. (so far we are 3 for 3 on intra-Europe flights).
The Little Dictator got cooed over by men and women when we were in Copenhagen. At our first dinner, in a small, cellar like restaurant called Puks, we sat near two tables, one of older men and another of older women. The LD fussed through dinner, so I ended up nursing her while eating. (Always find a restaurant with booths - you can do so much in a booth.) No one stared or even looked our way.
(perusing the menu at Puks: smorrebrød and more brød)
Eventually, the LD decided to put an end to our dinner - No dessert for you! - and as we were putting her back into the stroller, she decided to put on the full-on scream. We looked around apologetically, and all we saw were benevolent smiles. This happened every time the Little Dictator made her presence known in a restaurant which, unfortunately, ended up being most of our meals in Copenhagen. Surprisingly, each time we were met with smiles from the other diners and complete nonchalance to nursing her at the table and changing her in public.
The capper was on our last night in Copenhagen, when we went to Tivoli, a little amusement park in the city. Not only did Tivoli have a baby changing area, but they had free diapers and an indoor nursing area with comfy armchairs.
And ... Most restaurants are kid and baby friendly, even ones that serve grownup food. Here is Cap Horn, a lovely restaurant where we had lunch in Nyhavn.
So says the Little Dictator's sleep sack. It has ducks on it. That's cute.
It also has drool, sweat (the LD's head sweats profusely - this she got from NOT my side of the family tree), and dried spit up that smells of sour milk (my side of the family tree = guilty). Not so cute.
It also ended up the target of one of her "open air accidents", a euphemism for "pee fountain that she likes to wave arms and legs in." Again, worth some marks in the "not so cute" column.
So there we have it - ducks on the one hand, and at least 4 varieties of bodily fluids on the other.
Before the Little Dictator arrived, a major component of our travels had involved dining out. We had been warned by a friend who had lived in London with a toddler that London restaurants were not the most baby friendly, and we steeled ourselves for fast food and takeaway for dinner.
What we found was surprisingly good food at several receptive, casual restaurants, though the intricacies of pub licensing eluded us -- if they have a patio they may be able to seat you, but if they only serve alcohol and no food, they cannot allow you in even though the infant is sleeping? Not clear on all that -- and we never did have the courage to try a proper afternoon tea, even with a sleeping dictator.
For the most part, however, we worked out a routine of feeding the LD, walking her in the stroller or bjorn until she fell asleep, and walking her some more, and then venturing into the restaurant, hoping for a somewhat isolated booth with understanding neighbors. We had excellent fish at Fishworks and superb fish and chips at Ses Shell, both in Marylebone, and surprisingly good and affordable Italian at Felicini in Manchester, and, with limited success, a gastropub called Sam's Chop House, also in Manchester. We did have a few takeaway and fast food dinners, and found a friendly gay bar/restaurant in Manchester (Taurus) as well.
If we weren't working on colleagues' recommendations and assurances that the restaurant was baby friendly, our process for dinner involved circling the unsuspecting restaurant several times and then stalking our prey with a sleeping LD to make sure she wouldn't wake. Upon entering, we looked for improvisational baby changing and feeding facilities, such as high booths with comfortable benches, and baby soothing nooks for walking the LD in case she woke up. Sometimes all the best planning didn't keep the LD sleeping peacefully through dinner, but luckily that did not become much of an issue until we got to Copenhagen, where they seem to love kids and babies everywhere, even when they're screaming.
Having some slight problems with BlogPress, so here are some random pictures of the Little Dictator in England:
We encountered our first travel snafu as we were trying to leave London for Manchester. Due to some overhead wire damage (we think) our Virgin train to Manchester was canceled. We had first class tickets, but had to hustle our asses and luggage and baby and stroller over to a different train station and wedge our way onto an overcrowded train on a different train line, where we will have to change trains in Sheffield. It's a good thing we got to the train station early - had we arrived to take our non-operative train we would have missed the last train to Manchester. S is angry and discombobulated; I look at it as a chance to experience the craziness of a poorly-planned backpacking trip that I missed in my 20s. Then again, he is standing with our suitcases between cars, while I found a seat. Of course, if I were in my 20s I would not have a screaming baby with me either....
And on another note - while I am not militantly pro or con breastfeeding, I'm really, really, REALLY thankful that I chose to breastfeed and stuck with it. Because no one likes a screaming infant on an overcrowded, standing-room-only train, and ramming a boob in her mouth is a good way to keep her quiet. I just hope she puts up with a dirty diaper at least until we get to Sheffield. Sorry baby.
My blog has been hijacked. Come to think of it, my life has been hijacked. But being a dog there isn't much I can do about it. I just accept my new role. There's a new sheriff in town and her name is Keilani.
I had been asking for a puppy o my own but Momma and P-Daddy decided to make a human puppy instead. It's taken 2 long years, because there were 3 false starts in between that had Momma and P-Daddy very sad. Also during that time they remade my den and we had to live in a teeny shoebox while Momma got bigger and bigger. As Momma got bigger and bigger, my walkies got shorter and shorter.
Like I said, my life has been HIKACKED.
Even Momma and P-Daddy have been hijacked by The Little Dictator. Nobody eats until The Little Dictator eats. Nobody gets walkies unless The Little Dictator says it's ok. If The Little Dictator barks, everyone (including me) rushes to take care of her. I never got such attention when I bark.
On the plus side, Momma is home a lot more (like, all day every day!!!!), and the grandmas and lots of other favorite people have been visiting me and petting me. So maybe having a little dictator around might not be such a bad thing.
Also, it's been pretty nice, momma and p-daddy sent me to camp last week to give me a break from my guarding duties. Even working dogs need a break sometimes. Momma said when I'm at camp she is going to use my blog to talk about The Little Dictator. See, she's got everyone in line already! And she seems so little and harmless! Clearly I must get on her good side so she can demand some things for me too. This picture show our relative stature in the household now.