Sunday, July 20, 2008

10 things I learned on my summer vacation*

*credit due to Shanna. And yes, I got back from said vacation two weeks ago. It turns out it takes a long time to catch up from a week away, even if you technically only missed three days of work.

1. Get to the airport way earlier than you think you need to. Because when you take into account checking bags, getting through security, getting food for everyone, eating food, running around trying to burn off energy before a flight, and early preboarding, one hour is not nearly enough.

2. If you put brown knit pants on your somewhat bald daughter (because she needs something comfy to wear on the plane), the flight attendant will think she is a boy, even though she is wearing a pink and orange flowered T-shirt. Because heaven forbid that a girl wear neutral colors or anything other than pink ruffles from head to toe.

3. Keep your kid in their infant carseat as long as possible. In fact, buy this carseat and if you have a tiny kid like mine, you'll be able to use the seat well into toddlerhood. Which means no lugging a huge convertible seat through the airport--you can hang the infant seat off the back of your stroller by the handle. Awesome.

4. You really need a lot fewer toys and entertainment than you think you do. We got by for six whole days with a magnadoodle, a toy cell phone, a couple little cars (tucked inside a little purse, for the joy of carrying and removing and replacing), bear for bedtime, books for bedtime, and a little finger puppet that lives in the diaper bag anyway. (And portable DVD player stocked with Blue's Clues for emergencies.) BG entertained herself for hours carrying around the little individual creamers that came with the hotel room coffee pot, and the plastic-wrapped cups, and our empty water bottles. And the emergency instructions card on the plane.

5. Waiters at nice restaurants who are kind to small children and the parents of said small children deserve a special place in heaven. Especially when a child throws fries on the floor and the mother goes to pick them up and the waiter says, "No, no, don't worry about that, this is your time to relax and enjoy yourself."

6. Traveling with a small child is really, really different from traveling with just adults. That sounds stupid, but it didn't really hit me until this trip. Our old style of travel was to basically eat our way through any given city. This time, we managed to eat reasonably well, but forget about swanky bars and posh restaurants with velvet banquettes and low lighting. And all activities were extremely toddler-friendly.

6a. Kids love aquariums. They just do.

7. Wedding ceremony held outdoors on a damp lawn + four-inch heels + toddler who insists on being carried all the time = not an ideal combination.

8. 17-month-olds are a lot more flexible than you would guess. Napping on planes, adjusting to a three-hour time change AND staying up later than usual, spending way more time in the carseat than you're used to, eating out every meal, taking baths in the big tub and showers with Mommy when you're used to a small toddler tub, lots of strangers, all no problem.

9. However, no matter how flexible a kid is, taking a total of only 45 minutes of nap on the day of a big event translates into very cranky child, especially when Mommy suddenly gets up and leaves you with Daddy and walks down this long aisle and reads some poem to all these people and you're supposed to be quiet but you just want MOMMY!

9a. If you take a toddler to a wedding, don't expect to hear or see much of the wedding.

10. Vacations are nice, but it's good to be home.



Blogger shanna said...

Oh, man, I should totally post about the ten things we learned traveling with our twins around the same time...but it would read just like yours, almost word for word. Except I'd have to add #11: Toddlers will sleep amazingly well in their hotel Pack N Plays, and even sleep in every morning of vacation - EXCEPT the morning after the bachelor party, when Mommy (yes, Mommy) came back at 4 AM, still tipsy, and has a moderate hangover at 6 AM, when two sweet adorable children want to play.

Thanks for the credit, btw. :)

3:46 PM  
Blogger Aunt Becky said...

I'm a certified Chicken S*it and have never traveled with the wee one. But dressed head to toe in blue, people always tell me what a beautiful daughter I have.

Poor guy.

5:13 PM  
Blogger MoMo said...

Glad to hear you guys had a great time. Yes vacationing with a toddler is very different--in a good way I think--okay maybe you don't think this on the first trip, but maybe after a few trips you will agree with me! :) And yes, I used to pack a ton of stuff, but as we travelled more I realized that I can survived without certain items!

7:57 PM  
Blogger JLow said...

Wow! You managed to cover so many things in just one post!

I spent one whole post just covering preparing a toddler for an overnight flight!


12:27 AM  
Blogger kbreints said...

oh I hear ya! And my boy is very pretty-- and very blond... so no matter how boy is my be dressed-- he is always very "girly" in old womans eyes!

11:52 AM  
Blogger sara said...

I'm glad you had a great trip - and made it back safely. Wow the idea of vacationing with a toddler is daunting to me right now - but I'm glad you pulled it off! You made it seem easy. Next year if we take a trip I will need all the good suggestions, okay?

4:00 PM  

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