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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Vacationing with a Toddler and Other Impossibilities

I needed an emergency vacation. For 16 months, I've worked 8 hours a day from home while taking care of my little bambino. Mama needed a break. Besides, my husband and I are confirmed travel junkies, and we want to be able to take our son out to see the world, even at a bright and early age. We didn't exactly plan a trip to Venice for his first outing, however. We stuck closer to home, just a few hours away.

We decided that a hotel room would be an overall disaster, what with sharing one room with a baby who goes to bed earlier than us, having nowhere to go for his afternoon naps, nothing to do when he WAS sleeping except to watch him and tell each other to "Be quiet, the baby's sleeping!" So we rented ourselves a little cottage in a tourist town. Perfect! Two bedrooms, a nice living room, a view of the lake. Besides, in September you get off-season pricing. And with a kitchen of our own to use, we didn't have to eat out for every meal unless we wanted to. (If you've been through the toddler season of life, you know the nightmare that can be eating out.)

It actually took me a good day and a half to finally relax and shake off all the burnout. But then I really enjoyed myself and my family. The trick to traveling toddler style is to have an open mind and a very loose schedule. I doubt we ever left the cottage before noon the whole 5 days we were there, but that was okay. We took our time. We let our son get his entire morning nap in. We dawdled with newspapers, books, and journals until he was awake. If our son fell asleep in the car on the way to our destination, we drove in circles enjoying the sights until he woke back up. Flexibility was necessary. It was a relief to just say, "Who cares when we get there?" And you know what? I think I brought a lot of that back with me. I am trying to take one thing at a time and enjoy the view while we're here.

I don't know when that next vacation may come for my growing family of travel junkies, but I feel like we'll be even more prepared to handle it. Next time we may go a whopping 5 hours away. And in time, who knows? We may just work our way to Venice.


dawn224 said...

That actually sounds really nice - you let the baby make you relax more. Smart smart woman :)

Kat said...

My husband and I do the same when our toddler falls asleep on the way to somewhere. We will juts drive around, anywhere relly until he wakes back up. Sounds like you had a nice time.

Laura said...

Sounds like a much needed break! We all need that sometimes... and good for you for realizing it and making it happen! And, I agree 100%- flexibility is a must.

Oh, The Joys said...

Sounds like a great time! I want a cottage!!

Stam House said...

I know how you feel