We were leaving on Friday morning so I did all packing on Thursday. I didn't put the Little Monster to bed, instead letting her stay up late in the hope that she would be tired the next day. We took a Megabus coach for most of the journey. It was very cheap and, although it was a little cramped, I'd say it was a good deal.
I had packed a rucksack with various snacks and books to try and keep the Little Monster occupied. After munching down a few biscuits and a small box of raisins, she fell asleep, roughly forty five minutes into the journey. Relief soon turned to boredom as I realised that I had been so concerned with keeping her happy that I hadn't even considered the notion of entertaining myself. In future, I will be including my MP3 player in the bag. About two hours into the journey, she woke up and within minutes, vomited all over her top. We cleaned her up and encouraged her to sip some water. Luckily I had packed a full pack of wet wipes and a change of clothes. She proceeded to throw up twice more but both times she fortunately leaned over a bag and made no mess at all - something I was very pleased and impressed by.
At the end of the coach trip, we made our way to the train station. By the time we reached the train, the Little Monster was skipping along, perfectly recovered and very cheerful. After half an hour on the train, we arrived and were collected by the Other Half's grandmother. We stayed at his mother's house on Friday night and at his Aunt and Uncle's house on Saturday night, returning home on Sunday.
I had been concerned that the trip would interfere with the Little Monster's toilet training, which has been very successful recently. I took a few useful products with us to help with this. Firstly, a Potette Plus portable potty/toilet seat. It is compact and easily becomes either a potty, used with liners that are basically plastic bags with absorbent pads in the bottom, or a toilet seat. My Little Monster found it comfortable in either mode and only had one accident during the entire weekend (and that was during a tantrum so I'm not even sure it should count!). On first purchasing this item, I was slightly hesitant about the price but I now believe it to be entirely worth the price if you're going to be travelling quite a bit. I imagine it to be particularly useful to car owners, as it would take up barely any space at all in a car boot and be ready to use on long days out.
I was slightly concerned about accidents while we were staying in others' houses. So we also used Dry Like Me potty training pads. They fit into ordinary pants, much like a sanitary towel. They were slightly too wide to fit well onto the Little Monster's pants but she found them comfortable. Unfortunately, when she did have an accident, it did not hold all of the liquid and there was a puddle left on the floor. This is consistent with the product description, which is not designed to catch a whole accident. However, it did seem to become saturated very quickly and because my daughter did not tell me what was happening, it did not give time to get her to a toilet. I would say this product minimises mess caused and does allow the child to still wear ordinary pants, which are good points. A good product but not something I would use regularly.
Another issue was where the Little Monster was going to sleep. I thought her too big to sleep in her travel cot anymore so looked around for alternatives. We decided on a ready bed, which her grandmother kindly bought for her. The design is good, with a built in headboard and side cushions to prevent slipping out during the night and an attached duvet so there's no need to carry extra blankets. It was a little difficult to inflate as the tube of the pump kept coming out. It was too difficult to use a foot to pump for this reason and much of the work had to be done by hand, which was a bit wearing. However, once ready, she found it comfortable and warm and slept very well in it. In the morning, it was quickly and easily deflated. It's compact and comes with a bag so is easily stored or carried around.
All in all, we had a lovely trip. It was good to see family and now that we've done it once, I plan to take the Little Monster on my own at some point midweek in order to cut down on the coach ticket prices.
Unfortunately my diet has suffered due to being given yummy food all weekend. I have decided to skip weighing myself this week and give myself until next Monday to lose some more.