VACATIONS WITH CHILDREN
Take them places, they said. Show them the world and different cultures, they said. Your life doesn’t have to change when you have kids, they said. Well,”they” LIED. I go out less, but drink more; my body is unrecognizable, I’m constantly tired or worried about being tired, and vacations in warm, sunny and otherwise lovely places are intolerable. So yeah… pretty sure life DOES change. I am sure I sound ungrateful, but my first (and last) experience taking my two babes on vacation was pretty bad. And no, I’m not just being dramatic. Read on my friends, read on.
After having a baby and therefore not leaving the state of Minnesota in 2018, I was soooooo looking forward to a vacation. So when my in-laws so generally gifted us with a Spring Break trip to Florida, I had never been more excited to get out of town. I had a countdown. I was not one of those people who went into this with anything but a positive outlook. I was STOKED. I spent countless hours (and dollars) planning my pool, beach and evening outfits, making lists for what to pack for the boys and getting myself beautified. What a WASTE. I spent more time rocking my 11-month old than I did than I did basking in the sun by the pool. OR the beach.
We went to the Sundial Resort on Sanibel Island. We stayed in a two-bedroom condo, ground-level, that walked right out onto the beach. It was beautiful! The resort had a gorgeous main pool, with the whole shebang—bar, frozen drinks, big hats, umbrellas, moms inappropriate (and aggressively) saving chairs with random pool noodles—the stuff vacations are made of. My dream had come true. Until I realized being there with a one- and three-year-old was my nightmare.
First off, the sleeping… or should I say, the NOT sleeping. My boys are both fantastic sleepers. They’ve been at 12 hours a night since from ten weeks old. I wasn’t worried about that at all. Welp, they did not want to sleep on this trip. Harvey, my three-year-old, never wanted to even go to sleep because he was hopped up on juice and beach life. But the real kicker, Fletcher, my one-year-old got an ear infection the day we arrived and then needed to be rocked before each nap and bedtime, for a LONG time. And once we finally would get him to sleep, he would scream the second we set him in the crib. If and when we ever did get him to actually close his eyes in that crib, he’d sleep for a short amount of time before screaming again and me either abandoning his nap or if it was nighttime, bringing him in bed with us.
And Fletcher is still at two naps a day. One at 9/9:30 and one at 1/1:30. After he would wake up from his morning nap, and by the time you get the kiddos SPF’ed, dressed and fed—it doesn’t leave much time for pool/beach/anything in between said naps. But STILL—I was determined to get there each, enjoy a cocktail or two and get a bit tan. And we did do that! It was just so short… and then… Fletch just couldn’t shake that ear infection. He refused to nap. I had to rock him and rock him and rock him for almost an hour for each sleep. It was exhausting. My husband and I took turns. We supported each other, but it just kept getting worse. Once he was asleep, the pool was too far away to go with a monitor and even if people did offer to stay back during naptime, he’d likely wake up screaming after 20 minutes and it was just too much put to on someone.
There was also so much I didn’t consider! Fletch is finally sitting up on his own, and we can just plop him on the floor whenever/wherever. Not when your condo has all tile floors. Not even one LITTLE rug, which of course meant… more … holding… the babaayyyyy. AND—to be frank, I have NEVER spent that much time with my children before. Wow. I mean, I love them, but nine days is a LOT of time with to spend with two humans that depend on you for eating, sleeping, bathing, whining, complaining, holding, etc. etc. etc. Top that all off with the fact that we got eaten alive nightly by the “no-see-ums,” my husband had insomnia, I caught a terrible cold OH AND got my period—and I’m sure you can imagine why I was dying to go home, even without a tan.
If you’ve found a way to do this, successfully, please tell me the secret. Most parents I’ve talked to, however, feel or have felt my pain. But they do assure me that as they grow up, it will get easier. I would love enjoy vacations again.
P.S. To the people who stand up and try to exit the plane before it’s your row’s turn, you SUCK.