It’s finally Sunday after a very long, very extended vacation that turned into a work session for me. These past 17 days have taught me a lot. Here’s a breakdown of what I learned on holiday in no particular order:
- The trick to going out to eat with your toddlers is to find an establishment that is in general more louder than your said toddlers. This will eliminate the need to tell them to be quiet, sit down and enjoy their dinners. But it does not exclude the need to warn other guests to watch for flying toys, cutlery and table condiments. Major pros, not having to hear what your toddler says. Major cons, having to listen to a sport you don’t care for or know much about.
- If you are going to drive any great distance with toddlers, start early, before they even think about waking up. I’m talking 4 am get up and go vanish in the night kinda wake up call. Like someone threw up (or even worse) in the bed and you are frantically trying to change the sheets like whipping a table cloth from beneath a very easily awakened toddler while not moving them in the dark. It takes a lot of planning and consideration. If executed property it can lead to some epic sunrise shot with hints of snoring boys in the back seat. On the downside, it can anger the teething monster and result in an epic battle of the wills before the defeated parents submit to stopping at a doughnut store chain for some relief.
- Always ask if they have to pee, and then don’t listen to them and take them pee. Literally every stop we had to do the pull over a mile down the road in an undesirable spot so the older toddler could pee. But, it seemed we were the dummies for not learning after the first time. We still continued to ask, and the answer was always no, and we had the quick stop several times.
- Going out in public becomes a daily practice. Since I had my two boys I generally go out less in public. In the beginning I felt awkward with one strapped to my chest and the other glued to my hand as I frantically ran thru the isles randomly because I forgot to write down my list of food items and can never remember the cheese doodles until I’m finally done the shopping. So back and forth thru the isles I go. Anyways, it was usually too much effort and I would try not to go out until we started eating taco shells for dinner and that can of relish on the top shelf that has been sitting around for the last year. Fast forward to now, and I’m slinging one toddler on my hip and the second I have his hands in a wrist lock as he shouts “You’re a pain in the poo” but what he means to stay is “you are a pain in the butt” all while ordering lunch, keeping anyone from reaching anything that they can touch and trying to extract my wallet from my backpack.
- Hotels can be a godsend or a house of horrors. From very hard edged furniture, remotes that toddlers can function, minibars, phones, alarm clock radios, air conditioners, curtains, garbage cans, doors that don’t have the high lock all are potential hazards. On the plus side, comfortable beds and ample pillows can provide places to jump and play, and giant bathrooms offer plentiful splash space where we don’t care how many towels we need to use on the floor, we’re not doing the laundry (sorry environment!), the addition of a TV gives mom and dad 5 minutes to catch our breath after we’ve disabled phone, clocks, air conditioner’s etc.
- Flying. We had different experiences each way. Red eye flight great for toddler #2 but daytime flight not so good. Red eye flight horror show for toddler #1 daytime flight kept him fully occupied. Toddlers walking up and down the isles on a plane can garner both smiles and frowns and a stern talking to if they appear in first class. Plane snacks are great to keep toddlers entertained the downside is that plane snacks make stinky farts.
- No matter what you pack for clothes, food, toys, and books you will always seem to acquire more on vacation. We assumed it would be summer (because August IS summer) but it was cold on the west coast while we were there due to smoke shrouding the skies. The great thing is I was able to borrow warmer clothes from my mom, but it still didn’t make up for the sucky weather. I ended up having to work for the last 3 days of our travels and had to buy some semi office attire. Ok it was an excuse to buy new clothes. 😉 The boys broke most of their bought toys while they were traveling and we picked up a number of toys from second hand shops for them to play with while we were there. They were destroyed before vacation was over. We acquired some great books from relatives and from the free little library in a suburb of Calgary that my older son loves.
- You can never spend too much time together, but you can spend too much time doing something together. We made sure that activities were not too long. We managed a zoo visit, a long hike (long for the boys) a visit to a mall, beach, hot springs and other nature stops. The trick is finding the balance of too long and not long enough. You know you’ve got it right if the kids aren’t crying when you are running to the exit. It can be a tough determination!
All in all our vacation was relaxing. That being said, I would like to expose the boys to more travel in the future to develop their adaptability skills, it make you more resilient to disappointment. I think that is something we can all benefit from.
Hope all of you had a good vacation this summer!