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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

On Vacation, Know What You're In For

There are a million posts about traveling with toddlers: what to pack, where to go, how to book successfully, activities to plan, ways to keep the kids entertained...the list goes on.

Well, here we are, on a short vacation again, and the best tip I can give you is that you had better know what you are in for ahead of time.

You are in for three days, or a week, or two weeks of whining, heckling, discombobulated nervousness and crankiness.

Don't leave until you've accepted that.

Because once you have, the rest is piddly and you'll have a great time. Vacation is fun, even with toddlers, and even if they are throwing you curve balls left and right. You just have to know that those curve balls are coming and adapt.

No, they're not going to sleep right away in a strange bed. Yes, at least one of you will be stuck in the room during nap times (if they even sleep) and at night. Yes, you're going to hear all about how they want to go home or to the beach or to get their lovey or to go to the pool, or any number of things that you are most definitely not doing at that precise moment in time.

You'll get requests for a video you don't have or a book you left at home. You find yourself awash in the tears of a baby faced with the cruel, cruel world of inconsistency and change. Don't be alarmed. It's all part of the process.

If you can keep your game face on, if you can not lose patience, if you can reason with them as best you can and distract them, you will have fun. You will. You will be talking at them 24/7 so that they remain at peace, and even then it won't be nearly enough, but you will have fun because you will have been prepared for this.

A vacation on your own with toddlers is very different from an adult vacation. There are sacrifices to be made, but it is still vacation nonetheless, and in the end, you'll all be better off for it. Your children will see a little bit of the world they wouldn't otherwise have known. They'll have fun in 30-minute increments, on the beach or even in the "big room's" shower. They'll break down, but you'll buoy them back up, and again and again the cycle will continue.

A vacation with toddlers is all about your mindset. And as I type this out on the balcony of our room with the fresh Florida breeze coming through the waving palm fronds, and I look up at the ocean hitting the waves while my children sleep for their first nap in two days, I'm not thinking about all of the life out there that I am missing (okay, only a little), I'm thinking about how glorious it is to be here and to see the sea and to feel the breeze. It's different. It's nice. It's fun.

And yes, in a few moments it will be back to "she hit the button on the elevator last time," and "mama, I want to go home," but right now it is peaceful and quiet and I am on vacation.

It's all about your mindset. Know what you're in for.

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1 comment:

  1. I just did a trip to Thailand with a 1 year old. nuts. absolutely nuts. we are going to NYC in November... our son will be 17 months. I'm dreading the unheaval in our lives.. but you are right. with preparation and the right attitude. we'll make it. we always do. :)



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