Our family recently went on a major vacation! A first for the Cameron clan. Our first time traveling with kids! A first time to Hawaii (for all of my family other than myself). First time on an airplane for the little ones. First time in the ocean! First time snorkeling! It was by far a trip of firsts. And with these brand new experiences came some realizations for me as a parent and some very true admiration for other parents who vacation frequently with their little ones.
To start our week and a half long adventure we packed our little crew up into the car and drove the nine hours to Seattle. We have driven a lot with the kids and this was nothing new. On long car rides I generally pump and bottle feed so not to make the trip even longer. Little miss does not necessarily love the bottle and my pump is a 20$ hand pump that is not always the most reliable, so that adds a bit of a challenge to the trip but nothing we can’t handle. We also broke down and bought a dvd player for the car for this trip. Generally I hate TVs in cars. I think that a child doesn’t need to be plugged in for a trip to the grocery store, or zoned out for a thirty minute car ride to grandmas. But in all honesty this made our tri-state trek a whole lot easier! Plus E was elated! I don’t know if he was more excited to go to Hawaii or to watch movies in the car! Another little addition to the 5 of us loaded into our car and headed west was the fact that Miss Kylee drove us all the way through MT!!!!! She gets her drivers license in April and needs to build her hours. It was a bit nerve wracking for all, but she did fabulous and we made it to the ID state border in one piece. 🙂
The truly challenging, patience testing, superhuman task while traveling with kids is getting your kids, your luggage, carry-ons, backpacks, and carseats through security and to your gate! Of course baby in the front pack is step number one. It adds a little spice if you forget to pack your baby’s favorite wrap, we love the Moby, and have to pick one up at Walmart on your way to the airport, turns out she doesn’t love mei tai style wraps. Our three year old inevitably wanted to walk and carry his own stuff and then shortly after needed to be held, immediately! Checking luggage is outrageous so we of course choose to only check one bag, meaning everyone had a full sized carry-on, that was fun! 🙂 Waiting in line for security went well, during nap time, with a hungry infant. E was not so sure about walking through metal detectors all alone while strange men swabbed his hands. But through all of this we made it and quickly found a restaurant that served beer and brownies.
Our plane ride was good. Our kids did great! Minimal fussing occurred, we played with puzzles and play dough, drew pictures and used stickers. Nursed at takeoff and landing to avoid ear pain for the baby. And even took a little nap! All of this being said, it was still hard! The looks that other passengers give you when you walk past them with a three year old and an infant are brutal! Your kid makes one little noise and those around you start to grumble. We sat near a man who we overheard saying “So many kids on these flights! Next time I’m going to swim!” Please do sir because every parent on this flight is working their very hardest to try not to be a burden to people like you! Why? I don’t really know. While I believe that teaching your kids to be considerate of others is essential I also believe that its ok if my son drives his car on the chairs in the terminal, or that I change my infants diaper on my lap while flying (trust me I wish I had a better place to do it!) Also seating children first seems like an idea a man had a long time ago, a man who had never flown with his kids. Why put small children in a confined space for longer than everyone else?
You would think that once you make it to your destination vacation sinks in, and it does a little. But three year olds don’t understand time changes and hotels. The excitement of new places and new things is almost too much, naps are hard and all of that build up of the big trip and the fun leads to some serious meltdowns! Once you are feeling settled, and have figured out naps on the beach and how to sleep past 5 am it’s time to go home.
Prior to our trip I read and researched a bit on how to make travel with kids easy and carefree! A lot of the tips were typical; pack snacks, have activities, take breaks to stretch… While these are all great ideas and very true, no one ever says that although you may prepare until you’re blue in the face, traveling with kids is HARD! You can’t prepare for the blowout diaper that happens on the way to the airport that you have to change in the parking garage and leave the soiled clothes in your car to rot for a week. You can’t prepare for the fact that your three year old may loose his mind the first night of vacation (and every night after that) at bedtime and declare that he needs to go home! You can’t prepare for turbulent planes and tired kids. All of these things are just life when you’re at home. Meltdowns happen, blowout diapers happen, tired kids happen. I manage these things everyday, no big deal. Vacation amplifies these things!
We truly had a wonderful time on our vacation! I will post about all of the beautiful, happy, excited moments that we had. I would not trade one second of our trip, because all of our crazy, hard, sad, happy, fun times made our trip what it was. I just wanted to be real and honest and as I said before congratulate those who travel with young ones frequently! You are amazing! While I emphasized how hard it was I know that it’s all part of being a parent, and I love being a parent! So while traveling with kids is hard, and will be hard no matter how well prepared you are, it’s not impossible! It is worth it! The memories are irreplaceable!