Here’s me before having kids:
“I’m not going to be one of those parents who won’t travel because it’s too difficult with children. I’ll just take an umbrella stroller, a Baby Bjorn and we’ll hop a flight to Barcelona.”
Sounds like a joke, but it’s not. We seriously considered taking a trip to Spain the year our daughter was born. We checked out hotels with cribs you can rent and planned day trips to a beach nearby.
We weren’t just naive. We were morons.
Our first trip with our daughter was stressful, but tolerable. We simply visited my mother in South Carolina and drove to see my Dad and his wife in North Carolina and then flew back home.
We weren’t anticipating conceiving our second child with so much ease, so that was the last relatively simple trip we will EVER take in our LIFE.
The next vacation was to Key West with the entire Cuban Cluster. (See previous post)
We figured if we just packed like champs, it would be a breeze. The Cluster drove. It’s just a short flight from St. Pete to the Keys. We figured that would be better than driving for several hours with screaming, miserable kids, right?
We found ourselves in the airport parking lot, what seems like miles from the terminal with two small children, two hulking car seats, one massive stroller and three big bags packed with all of the crap you could possibly need. What could you need during a four-day trip to Key West? Diapers, wipes, formula, sunscreen, tons of clothes because they will destroy them all with vomit, pee and poop, medicine, (because all children inevitably get sick the day before a vacation) books, toys and blankets. By the time we figured out the logistics of just checking in, which was nearly impossible, I was drenched in sweat, my blood pressure was through the roof and I just wanted to go back to work.
Even if your kids don’t scream and cry on the flight, they will wiggle, kick and even laugh too loudly. They will want food and milk and the one toy you forgot to pack.
Key West was sweltering and you have to walk everywhere. Slather the kids in sunscreen, walk a marathon and then you can’t even get blitzed because you’re with your whole family and oh, yeah … the kids are there. Nothing like watching the whole rest of the world have a blast on vacation while you suffer.
While middle-aged women with frosted hair are guzzling Mojitos, you’re in a muddy bathroom without A/C trying to change a diaper on the floor because restaurants just assume nobody would be stupid enough to bring a baby to Key West.
Our children simply can’t hang with the idea of sleeping somewhere different. My son was probably six months old at the time. If he could’ve talked he would’ve been saying, “This f&^ing Pack ‘N Play is a bunchabullshit.” He woke up every single hour. We took turns, but when it’s that frequent ain’t NOBODY sleepin’.
My daughter slept in bed with us, but only when we would sleep with her. It was an 8 p.m. curfew, the next two hours spent staring at the ceiling, getting kicked repeatedly and wondering why we ever had children.
Trips around town were strung together by a series of meltdowns. A store accused my daughter of breaking a maraca that probably cost .10 cents to make. My husband and I took turns consoling my hysterical son during dinner at a fancy restaurant. A lunch was ruined by my daughter screaming for no apparent reason.
My amazing mother-in-law did watch the kids for an afternoon, so the rest of us could go snorkeling. I had a blast, but my husband and sister-in-law nearly barfed on the ride back to shore.
But, that all didn’t stop us from trying to go on vacation with the kids again. And we decided to drive!
That’s a story for another time.