Bringing up baby . . . and pizzas I have known
THE FAMILY TOURIST
IT is when the pizzas arrive that I remember the Canberra Incident (more of which later).
Standing alone at the serviced apartment’s intercom as the delivery chap buzzes, I realise I will either have to leave baby Flo alone with the door unlocked while I race downstairs to pick up the pizzas we’ve ordered for dinner or wake her up and cop the screams.
My beloved Jon and I are having a weekend in Queensland and have opted for a serviced apartment. He’s popped out on a wine mission and until the intercom rang, I was lazily enjoying a calming sea view.
(It turns out the pizzas rival the so- called cheeseburger I once had in Perth, Scotland, as the worst food I’ve experienced. The cheeseburger was actually just cheese and two beef patties, squished together, battered and deep fried. No bread. No salad. Barely cheese.)
But it isn’t that disaster that brings up, as it were, the sickly memory. It’s just that whenever Jon leaves me with Flo things seem to go pear-shaped . . .
A few months earlier, it was 6.30pm on federal budget night and we were in a poky hotel room with 80s decor in Canberra. Jon had left the room not five minutes earlier to do something work-related and budgety. I was with our happyas-a-lark seven-months baby wriggling in my arms while I tried desperately not to dip her in the litres of milky vomit she’d just deposited on the bed.
I felt sick. Not as sick as her, granted, but ill at the thought of having to deal with this situation. These aren’t my sheets, I thought. Clearly, someone else is going to have to get involved here. When you have a small child, bodily fluids are part of the regular laundry, but never had I dealt with such volume.
The bedspread, shiny through years of use, was not absorbent. Lifting it by the corners to establish a containment area, I gathered up the bedclothes like a giant mozzarella and stashed the ball in the farthest corner of the room. I looked at it, mortified. It gently sighed back at me, and dribbled a little.
‘‘Hello? Is this reception? I am afraid my baby has been sick and some of it has got on to the bed. No, she seems fine now, but good to know a doctor isn’t far away if we need one. Thank you so very much. And . . . could I order a hamburger?’’
With just a few reassuring words, all was cool.
The sheets would be taken away to be laundered (or incinerated). I could spend my time administering cuddles to little Flo. And getting excited about being brought food I hadn’t cooked, that I wouldn’t have to clean up after, and that I could eat from bed while watching the budget coverage.
It is the Canberra Incident that leaps to mind with Flo screaming on my hip in Queensland (perhaps in a rather accurate commentary on the state of the pizza).
Clearly, when travelling with a little one there are serious advantages to the perks of 24-hour service.
Jon hasn’t arrived with the wine and with his mobile out of battery (as usual), I can’t even call to get an ETA The apartment has three bedrooms, two bathrooms and three balconies. There are two huge televisions, three cream sofas and a glistening white kitchen, But as the cheese congeals and Flo sobs, I think I’d rather be in a poky hotel room with 24-hour reception — even in Canberra.