The kids are back in school! Did you go on vacation anywhere over the break? In my opinion, there is no such thing as a vacation when you are traveling with little people. I define a vacation as a relaxing trip, and having kids in tow is anything but.
My friend Val recently took a long car trip over several days with her family. Her kids are very close to mine in age, 6 and 1. It was so funny to see her post pictures of her trip. She posted several pictures of the White House in Washington, DC taken from her car window because the kids were sleepy.
Sometimes things just don’t work out like you thought they would. It reminded me of a trip I recently took alone with my two kids. There are no direct flights to where I was going, so I always have to take a connecting flight. 2 planes, 2 kids, and no partridge in a pear tree anywhere to be found (thank goodness because I could not have carried one more ounce of anything.)
I like to travel as light as I can but I was still overwhelmed at all of the stuff I had to keep track of. I took a stroller and a diaper bag, and my son had his bag and we had two suitcases to check. Thank you curbside check-in!
It’s always fun to go through security because you have to take everyone’s shoes off, carry the baby through, fold down the stroller and run it through the x-ray machine along with all of the other bags. And then you have to put everyone and everything back together afterwards. An extra ten hands would have been awesome.
The fact that I had the stroller helped a lot, and all was fine until I got through security to the gate and then they flipped out about its size. And then they threw my baby’s car seat down the chute like it was a load of garbage. It hit every possible bump on the way down and every little crash took a little piece of my heart and patience down with it.
I heard all of the quiet groans around us on the plane when we found our seats, as people without kids realized their lives were virtually over when they found out they were seated next to a baby. Oh the HORROR!
The plane rides were actually okay. Until my oldest son fell asleep and dropped his head down and bonked the passenger beside him. He and I both got the look of death while I tried to dig for the baby’s bottle so I could get him situated on my lap. Come on lady, I apologized twice, give me a break. I moved his head onto my shoulder, so I was completely covered in children, and life went on.
By the end of that plane ride, the baby’s diaper had leaked and he had had a runny number two. ARGH! Really? In the already impatient huff that everyone’s in getting their bags out of overhead compartments and waiting for them to LET US OFF THIS PLANE ALREADY, I have the added enjoyment of a mess on my leg before I can even deal with getting our bags.
I was thankfully towards the back of the plane so we made our way into the tiny bathroom. They actually have a litle changing table that folds down in there. So there we are. Me, the baby and my 6 year old, crammed in the tiny airplane stall getting the baby changed. I was actually grateful for the solitude.
I had to carry the baby all the way to the baggage claim area since they wouldn’t let me check the stroller onto the airplane. I had to pick it up in baggage claim with everything else. I was never so glad in my life to see our family greet us at the end of the hallway! It was a glorious finish line!
I have a bazillion awesome pictures from our trip home. We made a lot of great memories and we got to see people that we don’t often get to see, so even after all of that, it was totally worth it in the end. But barring any emergencies or once-in-a-lifetime free trips to irresistible locations, I’m opting out of any further travel alone with children until everyone walks, talks, pee pee’s in the potty, and carries their own crap.
My friend Val agrees. Trips with littles are a good idea in theory and on paper, but I think we both consider our trips extra notches in our parenting belts, and lessons learned.
For now, I’m content making great memories in the comforts of my own home, and I’m so happy to host anyone that would like to come and visit us. Happy trails!