Leo's day

For Leo the day starts between about 6.30 and 7.30. He always sleeps in his baby bed which just fits in the tent with us, so there is some structure and certainty about his sleeping. The bed weighs about 3kg and is even more useful in hotels. Isabelle feeds him and then for anything up to an hour he plays inside the inner tent, climbing on us, eats a little snack from his cup, pulls our hair, slaps us as we try to rest, and often makes us laugh with his constant commentary on events.

Then I get up and hurriedly try to boil water and pack as much as possible on the bike while Isa amuses and dresses him. After maybe 15 minutes of exploration he eats his porridge, generally devoured with enthusiasm with his hands and occasionally with our offered spoon. He then gets another hour of wandering, exploring, climbing, destroying and by about 10am we leave. He normally falls asleep immediately, within about 5 minutes.

We then cycle. After about an hour he wakes up (sometimes longer) announces himself to the world with a shout and then sits peacefully for another hour, chuntering and muttering as the km pass. Sometimes we sing (with him), other times he just looks, especially in towns or villages. The suspension on the trailer smooths out the road and makes his life much more comfortable even on dirt roads.

By about noon we are looking for somewhere to stop, preferably a village square or a shop. We try and let him run around for about an hour or two, feed him with whatever we can find, play some more and then by about 2pm we are on the road again. He again falls asleep and this is often a longer sleep. This boy is seriously active when he is awake!

By 4pm we stop again for a short play and then if we need to ride a little longer he is nearly always happy. We aim to stop by 5.30pm at the latest, if it's camping then it is quite relaxed, hotels are harder because there are more things to guard him from and people don't take their babies on holiday so nowhere is kitted out for him, glass bottles are accessible in cupboards or unlocked rooms, ornaments sit on the edges of shelves and table cloths just beg to be pulled.

The evening involves eating and playing, this is when he is seriously active. Parks are brilliant for him and for us, we just sit there while he chases everything and brings us treasure such as bottle tops, sweet wrappers and dried up dog poo, and we sometimes shout 'Leo' as he wanders towards roads or standing water, or gets too far away. As a blonde-haired blue-eyed boy he often has an audience and they sometimes help with the herding if they think we are being too relaxed. Then by about 8.30-9.30pm he is ready for bed. He is just learning to go to sleep on his own but within 10 minutes of starting to be fed by Isa he is normally gone or at least will sleep when he hears the command 'doh-doh' - Quebecois slang for sleep.

To be honest the day itself is fairly relaxed, we can do between 50km and 70km depending on the route, and even though we have to look after Leo it actually feels a little less physical than when we are on our own. Obviously the bikes are heavier and the trailer needs pulling, but on balance this journey certainly isn't harder, just a little slower.

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